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LIV Golf: Brooks Koepka Leads Jeddah Event

Jeddah hosts the final regular event of the 2022 LIV Golf Invitational Series this week. Teams are earning their final points before the LIV Team Championship, which takes place in Miami in two weeks. From a team perspective, Brooks Koepka’s Smash GC is doing well in Jeddah, sharing the lead with Garcia’s Fireballs. The team captain himself is making a big contribution with the singles lead.

Click here for the leaderboard of the LIV Golf Event in Jeddah.
Brooks Koepka will be looking to challenge for his first LIV Golf Series victory with a flawless performance. His round of 62 is by far the best score he has signed in his previous LIV tournaments. That gives him a three-stroke lead over six players sharing second place, including Sergio Garcia. Previously, a ninth-place finish was Koepka’s best final result on the LIV Tour. His “Smash” team, ranked 8th in the season standings, also needs a few more points to reach the Team Championship. Koepka’s brother Chase contributes to the team score on T11 with a -3, as does Peter Uhilein.

LIV Golf: Bernd Wiesberger with unlucky finish

Bernd Wiesberger starts strong into the penultimate tournament of the season, but had bad luck in the finish. Starting on hole 9, he didn’t let an opening bogey get him down, where he got caught in the rough, and recovered the shot right at the 10th. The Austrian held at even par until just before the end of his round, when he began a fantastic final spurt that was, however, undone by two final bogeys. A birdie on the second hole was followed by an eagle on hole 4, immediately followed by another stroke gain. His final stroke losses dropped him to a share of 19th place.

Helping the Hy Flyers climb into the top 5 🦅@BWiesberger WATCH LIVE 🔽https://t.co/HImdrusScm#LIVGolf#LIVGolfJeddahpic.twitter.com/Xxdn19URBv — LIV Golf (@LIVGolfInv) October 14, 2022

Martin Kaymer, who is T30 after the first round, experienced ups and downs in his round but came out just one shot under par in the end. In the team standings, things are not looking so good for Kaymer’s Cleeks after last week’s podium finish. Only Richard Bland is one stroke better than the team captain, plus Graeme McDowell’s even-par round. Together they are only good enough for the last place in the team ranking after the first round.

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Golf Stars Nelly Korda & Lexi Thompson Praise New Opportunities for Women’s Golf

The stage is set for the Aramco Team Series – New York tournament to tee off on Thursday with the world’s top stars of women’s golf at Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx, New York. The Ladies European Tour event features 78 golfers with several of the world’s top pros including no. 4 ranked Nelly Korda, no. 6 Brooke Henderson, no. 8 Lexi Thompson, no. 14 Jessica Korda, no. 18 Charley Hull and no. 19 Leona Maguire with a $1M prize purse.

Speaking to the media in New York on Wednesday, Nelly Korda commented: “We play so many events on the LPGA Tour, it’s nice to switch it up for a team aspect. It’s very different and it’s fun. Throughout the season, competing and traveling gets a little tiring. It’s a breath of fresh air having a team and doing a little something different throughout the season.”

Lexi Thompson shared the following on Wednesday on the setting for Aramco Team Series – New York 2022: “It’s an amazing golf course and it’s in great shape. I got to play about 14-15 holes yesterday. Besides the traffic in New York, everything is great. To take on this golf course, keep it in the fairways. There’s some fescue out there. It’ll be all weather-dependent as well, if it gets super windy there’s obviously not too much to block it. Keeping a good trajectory on ball flight. It’s in great shape for us.” Regarding the opportunities Aramco Team Series is creating for female golfers, she continued: “It’s amazing what they’re doing. As an athlete of any sport, we want to grow our game and our sport individually. What they’re doing with golf and giving other girls an opportunity to bring out their best is great. They’re very grateful for this opportunity.”

Brooke Henderson shared her excitement this week on her first visit to New York City: “First time for me in actual New York City, which is hard to believe as I’m only a seven-and-a-half-hour drive from here, but I’ve never experienced the city. I was able to walk around Central Park a little bit, so I’m enjoying the hustle and bustle and the craziness. It’s all very exciting.”

On Tuesday evening, the players gathered for the Aramco Team Series – New York team draw where 26 captains selected their teams for the tournament. The event features a unique scoring system, allowing an amateur player to contribute to the final result of the Ladies European Tour event as the competition features individual and team champions vying for the $1M prize. The team event covers the first two rounds, with individuals making the cut for a chance at the individual title on day three.

Headlining teams following the draw include the below and the full tee times list is available here

  • Team N. Korda: Nelly Korda, Noora Komulainen, Celine Herbin
  • Team Henderson: Brooke Henderson, Christine Wolf, Linda Wessberg
  • Team Thompson: Lexi Thompson, Kelly Whaley, Laura Fuenfstueck
  • Team J. Korda: Jessica Korda, Jillian Hollis, Kylie Henry
  • Team Hull: Charley Hull, Laura Davies, Julia Engstrom
  • Team Maguire: Leona Maguire, Liz Young, Tvesa Malik

Tickets are available from just $5 for adults and are free for kids under 16 years-old. To secure tickets or to find out more, visit www.aramcoteamseries.com or follow the event on social media @aramco_series.

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The outfits of the Champion Golfer of the Year by Original Penguin

Original Penguin by Munsingwear, within the golf division of Perry Ellis International, Inc., congratulates brand ambassador Cameron Smith for winning the 150th Open at the Old Course at St. Andrews, the home of golf, for his first major and third worldwide victory of the year.

Smith cut a stylish figure all week in Original Penguin‘s Golf collection, with the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper likening his striking Bunker Print Golf Polo to a piece of modern art.

Ultimately, it was Smith’s competitive spirit, precise iron play and peerless putting that landed the Australian his maiden major championship.

“We congratulate Cameron for winning the 150th Open in a stirring come-from-behind record setting fashion,” said Oscar Feldenkreis, President and CEO of Perry Ellis International. “A bogey-free 64 final round enabled Cameron to tie for the lowest total score under par in major championship history and showed the world his mental fortitude and gift for performing the best on the sport’s biggest stages. We are proud to have Cameron, with 10 career worldwide victories and a major, as an Original Penguin brand ambassador.”

“This place is so cool, to have the 150th Open here and to come away with the win at St. Andrews is pretty special,” stated Smith. “To look at the names on the trophy and then to add mine is unreal. All of the hard work I have done over the years has started to pay off and this one definitely makes it worth it.”
With the win, Smith jumps up to #2 in the FedExCup standings and Official World Golf Rankings. “I had a lot of support out here and that kept me plugging away. To win an Open championship is a golfer’s highlight and to do it here is another level. The game’s best players have won here so it’s pretty cool to have my name on the Claret Jug.”

Cameron Smiths outfits during the British Open 2022. (Credit: Original Penguin)

For the week, Smith wore Original Penguin’s golf collection polos featuring its new Re-Originals sustainable fabrication. The eco-friendly polos, including the Bunker Print Golf Polo (worn Saturday) and Retro Geo Print Golf Polo (worn Sunday) are crafted with 30% recycled polyester and use a double-knit high-gauge fabrication for superior performance and aesthetics. Complementing the winning look, on and off the course, is the Autumn 2022 Polar Pete Outerwear Collection highlighted by the 70’s Insulated Mixed Media Vest (as seen on Friday) and 1/4 Zip 90’s Color Block Wind Jacket (worn Thursday).
For over 60 years Original Penguin, and its namesake icon Pete, the Penguin, has been adorned and adored by the masters of leisure and sport to define itself as an American classic.

Today, the Penguin icon still stands as a signal for those who know how to be an original and what you wear for the good times.
By Landmark Media

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Greg Norman plans a LIV Golf Series for women

For a long time, Greg Norman has been fighting for his LIV Golf Invitational Series, striving for the highest possible field of participants and hosting the first events of the new golf league. Now the 67-year-old is stirring things up again: he wants to launch an LIV Golf League for women and thus support women’s golf.

The women’s league as a “logical step”

“We have discussed it internally, the possibility is there,” Greg Norman let the bombshell drop this week. For several months, the Australian has been drawing attention with his controversial LIV Golf Invitational Series. Also called the “Saudi League,” his tour enjoys the full support of Saudi Arabia. The country has been criticized primarily for human rights violations and the oppression of women – so the combination with women’s golf seems questionable.

Incomprehensible for Greg Norman: One of the biggest sponsors of women’s golf, Aramco, also comes from Saudi Arabia. In this case, however, no one is complaining about Saudi support: “Why is it OK for them and nobody barks at them?” Norman said. “But the boys, they’re barking at you.” Norman points to Jacksonville, the site of the headquarters of the PGA Tour, which vehemently opposes LIV Golf.

LIV Golf for Women: From enthusiasm to skepticism

Cristie Kerr, a two-time major winner and player on the LPGA Tour, sees great potential in Greg Norman’s business model. She has no doubt that many players would defect to the new tour: “Put it this way, I think you would see almost the entire tour do it here. What we play for here compared to the men’s Tour, the scale is different.” At the same time, she points to the LPGA Tour’s increasing prize money and that an exciting development of the tours can be expected. True to the motto: competition stimulates business.

Karrie Webb, 7-time major winner, on the other hand, expresses concern. “I know that he’s had this vendetta against the PGA Tour as long as I’ve known him,” Webb, who like Norman is from Australia, told Golfweek. “So I don’t think there would be any changing him. I would just ask him that in his ambition to succeed, that he doesn’t ruin women’s golf in the process.”

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Golf History: The 13 Very First Rules of Golf

Rules of golf have been around since the very beginning of golf. Just what those very first rules of golf were, no one can quite say today. One thing is certain: The first written rules of golf date back to the middle of the 18th century. They were drawn up in 1744 by the Gentlemen Golfers of Leith (today known as the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers of Muirfield), one of the oldest golf clubs in the world.

It all started with 13 rules of golf

Many of the initial 13 rules of golf still exist today, albeit in modified form:

  1. You must tee up the golf ball within one club length (tees now measure two club lengths in depth).
  2. Your tee must be on the ground (tee used to mean small pyramids of sand).
  3. You are not allowed to change the ball with which you tee off (the one-ball rule goes back to a long tradition – currently the rule can be found in Golf Rule 15 with a few modifications).
  4. You are not allowed to remove stones, bones or broken club parts to play the ball. The fairway is an exception. There, you are allowed to remove small obstructions within a radius of one club length from the ball (bones may sound strange – today, small obstructions are summarized as loose obstructive natural materials in Golf Rule 23).
  5. If your ball lands in water or any type of watery debris, you are free to pick it up and re-putt behind the hazard. You may then play the ball with any club, but you will incur a penalty stroke against your opponent (origin of the penalty stroke rule for water hazards – Golf Rule 26).
  6. If your ball interferes with your opponent’s ball(s), you may pick it up until the last ball is played (Rule of Golf 22-2).
  7. When putting your golf ball in the hole, you should honestly hit the ball only in the direction of the hole and not in the direction of the opponent’s balls in order to play them out.
  8. If you lose your ball because you gave it up or for any other reason, you must return to the point from which you last teed off. You will receive a penalty stroke for this (Golf Rule 27-1).
  9. No one is allowed to mark the ideal line to the hole with their club or anything else while putting (embedded in Golf Rule 8-2).
  10. If a ball is stopped by a person, horse, dog, or anything else, the stopped ball must be played from the position where it came to rest (“play it as it lies”; per Golf Rule 19-1).
  11. If you swing your club to tee off, but you lower it again, even without actually hitting the ball, the movement is counted as a stroke played (definition of a stroke).
  12. During the game, the ball that is farthest from the hole is always played (almost unchanged after all this time: golf rule 10).
  13. Neither ditches, streams or dams built to protect and delimit the golf course, nor construction sites located on the course should be seen as obstacles. The ball is to be picked up, re-putted and played with any club.

The Rules of Golf have evolved over time, taking a giant leap in 1897 when the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews (R&A) formed a Rules Committee. Since 1952, the R&A and the United States Golf Association (USGA) have met every two years.

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LIV Golf Invitational Series: Two pros lose sponsor UPS

The PGA Championship in Oklahoma at Southern Hills Golf Club had a very interesting fringe event on the first day. Louis Oosthuizen and Lee Westwood were spotted on the course and during the first round without their sponsor UPS on their shirts, the reason could be the LIV Golf Invitational Series. Westwood, who has been with UPS for 14 years, commented, “I consider myself lucky to have been with UPS for 14 years – such a great company.”

LIV Golf Invitational Series the reason for the end of the collaboration?

According to UPS, this decision is all about business. But when you consider the fact that UPS is also the Ryder Cup’s logistics partner, the split could very well have to do with the two pros’ aspirations for their future. Both Westwood and Oosthuizen have been positive about the LIV Golf Invitational Series and plan to participate in the inaugural event in London. As the Ryder Cup’s logistics partner, that might not be compatible for UPS. Especially since it is planned that all players who want to participate in the events will no longer be part of a Ryder Cup.

The LIV Golf Invitational Series has been at the top of the headlines for weeks and is the number one topic of conversation in the golf circuit. Whether it’s the memorable statements made by CEO Greg Norman about the murder of Khashoggi by Saudi Arabia, or that Saudi Arabia is sportswashing with these events, the new tour is facing harsh criticism. It remains exciting to see what further impact this new tour will have on the traditional tours, the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour.

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PGA Championship 2022: Can Tiger Woods win? “I feel like I can, definitely”

JULIUS MASON: Four-time PGA Champion Tiger Woods is joining us for the 104th PGA Championship.

Tiger, this is your 22nd PGA Championship, the last time you were here, you won here at Tulsa. Can you take us back to 2007 and just maybe share some of the memories you had that week?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it was obviously a very different golf course. It was not cold that week. I remember playing behind JD the first day, which was awesome. It was, what, 109 I think that first day? And I asked JD how many waters he drank out there, he said, “No, I had 13 Diet Cokes.”

It was a great week. Very different golf course. A lot of irons and like strange irons. You don’t normally hit a 6-iron off the tee on a par 4, and we did that week.

And they have lengthened it, changed it, and it will be a good test. I’m curious to see how much firmer it gets as the week goes on and this golf course is going to play what Kerry wants it.

JULIUS MASON: How is your body, how is your mind as you come to the second major of the year?

TIGER WOODS: It’s better than the last time I played a tournament, which is good. We’ve been working hard and again, I have days where it’s tough and you know, other days where we can push through it.

But we keep working at it.

Q. In the time between the PGA Championship and the Masters, were you able to keep ramping up the training or was there a post-Masters lull?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, there was a huge lull, Monday (smiling) that was it. That was it. Monday, it was not fun. It hurt. A ice baths and just trying to get the swelling out of there.

Then we went back at it, leg day on Tuesday and we kept going from there. Said, let’s go. Figured the first mountain you climbed was Everest. That’s the steepest golf course you’re going to play and that was the first one you climbed it, and climbed. It’s going to get flatter and better. But still, I still have tough days, and things aren’t going to be as easy as people might think.

But I feel like I’m doing better. I’m having more days in which are better, more positive. Able to practice a little bit longer. So I’m able to do activities and things that I was hoping to do, and I’m finally able to do them.

Q. What did you learn about your new body and maybe its limitations during that week at Augusta?

TIGER WOODS: (Chuckles) it was hurting but I pushed through it. It was more mind than body. I said, I’ve won with a broken leg before. Keep on going out there, keep pushing. I know how to play the golf course. If I can just putt well, you never know. Unfortunately Saturday, I think I had like 15 three-putts.

But it was one of those things, the thing that I was frustrated with is it deteriorated as the week went on. I got more and more tired and more fatigued. I didn’t have the endurance that I wanted. I mean, I shouldn’t expect it because I didn’t earn it. I didn’t go out there and I hadn’t done the work but we were able to put in a little bit more work and it’s going to get better as time goes on. As the months pass and it’s going to get better.

Q. What do you make of Phil not being here? Defending champion, great win last year that he had and here, with all that’s gone on, he’s not here. What are your thoughts?

TIGER WOODS: Well, Bob, it’s always disappointing when the defending champion not here. Phil has said some things that I think a lot of us who are committed to the TOUR and committed to the legacy of the TOUR have pushed back against, and he’s taken some personal time, and we all understand that.

But I think that some of his views on how the TOUR could be run, should be run, been a lot of disagreement there. But as we all know, as a professional, we miss him being out here. I mean, he’s a big draw for the game of golf. He’s just taking his time and we all wish him the best when he comes back.

Obviously we’re going to have difference of opinions, how he sees the TOUR, and we’ll go from there.

Q. Are you surprised at all it has escalated to the point that is it has, where he also missed the Masters, obviously, and we really don’t know what’s next.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it has ramped up very quickly, and I think we were talking about this, if this would have happened 30 years ago, 20 years ago, it wouldn’t have happened as fast. But social media has changed the landscape and how fast things can ramp up, whether it’s real news or fake news or whatever it is, opinions get out there instantly. It can sway very quickly one way or the other. What we are seeing right now in society, it’s very bipolar. There’s really no middle ground, you stand one way or the other. It’s very polarizing.

And the viewpoints that Phil has made with the TOUR and what the TOUR has meant to all of us has been polarizing as well.

Q. You told me a long time ago that you didn’t think golf defined who you are as a person, but I think the resilience you’ve shown in the last year does say a lot about you. How do you think what you’ve accomplished over the last year since the accident might inspire others?

TIGER WOODS: Well, every day is a challenge for all of us. We all have our own challenges in our own different way, right. You wake up to the new challenge, the new day, and you’ve just got to fight through it.

Some challenges are more difficult than others. It doesn’t mean that they are harder or easier than others. They are just different. Mine were different than some others. Some other people have been through much worse than I have. We have seen some pretty amazing — I have seen some pretty amazing things working with the military and what they have done and what they have come back from. Guys have lost limbs and have come back and requalified for Special Forces, and things like that are inspiring.

Yeah, I’m going to be sore. That’s okay but I can still get better.

Q. You’re going to hit more driver here more often than you did in 2007. There’s more short grass around the greens. Do you think this is a better test than one in 2007? Which would you prefer to play?

TIGER WOODS: Now? Given my body? Anything around 6,200 is great. It’s just different. It’s more faster, wide open. We saw how the seniors played it; a lot of balls were hitting and runs off to the sides, where that wasn’t the case when we played in ’07. It was catching in the rough.

But I think that some of the — for me, I think there’s more slope in some of these greens. Obviously there’s more waves in the fairways and hitting very different clubs off of tees. But still, it’s a challenge, and I said earlier, I think Kerry is going to set it up — I think he’s going to do a wonderful job setting it up. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be fair.

The rough is at a great length. It’s interesting because you can get a ball that comes out hot or you can get a ball that doesn’t come out at all. That’s the great guessing game of playing bermuda, and then with the surrounds being cut down how they are, there’s a lot more grain than we every had to deal with. There are going to be different shots. I’ve seen guys using hybrids, and I’ve seen guys use 3-woods, putts, wedges, 4-irons. You’ll see a lot of different things.

And then the forecast is going to be different every day in this wind. It’s supposed to be all different directions. We’re going to see a different golf course almost every day.

Q. You mentioned that you kind of lost endurance as the round at of the Masters went on. What have you learned about your body or recovery process since it’s going to be able to recover after the rounds and last longer into the tournament?

TIGER WOODS: My team did just an amazing job just to get me to a point where I could play the Masters and I was able to have that opportunity to play. Right after each round, it was like getting back to the house and we have an ice bath ready for you, and off you go, get on the treatment table and let’s keep working at it, keep things going and it was tough. It was hard. It was hard on all of us.

But I’ve gotten stronger since then. But still, it’s still going to be sore and walking is a challenge. I can hit golf balls, but the challenge is walking. It’s going to be that way for the foreseeable future for sure.

Q. With the Foundation, have you considered an event much like the one Bill Dickey used to put on, you remember him?

TIGER WOODS: Oh, yeah.

Q. That would benefit kids all over the country and give people a see a chance to see exactly what the Foundation is doing?

TIGER WOODS: See, we have gotten away from golf-based event. We’ve had fund-raisers that are golf-based events, but our foundation is not based in golf. Our fund-raising is based in golf but our program is based in STEM. So we focus on STEM, getting kids into STEM programs, in a variety of different STEM programs.

But yes, we use golf as a fund-raiser but we are not here to produce professional golfers. We’re here to give under-served kids better chances in life, and I think that’s more important.

Q. How close are you physically now to being as good as it’s going to get based on your injuries?

TIGER WOODS: I don’t know. That’s a great question. I don’t know. There’s going to be limitations. There’s a lot of hardware in there and there’s going to be limitations to what I’m going to be able to do, but I’m going to get stronger. I don’t know how much that is or how much range of motion I’ll ever get back. But sure is a hell of a lot better than it was 12 months ago.

Q. You mentioned all the changes to the golf course. One, do you like those changes, and two, your winning score is 8-under in 2007. Do you envision is being similar? All of the guys mentioned it’s playing tougher then. Do you envision that score maybe being lower?

TIGER WOODS: I think it all depends on where Kerry puts the pins. When I watched the seniors play, there was a lot of balls running off the sides, a lot of chip shots.

But we are getting these young kids hitting the ball high and far. You know, a couple of the par 5s are, what, 630, and guys are knocking it on there in two, some of the guys. Depends on the wind, obviously.

But guys have a lot more power than what we did in ’07. Look at what we did on the range? We can’t use the top end of the range anymore because guys are hitting it down to the bottom. The game has changed a lot and because the game has changed a lot, Gil has done a fantastic job of altering the golf course.

It has a lot more shot options, that’s for sure, and we are going to be tested around the greens a lot. A lot of grain, a lot of creativity, but it still puts a premium in putting the ball in play and in the fairway and somehow below the holes in the right spots. As I said, there’s still a lot of slope on some of these greens, a lot of pitch. But it is kind of nice to see 9 and 18 not cut at a different speed.

Q. How confident are you that you can contend this week and do you feel like you can win this week?

TIGER WOODS: I feel like I can, definitely. I just have to go out there and do it. I have to do my work. Starts on Thursday and I’ll be ready.

Q. You mentioned your putting at Augusta, particularly that Saturday didn’t go the way you wanted it to. Did you feel like with your physical limitations you’re able to practice enough with the putter to get that club back to a championship level?

TIGER WOODS: No. As far as practicing a lot, no, I don’t do that anymore. Bending over, hitting a bunch of putts like I used to, that doesn’t happen, not with my back the way it is. I have to pick my spots and do my work and get in and get out. I can do different sessions.

I have a great complex in the backyard that I can do different times throughout the day and do like a 20-minute segment here, a 20-minute segment there, another 20-minute segment later on in the evening. I can break it up and do it that way instead of putting for two or three hours in a row like I used to. I just have to do it differently.

Q. You said to Bob, a disagreement with a lot of what Phil has said. From your view, how does he resolve that disagreement or does he have to resolve that disagreement? What do you think?

TIGER WOODS: I don’t know if he has to resolve it or not. You know, he has his opinion on where he sees the game of golf going. You know, I have my viewpoint how I see the game of golf, and I’ve supported the TOUR and my foundation has run events on the TOUR for a number of years.

I just think that what Jack and Arnold have done in starting the TOUR and breaking away from the PGA of America and creating our tour in ’68 or ’69, somewhere in there, I just think there’s a legacy to that. I’ve been playing out here for a couple of years over decades, and I think there’s a legacy do it. I still think that the TOUR has so much to offer, so much opportunity.

Yes, it is, and I understand different viewpoints, but I believe in legacies. I believe in major championships. I believe in big events, comparisons to historical figures of the past. There’s plenty of money out here. The TOUR is growing. But it’s just like any other sport. It’s like tennis. You have to go out there and earn it. You’ve got to go out there and play for it. We have opportunity to go ahead and do it. It’s just not guaranteed up front.

Q. With your event, you have rights fees that you play to the TOUR in some form or another. Do you think Phil, because he had not done events before some of these matches and whatnot, do you think he just didn’t understand the rights fees and how they work?

TIGER WOODS: I can’t speak for him not knowing and understanding that. I’m sure he probably does have an understanding of that because he was the host of the old Bob Hope. So since he was the host of the event, I’m sure he probably understands it, and plus, he hosts the event up there in Napa Valley.

He understands it, and there is — there is a rights fee to having events and understanding it. And we negotiate with the TOUR and whether it’s one-off day events like we have with matches under the lights like I used to do back in the old days, or it’s regular TOUR events, each tournament is different. Obviously there is right fees that have to be paid, and we understand that.

Obviously we go in there as events and try and negotiate that down as low as possible, and try and make as much money as we can for the local events.

Q. And the fees go back to the TOUR players; correct?

TIGER WOODS: Correct.

Q. That’s where they go?

TIGER WOODS: Correct.

Q. From the outside, it didn’t appear, especially based on what was known about your injuries that the Masters was possible and maybe not even this tournament several months ago. When did you make the determination or set the goal to come back, and at what point did you think, wow, there’s a realistic chance I can do it?

TIGER WOODS: Well, when I went up and did the scouting trip with J.T., Rob and Charlie and was able to play, we played all 18 and then went over and played the par 3 course.

Yeah, I did it, but man, it hurt for a couple days. But I was able to do it, and maybe I could work my way into it somehow and just kept pushing and kept hoping that I could somehow figure out a way. I mean, I have to endure some uncomfortableness. But it was — even that week as I played practice rounds, I was still trying to figure out, you know, can I do this over 72 holes, and I was able to do it. Unfortunately I just didn’t have the endurance or the stamina and wished I would have putted better so I would have given myself a chance.

I just think that I’ve put in a lot of hard work with my team, and I believe in them and what they have been able to get me to do. I just have to go out there and obviously do it and hit the golf shots.

Now, I’ve had to alter my golf swing here and there and practice sessions and work on things, and I’ve had to do a lot of shadow swinging in front of mirrors because I’m just not able to handle impact, but I’ve gotten better and stronger since then, and will continue to improve.

Q. Two unrelated questions. Obviously when we have spoken to you over the years, it’s about the result and winning and whatnot. But when you step back and look at getting through 72 holes at Augusta, how much of an accomplishment and did you feel some accomplishment out of that when you got home, even though the result wasn’t what you wanted?

TIGER WOODS: I hear ya. Everyone around me was very happy and ecstatic that I got around all 72 holes. I did not see it that way on Monday. I was a little ticked I didn’t putt well, and felt like I was hitting it good enough and I wish I had the stamina.

You know, it’s a normal, typical golfer, the what ifs, if I would have done this, I would have done that, would have done this.

But taking a step back and looking at the overall big picture of it, it was an accomplishment. But that other side of me that says if I would have done things differently, I could have challenged for that thing. And I know that golf course, and I just — maybe next year will be different.

Q. One on Phil. Sometimes you’ve endured some difficult times over the years. Phil has publicly and privately reached out to you. Curious if you had tried to reach out to him, spoken to him and if you felt compelled to reach out to him at all?

TIGER WOODS: I have not reached out to him. I have not spoken to him. A lot of it has not to do with I think personal issues. It was our viewpoints of how the TOUR should be run and could be run, and what players are playing for and how we are playing for it. I have a completely different stance on, and so no, I have not.

Q. More personally, obviously not going through a very good time —

TIGER WOODS: I don’t know what he’s going through. But I know the comments he made about the TOUR and the way that it should be run, it could be run; it could be run differently and all the different financials that could have happened, I just have a very different opinion on that. And so no, I have not reached out to him.

Q. I had something else, but I wanted to follow up on that. What do you think the TOUR needs to be doing better?

TIGER WOODS: Well, they are obviously trying to give what the top players have –obviously the top players have carried the Tour for a number of years, whether it’s back with Jack, Arnold and Gary or other eras, you know, the top players have carried the tours.

The PIP program or however we are ever going to do something like that going forward, what the incentives are, it’s trying to take care of the players that have obviously done a lot for the TOUR. I think that programs like that will probably alter it a bit going forward and how — how we are able to promote the TOUR.

I mean, the top players are use — that’s one of the things that we have got into arguments, I have, with Jay or Tim over the years is, you know, how we are marketed and used in events that we are not even playing in. So that in itself is an issue right there.

And that stems from conversations I’ve had privately with those guys and shared my viewpoint, and how the top players are rewarded for what they do, not just on the golf course but how they are able to bring so much attention and awareness to our sport, whether it’s through all the different streaming or TV, or the different ways you can view golf. We have our now future groups which we never had before. There’s a reason why they are future groups. I think those guys should get rewarded somehow.

Q. We have a club pro in the field, Wyatt Worthington, only the second Black club pro to play in the PGA, and you probably gave him a lesson at first tee 20 years ago. I don’t expect you to remember that.

TIGER WOODS: I don’t remember, but yeah, I’ve heard the story, yes.

Q. Curious, the progress that’s been made at a very slow rate, what is keeping it so slow? It’s not a new story but is it access, is it funding? What do you see as keeping golf back from getting more opportunities like Wyatt has this week?

TIGER WOODS: Well, if you look at — if you want to go the club pro route, that’s one story. If you want to go minority access or — not access, introduction to the game of golf, I think that has changed quite a bit, and the reason why, I have said this my entire career, it’s the advent of the golf cart, summers.

Used to be the caddies were predominantly non-White and they were introduced to the came through the caddie programs around the country. That doesn’t happen anymore. There are clubs that have caddies but there are not as many anymore with the advent of the golf cart.

Other sports are starting to get these athletes, and the introduction to golf is not happening at a youthful age, and the costs of not just the introduction, but just the maintenance and trying to participate in the game of golf, like I said this at the Hall of Fame is that my parents had to take out a second mortgage for me to be able just to compete at a junior golf level.

It’s tough. It’s tough on families that don’t have the funds to do it. Yes, access is a tough thing, and the USGA has done an amazing job. The TOUR is trying to do a great job there are other organizations that try and do amazing stuff to try to get more minority youth involved in the game and introduced. But how do you sustain that? That’s the hard part is how do you keep them in there for years at a time.

And then you look at the pyramid effect. The more you go up, the harder the competition and the more kids are going to be dropped.

JULIUS MASON: Good luck this week, Tiger. Tiger is playing with Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth at 8:11 a.m. on Thursday.

(Text curtesy of ASAP Sports)

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The Amundi Evian Championship Increases its Purse to $6.5 Million

The Amundi Evian Championship Continues to Assert its Ambition to Promote Parity in Sport, Increases its Prize Purse to $6.5 Million

EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France (May 17, 2022) – The Amundi Evian Championship, one of the five major tournaments in women’s golf and the only one on the European continent on either the men’s or women’s tours, reveals the high points of the 2022 event, to be hosted once again on the major championship course at Evian Resort Golf Club from July 21-24. With an increase in prize money to $6.5 million USD, the major championship will offer a $1 million prize for the winner – a symbolic marker in women’s sport – with the remainder distributed to the entire field.

Amundi Evian Championship Increases purse

Since its creation in 1994, The Amundi Evian Championship has continually asserted its ambition to promote women’s performance in sport and take part in growing women’s golf.

This is behind the momentum to increase the prize money, to which the tournament has been committed for many years, thanks to the support of its Sponsors Club, led by Amundi, Rolex, Danone and Evian. This movement is also shared by the leading women’s tournaments around the world. Indeed, the LPGA Tour, led by Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan, has assembled a record prize fund of more than $90 million for the 2022 season.

“We are incredibly appreciative of our friends and partners at The Amundi Evian Championship for their ongoing support of the LPGA Tour and the world’s best female golfers,” said Marcoux Samaan. “Elevating the purse of this major championship makes a powerful statement about the value and status of the women’s game and the strong commitment of Amundi, Danone, Evian and Rolex to advancing the LPGA and our world-class athletes. We look forward to a spectacular week in Evian-les-Bains and I know that our players will share my gratitude and excitement.”

Beyond rewarding its winner with a record check, The Amundi Evian Championship will also extend the distribution of the prize purse to all tournament competitors. Players who do not make the cut will receive unofficial earnings.

(Text: LPGA Tour)

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Study: More golf played in 2022 than ever before

2022 continues to see strong performance for golf and the golf industry. Sports Marketing Surveys’ ongoing Rounds Played monitor shows that quarter one rounds played across Great Britain rose by 7% against pre-pandemic figures. The finding is the latest in a long line of statistics indicating the sustained rise in appeal of golf and follows the news that 4.8m people played golf on a full-length course in Great Britain in 2021, the second highest figure on record.  

Rounds played comparisons with Q1 2021 are asymmetrical because of widespread lockdowns and course closures in the first months of last year. The second half of March 2020 was also lost to the virus. The growth against 2019 and 2018 is a better indication of golf’s current position of strength.

Golf is more popular than ever before

The major growth came in the month of March, which, as well as having the highest number of average rounds also recorded the fastest growth, seeing a 22% surge against 2019. In regional terms, the North was Q1’s best performer, up 27% against 2019. Other regions enjoyed strong performances, with only the Midlands (-1%) not recording growth.

The news was welcomed by SMS’ Director, Richard Payne. “Yet again the data indicates what we have seen throughout the pandemic, that golf is in a strong position. A lot of commentators expected the appetite to dwindle fast, but, knowing golf well, we were always confident and we are again delighted to see that the data keeps showing that the game has thrived since the pandemic began. Golf is delivering so many great benefits that people want from sport – access to fresh air and natural beauty, low impact healthy exercise, socialising, inter-generational play. It will be a real shame if rising living costs destabilise that in the months to come, forcing people to give up some of the things that keep them happy and healthy.”

Phil Anderton, Chief Development Officer at The R&A, said, “It is very encouraging to see again the positive data for rounds played in Great Britain in the first quarter of 2022. This builds on previous insight which showed that golf was on the rise pre-pandemic and continues to be a sport attractive to golfers across all levels of the game – including the use of full-length courses, driving ranges and alternative golf venues. Golfers are enjoying the wonderful physical and mental health benefits the sport provides and taking up a wide range of participation initiatives on offer. It is vital for the sport to maintain this momentum.”

(Text: Sports Marketing Surveys)

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Hometown hero Patty Tavatanakit top after Day 1 of the Aramco Team Series – Bangkok

Thailand’s Patty Tavatanakit leads the $1million Aramco Team Series – Bangkok by one after an opening round six-under-par at Thai Country Club.

The world #13 made the most of home advantage to finish one above Spanish starlet Ana Pelaez going into Friday’s second round.

Team Hillier, captained by Australia’s Whitney Hillier and featuring Chonlada Chayanun – playing her home course – Krista Bakker of Finland, and amateur Pattanan Amatanon lead at the halfway point in the tournament’s fourball format, after carding a day’s low of -16.

“It was really fun,” said Tavatanakit, the 2021 LPGA Rookie of the Year. “I kept my round going well. The team format is a little different. Being able to play with everyone at the same time and make birdies, cheering them on, it’s a really good feeling.

“It’s a format that relaxes you. I was really calm today and I felt like mistakes were fine, because I had other people there [to support] as well.”

Instead of opting for the player hotel, Tavatanakit is staying with her family in Bangkok this week – and has a friend from home, Dan, on her bag.

Asked if being one of the hometown heroes brought with it an extra level of playing pressure, the 22-year-old added: “I want to do well everywhere I play. I treat every week just like a normal event regardless of where I am, so I’m just here to play another tournament. 

“Today, I read the greens really well. I was surprised actually that I didn’t really get more right reads or right breaks on the practice rounds, but today I think I was a little bit more focused and Dan really helped me.”

Breakout Spanish star Ana Pelaez sits one back after a quite remarkable opening day bogey-free 67.

The 24-year-old only arrived in the Thai capital on Tuesday night after securing a late entry to the $1million event following her shock six-stroke victory at the Madrid Ladies Open.

With storms delaying her Wednesday’s afternoon practice, Pelaez – who drove for five hours, then took three flights over 24 hours to reach Bangkok – arrived at Thai Country Club this morning having only played its front nine holes and walking the fairways of holes 10 through 13.

That night, she used Google Earth to see what she was up against on the course’s closing five holes. Today, she finished birdie-birdie-birdie for an astonishing five-under-par.

“Honestly, I’m actually speechless,” said Pelaez. “I had a great round. I had a lot of fun. I had to be patient because I started par, par, par, birdie, par, birdie – then I didn’t get another birdie until hole 16. And then I finished with three in a row, so I’m extremely happy. A boost of confidence for tomorrow actually.

“I’m just happy we were able to get everything in place and that I’m here. I cannot believe I’m actually awake after traveling so much and all the emotions. I should be wasted, but I’m good!”

Team Whitney Hillier hold their own one-shot advantage going into what will be the closing day of the Aramco Team Series – Bangkok’s $500,000 team competition.

Their 16-under total was enough to give them a slender advantage heading into Friday’s deciding final round. 

“We just made birdies early,” said Australian Whitney, who is half-Thai. “We had a good vibe and everyone was gelling pretty well – everyone was laughing and happy. So, yeah, good team. We played well.”

Team Simmermacher – Magdalena Simmermacher (ARG), Charlotte Liautier (FRA), Isabella Deilert (SWE) and amateur Sirapob Yapala – sit on 15-under-par, one ahead of the teams captained by Scotland’s Kylie Henry and Patty Tavatanakit.

The Aramco Team Series – Bangkok continues tomorrow, with the final day of its team format and the second of three rounds in its $500,000 individual competition.