Rory McIlroy reaches out to help children around the world
Also, balking at Tiger's demands, troubles at Canadian-based Quagmire Golf and shooting for a shovel
Published on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 10:31AM EST Last updated on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 10:43AM EST
Rory McIlroy will use his golf bag in 2013 to help children around the world. The world's number one ranked player has started The Rory Foundation and among the first projects he wants to bring attention to children by putting the name of charities on his bag when possible.
The "6 Bags Project" will see the name of a different childrens charity displayed on McIlroy's bag during each of the first six tournaments he plays, including the Masters. The bag will then be auctioned off through www.roryfoundation.com with the money going to that charity.
The Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children will be the first charity featured when McIlroy begins his 2013 season in Abu Dhabi next week.
McIlroy said he would have Boys & Girls Club of Tucson for the Match Play Championship in Arizona; Child Protection Team of Palm Beaches for the Honda Classic, First Tee Miami-Dade Amateur Golf Association for the Cadillac Championship and Chinquapin School, which helps students who excel from financially disadvantaged backgrounds, for the Houston Open. Still be to decide is a children's charity near Augusta, Ga., for the Masters.
“When I was younger my parents sacrificed everything to allow me to play the game I love,” said McIlroy, who two years ago, went to earthquake-ravaged Haiti the week before the U.S. Open to try to raise the spirits of children. “Having that support from my family gave me the opportunity to chase my dreams. But I know that every child is not so fortunate. My aim is that The Rory Foundation will support children's charities big and small, around the world, that try to give kids that helping hand.”
“I had a childhood — a great childhood — and if The Rory Foundation can help one child achieve a better quality of life, then job done.”
SHOW ME THE MONEY: Tiger Woods emerged from his winter hibernation to announce that he would make his PGA Tour debut at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. That follows on the heels of his 2013 season debut at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in the United Arab Emirates, the second straight year he has started his season in the Middle East. While Tiger said in a press release that he looked forward to returning to Torrey Pines, it seems the event was his second choice. That is if you believe the head of the Qatar Golf Association, who says he turned down Tiger’s appearance fee demands to be part of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters which is scheduled the same week as Torrey Pines.
According to the Doha News, Hassan Al Nuaimi - president of the Qatar Golf Association - says Tiger wanted his usual $3-million appearance fee to take part in the tournament, a figure he deemed to be too high, noting that the total prize money for the event is only $2.5-million.
Aside from events in Abu Dhabi and Torrey Pines, Woods has yet to reveal any more of his 2013 schedule except for the fact that he’ll be playing in each of the four majors.
EQUIPMENT SHUFFLE: While the worst-kept-secret in golf will be revealed Monday when Rory McIlroy makes the official switch from Titleist to Nike, there have been many other equipment moves by golfers this off-season.
TaylorMade: Lucas Glover (Nike), Ryan Moore (Adams), John Huh (Ping), JJ Henry (Callaway), Brian Davis (Titleist), Stewart Cink (Nike)
Nike: Nick Watney (Titleist), Kyle Stanley (Titleist), Seung-yul Noh (Titleist), Thorbjørn Olesen (Titleist)
Callaway: Gary Woodland (Titleist), Andres Gonzales (Adams), Chris Kirk (Titleist), Nicolas Colsaerts (Titleist), Ryo Ishikawa (Yonex)
Adams: Jeff Overton (Mizuno)
CAUGHT IN A QUAGMIRE: ScoreGolf’s Rick Young reports on some troubling times at Canadian-based apparel maker Quagmire Golf. The hip clothing line is reportedly dealing with some internal struggles and has cancelled all of its 2013 production - including its Arnold Palmer inspired Arnie Wear line which drew rave reviews when it debuted last year. Company co-founder Geoff Tait says Quagmire is still operational and has not closed the doors just yet.
BACK TO THE MINORS: David Duval spent his first full season of professional golf in the minor leagues, finishing No. 8 on what was then the Nike Tour money list to earn his PGA Tour card. Nearly 20 years later, after a career in which he has won a major, a PGA Tour money title and was No. 1 in the world, Duval is willing to go back.
Duval still doesn't know where he will start his 2013 season, but he figures it will be a year like no other. Duval's only status is as a past champion. His only mission is to start his season next year in Hawaii, whether that's the Tournament of Champions or the Sony Open with full status.
“It's going to be a different year with me the way things have changed for exemptions,” said Duval. “I've made it clear that this year is about getting healthy and getting status.”
Duval missed a chance at regaining his PGA Tour status last fall when a broken toe kept him from competing at the final q-school.
Most tournaments have had their unrestricted sponsor exemptions cut in half to two because the tour is trying to create space for players in a short season.
His plan is to play — anywhere.
“If I have to go play somewhere, I'll go to the Web.com Tour, too,” Duval said. “I'd like to get in that four-week series at the end of the year.”
There are two ways to get into the “Finals” to earn back his card — finish from No. 126 to No. 200 in the FedEx Cup points, or be in the top 75 on the Web.com Tour money list. Then, it's a money list built on four $1 million purses with 25 cards available.
“You don't want to count on charity from other people to play,” Duval said, referring to PGA Tour exemptions. “You have to a little, but I'm going to play where I need to play to be in Hawaii next year.”
Meanwhile, Duval is also going back to playing Nike equipment. After being a staff player for the Oregon-based sports giant since 2000 - he was the first player to win a major using Nike Golf clubs in 2001 at the British Open - Duval showed up without the familiar swoosh on his bag and hat last September after his deal with them had run out.
“I'm going to be with them again,” Duval said when asked about a deal. “I haven't signed anything. We've agreed to move forward, is the best way to put it.”
NO DEAL: While the NHL and its players recently went through a 113 day lockout before signing a new deal, don’t expect a similar labour mess to engulf the PGA Tour. While Tour players are considered independent contractors, those who officiate PGA Tour events have been without a contract since the end of 2011. Rather than go on strike or withhold services, the Professional Association of Golf Officials - who work the PGA Tour, Web.com Tour and Champions Tou events - elected to go through the 2012 season without a new deal and work under terms of the previous agreement while talks continued towards a new agreement.
"They hold the game of golf in high esteem and they don't want to see it hurt,” Christian Dennie, an attorney representing the officials told ESPN.com. "The basics are the guys are going to work unless they are told otherwise."
According to Golf World, the union has filed a legal malpractice suit against its previous representatives, claiming that in collective bargaining it was responsible for "lost salary and benefits, automobile and automobile insurance, first class travel and a number of other items."
As for the issues preventing a new deal, Dennie says its pretty simple - "There is no hidden agenda ¿ compensation is one of the major issues."
DECISIONS, DECISIONS: February 7th will be a key date for Spencer Levin. That’s when the 28 year old will know whether or not his surgically repaired left thumb will be ready to play the rest of the PGA Tour season.
Levin underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament last October. Doctors said at the time the surgery was a success and expected him to make a complete recovery. But as the 2013 PGA season begins, it’s now the timing of that recovery that is a concern.
According to the Sacramento Bee, Levin’s agent says he’ll miss the first three events of the new season and could be back in time for the Pebble Beach event next month. However, Kevin Canning acknowledges it may make more sense for him to shut it down for the rest of the year rather than risk losing his Tour card in what is essentially a shortened season in 2013.
While he did earn more than $1.2-million last year to finish 68th on the money list even though he missed the final month of the year, Levin would start the 2014 season this fall with a medical extension, giving him the full year to try and retain his Tour card - similar to what Canadian Graham DeLaet did last year.
DIGGING IT: At most professional golf events, there’s a pretty significant prize for anyone who happens to sink a hole-in-one during the tournament. Usually it’s a car. But at the European Tour’s Volvo Golf Champions event in South Africa this week, there are a couple of interesting items up for grabs.
On the 170-yard, par-3 15th, there’s a shiny new excavator for anyone who happens to ace that hole while a brand new transport truck available for anyone lucky enough to hole it out on the 273-yard, par-4 18th.
One man who’s got his eye on the excavator is Louis Oosthuizen, who says he could use one of those on his farm in South Africa.
ODDS-ON: British-based betting house Betfair says it has seen a spike in wagering for Colin Montgomerie to be named the 2014 Ryder Cup captain in the days leading up to the decision. While Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley were considered the front runners for the job, recent comments by Clarke and the appointment of Tom Watson as U.S. captain has swung the momentum - and the money - in Monty’s favour for a repeat turn as captain.
‘’Initially, the punters all wanted to be with McGinley and his odds flip-flopped with Clarke,” Betfair spokesman Barry Orr tells Brian Keogh at the Irish Golf Desk. “But then Monty came into the picture with a subtle indication that if, he were offered the position, he would find it impossible to turn it down. And punters have been all over his price ever since, backing him from 10-1 to 5-2.’’
A decision on who will captain the European squad in 2014 is set to be made next Tuesday.
RIDE ON: California Highway Patrol officers didn’t have a hard time spotting 46-year-old John Scott Vishion in the early morning hours of January 1st. Vishion was arrested and charged with DUI and theft on State Route 4 while behind the wheel of a stolen golf cart.
According to News10/KXTV, residents at a home on Smith Flat Road in the Greenhorn Creek subdivision in Angels Camp awoke on New Year's Day to find someone had stolen their golf cart, golf clubs and five bottles of champagne sometime after 11:40 p.m. on New Year's Eve.
Vishion, who was staying at the nearby Trendwest Wyndham Resort, left the resort after an argument and began walking. When he saw the golf cart in the garage, he unplugged it, loaded it with several bottles of champagne and began driving, a police spokesperson said.
Vishion admitted to police his plan was to drive the golf cart to his home in Citrus Heights, just outside Sacramento, some 109 miles away but he made a wrong turn and got lost.
Vishion's wife released a statement apologizing for her husband's “inconsiderate” and “reckless” actions.
“I’ve been everywhere the last three years except the electric chair.” - John Daly on his patchwork schedule the last few years with limited status on the PGA Tour
Files from the Associated Press were used in this report