Tom Watson Shoots One Below His Age With...A BB-8 Ball!?

Heading into Saturday's Mitsubishi Electric Saturday final round, Tom Watson is two back after posting a 7-under par 65, one better than his age. Watson hasn't won on the Champions Tour since 2011 and chases Duffy Waldorf, Davis Love, Tom Pernice and Tom Lehman.

Even better, he did it with what Mark Rolfing called a "FIFA ball" during round one when Watson dropped a long putt.


According to ClubUpGolf, it's Callaway's Truvis pattern technology which AJ Voepel explains "is specifically designed to maximize your view of the golf ball for better focus and visibility."

FIFA, Truvis, eh, I prefer the BB-8 vibe picked up by Stewart Armstrong:

Champions Tour Back In LA: Launching At Powerhouse Venue?

Commissioner Pizzazz And Then Some is not a morning person! He did his best virtual sleepwalk through a Morning Drive announcement of the new Champions Tour stop for Los Angeles as part of...are you sitting...the introduction of playoffs PLAYOFFS(C)!

Yes the Valiant Competitors Tour is getting a playoff series and an LA stop will kick things off. Ryan Ballengee explains.

Here is the PGATour.com clip of the Commish launching the news, while subtly looking at his cards to get the sponsor's name right. (Can't say I blame him with a name like The Powershares QQQ, which is almost as bad as LA's stop from the 80s: The American Golf Carta Blanca Johnny Mathis Classic. Yep, look it up.)

Now, if Ben Carson just isn't the Ambien replacement you were hoping for, I think this performance today on MD might do the trick despite the effort of Gary Williams to wake the Commish up. Note that the head guy from Invesco Powershares (Dan Draper) refers to the PGA twice, not the PGA Tour. The Fines Department might submit an invoice for that.

Sherwood Country Club, host to many events like the Shark Shootout and Tiger's World Challenge, will land the QQQ in 2017 and 2018. Bob Buttita reports.

But the kickoff year venue is even more intriguing, depending on a member vote: Bel-Air Country Club. There has been some buzz in LA golf circles about the possibility even though no one can fathom how it would work. The former George Thomas-Billy Bell design that's been much-mangled over the years and would provide a wildly fascinating locale for a tournament, albeit one with little room for spectators or hospitality. Members are scheduled to vote very soon on the 2016 date.

The tournament is also looking for an Executive Director. Here's the posted job description, with limited cynical interruptions:

Executive Director - Champions Tour - Los Angeles
PGA TOUR - Pacific Palisades, CA

We presently have an opportunity for an Executive Director for a new Champions Tour event in the Los Angeles, CA area. The Executive Director is the lead executive of the tournament and has overall responsibility for delivering a world class experience for players, fans, partners, volunteers and all tournament constituents. The Executive Director will lead a team that will develop and execute plan to increase tournament net revenue, player prize money, charity, and reserve levels through best in class sales and marketing strategies. The Executive Director will increase onsite hospitality sales, increase attendance

In other words, you better be a part-time magician...

and community activation, and ensure excellence in all operational aspects of the tournament. The Executive Director reports directly to the Senior Director, Champions Tour.

Responsibilities:

Develop and execute long term strategic plans to grow revenue and evolve the event to engage a broader range of people and sponsors

Provide oversight of departmental operations, staffing, P&L results and both internal and external communication

Establish and monitor metrics that drive business strategy and performance

Work those metrics!

In cooperation with the sales staff, develop and implement an annual sales plan for all product and sponsorship categories; The Executive Director is responsible for generating all event revenues above the title sponsorship, including presenting sponsors and preferred suppliers

Build strong relationships and serve as the executive interface with the volunteers, club members, community, media, PGA TOUR, Title Sponsor, players, agents and others as needed

Executive interface. Hmmm...so, so good.

Enhance field strength and elevate image of the tournament.

Now we're just copying and pasting from the regular PGA Tour boilerplate HR manual.

Serves as executive interface with Title Sponsor, the PGA TOUR and all other strategic partners to ensure a collaborative working relationship, fulfillment and transparency of contractual obligations and to ensure that all partners are receiving value as a result of the partnership

Value deliverance through executive interfacing. Translated: be a nice person to the people who write the checks.

Use varied influence strategies to persuade all stakeholders and groups to grow the event

Interface with community leaders to foster the overall impression of the event in the community

Lead the team to deliver a successful event against all objectives set by the PGA TOUR

Motivate, coach, and hold others accountable for performance to maximize business results

Now we're just copying and pasting out of a Tony Robbins book!

Develop a comprehensive volunteer structure

Develop and implement an effective operating committee structure for planning, preparing for and executing the tournament with appropriate committee chairs, vice chairs, and other committee members.

Our benefits include:
Competitive wages including performance bonuses

Medical/Dental/Life/Disability insurance

Paid time off

401k plus employer match

Employer funded retirement plan

Health Savings Account/Medical and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts

Wellness Program

EOE/DFW

Required Skills

No TPC Valencia membership? Oh wait, that's not a TPC anymore. Maybe Sherwood!

Qualified candidates will have the following education and prior experience:

Bachelor's degree in Business, Finance, Marketing, Sports Management or equivalent discipline is required; Master's Degree preferred

Minimum of five years’ experience running a major sports event, or equivalent experience in business

Understanding, appreciation and respect for the game of golf

Required Experience

[THE MERCIFUL END]

Video: Sunningdale Has Gone To The Dogs

No leashes (except around the clubhouse), sausages during the round and no lost balls (for some). What's not to love?

Here's a superb ESPN feature tied to today's coverage of the Senior Open Championship at Sunningdale Old.

And here's Ran Morrissett's very recent review of this classic venue.



Schwab Inexplicably Locks In 20-Year Champions Tour Deal

"Chuck" and Commissioner Value appeared on CNBC to announce the incredible 20-year deal between the Champions Tour and Charles Schwab that will continue to sponsor the year-long points race. You know, the one that only friends and family of Champions Tour players care about.

Think about that...20 years. Patrick Reed will still be several years away from Champions Tour eligibility!

Anyway, after the CNBC dude grills "Chuck" about indexes and funds and portfolios as the Commissioner tries to not act annoyed, Tim Finchem is asked about the unprecedented deal, only to be cut-off in the online version after someone decided the value word was dropped one-too-many times.

Part of the release that also mentions, should you care, a "playoff" series coming to the Geezers Tour. (Because the PGA Tour Playoffs have been such a ratings winner):

Charles Schwab and PGA TOUR Sign Record

20-year Marketing Partnership

Multifaceted extension assures continuation of Charles Schwab Cup

SAN FRANCISCO, CA and PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL (January 20, 2015) – The PGA TOUR and Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. today announced an historic 20-year extension of their multifaceted marketing partnership. This represents the longest marketing agreement the PGA TOUR has ever entered.

In conjunction with the extension, the Champions Tour will be creating a playoff system beginning with the 2016 season, with details on the structure forthcoming. The announcements were made by Schwab Founder and Chairman Charles R. Schwab and PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem.

Key elements of the marketing extension include the continuation of:

Schwab’s Official Marketing Partner status as the Official Investment Firm of the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour;

Schwab's umbrella sponsorship of the season-long Charles Schwab Cup competition on the Champions Tour;

Schwab's sponsorship of the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship, the culmination of the Charles Schwab Cup.

“Charles Schwab has been an exceptional partner of the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour since 1997,” Finchem said. “In particular, Schwab has had a profound impact on the Champions Tour through its sponsorship of the Charles Schwab Cup and, more recently, the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. Today, we are thrilled to announce that this important relationship will continue another 20 years through this unprecedented agreement.

“Additionally, with this long-term commitment by Schwab, we are delighted to announce that the Champions Tour will be moving toward a playoff format, which we will outline at a later date. Schwab’s interest in continuing its sponsorship for this duration truly is a testament to the dedication, accessibility and hard work of the players and everyone involved with the Champions Tour.”

“So many of our clients and prospective clients are as passionate about golf as they are about investing, and so we’re very excited about having this expanded relationship with the PGA TOUR,” said Schwab.  He added, “The parallels between investing and golf are numerous, especially the dedication and commitment they both require, and we look forward to continuing to serve the investment needs of TOUR players and golf fans everywhere.”

Charles Schwab first joined the PGA TOUR’s Official Marketing Partner program in 1997. In 2001, the Charles Schwab Cup was introduced as the Champions Tour’s first-ever, season-long points competition to identify the leading player on the Tour. Two years after the Charles Schwab Cup was introduced, the company became a sponsor of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

“The Charles Schwab Cup has had a major impact on the Champions Tour with the season-long competition highlighting our leading players and significantly improving the stature of the Tour while maintaining the interest of our fans throughout the season,” said Greg McLaughlin, President of the Champions Tour. “I know everyone involved with the Champions Tour is extremely excited that The Charles Schwab Corporation has agreed to continue its sponsorship over the next two decades.”

In addition to the sponsorship elements, Schwab’s marketing program includes consumer engagement and relationship-building assets across multiple PGA TOUR and Champions Tour events and TPCs, plus advertising on PGATOUR.COM and with the TOUR's broadcast partners. Schwab also provides investment-related services to TOUR players and staff.

Flashback: The Legendary Driving Range Fight At Silverado

Everyone who witnessed the fight would recount it for years. And with the PGA Tour returning to Silverado resort in Napa this week, what better time than to remember the late Dave Hill and J.C. Snead getting into a fight over driving range antics. The setting? The 1991 TransAmerica Championship on the Champions Tour (then Senior Tour) event at Silverado.

From Robert Sommers' book, Golf Anecdotes: From the Links of Scotland to Tiger Woods.

I'm not sure about the "around the range" part as the telling I've heard was far more cinematic, with Hill marching right down the range as legends of the game stopped hitting balls and watched the duel unfold.

Either way, kind of makes you wish they had cell phone video and YouTube back then!

Ken Green's At Senior PGA, Still Fighting For A Shot

Ken Green, who five years ago lost everyone close to him in an unimaginably awful accident and who hit such a low a year ago that he admits to having contemplated suicide, opened with an 80 at the Senior PGA Championship, writes Bill Fields.

Even better, despite struggling to get any sponsor's invites in his efforts to come back, Green hasn't lost his sense of humor.

Fields writes:

Disappointingly for Green, he hasn't had much success gaining sponsor's exemptions into Champions Tour events in an attempt to "tell his story" and inspire others with disabilities. He said he's 0-for-12 in his latest attempts, but got a spot at Harbor Shores as a former United States Ryder Cup team member. The undulating Jack Nicklaus design was a tough challenge for Green, who opened with a nine-over 80.

"I heard the greens were off the charts. I didn't know Jack also did the fairways a litle bumpy," Green said. "For your average two-legged person, maybe they're not [that difficult], but for the one-legged yo-yo that I am, these fairways are nasty. It's discouraging. The one thing I didn't want to do is embarrass me or golf. I know it's not, but in my brain I feel like it is."