Oct 02, 2015 | 10:45 am

Last Rites?

The Presidents Cup Matches start next week, and not only will they showcase the best young golf talent from the U.S. (Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed) and the rest of the world (Jason Day, Danny Lee, Branden Grace), but they may offer us a final glimpse of some of our old favorites in team play. Phil Mickelson is on the U.S. squad, but only because he was one of Captain Jay Haas’s picks, and a controversial one, at that. The ageless Jim Furyk (he’s actually 45, the same age as Mickelson) made the team on points but is questionable due to a wrist injury. So will we ever see their likes on U.S. teams again? This week, Ryder Cup captain Davis Love said it was hard to envision an American team without Mickelson and Tiger Woods, but neither is looking good for next year’s squad unless Love picks them. And be honest: Would you?

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Oct 01, 2015 | 10:47 am

$50 Million Man

With his fifth win of the season Sunday at the Tour Championship, Jordan Spieth earned a record haul on the PGA Tour in offical earnings—$12,030,465 (he earned another $1 million in unofficial money, although no doubt his financial advisor counts it as official). With the $10 million annuity for winning the FedExCup, the total amount surpasses Tiger Woods's 2007 record of $22,090,707. Add in his endorsement income with Under Armour, AT&T, Titleist, NetJets, Perfect Sense, Super Stroke, and Rolex, and he earned more than $50 million this year. But what really puts his year in perspective is that he paid his caddie, Michael Greller, more than $2.2 million if Spieth gave him the going rate: five percent of his earnings outside the top 10, seven percent inside the top 10, and 10 percent of the winner's purse, including the FedExCup bonus. Greller's earnings would have put him 38th on the 2015 PGA Tour money list this year just ahead of Phil Mickelson. Not bad for a former sixth-grade teacher who was earning $77,000 a year before taking a leave of absence to caddie for Spieth two years ago.

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Sep 30, 2015 | 10:40 am


There's not much Mike Keiser and Gil Hanse can't accomplish in the world of golf-course development, but then, they've probably never had to deal with the Bureau of Land Management. Keiser has just decided to terminate Bandon Links, 15 miles south of his renowned resort on the southern coast of Oregon, because the BLM, which has jurisdiction over a 280-acre section of the land, wouldn't allow Keiser to charge out-of-state tourists $200 to $250 a round. Coos and Curry county residents would have been able to play the world-class design by Hanse for as little as $10, and up to 200 high school students annually would have earned money caddying. But the BLM advised Keiser that all green fees must be commensurate with other golf courses on BLM lands. Adequate well water was also an issue. "As a result of these problems," said Keiser, "I am abandoning the Bandon Links project and will seek a site where the same programs would be viable." The BLM gave much of the Bandon State Natural Area (pictured above) to the state in 1968, under the condition that it remain a park, but last year the Oregon State Parks Commission agreed to sell Keiser a big slice of 878-acre park in exchange for $2.5 million, 216 acres of land elsewhere on the coast, and money to help rid the area of gorse, an invasive plant.

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Sep 29, 2015 | 09:05 am

Premature Celebration

The art of pre-event hype reached a new high—or was it low—with the "Ryder Cup Year to Go" celebration staged yesterday in Minneapolis. Opposing captains Davis Love III and Darren Clarke were trotted out to receive jerseys (all but inexplicably) from the five Minnesota sports teams as Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton and PGA of America President Derek Sprague exchanged platitudes while proclaiming this Ryder Cup Week, despite its being 365 days too early. The 41st biennial matches will take place at Hazeltine GC in Chaska, MN, September 26-October 2016.

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