Cameron Champ

Jim Furyk said his heart has always been with the PGA Tour, questions legal action by LIV players

Woods, McIlroy to collaborate on sports, entertainment and media company

Jim Furyk has been among the most respected PGA Tour veterans for decades, a past member of the Policy Board and is now hosting a PGA Tour Champions event at the Timuquana Country club, the Constellation Furyk & Friends. 

He’s seen the ins and outs of running the Tour under two commissioners and is among the most thoughtful, insightful players during his career. 

It’s no surprise that Furyk choose his words carefully earlier this week at the Furyk & Friends media day when asked for his take on the current battle raging between the Tour and the LIV Golf Series, who has poached 17 PGA Tour players so far and may pick up a half-dozen more after this week’s Tour Championship concludes the FedEx Cup season. 

Furyk & Friends: No Phil but field at Timuquana still loaded with Hall of Famers, major champions

Next on the tee: Jake Owen stepping in for Lady A at Furyk & Friends concert in Jacksonville

The list includes one of Furyk’s best friends on the Tour and the 2021 winner of the inaugural Furyk & Friends, Phil Mickelson.

“I played the Tour for a living … it’s where my heart is and where my support is,” he said. “I traveled around plenty but did it in November and December. I never really asked for a release. I wanted to focus on the Tour.” 

Furyk said other players are free to make their own decisions. But where he drew the line was when nine of the LIV players sued the Tour for anti-trust violations, with a court date set for early next year. 

“To those players who left, it’s their choice and they have to do what they think is best for them,” he continued. “Where I struggle is with the players who left and turned around and sued the PGA Tour. I struggle with that.” 

Furyk said the recent court case where three players were denied access to the FedEx Cup playoffs after being suspended by the Tour, offered a club to him that commissioner Jay Monahan was on sound legal footing. 

“They can’t have it both ways and that was a significant ruling,” he said. “Im happy for the Tour. It helps us as an organization.” 

Furyk said he needs more information about a plan leaked from a players-only meeting last week presided over by Tiger Woods for a series of events within the Tour for 60 top-ranked players. 

“I need to learn more about that,” he said. “My biggest question is how do you gain access and how do you fall out? I need to know a lot more about the process and how it works before I say it sounds like a great idea or I wouldn’t be supportive.” 

Woods, McIlroy join forces 

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have been the most ardent supporters of the PGA Tour during its struggle with the upstart LIV Golf Series. 

They’re getting together in another way. 

Woods, McIlroy and Mike McCarley, former NBC president for golf and global strategy from 2011-2021, have joined forces to form TMRW Sports (pronounced “tomorrow”), described in a release as a company that will build “technology-focused ventures that feature progressive approaches to sports, media, and entertainment. 

The first venture will be TGL, a virtual golf league in partnership with the PGA Tour in which three-player teams will compete in prime time on Monday nights. Woods and McIlroy have already committed and there eventually will be six teams beginning in January of 2024.

Plans are for 15 events that will complement the Tour schedule.

 Discussions are underway with broadcast and gaming partners and NBC Sports has the option to be the media partner. 

Golfweek reported that the plan was shared at a players-only meeting last week at the BMW Championship, which Woods chaired to discuss issues related to LIV Golf’s threat to the Tour. 

Woods and McIlroy began working on the project more than two years ago. 

“I am excited to work with TMRW Sports in bringing people more access to sports,” Woods said in a statement. “So many athletes, entertainers, and people I meet from all walks of life share our passion for sports, but they also share our desire to build a better future for the next generation of sports fans. Together, we can harness technology to bring fresh approaches to the sports we love.” 

Tour re-ups with Southern, Sentry 

The PGA Tour announced extensions of sponsorship deals this week with two long-term partners, Sentry and Southern Company. 

Sentry, the title sponsor of the Tournament of Champions since 2018, has extended its deal with the Tour through 2035. The event, in Kapalua, Hawaii, is reserved for Tour winners from the previous calendar year and any other player who reached this week’s Tour Championship.

Southern Company, one of the presenting sponsors of this week’s Tour Championship, has extended its agreement through 2027. The Southern Company has been associated with the event since 1998 and also sponsors the Tour’s Payne Stewart Award, given each year to a player who best exemplifies character, charity and sportsmanship. 

Billy Andrade was this year’s winner. Past winners have included Furyk, Nick Price, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Justin Rose, Zach Johnson and Brad Faxon.

The Southern Company to date has contributed $8.9 million to community charities in honor of Payne Stewart and those individuals receiving his namesake award.  

PGA opens new home 

The PGA of America moved into its new headquarters in Frisco, Texas this week. The association is located in a 106,621 square-foot building that includes a golf laboratory to help in the development of the PGA’s nearly 28,000 professionals. 

They will have access to cutting-edge technology and education tools to assist in coaching, player engagement, golf operations and executive management. 

The PGA’s home golf course, Fields Ranch at PGA Frisco, also will host PGA Championships and Ryder Cups. The two 18-hole courses designed by Gil Hanse and Beau Welling will open in the spring of 2023. 

The PGA had been headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens. A small satellite office will remain there. 

PGA TOUR 

Event: Tour Championship, Thursday-Sunday, East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta. 

At stake: $75 million purse ($18 million to the winner). 

Defending champion: Patrick Cantlay. 

TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 1-6 p.m.; Saturday, 1-2:30 p.m.; Sunday, 12-1:30 p.m.); NBC (Saturday, 2:30-7 p.m.; Sunday, 1:30-6 p.m.). 

Area players entered (FedEx Cup rank): Cameron Smith (6), Billy Horschel (22), Brian Harman (25), J.T. Poston (27). 

Notable: The final leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs starts with points leader Scottie Scheffler beginning at 10-under par based on the strokes assigned format, followed by Cantlay (8-under), Xander Schauffele (6-under) and Sam Burns (5-under). … Will Zalatoris, who was to have started third at 7-under, withdrew because of a bad back. His spot will be vacated and players behind him will not move up. … Smith, Rory McIlroy, Tony Finau, Sepp Straka and Sungjae Im, the bottom half of the top-10, will begin at 4-under. … Horschel and Harman will begin 1-under and Poston at even par. … Cantlay defeated Jon Rahm by one shot last year, with a 67 in the final round. 

LPGA TOUR  

Event: CP Women’s Open, Thursday-Sunday, Ottawa (Can.) Hunt and Golf Club. 

At stake: $2.35 million purse ($352,500 to the winner). 

Defending champion: Jin Young Ko. 

TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Saturday, 2:30-5:30 p.m.); CBS (Sunday, 1:30-3:30 p.m.). 

Area players entered: None. 

Notable: Ko shot 65-64 on the weekend to finish at 26-under and beat Broch Larsen by five shots in 2019, the last time the tournament was held. It was not played in 2020 and 2021 due to Canada’s COVID-19 restrictions. 

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS 

Event: Ally Challenge, Friday-Sunday, Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club, Grand Blanc, Mich. 

At stake: $2 million purse ($300,000 to the winner). 

Defending champion: Joe Durant. 

TV: Golf Channel (Friday, 7-9 p.m.; Saturday, 8:30-10:30 p.m.; Sunday, 4-6 p.m.). 

Area players entered: David Duval, Fred Funk, Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh. 

Notable: Durant defeated Retief Goosen and Brett Quigley by two shots. 

KORN FERRY TOUR 

Event: Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, Thursday-Sunday, Ohio State Scarlet Course. 

At stake: $1 million purse ($180,000 to the winner). 

Defending champion: Adam Svensson. 

TV: Golf Channel (Thursday, 7-9 p.m.; Friday, 9-11 p.m.; Saturday, 5:30-7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 1:30-4 p.m.). 

Area players entered: Chris Baker, Jonas Blixt, Jonathan Byrd, Phillip Knowles, Rick Lamb, David Lingmerth, Doc Redman, Jared Wolfe. 

Notable: Svensson had weekend rounds of 65-67 to beat Bronson Burgoon and Stephan Jaeger by two shots. 

Contact Garry Smits at gsmits@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter @GSmitter

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