Golf Roundup: Norman wants his name off Medalist GC

Tom LaMarre, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

--Greg Norman has demanded that his name, and that of co-designer Pete Dye, be taken off the course they designed at the Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Fla.
Norman is unhappy with the club's decision to hire Bobby Weed, who formerly worked with Dye, to do a rework on the Norman/Dye course that opened in 1995.
"It's really a slap in the face at the end of the day," Norman told "It's the end of a legacy, by the board doing what the board is doing now. It hurts a lot, to tell the truth. It's a shame."
In a letter Norman sent to Medalist president Dee Mudd, the golfer known as the Great White Shark also demanded that the club return memorabilia, including a signature shark above the bar in the men's locker room, to him.
In May, Norman offered to do the redesign without a fee, but Weed already was under contract by then.
"The design integrity of the original designed course has been compromised by your alterations without consultation or discussion with neither Pete Dye nor me," Norman wrote in the letter to Mudd.
Weed started working on some of the Medalist's bunkers during the summer.
--The Johnnie Walker Championship, which has been played at Gleneagles in Scotland since 1999, will be left off the 2014 European Tour calendar because the Ryder Cup will be played at the club that year.
The Johnnie Walker will return in 2015.
"We are very grateful to the management of both Diageo, the owners of Johnnie Walker, and the Gleneagles Hotel for agreeing to postpone the Johnnie Walker Championship so that preparations for the Ryder Cup can begin as planned in July 2014," said Richard Hills, European Ryder Cup director.
"The magnitude of the Ryder Cup is such that trying to host the Johnnie Walker Championship in the same season would have compromised both events."
The Johnnie Walker was scheduled to be played in August, with the Ryder Cup a month later, but organizers decided it is important to focus on preparations for the biennial matches between Europe and the United States.
Paul Lawrie of Scotland will defend his Johnnie Walker title this year from Aug. 22-25 on the course in Auchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland.
Keith Waters, chief operating officer and director of international policy for the European Tour, added: "We looked at rescheduling the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles to an earlier week on the 2014 schedule, but a suitable date could not be found.
"But we are delighted all parties have agreed to reschedule the Championship for 2015."
Gleneagles will host the 40th Ryder Cup from Sept. 26-28, 2014.
--Golf Australia refuted a report in Australia Golf Digest that Rory McIlroy did not play in the Australian Open last month because he has doubled his appearance fee to $2 million.
The story said that McIlroy, the No. 1 player in the World Golf Rankings, had committed to play in the tournament earlier in the year, then pulled out when organizers could not meet his price.
"I can confirm there was no agreement in place with Rory McIlroy or his management at any point for Rory to play in (the Australian) Open," Stephen Pitt, chief executive of Golf Australia, said in a statement.
"In addition to not having any agreement in place, at no stage were Golf Australia or tournament organizers advised by Rory's management that his appearance costs had increased. This simply isn't true."
Tiger Woods reportedly commands a $2 million fee for appearances outside the PGA Tour, which does not allow appearance fees for tournaments.
Andrew Georgiou, chief operating officer of Australian Open promoter World Sport Group, also said the story was not true.
"We have a very good relationship with Rory and his management team, and Rory has played in a number of our events," Georgiou said. "At no stage had Rory or his management committed to play in Australia this year, so any commentary about appearance fees is totally irrelevant and clearly inaccurate."
Conor Ridge, McIlroy's agent at Horizon Sports Management, thanked both organizations for knocking down the story that his client had reneged on a commitment and increased his asking price.
"Rory and Horizon Sports Management value our reputation for professionalism and integrity," Ridge said. "Hence, when such inaccuracies are reported in the media, we have an obligation to set the record straight."
McIlroy has not played in Australia for five years, but he brought in the New Year in Brisbane, Australia, with his girlfriend, Caroline Wozniacki, who was playing in the Brisbane International ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament.
--Geoff Ogilvy of Australia tied for fourth in the Australian PGA Championship on the final week of official events in 2012, but it was not enough to get him into the Masters.
Ogilvy finished the year at No. 51 in the World Golf Rankings, one spot out of earning an automatic place in the field for the first major of the year in April. However, he will have three months to qualify for a spot at Augusta National Golf Club.
Also on the outside looking in, for now, is No. 53 Henrik Stenson of Sweden.
The final rankings of 2012 added 13 players to the Masters field -- Lawrie, Francesco Molinari of Italy, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano of Spain, Branden Grace of South Africa, Bill Haas, Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium, Jason Day of Australia, Hiroyuki Fujita of Japan, Matteo Manassero of Italy, Thomas Bjorn of Denmark, Jamie Donaldson of Wales, George Coetzee of South Africa and Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark.
Invitations will be given to any player winning a PGA Tour event before the Masters (except for the Puerto Rico Open, which is played opposite the WGC-Cadillac Championship) and anyone who is in the top 50 after the Houston Open ends on March 31.
The Masters field currently is at 83 players.
--Steve Stricker is defending his title this week in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, but he said last week he would compete in only about nine other events this season.
Stricker, 45, said he plans to spend more time with his family and to work with a foundation he has established with American Family Insurance that will benefit college-bound students.
"That's the plan," Stricker said. "I'm going to play a lot less. I'm not quitting. I want to spend more time (at home in Madison, Wis.). I still enjoy playing, but I don't enjoy the travel. ...
"I will sure be rested and ready to play when I do play. I'm excited about that."
Stricker, who has won 12 times on the PGA Tour, plans to focus on the big events, the four majors and the three World Golf Championships events that are played in the United States.
After playing this week at Kapalua, Stricker said he might not play again until the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club on Feb. 20-24 in Marana, Ariz.
Stricker plans to play in the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral on March 7-10 and not return until the Shell Houston Open on March 28-31 ahead of the Masters on April 11-14.
That would give him five starts in first four months of the season.
Stricker said his new foundation does not yet have a clear-cut mission or even a name, although the working title is "Driven For A Dream." He met with the board of directors last week.
One idea is to raise money for high school students, particularly those headed for college, and the fund-raising events might include golf tournaments staged by Stricker.
"We're still tossing around ideas," Stricker said. "We want to target bigger audiences."
Stricker said his family and sponsors have been supportive of his plan.
--Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain, who last season became the oldest player to win a tournament in European Tour history, broke his right shinbone while skiing Dec. 29, and he will be sidelined for up to five months.
Jimenez, who will be 49 on Jan. 5, claimed his 19th victory on the Euro Tour by winning the Hong Kong Open in November.
"I was skiing in Sierra Nevada (in Spain), I lost control and fell," Jimenez said in a statement released by the European Tour. "I felt a huge stab of pain and I knew straight away I had broken something.
"I broke the top of the tibia in my right leg, just where it meets the knee, and they put in two pins.
"I was playing well, but you have to take life as it comes."
The surgery was performed at a clinic in his native Malaga, and the fun-loving Jimenez was released from the hospital in time to ring in the New Year with family and friends.

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