Golf Roundup: Woods building course in Baja

Tom LaMarre, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Tiger Woods is designing another golf course, and this time he hopes people will actually get to play it.
Tiger Woods Design announced plans for El Cardonal, an 18-hole championship golf course in Cabo San Lucas on the Baja California peninsula in Mexico. Construction began last month.
"I set up the golf strategy to make golfers think and make choices," Woods said of his vision for the 7,300-yard course, which will be part of the Diamonte Cabo San Lucas development.
"Regardless of your handicap, there are going to be different ways to play every hole. Angles of approach are going to be very important and will dictate the type of shots you should consider. I love this kind of golf."
The course is expected to be completed in about 18 months.
El Cardonal will join Diamonte Dunes Golf Course, designed by Davis Love III, on the property. The Dunes, which opened in 2009, has been rated the No. 1 course in Mexico and is the only course in Cabo located on the Pacific Ocean side of the peninsula.
"While the Dunes course is reminiscent of a classic Scottish links course, this course is going to remind people of the old-style California courses," Woods said.
"We will use the existing arroyos that traverse the site and well-placed bunkers to create definite strategic choices and carries off the tees."
Tiger Woods Design was founded in 2006, but its first three projects have yet to be completed because of the downturn in the worldwide economy. They are Punta Brava in Ensenada, Mexico; The Cliffs at High Carolina in Asheville, N.C.; and Al Ruwaya, located in Dubai.
--Tournament organizers said that the Tampa Bay stop on the PGA Tour will remain on the 2013 schedule even though a new title sponsor has not been secured.
What was the Transitions Championship will be played as the Tampa Bay Championship on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla., on March 11-17. It has been part of the Florida Swing in 2007.
Tournament director Kevin Krisle said, "We are still actively seeking a title sponsor, and the economic times haven't really changed. But the PGA Tour has a good track record and we're confident we can find a title sponsor for the years to come.
"We were confident that we would be on (the schedule). The players and the PGA like coming down here. We obviously want to be here for many more years to come."
The tournament has been looking for a new sponsor since Transitions, the optical company located in Pinellas Park, Fla., announced last year that it would not renew its four-year contract, which ran through this year.
It is unclear what would happen to the tournament past 2013 if a title sponsor isn't secured.
PGA Tour official Chris Smith said the tour, which will cover any costs of the tournament for 2013 that aren't covered by sponsors, would have no comment until the complete schedule is announced.
Luke Donald, who was the No. 1 player in the World Golf Rankings at the time, won the tournament last March in a playoff with Sang-Moon Bae, Jim Furyk and Robert Garrigus.
--HSBC Bank announced that it has extended its agreement as title sponsor of the HSBC Women's Champions tournament in Singapore for three years.
The new contract keeps the elite-field event on the LPGA Tour schedule through at least 2015. It will be played Feb. 28-March 3 next year, with the purse again set at $1.4 million.
"We are aware of what was happening, in terms of uncertainty to the sponsorship of other tournaments in the region, but we're delighted to continue our association with the HSBC Women's Champions," Giles Morgan, HSBC's Global Head of Sponsorship and Events, said.
"We sponsor major golf tournaments all over the world, and from our point of view, whenever one comes up for renewal, we have to ensure that our sponsorship objectives have been met, and that is a prudent and analytical process that takes time.
"Singapore is an important market for HSBC and the event is a great way for us to market our business, and it continues to provide, in field strength, one of the strongest events in the world."
The limited-field event featured 49 of the top 50 LPGA Tour money winners when it was played at Tanah Merah Country in February of this year, when Angela Stanford won in a playoff over Shanshan Feng of China and Na Yeon Choi of South Korea.
--The European Tour will play an event in Bulgaria for the first time next year when the Volvo World Match Play Championship moves from Spain.
The tournament will be contested from May 16-19 at the spectacular Gary Player-designed course at Thracian Cliffs Beach in Kavarna, beside the Black Sea.
"Volvo was the first company to bring a European Tour event to China and we are the first to take a full European Tour event to Bulgaria, as Eastern Europe is an important business area for us," said Per Ericsson, president of Volvo Event Management.
"We are delighted to be working with the Bulgarian Government and the Bulgarian Golf Association, and are thrilled that they have committed their support to this prestigious and historic championship.
" ... We will announce future venues in due course, and while our focus is firmly on delivering a magnificent 2013 championship as our inaugural event at Thracian Cliffs, we then plan to rotate the Volvo World Match Play Championship between a few very special venues around the world."
The tournament was played at Wentworth, outside London, from 1964 to 2007. Arnold Palmer won the first year, 2 and 1, in the final over Neil Coles of England.
Ernie Els won a record seven titles, the last in 2007, and Gary Player and Seve Ballesteros claimed five victories in the event.
Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium won the event in May, beating Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland in the final, 1 up.
--Because of the PGA Tour's transition to a split-calendar season beginning with the 2013-14 schedule, there will be a temporary reduction in a player's minimum number of starts to keep voting status, from 15 to 12, next year, according to the Golf Channel.
The elimination of the four Fall Series events, which next year will kick off the 2014 season, means some lower-tier players will have more difficulty meeting the required number of tournaments.
"You don't have to play as many because of the short season," said Davis Mathis, who wrapped up his PGA Tour card for next season with a tie for 10th in the McGladrey Classic.
"It should help because nobody really knows what to expect (next season)."
The new requirement is considered temporary, probably lasting for only one year, and will not apply to international players who use the PGA Tour's "home tour exemption" rule to play two circuits.
In addition, because of the reduction in playing opportunities with the loss of the Fall Series, some tournaments have been asked to expand their fields in 2013, and the rules for sponsor exemptions have been adjusted to accommodate more PGA Tour members.
--Ernie Els has changed management companies for the second time in less than a year, moving from Pros Inc. to marketing giant International Management Group, which Els left nearly a decade ago.
The Big Easy left IMG in 2005 to sign with Chubby Chandler of International Sports Management but parted company with that firm last year.
"IMG has a global network of offices, loads of experienced and dedicated golf staff operating in every aspect of the game," Els said of the latest change. "So really (IMG) is best equipped to help me achieve everything I want to do on and off the course."
Under terms of the new agreement, IMG personnel will work closely with Phil Cotton, a member of Els' personal staff.
The 43-year-old Els, who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011, had a resurgence this season, when he captured his fourth major title, the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
In addition to his golf, Els is very involved off the course, especially with his Ernie Els wine label, the Fancourt Foundation for junior golf in South Africa, Els Course Design and the Els for Autism Foundation.
His 9-year-old son, Ben, has autism, so Ernie and his wife, Liesl, have thrown their support into the campaign against it. The Els Center for Autism, a $30 million facilty devoted to therapy, research and education, is under construction in Jupiter, Fla.

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