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PHOENIX – The TICKETS Fore CHARITY™ (TFC) program returns to the 2019 Charles Schwab Cup Championship, which continues to have a central focus in generating revenue for local charities in the Scottsdale-Phoenix area. TFC provides non-profit organizations with the ability to raise funds through the sale of tournament tickets, with 100 percent of proceeds going to charity. The Charles Schwab Cup Championship, the third and final event in the annual Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs, will return to Phoenix Country Club the week of November 6-10, 2019.

“The impact this program has made for organizations in this community speaks for itself,” said Executive Director Tiffany Nelson. “At the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, we pride ourselves on the ability to use the game of golf as a conduit to give back locally and we continue to encourage non-profits to sign up so that we can continue building on the already proven success this program has demonstrated.”

Since its 2010 debut, the TFC program has raised over $1.2 million and most recently, the 2018 program raised $401,270.  There is no sign-up fee or cost to the organization to be involved in the TICKETS Fore CHARITY™ program and allows 100 percent of the net proceeds for each ticket sold through manual orders or online purchases to benefit the Scottsdale-Phoenix area non-profits that participate. Once registered, each organization will receive a complimentary flyer, poster, and postcard to use for ticket sale promotion.

Following the completion of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, Charles Schwab Co., will donate an additional $20,000 among the three highest selling non-profit organizations as follows: (1st) $12,000, (2nd) $6,000, (3rd) $2,000.

While on-site, families are encouraged to venture out to the Fan Zone to witness great views of this prestigious venue. Visit the Sterling Winery where they will feature their signature Frosé (frozen rosé). Fans in the mood for craft beer should visit the tournaments beer garden, offering local beer originating in Phoenix. Also returning to the Fan Zone, giving fans a place to cool down is the Dutch Bros Coffee truck, serving their signature coffees and famous cold brew.

In addition to youth 18 years of age and younger receiving free admission to the Charles Schwab Cup Championship with a ticketed adult, all active duty, Reserve and National Guard military members, military retirees and their dependents receive free admission.

For more information on the program, visit www.schwabcuptfc.com or call Kristi Lee Fowlks at (480) 278-2100 x 14 or kristileefowlks@pgatourhq.com

For more tournament information, please visit the official website, www.schwabcup.com. Fans are also encouraged to follow the Charles Schwab Cup Championship on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Defending champ Kuchar and Mexican star Ancer headline early player commitments for Mayakoba

Playa del Carmen, MEXICO — Seven of the 30 participants in last week’s TOUR Championship are among the early player commitments to the 2019 Mayakoba Golf Classic, tournament officials announced today. Highlighting the early confirmations are 2018 MGC champion Matt Kuchar who is currently ranked no. 20 in the Official World Golf Ranking and Mexico’s Abraham Ancer who made history earlier this month when he qualified to represent the International Team in the upcoming Presidents Cup in December.

In addition to Kuchar and Ancer, Kevin Kisner leads a group of other TOUR Championship participants who are committed to the Mayakoba Golf Classic. Kisner, currently ranked #27 in the Official World Golf Ranking, won the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play earlier this year.  Also confirmed are Chez Reavie, Charles Howell III, Jason Kokrak and Sungjae Im.

“My family and I have always loved coming to Mayakoba, and coming back this year as the defending champion makes it even more special,” Kuchar said. “The tournament has a great atmosphere and always provides a great level of competition, so I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Kuchar claimed a one-shot victory last November as he notched his eighth career PGA TOUR win. The 40-year-old set a 54-hole tournament record and a personal best three-round total at 20-under-par and led by four entering the final round. His closing 69 was good enough for the title, which was the catalyst to one of his most successful seasons. Just two months after his win at Mayakoba, Kuchar won the Sony Open in Hawaii and in doing so became the second consecutive Mayakoba champion to also win in Hawaii. In the 2017-2018 season, Patton Kizzire won both the Mayakoba Golf Classic and the Sony Open in Hawaii.  Ultimately Kuchar concluded the 2019-2020 season in 16th position on the final FedExCup standings, recorded eight top-ten finishes among 20 cuts made and was nominated for PGA TOUR Player of the Year.

Ancer, from Reynosa, Tamaulipas, enjoyed the best season of his young professional career in 2018-2019.  Highlighted by a win at the Australian Open in December of 2018, Ancer’s year featured four top-10 finishes in PGA TOUR events as well as a tie for 12th at the prestigious PLAYERS Championship. He became the first Mexican player to crack the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking and currently sits at 37th. In the first event of the FedExCup Playoffs, he shot a final-round 69 while playing alongside eventual champion Patrick Reed in the final group and finished runner-up by one stroke. The second-place result marked his career best finish in an official PGA TOUR event. His performance over the course of the season also clinched him a position on the International Team for the upcoming Presidents Cup where he will become the first Mexican to ever participate in the biennial team event.

Carlos Ortiz (Guadalajara) and Kristoffer Ventura (Puebla) join Ancer as Mexican players currently confirmed in the Mayakoba field.  Ortiz, who has three career victories on the Korn Ferry Tour, finished among the top 125 on the PGA

TOUR this season to regain status for the fourth time since turning pro in 2014. Ventura, who was born in Puebla and enjoys dual citizenship from Mexico and Norway, burst onto the scene as a rookie professional winning twice this year on the Korn Ferry Tour to finish fourth on the season-long standings and earn PGA TOUR membership and playing privileges for the 2019-2020 season. Additionally, the Mayakoba Golf Classic will once again award three special exemptions for Mexican professionals, as is tradition, assuring representation of at least six Mexicans at this year’s event. Additional players from Mexico may still qualify for the Mayakoba Golf Classic through the Korn Ferry Tour Finals and through the Monday Open Qualifier.

Additional player confirmations include Major Champions Graeme McDowell (2010 U.S. Open), Zach Johnson (2007 Masters, 2015 Open Championship), Jason Dufner (2013 PGA Championship) as well as past Mayakoba champions Brian Gay (2008), John Huh (2012), Harris English (2013), Charley Hoffman (2014), McDowell (2015), Pat Perez (2016), Kizzire (2017) and the aforementioned Kuchar (2018).

“To have this many top players making early plans to attend our tournament is a testament to the hospitality of Mayakoba and the Riviera Maya region as well as the growing support of the fans,” Tournament Director Joe Mazzeo said. “Each year the excitement around this event grows to another level. We all look forward to a great week of golf and off-course activities as we showcase the beauty and warmth of Mexico and the Riviera Maya.”

Spectators will enjoy three key pillars within the 2019 Mayakoba Golf Classic: #GOLFisGiving #GOLFisFamily and #GOLFisGourmet. This year, the culinary activities will be presented by Tequila Patrón. Participants will enjoy of a great variety of culinary experiences highlighting Mexican culture, food and tequila.

Since its inception in 2007, the tournament has contributed more than US$2.7 million to a variety of charities and philanthropic causes, positively impacting the communities of Cancun and the Riviera Maya. The Mayakoba Golf Classic is committed to growing the game of golf and continuing the development of the sport. During tournament week, there will be activities for the whole family to enjoy and learn about golf—including special activities as part of Golf PARa Todos, the event’s grow-the-game initiative for young people from the region.

FedExCup triumph caps McIlroy’s greatest season

ATLANTA – The celebration was more muted than the first time Rory McIlroy won the FedExCup. And that was intentional.

When McIlroy holed a 20-foot putt to win at East Lake three years ago, he twice let out a primal scream of “Come On!” His mouth was agape as he looked skyward and puffed out his chest.

The context played a part in his visceral celebration. McIlroy, who holed a wedge shot on the 16th hole of the final round, had to endure a tense playoff to win his first FedExCup.

This time, McIlroy gave a simple downward swing of his fist after he tapped in to complete a four-shot victory at the TOUR Championship.

Since leaving East Lake last year, McIlroy has tried to not be swayed by the emotional swings that are inherent in this game. He doesn’t want his score to define him. This decision was part of McIlroy’s unceasing quest for improvement, what he calls his “personal journey” for both personal and professional improvement.

“Who I am as a person isn’t who I am as a golfer, and it took me a while to get to that point where I realized who those two people were,” he said earlier this year.

McIlroy, once the teenage phenom with the mop top of hair, turned 30 earlier this year. A few gray hairs now peek out from under his cap, but there are also advantages to his advancing age. His maturation paid off with the best season of his professional career.

The TOUR Championship was his third win of the season. He also won his first THE PLAYERS Championship and claimed the RBC Canadian Open by sprinting past the field with a final-round 61. This was his first three-win season in five years, and his first campaign with multiple wins since 2016.

Some may say his multiple-major season of 2014, or his dominant 2012, were better, but McIlroy gives the nod to this season. Victories are the most memorable metric for fans, but they’re also an imperfect one. Too much is determined by other players’ performances.

Players emphasize consistency because their play is all they can control. A string of high finishes proves they’re playing well. The wins are just a bonus. McIlroy finished in the top-10 in 75% of his starts this season – only two players other players did that in more than half their starts – and had a career-high 14 top-10s. He missed just two cuts.

“I think some of the work that I’ve put in on the mental side of the game, … I think you’re starting to see the fruition of that,” McIlroy said.

With Sunday’s win, McIlroy joins Tiger Woods as the only two-time FedExCup champions. This was the first year that the FedExCup paid $15 million, a $5 million increase over previous years. It’s an impressive figure – the largest single payout in professional golf history – but there may be another number that means more to him: +2.55.

That’s the number of strokes McIlroy beat the field by per round this season. Officially, it’s known as Strokes Gained: Total. To calculate it, just subtract McIlroy’s score from the field’s scoring average each day.

McIlroy’s mark this season is the highest of this decade, beating his own performance in 2012 (+2.41). It’s also the highest single-season mark by anyone not named Tiger Woods, per 15th Club’s Justin Ray.

At this point, many people are probably rolling their eyes, wondering how any statistic could outweigh an eight-figure check or a major trophy. But this metric says McIlroy just completed the best season of his PGA TOUR career, and he concurs.

“I think it is. We talk about consistency,” he said. “That attitude and consistency, day in, day out, I think that’s what you’ve seen over the course of this year, and hopefully will continue to see going forward.”

 When 2019 began, it had been more than eight months since McIlroy’s last win, at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. That was his only PGA TOUR win since the 2016 TOUR Championship.

He started this year with five consecutive top-10 finishes before arriving at TPC Sawgrass for THE PLAYERS Championship. His game was displaying promising signs, but he was also facing questions about his Sunday struggles.

McIlroy ended those queries with his Sunday performance at TPC Sawgrass. He started the final round one stroke off the lead, then 70 to beat Jim Furyk by one. McIlroy overcame a double-bogey on the fourth hole with four back-nine birdies.

TPC Sawgrass was a course that long confounded him. Pete Dye’s design handcuffed him, forcing him to keep his biggest asset, his driver, in the bag. That was in May, though, when the course was firm and fast. The tournament’s move to March, when the course played longer and the temperatures were cooler, allowed him to use that club more often.

He bogeyed the 14th to fall out of the lead, but responded to that miscue by making birdie on the next hole from a fairway bunker. He calls that 6-iron to 15 feet the most important shot of the season.

“That basically set up me going on to win THE PLAYERS Championship. If I don’t win THE PLAYERS, I don’t know what happens after that and where the season might go,” he said.

McIlroy’s streak of seven consecutive top-10 finishes ended at the Masters, the one tournament he needs to win to complete the career Grand Slam. He was never in contention at Augusta National, but rebounded from that disappointment with consecutive eighth-place finishes at the PGA and Wells Fargo Championship.

His second win was preceded by a missed cut at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide. Having the weekend off was a blessing in disguise, giving him two extra days to prepare for his debut in the RBC Canadian Open, where he had authored one of the most memorable rounds of his career.

McIlroy decided this year that he would no longer work on his swing at a tournament. This week was the first that his swing coach, Michael Bannon, was on-site. McIlroy believes it’s another reason he was so steady this season.

“I made a plan at the start of the year not to really focus or worry about my swing the week that I’m playing,” he said. “I think you should do your work before the tournament starts, and then once you’re there, just go with what you have. That’s basically what I did this year.”

McIlroy entered the final round tied with Matt Kuchar and Webb Simpson, but flirted with 59 to win by seven.

Even the best golf season is not be devoid of disappointment, though. For McIlroy, it came in his home country. The Open was visiting Northern Ireland’s Royal Portrush for the first time in more than 50 years, but McIlroy’s stay was short. He knocked his first tee shot out-of-bounds and shot 79. A spirited Friday-afternoon charge, in front of a raucous crowd that was trying to will him to the weekend, fell short, but McIlroy was so touched by the outpouring that he got choked up in post-round interviews.

McIlroy’s game left him at an inopportune time in the next week, as well. He shot 62 in the third round of the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational to set up a heavyweight fight with Brooks Koepka in Sunday’s final group. McIlroy hit more like a featherweight, though. He made just one birdie and lost by five.

Those disappointments set the stage for the TOUR Championship. They showed McIlroy, who’d been trying so hard to stay even-keeled, that there were still appropriate times to channel his emotions.

“Brooks went out there in Memphis and shot 65 and just basically dominated the tournament, dominated me. And I realized if I want to become the dominant player in the world again, I need to be more like that,” McIlroy said. “I guess that’s the ultimate compliment I can give Brooks, that today I wanted to be a little bit more like him.”

McIlroy arrived at East Lake ranked fifth in the FedExCup and five shots behind leader Justin Thomas. McIlroy started the final round a stroke behind Koepka, setting up another final pairing between the season’s two best players.

Koepka struggled with his driving, including a lost ball on the seventh hole. McIlroy, who shot a bogey-free 33 on Sunday’s front nine, took a one-shot lead at the turn.

He ranked in the top 25 of the four Strokes Gained statistics that measure each aspect of the game (Off-the-Tee, Approach, Around-the-Green, Putting), and he exhibited that well-rounded game on the final nine of the season. McIlroy pulled away early on the back nine, beating Koepka by four strokes on the first four holes of that side.

He parred the 10th hole, then executed a delicate flop shot from behind the 11th green. McIlroy stiffed an iron shot on 12, then holed an 11-footer for birdie on the next hole. He made back-to-back bogeys on 14 and 15, but holed a 9-footer for par on 16 before birdieing the last two holes.

“He played great golf today, pretty much mistake-free. He was impressive to watch. He put it in the fairway a lot, hit a lot of greens,” Koepka said. “And even his short game, the up-and-down he made on 11, that was pretty tasty right there. And then the way he finished it off right there was very impressive.”

McIlroy had returned the favor from the FedEx St. Jude Invitational. Beating Brooks just weeks after the beat-down in Memphis is part of a bigger theme to this season. McIlroy also is proud that he ranked 10th in bounce-back, the rate at which a player follows a bogey with a birdie. During his earlier days, McIlroy’s shoulders would slump shortly after making some bogeys. He is steelier now.

“If you look at my bounce-back stat this year, it’s way up there, and I think that’s a good indication of where my mind and my attitude is while I’m out there playing,” he said.

McIlroy now has 17 PGA TOUR wins. All have come since 2010, making him the unquestionable Player of the Decade. He’s seeking more wins in the next decade, but is driven by another benchmark.

“The Holy Grail is three,” he said. He was referring to 3.0 Strokes Gained per round. Woods is the only player who’s done that.

“I’m not going to stop until I get to three because Tiger has done that multiple seasons, and when you get to three strokes gained, you’re just in another league,” McIlroy said. “That’s what I strive towards.”

The FedExCup was the end of McIlroy’s most consistent season. And it may just be the beginning of another act in his career.

Watson, Casey, Garcia and Oosthuizen join star-studded cast, local hero Ryo Ishikawa accepts exemption to Japan’s first PGA TOUR event in October

Chiba, Japan, August 27: Four of the PGA TOUR’s leading golf stars – Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, Paul Casey and Louis Oosthuizen – have committed to the inaugural ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club, Chiba from Oct. 24-27, 2019.

With a combined 26 PGA TOUR victories including four major titles, the quartet will join 81-time PGA TOUR winner Tiger Woods, newly crowned FedExCup champion Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama in Japan’s first official PGA TOUR tournament which is part of the early 2019-20 PGA TOUR Schedule.

Local favourite Ryo Ishikawa, who has won twice this season on the Japan Golf Tour, was also added into the stellar field after accepting a sponsor’s exemption.

ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP Tournament Director Travis Steiner said: “The field for the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP keeps getting stronger and we look forward to welcoming five great champions in Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen and Ryo Ishikawa. Their participation will add to a spectacular week of world-class golf for Japanese sports fans to savor and experience.”

Watson, 40, holds 12 PGA TOUR titles including two Masters Tournament victories in 2012 and 2014. With a win in China previously, the American star is hoping to add another title on foreign soil to his impressive resume.

He said: “It’s always fun when players have the opportunity to visit new places and play in new tournaments. I’m really looking forward to the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP this October. I’ve always loved playing in Japan and I hope I can add the ZOZO Championship trophy to my collection. What an honor it would be to become the inaugural ZOZO Champion.”

Globe-trotter Garcia, who is one of Spain’s top golf stars, has multiple wins across Asia in countries such as Korea, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Qatar and Dubai. The 10-time PGA TOUR champion is excited at the opportunity to compete in the Land of the Rising Sun.

“Japan is certainly a wonderful destination for the PGA TOUR to stage its first official tournament. It is a golf-loving country and has produced some great Japanese golfers and I am sure the game will benefit by having the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP. I know the fans are passionate about our sport over there and I’m hoping to play well in front of them. I’ve won multiple times across Asia so I’ve got a good record to back me up when I’m over there. As it is part of the fall schedule, it’s also important to play well to garner early FedExCup points,” said Garcia.

Casey successfully defended his title at the Valspar Championship earlier this year for his third career PGA TOUR triumph. He is hoping to add Japan to his list of accolades following previous wins in China and Korea.

The veteran Englishman, who finished fifth in last week’s FedExCup Playoffs Finale, the TOUR Championship in Atlanta, said: “I’ve always enjoyed traveling around the world competing in different countries and enjoying various cultures in the different continents. I’ve had the opportunity to win tournaments in China and Korea previously so I’m looking forward to going to Japan and hopefully adding this wonderful country onto my list of wins. It’ll be a special way to start my 2019-20 PGA TOUR Season if I can become the first ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP winner.”

Oosthuizen was victorious at the 2010 The Open Championship at St Andrews and the sweet-swinging South African, who will represent the International Team in the Presidents Cup in Australia later in December, is keen to showcase his talent in front of Japanese fans.

“I’ve heard a lot of great things about golf in Japan and how the fans over there come out to support the players and tournaments. It’ll be pretty cool for me to compete in the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP as I enjoy playing in new places and have a chance to impact the lives of young kids especially in hope that they will learn to play the game. It looks like we’ve got a really strong field in Japan which will be really fun for the players and fans. I can’t wait to get there,” he said.

The 27-year-old Ishikawa, who has featured previously on the PGA TOUR, was delighted to accept an exemption to compete in the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP. Fresh from a second win of the season and 16th career title in Japan at the weekend, the dashing Japanese star said:

“I am thrilled to receive this sponsor’s exemption. My goal however still remains to make it into the field through the JGTO point rankings and I will continue to play my best the remainder of the season to be able to pass along this exemption to another deserving player.”

The ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP will feature an elite 78-man field, including the leading 60 players from the 2018-19 FedExCup points list, 10 designated by the Japan Golf Tour Organization (JGTO) and eight special exemptions. The event is co-sanctioned with JGTO.

Tickets for the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP are open for sale on www.zozochampionship.com.

Woods has arthroscopic procedure on knee

Tiger Woods announced today that he had an arthroscopic procedure last week on his left knee to repair minor cartilage damage.

“I expect Tiger to make a full recovery,” said Dr. Verne Cooley, who performed the surgery. “We did what was needed, and also examined the entire knee. There were no additional problems.”

Said Woods: “I would like to thank Dr. Cooley and his team. I’m walking now and hope to resume practice in the next few weeks. I look forward to traveling and playing in Japan in October.”

He has committed to play next at The ZOZO Championship in Chiba, Japan, Oct. 24-27.

Although his back has been the focus of concern for much of the last six-plus years, this marks the fifth time that Woods, 43, has had his left knee operated on.

“If it’s not one thing, it’s another,” he said at the BMW Championship. “Things just pop up.”

Woods’ first left-knee operation was to remove a benign tumor in 1994. The second and third were arthroscopic procedures in 2002 and in April of 2008. He was told of two stress fractures in his tibia in May of 2008, won the U.S. Open in June, and eight days later had a fourth surgery, on his ACL.

He missed the remainder of the 2008 season.

For a player who missed significant time from 2014-17, when he had successful back-fusion surgery, Woods has been relatively healthy the last two seasons.

At the 2018 TOUR Championship at East Lake he notched his long-awaited 80th victory, the exclamation point on a terrific comeback season for a player whose career once seemed to be over. His 2019 season was highlighted by his Masters Tournament victory, his 15th major title.

That was mostly it, though, for his 2018-19 season as Woods admitted to being worn out by the heroic victory at Augusta National. He missed the cut at the PGA Championship at Bethpage, and was T21 at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, despite having won on both courses. He missed the cut at The Open Championship, and withdrew from THE NORTHERN TRUST with a mild oblique strain.

Although he won the 1999 and 2006 PGA Championships at Medinah, Woods never contended there, either, with a T37 at the BMW. At 42nd in the FedExCup, his season was over.

When healthy, Woods is still a formidable player; he’s still ranked eighth in the world. He will captain the U.S. Team at the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne this December, and has not ruled out playing on that team himself.