This sunday'sSuper Bowl in Detroit was once seen as a carrot to the Big Three automakers andthe seemingly bottomless well of sponsorship money they represented, but toughtimes have hit the Motor City, and the cash is drying up. Ford, which hasalready said it will end its relationship with the Tour event at Doral as of2007, will also reportedly discontinue its sponsorship of Phil Mickelson afterthat tournament. The swoon doesn't seem to be affecting Buick though, whichpays Tiger Woods a reported $8 million a year, more than the salary of GM CEORick Wagoner. "We're looking forward to continuing [to sponsor Tiger] for along time to come," says a Buick spokesman.... The Buick Invitational wasWoods's 47th victory in 186 starts--a 25.3 winning percentage--and only thesecond time he triumphed while making 12 bogeys in a week (the other: the 2005Masters). Woods improved his playoff record to 9-1.
Since theEuropean tour started tallying Ryder Cup points at September's Omega EuropeanMasters, Henrik Stenson of Sweden has five top three finishes in eight starts,including a win at last week's Qatar Masters. The run of good play has made hima virtual lock to play in his first Ryder Cup. His countryman Jesper Parnevikprobably won't be joining him because he does not play enough on the Europeantour. "I don't think you'll see [Euro captain Ian Woosnam] get too creativewith the captain's picks," Parnevik says. "I hear the [European] tourhas asked him to go right down the [points] list."
• John Daly'smerchandise trailer was stolen from a Hooters parking lot in Phoenix lastSaturday. The $70,000 trailer had $50,000 worth of goods inside but was foundundisturbed later that morning. • Hale Irwin failed in his bid to win his sixthstraight Turtle Bay Championship, but the $7,500 he collected for 38th placebrought his total career earnings in Hawaii to $3,893,475. • Laura Diaz gavebirth to a son, Robert Cooper, on Jan. 16. It's the first child for her andhusband Kevin. • Mark O'Meara has bought a lot at the Tradition in PalmSprings, Calif., and put his Isleworth home up for sale.
• For PGAMerchandise Show coverage, go to SI.com/Golf.
"The fans are with Tiger and Phil. Thosewusses." --STIK, PAGE G20
Survey Says ...
The Pro Stinger, a new half-plastic, half-metal spikemade by Champ, debuted on the PGA Tour last month. At least four players at theBuick Invitational wore the hybrid. Overall, plastic spikes were still the mostpopular: 115 players at Torrey Pines wore them (67 used Softspikes, 34 Champs),while 41 pros donned metal.
The Darrell Survey tracks equipment usage at pro andamateur tournaments.
What it takes to become the best-attended tournamenton Tour
TPC OF SCOTTSDALE + SUPER BOWL SUNDAY + MASSIVE CROWD+ BEER - ETIQUETTE = FBR OPEN
Top 100 TEACHERS POLL
Will the Tour's new schedule and format in 2007 bebetter, worse or essentially the same as its current lineup?
Better 68% Worse 6% Same 26%
"It'll be better for the spectators and TV viewersand better for the top stars, but it'll be worse for the average Tourplayer." --T.J. TOMASI, NANTUCKET GOLF CLUB