By Gary Van Sickle
The PGA Tour’s World Golf Championship is back this week and being hosted again by a billionaire tycoon whose past includes at least one major shady business deal.
Donald Trump? No. Meet Ricardo Salinas. He owns TV Azteca, Mexico’s second-largest broadcaster. It is his company, Grupo Salinas, that sponsors the renamed Mexico Championship, which relocated from Trump’s Doral to Mexico City and is being played at Chapultepec Golf Club in the mountainous capital.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued Salinas in 2005 on fraud accusations. TV Azteca officials were alleged to have concealed Salinas’ involvement in a deal between TV Azteca and Codisco, a company secretly owned by Salinas. Salinas and a fellow TV Azteca business partner used Codisco to buy discounted debt owed by a cellphone unit of TV Azteca, knowing that the cellphone unit would repay the debt at full price. When it did, Salinas and his partner each raked in $109 million in profit.
By John Gordon
During Wednesday’s joint USGA/R&A conference call announcing the proposed “modernized” rules to go into effect Jan. 1, 2019, I asked why a fairway divot can’t be treated as ground under repair. After all, a golfer is being penalized for someone else’s negligence, essentially altering the nature of the course.
In my experience, that is one of the biggest beefs golfers have with the rules.
David Rickman, executive director of governance and chief of staff at the R&A, responded that there were two aspects to the decision not to allow relief from divots.
Length, in feet, of the eagle putt that Rory McIlroy made on the par-5 sixth hole at Mexico City’s Chapultepec Golf Club in the WGC-Mexico Championship en route to a 3-under 68 in his first competitive round in seven weeks. McIlroy, a four-time major champion who is No. 3 in the Official World Golf Ranking, struggled with a stomach virus. He trails six players – Ross Fisher, Phil Mickelson, Ryan Moore, Jon Rahm, Jimmy Walker and Lee Westwood – by one stroke entering today’s second round.
Score, which is 6 under, for Gregory Havret on the front nine at Pretoria Country Club in Waterkloof, South Africa, en route to a 6-under 65 in the Tshwane Open. The Frenchman shares the first-round lead with Sweden’s Alexander Bjork and South Africa’s Haydn Porteous.
The Rolex Ranking of American Michelle Wie, whose 6-under 66 at Singapore’s Sentosa Golf Club set the first-round pace in the HSBC Women’s Champions. Wie, 27, is seeking her fifth LPGA victory but first since the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open.
Average driving distance, in yards, in the opening round of the WGC-Mexico Championship at Chapultepec Golf Club, which sits at 7,600-plus feet elevation in the mountains ringing Mexico City.
From the Morning Read inbox
Bring the Tour back to Doral
I can't help but think that this is directly linked to politics and President Donald Trump (“There’s a hitch in Florida Swing with detour to Mexico,” March 1, bit.ly/2lzxLXT). I would be very disappointed to think that golf was becoming political and PC. Golf thus far has remained out of this disgusting display, and the pros have conducted themselves admirably.
Doral was a magnificent venue, and I looked forward to watching it every year. I find it hard to believe that Mexico was the only place to hold this next tournament.
With the current situation being what it is, I think that this was a very poor decision on the part of the tournament leaders, not to mention the safety issue and the ridiculous zigging and zagging all over the countryside for the pros. I only hope that you will find a way to take this tournament back to Doral in the very near future.
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Scottish International Golf Course Architects Conference
European Tour: Tshwane Open
Pretoria Country Club, Waterkloof, South Africa
LPGA: HSBC Women’s Champions
Sentosa Golf Club (Tanjong), Singapore
PGA/European tours: WGC-Mexico Championship
Chapultepec Golf Club, Mexico City
National Golf Expo
Seaport World Trade Center, Boston
Mid Atlantic Golf Merchandise Show
Marriott Residence Inn, Gaithersburg, Md.
European Tour: Hero Indian Open
DLF Golf and Country Club, New Delhi
PGA Tour: Valspar Championship
Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead), Palm Harbor, Fla.
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