Deutsche Bank Notebook: What's that sticking out of Furyk's golf bag?

fluff cowan, jim furyk
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Caddie Fluff Cowan just might be handing Jim Furyk a belly putter this week, in place of Furyk's usual regulation-length flatstick.
By
Doug Ferguson
Associated Press

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Published: Thursday, September 02, 2010 | 7:34 p.m.

Seeing Jim Furyk on the first tee Thursday at the TPC Boston was worth two looks -- and not just because Furyk's alarm clock worked and he made his pro-am time.

Four clubs stood tall in his bag -- the driver and a fairway metal, and two belly putters.

Furyk was contemplating using the belly putter this week at the Deutsche Bank Championship, as he had last week at The Barclays before he was disqualified for oversleeping and missing his tee time.

He last tried a belly putter years ago, then gave up on it. Furyk said he closed with two low rounds at the Honda Classic, then tried it again at The Players Championship.

"Didn't putt very well," he said. "I went back to the shorter putter for the final round."

Meanwhile, the rule that got Furyk disqualified was suspended for the rest of the year. The PGA Tour figured the playoff events were different from regular events, particularly because a player who withdraws or is ineligible is not replaced by anyone.

Tiger Woods understood the suspension the rule, although he was curious about the timing.

"I would think they would have waited until after the season was completed," Woods said. "It's only affected one player so far this year, and that was Jim. But I can understand it. I just thought it might have been a little premature."

MICKELSON'S DAY: Phil Mickelson, who won the Deutsche Bank Championship in 2007, was among the last to arrive. He was not at the dinner party that Ryder Cup Captain Corey Pavin hosted for the eight Americans who made the team. And he asked out of his pro-am round Thursday, swapping it out with a corporate function, as he was entitled to do.

Why the late arrival?

Part of that could be issues with his driver. Mickelson's driver broke last week at The Barclays, and he was working hard on the practice range over the weekend trying to find another one he liked.

TIGER TIME: It's not quite death and taxes, but just about any pro-am on the PGA Tour will feature Tiger Woods in the first group of the morning. He was in the morning way at the TPC Boston, but there were five other groups ahead of him.

Why wasn't he first?

For starters, he wasn't even in the pro-am because of his low FedExCup ranking (No. 65). Instead, Woods was a sponsor selection to play the pro-am, and his options were 7:40 a.m. or 12:40 p.m.

"It just shows how far I've fallen," Woods said with a laugh.

TWO MORE YEARS: Deutsche Bank has picked up the option on the final two years of its title sponsorship, and it will have some financial help from a familiar partner in EMC Corp., which will be a presenting sponsor.

Terms of the deal were not announced. Seth Waugh, the CEO of Deutsche Bank Americas, instead focused on reports showing it has raised upward of $70 million in revenue each year since the tournament began in 2003.

"Someone once told me when I started in the business that the best thing you can ever do for the economy is to create a job," Waugh said. "And I'm hoping that in $500 million, there's a number of jobs that have been created out here. Our view is that it's never been more important to do that than it is today."

The renewal was the 19th title sponsorship deal the PGA Tour has completed since the start of 2009. With Deutsche Bank, it assures that all its FedExCup playoff events are sponsored through 2012, the end of the current TV contract.

The Deutsche Bank Championship is the only playoff event that has never changed dates. It was a risky move when the tournament chose to end on Labor Day.

"We took a tough weekend -- it's not a corporate weekend, it's a family weekend -- and said, 'Let's make that a strength rather than a weakness.' And I think New England has embraced that," Waugh said.

EMC has been a founding partner since the tournament began, and it previously was the title sponsor of the World Cup.

PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem was headed to Ohio for what was likely to be a similar announcement at the Memorial, the tournament Jack Nicklaus created. At least two more deals are expected by the end of the year.

"It hasn't turned out to be devastating," Finchem said. "It's just harder work."

Given the amount of sponsorships it has kept, Finchem said he would give his marketing team an "A" for a grade. Finchem said given the economic climate, it takes longer to secure a contract, and there is more scrutiny by companies wanting to get involved in PGA Tour sponsorship because entertainment dollars are tight.

He said the scrutiny has helped golf, however, because it compared favorably among other sports.