Well, maybe not, but according to one U.S. report, the Canadian Open is sharing the Dallas Mavericks’ jet with the John Deere Classic. That means four, no maybe five, golfers will take the jet to the U.K. and eight, only six of which will play, will take it back from the U.K. to play at Glen Abbey. Jim Furyk has one seat — who are the others?
Seriously, considering the reports of Steve Stricker, Jerry Kelly, Carl Petterson, Ryan Moore and Boo Weekley all jumping on last year’s plane and not playing, I wonder if any of them will be in the field. After all, letting them fly was supposed to be a good will gesture. Let’s see how far it goes.
Here are the details, according to writer Steve Elling:
Anyway, in an attempt to build the field strength, tournament officials have taken the Deere by the horns and chartered a jet plane for a Sunday-night redeye flight to Manchester, promising to ferry for free the players and their families to the British in time to practice on Monday morning. Tournaments have been in an all-out arms race to out-hustle one another with gifts, spa treatments, free food and the like, but this is a novel idea that just might boost one of the weaker fields of the regular season.
From the sounds of it, the jet seems downright posh. Clair Peterson, the Deere tournament director, said they have lined up a 100-seat 767 that will be parked at the Quad Cities Airport, warmed up and ready. All the seats are first class, he said, and it should arrive by 8 a.m. in England.
“It’s a big deal,” Peterson said. “Obviously our date and our location have made it difficult for players to get to the British Open. We had eight players last year that played here and made the trip over. Our expectation is that we’ll at least double that this year.
“The key points to the offer is that a player has automatically three seats in his name that he can use as he sees fit. If his wife is going over, and obviously the caddies will be an important part of the team going over, agents may be going over. But there are three seats guaranteed.
This charter ain’t cheap, BTW:
The jet has frequently been used by Mark Cuban’s NBA team, the Dallas Mavericks, and is going to run more than $300,000, a Deere tournament official said. Rather than choosing to dump the money into the purse, where it wouldn’t have attracted much attention from the players, they figured the jet service would make a splash.
The $300,000 charter tab was quoted to the event before fuel costs spiked, so it could escalate to an even higher figure with gas approaching $130 per barrel. The same plane will ferry players from the British back across the pond to the Canadian Open, to be staged the the following week. Players will receive two meals on the flight to Manchester and a shuttle service to the Royal Birkdale course upon arrival.
Anyone want to place an over/under number on the total players in the Top 50 in the world that are in the field. I’ll say four — Furyk, Weir, Ames and Vijay Singh. In other words, the same as last year.
Apparently the RCGA, with new sponsor RBC, will have a conference call on Monday. Perhaps there will be more info then.