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Car Trouble
JIM GORANT
February 06, 2006
Phil faces the future without Ford
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February 06, 2006

Car Trouble

Phil faces the future without Ford

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This sunday's Super Bowl in Detroit was once seen as a carrot to the Big Three automakers and the seemingly bottomless well of sponsorship money they represented, but tough times have hit the Motor City, and the cash is drying up. Ford, which has already said it will end its relationship with the Tour event at Doral as of 2007, will also reportedly discontinue its sponsorship of Phil Mickelson after that tournament. The swoon doesn't seem to be affecting Buick though, which pays Tiger Woods a reported $8 million a year, more than the salary of GM CEO Rick Wagoner. "We're looking forward to continuing [to sponsor Tiger] for a long time to come," says a Buick spokesman.... The Buick Invitational was Woods's 47th victory in 186 starts--a 25.3 winning percentage--and only the second time he triumphed while making 12 bogeys in a week (the other: the 2005 Masters). Woods improved his playoff record to 9-1.

Cup Shoe-in

Since the European tour started tallying Ryder Cup points at September's Omega European Masters, 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 him a virtual lock to play in his first Ryder Cup. His countryman Jesper Parnevik probably won't be joining him because he does not play enough on the European tour. "I don't think you'll see [Euro captain Ian Woosnam] get too creative with the captain's picks," Parnevik says. "I hear the [European] tour has asked him to go right down the [points] list."

ALSO ...

? John Daly's merchandise trailer was stolen from a Hooters parking lot in Phoenix last Saturday. The $70,000 trailer had $50,000 worth of goods inside but was found undisturbed later that morning. ? Hale Irwin failed in his bid to win his sixth straight Turtle Bay Championship, but the $7,500 he collected for 38th place brought his total career earnings in Hawaii to $3,893,475. ? Laura Diaz gave birth to a son, Robert Cooper, on Jan. 16. It's the first child for her and husband Kevin. ? Mark O'Meara has bought a lot at the Tradition in Palm Springs, Calif., and put his Isleworth home up for sale.

? For PGA Merchandise Show coverage, go to SI.com/Golf.

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