Deutsche Bank notebook

No plans to change course

Moving argument has yet to be made

By Michael Whitmer
Globe Staff / September 2, 2011

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NORTON - Unlike two of the three other PGA Tour playoff events, the Deutsche Bank Championship has been at the same course since its 2003 debut, always with a Labor Day finish at TPC Boston.

The Barclays uses a rotation of courses in the New York City/New Jersey area, and the BMW Championship has been held in Chicago, St. Louis, and will be played in Indianapolis next year and Denver in 2014.

With a course rotation in play elsewhere for the FedEx Cup playoffs, has the tour ever considered moving the Deutsche Bank Championship away from TPC Boston?

“You know, I’d say yes,’’ commissioner Tim Finchem said yesterday. “The problem is the players like this place an awful lot. Secondly, with the [course] changes that were made, it’s pretty cool television-wise. This finishing hole, setting it up so you can see some eagles, it’s worked well.

“We get good crowds here, the sponsor likes it. I don’t think we get a lot of traction with the idea to rotate it, just to be rotating it. I’m not saying we wouldn’t, but we’d have to see a rotation that just jumps out at us and says hey, this would be good.’’

Asked if he’d be interested in having the tournament rotated among multiple courses or cities, Seth Waugh, the CEO of Deutsche Bank Americas, answered before the question was completed.

“No,’’ he said. “We would never want to leave this area. It’s New England’s tournament, they’ve embraced it, we love that. Boston is one of those towns where if you do the right thing and they do the right thing, they love you. If you don’t, you become an outsider again.’’

Wait-and-see approach Deutsche Bank, which has been the title sponsor every year, extended its sponsorship agreement last year through 2012, but hasn’t announced whether it will continue beyond that. The company has added EMC as a presenting sponsor to absorb some of the costs, and Waugh said he’d like to see how this year’s tournament goes before deciding about anything post-2012.

“We’ll sit down pretty quickly after this and say, ‘OK, did it work for you guys, are you happy, do you want to be a team going forward?’ ’’ Waugh said. “Because if they don’t, that’s one way to think about it, and if they do, that’s another way to think about it. We’ll make a decision this fall.

“This is our ninth year, so we’ll have done it 10 years [when the current deal expires], and it’s been great. There’s no question this is the most important thing we do as a branding event and a client event all year.’’

Asked if he’d like Deutsche Bank to stick around as the title sponsor if EMC was pleased, Waugh said, “We’d absolutely like to stick around. All the reasons we did it are more important now than ever.’’

Waugh speculated that an extension would be for four years, which would take Deutsche Bank’s involvement with the tournament through 2016.

Giving it a long look Add a big name to the list of players giving the belly putter a try. Phil Mickelson showed up for his pro-am round with a new Odyssey, a carbon copy of the one Keegan Bradley is using. Except Mickelson’s is a lefthanded model.

“It’s awkward to me, but so many guys have had success with it that I thought I’d give it a try,’’ said Mickelson, who was paired with Bradley the first two rounds of the Barclays and got a firsthand look at the kind of putter that is creating a buzz. “[Bradley] putts it extremely well, and it rolls so nicely off the face, so I was asking him questions throughout the round last week, about ball position, eye position, hands, grip, to get it to swing a proper way.’’

Mickelson has never used a belly putter or a long putter in competition, but said it would “probably’’ be in his bag this afternoon.

“I’ve hit two drivers [at the Masters] and no drivers in [US] Opens, and I don’t mind trying something different,’’ he said. “We’ll see.’’

Armed and ready Mickelson, like Bradley earlier in the week, threw out the ceremonial first pitch before last night’s Red Sox-Yankees game . . . Luke Donald, the world’s top-ranked player who had to settle for a tie for second last year when Charley Hoffman closed with a 62, said scores should be low again. “I’m not sure you’ll see 62, but I think, as usual, you’re going to have to get pretty well under par to have a chance.’’ . . . The Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund supplied roughly 150 caddies for the pro-am, which was won by the team of Hunter Mahan, John Caldwell, Tim Connelly, Steve Ploof, and Gerry Dundon. Team Mahan shot 19-under-par 52, winning by three shots.

Michael Whitmer can be reached at