Canadas Next Great Hope

By Alison PierceAugust 5, 2005, 4:00 pm
He grew up a star hockey player during the long harsh winters in Oshawa, Ontario. And of course he curled. The competition between Jon Mills and his older siblings was thick those winters on the curling rink, a sport so bewildering for most Americans that drives Canadians into a passion. But when the frosts began to thaw, Jon Mills had a golf club in hand.
'It was a tough decision to drop playing hockey,' he glances up quizzically as if someone standing over his shoulder might whisper the answer. 'I don't really know how it happened. I really loved hockey but felt I was a little better at golf.'
Jon Mills
Jon Mills currently holds down the No. 6 spot on the Nationwide Money List.
These types of moments tend to characterize Jon Mills. There was no earth shattering moment, no visions appearing or challenges to over come, no old golf legends inspiring him. Golf and life just seems to flow for this first team All-American out of Kent State University.

After playing junior and high school golf Mills cruised to exceptional status at Kent State, the first school he visited, where he was a teammate of 2003 British Open champion Ben Curtis. In the dorms his sophomore year he met a nice girl who played on the basketball team, she is now his wife. He always revered his brother and sister and his parents Dave and Judy are among the rare supportive yet un-possessive types.
And now at 27-years-old, Mills has a quiet, secure demeanor that disarms people.
'He's a nice guy who always says hello in the locker room,' says Jeff Quinney who played with Mills on the Canadian Tour.
'He doesn't get mad, he doesn't get stressed. He's just flowing along. He's just a solid player, there's really not much else to say,' says six-year Nationwide Tour player Jason Caron.
'That's just the whole point,' proclaims Golf Channel Host Brian Anderson. 'Mills doesn't have an extraordinary presence. He's a humble guy from a great family. He doesn't look the part, he doesn't act the part. And all of a sudden, he unloads on it. He hits the ball a hundred miles. And he's not a big guy.'
And that's exactly what Kent State Head Coach Herb Page noticed the first time he saw Mills.
'I was way up in Berry, Ontario recruiting, I was actually up there watching Bryan DeCorso, and here's this Jon Mills kid,' says Page, a fellow Canadian who bellows with enthusiasm for his protg. 'I remember watching him hit balls, a real skinny little kid but he had power and I've never forgotten it. I said I'm going to keep an eye on him.'
Since then Page has become a lifetime friend and coach, and a fiercely loyal fan. 'The nice thing about Jon Mills is that he's such a great person. He's a better person than he is a golfer. And he's a hell of a golfer.'
Page says that the only challenge Mills faced in college was that he had some streaky putting for a spell, a minor weak point that with Coach Pages attention and some hard work, has turned into a consistency. Mills overall game has improved steadily every year since.
After college, Mills went straight to the Nationwide Tour and faltered, making only four cuts in 19 starts in 2002.
'I knew I might have gotten ahead of myself,' says Mills who speaks of his own 'development' in an incredibly measured sense. Mills joined the Canadian Tour, which quickly gave him the confidence he needed. He led the tour in 2003 and earned the Order of Merit becoming the first Canadian to win it since Mike Weir in 1997.
'Through it all he's never changed,' says Page. 'He's just a fine young man. Very low key, no ego. But I'm going to tell you the other thing. When he gets the lead, he's tough to beat.'
Today Mills is gaining that lead. He has launched himself to No. 6 on the Nationwide Tour money list with his win at last months Canadian PGA Championship in Cambridge, Ontario, all but securing his PGA Tour card.
The win on his home turf says something about Mills.
'Many guys crumble under the pressure of playing among hometown friends and family, but with Mills it inspired him,' says Golf Channel analyst and PGA Tour winner Curt Byrum. 'One thing is, Canada is always
looking for that guy. The new star coming out of Canada. It's huge; the whole nation gets behind you.'
Mills is willing to be that guy. 'I would love to get there. I liked the tournament at home, when they're totally behind you it's a pretty neat feeling. There aren't a lot of Canadians out there.'
But for now, Mills is enjoying his time and grateful to prove that he could play well one week and pull out a win the next. He admits it's definitely a little more relaxing now. He's just trying to maintain his focus and finish well this week at the Cox Classic, the Nationwide Tour's 19th event.

'He is a tremendous talent that is just beginning to be realized,' says Curt Byrum. 'There are guys that can pull of a win here and there, but he has that talent. You can't teach somebody length. The only thing that was missing was that win, and he got it.'
Related Links:
Jon Mills' Bio
Full Coverage - Cox Classic
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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.