Awaiting Golf Hall of Famers

By Associated PressApril 20, 2004, 4:00 pm
World Golf Hall of FameThe next batch of inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame will be revealed Thursday, and the only hint from headquarters is that the four newest members will attend the announcement in Savannah, Ga.
 
That rules out Craig Wood, Henry Picard and Denny Shute.
 
And that doesn't seem right.
 
Wood (1901-1968) might have been the Greg Norman of his generation, minus the yacht and the swagger. Known by his peers as the 'Blond Bomber,' he won 20 times on the PGA Tour and in 1941 captured two majors, the Masters and U.S. Open, after years of close calls and bad luck.
 
Wood was the first player to be runner-up in all four majors, including at Augusta National in 1935, when he was the victim of golf's greatest shot. Gene Sarazen holed a 4-wood from the 15th fairway for double eagle, then beat Wood in a 36-hole playoff the next day.
 
Picard (1907-1997) had 28 victories on the PGA Tour, including the 1938 Masters and the 1939 PGA Championship. He also was an excellent teacher who spurred Ben Hogan on to greatness by helping eliminate his hook.
 
Shute (1904-1973) for years was the answer to a trivia question - the last player to win consecutive PGA Championships - until Tiger Woods repeated in 2000. Shute not only won the PGA in 1936-37, he counts the 1933 British Open at St. Andrews among his 15 victories, and he played on three Ryder Cup teams.
 
'Those things are so long ago that modern people don't think anything about it,' 92-year-old Byron Nelson said Monday from his home in Texas. 'Golf has become so big. They just don't look back that far.'
 
Nelson played with them all.
 
He beat Shute and Wood in a playoff to win the 1939 U.S. Open at Philadelphia Country Club.
 
And he doesn't understand why they are not in the Hall of Fame.
 
'They'll probably be put in one of these days,' Nelson said. 'They're a little slow about it.'
 
Those are only three names that continue to slip through the cracks as the World Golf Hall of Fame tries to move forward and backward at the same time.
 
Indeed, it can be a slow process.
 
'The dichotomy of new people being nominated and reconciling older players has been a challenge,' said Jack Peter, chief operating officer of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
 
'We want to be inclusive. But we also don't want to open the floodgates.'
 
Golf's first Hall of Fame opened in 1974 at Pinehurst. When no one showed up because hardly anyone could find it, the Hall found a second home in St. Augustine, Fla., in 1998 and has been trying to catch up ever since.
 
Annika Sorenstam's induction in October brought membership to 100, and there is a sense it should be larger.
 
Baseball has 258 members of the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown.
 
Football has 221 at Canton.
 
The trick for golf is figuring out how to recognize the past without forgetting the present.
 
A few years ago, former PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman and former Royal & Ancient secretary Michael Bonallack were selected through Lifetime Achievement. Still missing from the Hall of Fame are the likes of golf course architect Alister MacKenzie and equipment pioneer Ely Callaway.
 
Those who have come in through the Veteran's Category in recent years include Tommy Bolt, a curious choice since he won 15 times with only one major championship. The Hall of Fame does not include Willie Park Sr., who won the first British Open in 1860 and wound up with four Open titles.
 
Park is the only player with four majors not in the Hall of Fame.
 
Even the PGA Tour and international ballots - voted on by golf writers, Hall of Famers, the board of directors and an advisory panel - make for some difficult choices.
 
Relatively fresh faces who have come up short of the 65 percent of the vote needed to be elected include Curtis Strange, Tom Kite and Larry Nelson. Newcomers on the ballot this year include Davis Love III and Vijay Singh.
 
They are mixed in with Wood, Picard, Shute, Ken Venturi and Doug Ford, whose careers are vague memories to most. Some people make fun of Ford for showing up at the Masters to play one round (if that) and collect $5,000, but his record is no joke: the '55 PGA Championship, '57 Masters, 19 victories on tour, four Ryder Cup teams.
 
Another element unlike other sports is that golfers are eligible for election while still competing. Bernhard Langer was inducted two years ago. He was tied for the lead briefly in the final round of the Masters last week.
 
'It's not as simple as baseball, where you're retired for five years,' Peter said.
 
Finding a solution is not simple.
 
Peter said the board met last week and assembled a committee to review an election process created only 10 years ago. The Hall of Fame, much like the game it represents, is constantly evolving.
 
'We're trying to build Cooperstown,' Peter said.
 
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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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.