Big names playing Scottish Open for major prep

By Associated PressJuly 6, 2011, 1:01 pm

INVERNESS, Scotland – A host of the world’s leading players will flock to the Scottish Open this week to test their links game on the recently opened Castle Stuart course in preparation for the British Open.

Hoping to experience conditions similar to those that will greet them at Royal St. George’s next week for the third major of the year, top-ranked Luke Donald will be joined in the north of Scotland by four other players in the top 10: Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell and American pair Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar.

They’ll be among a field bidding to wrest the title from Italy’s Edoardo Molinari, who is defending the trophy he won at Loch Lomond.

“We hardly ever play links golf and it’s very different to what I play week in, week out,” Donald said. “It takes some time to adjust to where to land the ball, those chip-and-run shots you get a lot.

“To get in an extra week of practice on links in tournament conditions under pressure is very helpful. I’m sure it will be good preparation.”

As popular as the Loch Lomond course is – and it has held the Scottish Open for the past 15 years – it is a parkland venue and was never regarded as a genuine taster for the British Open the following week.

Mickelson was the only top-10 player in last year’s event but there is more star quality 12 months on, although U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy and the injured Tiger Woods won’t be present at the $4.8 million event.

Organizers say they have made fairways wide open with birdie and eagle opportunities aplenty, but tough weather conditions for the Scottish coast – which have been forecast – could play havoc, especially on the many unsheltered parts of the par-72 course that was only fully opened last year.

“If the wind keeps going, it’s going to be a decent test of golf,” reigning champion Molinari said. “It’s not going to be level-par winning, but it’s not going to be 25-under par winning either.”

Donald and Westwood will renew their battle for the No. 1 spot, with Westwood knowing he’ll supplant his fellow Englishman with a victory, or even a top-five finish depending on where Donald ends up.

Westwood is in the same group as Molinari for the first two rounds while No. 6-ranked Mickelson, with only one tournament victory since winning The Masters last year for the third time, is joined by three-time major winner Padraig Harrington.

“Starting here at the (Scottish Open), I will be playing almost every week in big events and trying to get a level of play out of my game that hasn’t been there as often as I would like,” said Mickelson, who was at Wimbledon to watch the men’s singles tennis final on Sunday.

“I love playing the week before a major and getting acclimatized. I feel my game is right there and Loch Lomond was great. But playing at a links-style course the week before the British Open is an ideal way to get ready.”

There was heavy rain at Castle Stuart for the pro-am on Wednesday and more showers and wind are expected through to the weekend.

“Like most links courses, how difficult it plays will be determined by the weather,” Westwood said. “The weather is a bigger variable than most other tournaments because the tide changes and things like that.

“But this is excellent preparation. It’s a great setting.”

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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.

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Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

“Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

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“We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010.