Captain Lehman Says to Ignore Current Form

By Associated PressSeptember 19, 2006, 4:00 pm
36th Ryder Cup MatchesSTRAFFAN, Ireland -- The Americans didn't exactly arrive in the best of shape for the Ryder Cup.
 
The best any of their five players managed at the final PGA TOUR event before the matches was Chris DiMarco in a tie for 39th at the 84 Lumber Classic, 11 shots out of the lead. Only two others even made the cut.
 
Over in England, Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk both were soundly beaten in the first round of the World Match Play Championship, not what anyone expected from the Nos. 1 and 2 players in the world.
 
Then they arrived in Ireland on Monday -- and it started raining.
 
It was enough to dampen brown tweed coats, but not enough to bother U.S. captain Tom Lehman.
 
'I've always contended that the best player always plays best in the biggest events,' Lehman said Monday after his team checked in to their rooms at The K Club to start a long week of practice and galas, before the Ryder Cup gets under way on Friday.
 
'I know from personal experience,' he said. 'I've played in the B.C. Open the week before the Ryder Cup and missed the cut by about 10 shots, then went out and had a great Ryder Cup. It's so easy to look beyond what you're doing last week to this week. So I don't put a great deal of significance in the fact a guy may not have played his best.'
 
Nor does he put much stock in Paul Casey winning at Wentworth, or Padraig Harrington and Jose Maria Olazabal finishing in the top 10 at the Madrid Masters, where Darren Clarke also posted two rounds in the 60s at his first tournament since his wife died.
 
The buildup begins Tuesday, when both teams begin to practice on what is now a soggy K Club.
 
Not only did the U.S. team fare poorly last week -- at least the seven guys who played -- it had a rough time getting to Ireland. The charter plane with nine players was delayed three hours because of excess luggage.
 
Considering how these matches have gone lately, Lehman can only hope it wasn't emotional baggage. Having lost four of the last five times, the Americans will try to beat Europe on its home soil for the first time since 1993.
 
'We brought more than our share of luggage,' Lehman said. 'We were trying to put together a puzzle, trying to fit all the stuff inside the plane. You could see the guys outside the plane in the windows going, 'How are we going to get all this stuff inside?' But they managed to do it. Our team is very excited we're coming back.'
 
Lehman brought his team to Ireland at the end of August for two days of practice, determined to end nearly two decades of frustration in the Ryder Cup. The weather should not have been surprising, because it also rained most of those two days.
 
Along with extra baggage, the Americans brought a new label to these matches -- underdogs.
 
Europe has only two rookies on this team -- Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson of Sweden -- and Casey gave his squad an emotional lift with his victory Sunday in the World Match Play Championship.
 
The Americans counter with a powerful 1-2-3 punch -- Woods, Phil Mickelson and Furyk -- but have four rookies on their team, two of whom never have competed in match play.
 
'The European team is extremely strong, and very, very strong from top to bottom,' Lehman said. 'Our team is very strong. We have four rookies that are always a bit of a question mark, although I believe that they are tremendous players. But at the end of the day, I think the European team based on the strength of their team, playing here in Ireland, would probably have to be favored.'
 
European captain Ian Woosnam said his players would still feel as though they have something to prove, but he sure didn't make them sound like anything but the favorites on home soil.
 
'We've got 12 great players this year, and this is probably the strongest team we've ever had,' he said. 'A lot of people have said their team is one of the weakest they have ever had, and I just don't agree with that. Guys that are on their team deserve to be on it. And you know what rookies are like. They come out and have nothing to prove.'
 
Europe knows what from experience.
 
Their rookies went 6-6-1 last time, getting clutch performances in team play from David Howell, Luke Donald and Casey.
 
Think back to 2002 at The Belfry, when Phillip Price knocked off Mickelson in a crucial singles match and Paul McGinley delivered the cup-clinching putt. Or to 1995 at Oak Hill, when Philip Walton and David Gilford won matches on the 18th hole that proved decisive.
 
'I think it's going to be a close contest,' Woosnam said.
 
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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.