Cink and Verplank Tabbed as Captains Picks

By Associated PressAugust 21, 2006, 4:00 pm
36th Ryder Cup MatchesMEDINAH, Ill -- Tom Lehman filled out the U.S. Ryder Cup team Monday by taking Stewart Cink and Scott Verplank as his captain's picks, hoping experience and accuracy will help his squad end a dozen years of European dominance.
Cink was a captain's pick two years ago, and the 33-year-old has been one of the few Americans to play well over the last two months in moving up to No. 12 in the standings.
Verplank was a surprise.
He was a top candidate to be a pick going into the PGA Championship because of his accuracy off the tee and his putting, along with his 2-1 record at The Belfry in 2002 when Verplank became the first Ryder Cup rookie to make the team as a pick.
But Verplank, 42, missed the cut at Medinah after taking two double bogeys over the final three holes. He finished 20th in the Ryder Cup standings and was picked over players like Lucas Glover (No. 14), Davis Love III (No. 15) and Tim Herron (No. 17).
Lehman said he had a short list of six players -- the two picks, Glover, Love, Steve Stricker and vice captain Corey Pavin. He didn't make his decision until Monday morning, and said the phone call to Glover was the toughest.
'Our team is unbelievably motivated to win,' Lehman said. 'I feel very confident with this team.'
It will be a largely unknown U.S. team that goes to The K Club in Ireland on Sept. 22-24 to try to beat Europe for the first time since 1999. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson easily qualified, and the top six are loaded with players familiar to these matches -- Jim Furyk, Chad Campbell, David Toms and Chris DiMarco.
But the bottom four are not exactly household names.
Vaughn Taylor has never played match play in his life. Also on the team is J.J. Henry and Brett Wetterich, who won PGA Tour events for the first time in their career over the last four months, along with Zach Johnson.
Missing from the U.S. team for the first time since 1993 is Davis Love III.
Love has played on every team -- Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup -- since 1993, the longest streak of any American. He was fourth in the standings at the start of the season, but has not finished in the top 10 since his runner-up finish to Geoff Ogilvy in the Accenture Match Play Championship at La Costa.
'Davis hasn't played well, plain and simple,' Lehman said. 'He's been injured. He's still slightly injured. With all the experience he has and all he has accomplished, I still want to have guys playing well.'
After two years of qualifying and two captain's picks, the U.S. team isn't much different from last time.
The 2004 team had five rookies and five players who had won on the PGA Tour that year. This American squad has four rookies, but seven players who have won in 2006.
The new points system was designed to emphasize playing well in the year of the matches, with a 75-point bonus for winning and quadruple points in the major championships.
But that only raised questions about Lehman's picks.
Cink hasn't won on the PGA Tour since the NEC Invitational two years ago, right after Hal Sutton picked him for the '04 team. He was a safe pick, and one of the few Americans who have shown any form the last two months with three top 5s. Cink tied for 24th at the PGA Championship, closing with a 69 while playing with Pavin.
Verplank last won at the 2001 Canadian Open, two weeks after Curtis Strange made him a captain's pick.
In the four majors this year, the captain's picks have only one top 10 between them -- Cink was 10th at the Masters.
Lehman relied heavily on a separate, unofficial list that awarded points to U.S. players in PGA Tour events, concerned that so many international players on tour made it difficult for Americans to finish in the top 10.
Cink was sixth on those standings, while Verplank was ninth.
Cink will be playing in his third Ryder Cup team. He has a 2-4-1 record and lost both his singles matches. Verplank was strong in 2002 at The Belfry, beating Lee Westwood in singles. He also is a former U.S. Amateur champion.
Verplank said he slept with his cell phone under the pillow, hopeful of a call from Lehman.
'I'm so pumped,' he said. 'To me, it's the premier event in the world. I haven't won a major -- maybe one day I'll get that done if Tiger takes a couple of years off or something. I don't know how you can have a better event than the Ryder Cup. I told Tom I was put on this earth to play in things like this.'
Europe's will be decided in two weeks, after the Bridgestone Invitational this week and the BMW International Open in Germany.
European captain Ian Woosnam was not surprised by the U.S. picks.
'Clearly, Tom's decision to go with experience provides the United States with balance, considering that there are four rookies in their team,' Woosnam said. 'Both have played Ryder Cup, World Cup and Presidents Cup golf for their country, and therefore will bring a lot of international experience to Ireland.'
Europe has captured the cup seven of the last 10 times. It won 18 1/2 -9 1/2 last time, its largest margin of victory ever.
Related Links:
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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.