Congressional Offers Major Feeling

By Associated PressJune 8, 2005, 4:00 pm
BETHESDA, Md. -- Eight of the top 10 players in the world are in the field, and the venue is the challenging Blue Course at the posh Congressional Country Club, home of U.S. Opens past and future.
 
This year, for a change, the Booz Allen Classic has everything you'd want in a major -- except Tiger Woods.
 
'Coming back brings back memories of a major championship,' said Phil Mickelson, who played in the U.S. Open here in 1997 and plans to do so again six years from now. 'Coming here in 2011 is exciting for us. Everyone is excited to be here, and it does feel like a major.'
 
Vijay Singh and Ernie Els
Vijay Singh and Ernie Els are just two of the big names on hand this week.
Major enough to attract players such as Spain's Sergio Garcia, who never played this event when it was at the much-maligned TPC at Avenel, located about a mile down the road. Garcia bypassed Jack Nicklaus' farewell appearance at the Memorial last week so he could focus on coming here to experience the tight fairways, thick rough, small greens and the diabolical signature No. 17 downslope approach shot to a hard-to-hit peninsula.
 
'What a back nine we have here. It's amazing,' Garcia said after Wednesday's pro-am. 'I remember watching in '97. I wanted to come and play Congressional. It was a good opportunity to play a course with so much history. I didn't want to take the chance of missing this week.'
 
Ditto Retief Goosen, who will try to defend his U.S. Open title next week in Pinehurst, N.C.
 
'I think the guys would like to play this type of golf course more often,' said Goosen, also making his Booz Allen debut. 'I think this is a true test of your golf. You really cannot get away with any bad part of your game around here.'
 
The course and the calendar have made for a rare confluence of circumstances for a tournament that usually struggles to attract big names. The Booz Allen has historically been known for producing first-time winners from second-tier fields.
 
'There's probably a half-dozen to a dozen guys who usually don't play the week before a major who are playing this week because of where it is,' Chris DiMarco said. 'It's a great test for next week.'
 
Woods is the notable exception. Even the temptation of Congressional wasn't enough to get him to break his long-standing routine of taking the week off before a major. David Toms is the other top-10 player not in the field.
 
Booz Allen received permission to play at Congressional this year to give the PGA Tour time to renovate Avenel, but no work has been done and none will be done by the time the event returns there next year. That has not been a welcome development for Booz Allen Hamilton chairman Ralph Shrader, who must decide next year whether he wants his company to continue sponsoring the tournament.
 
Shrader and PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem met Tuesday night to discuss the matter, with Finchem outlining a possible timetable for renovations after the 2006 tournament.
 
The only top player who might prefer to be at Avenel is Adam Scott, who won last year's tournament by four strokes. Scott has the strange sensation of defending a title on a course he has never played.
 
'It would have been nice to go back to Avenel,' Scott said. 'But this is a great course, a great field. It's going to a be tough week to defend the title.'
 
The more fitting defending champion -- the defending Congressional champion, actually -- is Ernie Els, who won his second U.S. Open title in 1997.
 
'I was 27, and it seems like just yesterday,' Els said. 'I remember a lot of shots I made, and when I made the putt at 18, it's probably the most emotion I've ever shown.'
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Booz Allen Classic
  • Full Coverage - Booz Allen Classic
     
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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.