Couples Norman to Serve as Captains

By Associated PressFebruary 26, 2008, 5:00 pm
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. --Greg Norman put aside his differences with the PGA TOUR and agreed to be captain of the International team at the Presidents Cup, joining Fred Couples of the United States as the first captains who have competed in the matches.
It will be held in October 2009 at Harding Park, a public course in San Francisco.
The announcement Tuesday shifts the Presidents Cup into a modern era of captaincy. Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player were captains at the last three competitions, and previous captains included Arnold Palmer, Ken Venturi, Hale Irwin, Peter Thomson and David Graham.
Couples was a natural fit as the face of these matches, which were patterned after the Ryder Cup and began in 1994.
He clinched victory for the Americans in the inaugural year with a spectacular 9-iron from the bunker to 2 feet, and two years later, his 35-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole in the last match secured another win.
In his fourth and final Presidents Cup, he made a 20-foot birdie on the last hole to beat Vijay Singh.
The surprise was Norman, who has been battling with PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem for more than a decade over the World Golf Championships and more recently, the tours finances.
Normans proposed world tour in 1994 never took root, and Finchem introduced the WGCs a few years later.
I think whats happened in the past is in the past, Norman said. If you sit on a board of any company, you dont want to have a friendly board. You need to have some bit of contentious, open discussion because not everybody is going to think exactly the same way. Tim and I have an open discussion about certain situations with the game of golf, whether its personal, whether its business.
The issues are always going to be there. Those issues have got nothing to do with The Presidents Cup.
Norman said Finchem asked him to be International captain at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, and he consulted Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Adam Scott.
His biggest issue will be finding a way to win.
The United States leads the series, 5-1-1, with the only International victory coming in 1998 in Australia. The tie came in South Africa in 2003, the first year Nicklaus and Player were captains together.
TOUR officials then were looking at Couples and Norman as the next captains, but decided on Nicklaus and Player again in 2005 as a way to settle the tie. The Americans won the next year, then won again in 2007 at Royal Montreal.
Couples is one of the most popular players in golf and figures to be the quintessential players captain.
He has expressed interest in being the Ryder Cup captain, although any hope probably ended in December when he said, I can promise you, theres 12 guys who dont want to do 75 percent of the stuff there. If youre a great captain, you should tell everyone youre not going to do 75 percent of the stuff.
The Presidents Cup is far more relaxed, and Couples jokingly suggested he would pick Michael Jordan and Robin Williams as assistants, one to tell stories of greatness, the other to tell jokes.
The Presidents Cup is a treat to play in, and it will be doubly to captain this thing, Couples said. As close as I am to these guys, I feel like Ill have fun with all of them, whether theyre 50th in the rankings or first.
Norman has played two of the last three weeks on the PGA TOUR, but is too consumed with his business and his engagement to tennis star Chris Evert to play much tournament golf.
Couples said he planned to play a full schedule each of the next two years, and noted he would be eligible for the Champions Tour right after the Presidents Cup ends.
Not in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen, Couples said.
Many thought Norman would be captain in 2011, when the Presidents Cup goes to Australia. Norman said he would like to be considered for that, too.
But under the circumstances, I thought the priority for me right now was to get into the captains seat, do the best job I could possibly do for the next less than two years now, and basically pull the team through for 2009, he said.
Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.”

Getty Images

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.