Crane still on top at St. Jude; play stopped again

By Associated PressJune 8, 2014, 12:44 am

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Ben Crane has waited so long to contend for another PGA Tour title that being patient through weather delays is no problem at all.

Staying atop the leaderboard into the third round helps.

Crane went more than 28 hours between competitive shots because of weather delays, and he was at 13 under with a four-stroke lead through six holes Saturday when another storm stopped play again at the St. Jude Classic.

''What an opportunity I have,'' Crane said. ''Certainly at the beginning of the week I never thought I would have been here, so I'll just try to go home, relax, get some food in me and sleep as fast as I can because we got to come back out at 7 a.m. and restart tomorrow.''

Troy Merritt, a group ahead of Crane, was at 9 under, with playing partner Peter Malnati at 8 under. Billy Horschel, Retief Goosen and Camilo Villegas were 7 under on their front nines.

Phil Mickelson, who hasn't won in 19 straight events dating to the British Open, had pars on each of his first nine holes and was at 5 under. He's one of many players using the event to tune up for the U.S. Open next week at Pinehurst.

Play stopped at 6:49 p.m. with officials hoping to have the leaders tee off for the final round by 9:10 a.m. Sunday, if they can avoid a fog delay like the one that delayed the start of play for an hour Saturday morning.

A storm Thursday forced 60 players to wrap up the first round Friday, and only 32 finished the second before two delays, the second for a thunderstorm that left water standing in fairways, bunkers and cart paths. The third round finally started at 3 p.m. with threesomes going off both tees. At least fans got to stick around all of Saturday afternoon after being sent home early the past two days.


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Crane didn't tee off until 4:50 p.m. Saturday after finishing up his second round at 12:18 p.m. Friday.

But this is Crane's 300th career PGA Tour start, even though his last win was in 2011 at the McGladrey Classic. Crane said he can't remember playing with a lead this late in a tournament, it's been so long.

He is putting well here this week, and he birdied his first hole to go to 13 under for the tournament as he rolled in a nearly 19-footer on the par-4 first. After hitting his approach into the rough behind the green on No. 2, Crane made a 12-footer to save par.

''Those are kind of critical putts right now, kind of keep the momentum going,'' Crane said.

Merritt, who did not make a start on tour in 2012 or 2013 and missed his first six cuts this year, is the closest to Crane.

''Anything can happen on the final day when we've seen six-shot leads falter on the last day,'' Merritt said. ''If you can stay within a couple shots, that would be great. Anything can happen on Sunday on the PGA Tour.''

Mickelson tied for 49th last week in the Memorial following a visit from FBI agents and lingering questions about an insider-trading investigation. He never teed off at all Friday with the horn blowing for the second time with him at the No. 1 tee.

He said he couldn't hit his irons close enough or his putts in his second round. He started bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie, though he birdied Nos. 14 and 15 to get to 5 under. He rolled in a 16-footer to save par on the par-5 16th and wasn't happy at missing a birdie opportunity with the pin at the front of the green.

''I had a chance to get up and down,'' Mickelson said. ''I think if I had birdied 16 I might have gotten one more with a little bit of momentum. ... I'm certainly not that far back, but I do need to get off to a quick start. I got to get a good front nine here this third round and get off to a fast start.''

Divots: Local favorite John Daly was among 71 making the cut at even par. Defending champ Harris English missed the cut along with Patrick Reed, Lee Westwood and David Toms, a two-time champ here. ... David Duval withdrew after seven holes in his second round. He was at 7 over for the tournament. He was the 10th to withdraw since this event started.

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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.