Crowded Leaderboard in Texas

By Associated PressMarch 30, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 Shell Houston OpenHUMBLE, Texas -- Jason Gore got a boost from the Rocket in the Houston Open.
 
Wearing a black Houston Astros cap that Roger Clemens gave him, Gore shot a 4-under 68 on Friday to join a six-player logjam at the top.
 
Defending champion Stuart Appleby, Bubba Watson, D.J. Brigman and Texans Bob Estes and Jeff Maggert also were 6 under after two rounds, and Hunter Mahan, Tommy Armour III and Tom Byrum were one shot back.
 
Gore, who has a Boston Red Sox jersey at home that Clemens once autographed, first formally met his boyhood idol two years ago at the ADT Skills Challenge and the two became friends.
 
'He's always been my hero,' Gore said.
 
Clemens, still undecided on whether he'll return to baseball, played in a pro-am on Wednesday and also gave Gore a T-shirt that read 'Tough All Day' across the front. The inspired Gore marked the letters 'TAD' on his ball before teeing off Thursday and shot a 2-under 70, his best round in more than a month.
 
'It's just one of those things,' Gore said of the simple message. 'No matter how bad things go, you've got to just stay tough.'
 
The mantra fit the blustery conditions Friday at the 7,457-yard Tournament Course at Redstone, hosting the event for the second year. Players backed off putts and avoided tricky pins all day because of the unpredictable gusts.
 
'I can stay as patient as anybody out there and I knew it was playing tough,' said Estes, who followed an opening 67 with a 71. 'It's tough to get the ball in play on a lot of holes, to even have a chance to play a conservative approach shot.'
 
Appleby followed a 66 with a 72 on Friday, failing to break 70 for the first time in six rounds at the new Redstone course.
 
'The wind was a real factor,' Appleby said. 'I didn't create many opportunities and when I did, I wasn't putting good enough.'
 
Watson's 67 was the lowest round of the day. He sank birdie putts of 24 and 30 feet and two-putted from 50 feet on the par-5 fifth after blasting a 350-yard drive.
 
The left-handed Watson leads the tour in average driving distance (313.5 yards) and is still learning to harness his power.
 
'When I'm at home, I hit driver everywhere. It doesn't matter where it goes,' said Watson. 'Sometimes, I get carried away, especially if I play bad the hole before. I always want to hit driver because I'm mad and ready to go.'
 
Watson missed seven of 14 fairways on Friday, but hit 14 of 18 greens in regulation. He needed only 28 putts, down from 33 on Thursday.
 
'I'm trying to learn the game, trying to learn what makes me good,' said Watson, whose best finish is a third-place tie in Tucson last year. 'I'm a lot better at this point than I was last year at this point. I just want a 'W.' Just get me a win.'
 
Brigman, who finished fourth on the Nationwide Tour last week, knocked a 3-wood to six feet for an eagle on the par-5 13th, but also had two bogeys he blamed on the wind. Like Estes, Brigman grew up in Texas and thinks he knows how to play through the gusts.
 
'Anytime we're in Texas, I feel pretty comfortable,' said Brigman. 'Wind is my friend. I'm kind of doing well with that this week.'
 
Maggert should feel even more at home. He lives 30 minutes away in The Woodlands, the leafy Houston suburb that hosted the event between 1975-2002.
 
Maggert finally feels healthy again after slipping on ice and cracking a rib in Colorado in December. He aggravated the injury in Phoenix in February and hasn't made a cut in three starts since returning.
 
'I feel like I'm just not getting comfortable with my golf swing,' Maggert said. 'No pain in the rib whatsoever.'
 
Tournament organizers said the players will tee off an hour early on Saturday and half the field will start on No. 10 because thunderstorms are forecast for the afternoon.
 
DIVOTS
Vaughn Taylor was tied for the lead before dumping two drives in the water on the par-4 5th hole and taking a quadruple bogey. ... The cut fell at 145, 1-over par. Notable players who missed it include Rocco Mediate (146), Jose Maria Olazabal (146), John Daly (148), Steve Elkington (148), Brad Faxon (149), Paul Azinger (151) and Michael Campbell (155). ... Former President George H.W. Bush and wife Barbara, who live in Houston, watched the tournament in folding chairs behind the 16th green.
 
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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.