Defending Champ Cabrera Kicks the Habit

By Associated PressJune 11, 2008, 4:00 pm
2008 U.S. OpenSAN DIEGO -- If Angel Cabrera is smoking again this week at Torrey Pines Golf Course, it will be his golf game that's red-hot and not the Lucky Strikes and Camels.
 
The 38-year-old Argentinean has snuffed out his cigarette habit since winning last year's U.S. Open at Oakmont, where he famously declared, 'There are some players that have psychologists. I smoke.'
 
He's no longer playing between puffs.
 
'I'm feeling much better now that I don't smoke,' Cabrera said after a practice round Tuesday. 'But my life goes on whether I smoke or not, so I don't really care much about it.'
 
And he doesn't concern himself with the decision to exempt players and caddies from the no-smoking policy at Torrey Pines, where the only other puffs this weekend will be from hot dogs grilling or the fog rolling in off the Pacific Ocean.
 
Cabrera, who's hoping his splendid combination of length and accuracy off the tee helps him master the picturesque cliff-top course, said he hasn't compensated for the cigarettes in any way.
 
'No, not really. Everything is still the same,' he said. 'Just without the smoking.'
 
Actually, one thing is different since he kicked the habit: he hasn't won since holding off Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk for a one-stroke victory at last year's Open.
 
He's hoping to recapture that magic this week, and he thinks he has the game to tame golf's toughest test yet again, which this year measures a record 7,643 yards.
 
'Yes, I think that it helps long hitters, it favors long hitters,' Cabrera said. 'But it's a U.S. Open golf course and you have to be straight off the tee.'
 
That, he usually is.
 
'My game is in very good shape, especially the long game. I'm working on my putting, trying to improve a little bit. Hopefully I have,' Cabrera said.
 
He tested out a new putter Tuesday in hopes of finding a solution to his short game woes.
 
'I'm having a rough time on my putting right now. So I'm trying different things, different putters,' Cabrera said. 'I have two putters, the one that I used last year at Oakmont and a new one. So I'll see. The one that feels best I'm going to play on Thursday.'
 
One thing Cabrera hopes is a carbon copy of last year is his steely nerves, even without the nicotine assist.
 
'I think that the most important thing that I did last year was having a lot of patience on the golf course, specifically on the third day,' Cabrera said. 'The third day things went rough for me and having patience and waiting, I think that was the key. So, I hope to do the same thing this year.'
 
After firing a third-round 76 last year, Cabrera rebounded with a 69 on Sunday, when he went toe-to-toe with Woods and Furyk on the leaderboard and prevailed, becoming the first champion to shoot 76 and win the Open since Johnny Miller did it in the third round in 1973, also at Oakmont.
 
If Cabrera can recapture that performance and defend his title at Torrey Pines, there will be another big bash waiting for him back home like the one thrown in his honor in Argentina a year ago.
 
'There was a parade, and also the celebrations lasted for a couple of days,' Cabrera recalled. 'It was very big for Argentina, not only for Cabrera, but also for the country.'
 
Of course, there would be no victory cigar this time, at least not one that's lit.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Open
  • 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.