Donald Blows Chance for Backing Up Talk

By Associated PressAugust 20, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 PGA ChampionshipMEDINAH, Ill -- If Luke Donald wants to be No. 1, he's going to have to do better than this.
With a chance to make a big splash by beating Tiger Woods and winning his first major title, the Englishman instead faded into the background at the PGA Championship on Sunday. While Woods was hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy, Donald scuffled to a three-way tie for third place.
'I felt like I played OK today,' said Donald, who shot a 2-over 74. 'I really didn't feel like I played badly, and I'll learn from this and be a stronger player after.'
There's only one problem. Donald has said things like that before.
At 28, in his fifth year on tour, he is eager to be in that elite group of players considered the very best at what they do. Tiger. Phil Mickelson. Retief Goosen. Ernie Els. Vijay Singh. But until this spring, he was little more than another young, underachiever.
Oh, sure, he won an NCAA title at nearby Northwestern in 1999 and led Britain and Ireland to victory in the Walker Cup two years later. He's also played on a Ryder Cup team.
But until he won the Honda Classic in March, his only PGA Tour victory was the Southern Farm Bureau Classic in 2002, which was held opposite the Tour Championship and shortened to 54 holes because of rain.
After winning the Honda, Donald said he needed an attitude adjustment. If he wanted to be as good as Woods, he needed to start believing he was. While it didn't show at the Masters or either Open, he finally seemed to have found a formula that worked this week.
He had a share of the lead after both the second and third rounds to earn a Sunday pairing with Woods. Never mind that Woods was 11-0 at majors when he had at least a share of the 54-hole lead.
'This is where I want to be,' Donald said Saturday. 'This is what I need to do if I want to realize that dream and try to become the best player in the world.'
While Mike Weir and Adam Scott got off to quick starts, it was Donald who had the best chance to put pressure on Woods.
Instead, he quickly became the latest player to get lost in Woods' wake.
Bogey-free Friday and Saturday, he was birdieless on Sunday.
'Me being 1-over through six and he was 4-under, that was the difference,' Donald said.
Donald's trouble started on the par-4 No. 4, when his tee shot landed in a muddy divot. His next shot landed in rough behind the green. He chipped out, but the ball died when it hit the green. He still had a chance to save par, but his putt hit the back edge of the cup and rimmed out.
The bogey was his first in 40 holes, going back to the first round.
Birdie putts on the next two holes lipped out, too. By the time they made the turn, Woods was five strokes ahead and on his way to his 12th major title.
'It's a little deflating,' Donald said. 'Had those went in, it might have been a different story.'
The worst was on No. 6. Though Donald was in rough off the tee again, he punched out and landed on the green next to Woods. They both had 40-footers, with Donald going first. His putt looked good, but it hit the back of the cup and banged out.
Woods went next and drained his.
'That would have been a huge boost to me,' Donald said. 'If I had snuck in a birdie there, that might have got me going a little bit.'
After another bogey on 10, Donald played the rest of the round solidly. But he wasn't as aggressive as he needed to be playing from behind, and couldn't make up any ground.
Not even the hometown support could help.
Donald still lives in Chicago, and he was greeted all week with cheers of 'Go, Northwestern!' 'Go, Wildcats' or, simply, 'LUUUKE!' That's the kind of reception usually reserved for guys like Woods or Mickelson.
But Donald needs more of Woods' game than his gallery.
'I feel like I played pretty solidly considering this was my first real time in contention, playing the last group on Sunday,' he said. 'Even though I shot 74, I felt like I played a lot better. I'm hopefully going to come back with encouragement and know that if I get in that position again, I'm not going to hit bad shots.
'I'm going to hit good, solid shots, and hopefully a few more putts will drop.'
Until then, Donald's dream of being among the best will stay just that.
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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.