Donald Tackles New Venue in Title Defense

By Associated PressFebruary 27, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 Honda ClassicPALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Being the defending champion of a golf tournament has plenty of advantages.
 
Luke Donald isn't experiencing many of them this week.
 
He won't have the chance to strike the same 5-iron from 199 yards on the 72nd hole, a shot to 4 feet that sealed his two-stroke win over Geoff Ogilvy in last year's Honda Classic. He won't be able to see the final six greens and draw upon the experience of one-putting them all in the final round on the way to that victory.
 
All those memories came from The Country Club at Mirasol -- just across the street from the Honda's new home, PGA National.
 
And it's a safe bet that few will miss Mirasol more over the next few days than Donald.
 
'I like this golf course,' Donald said Tuesday. 'Obviously, I liked Mirasol as well, but the way they've set up the golf course is good. It demands a lot of accuracy off the tee and you really have to play good golf. It's not easy.'
 
Even though the native Englishman is a homeowner here now -- he lives about a 10-minute drive from the gates of PGA National -- Donald hasn't played the course that Tom and George Fazio designed and Jack Nicklaus redesigned in 1990 all that often. He's been around twice; once earlier this year before heading out to Pebble Beach, then nine holes Sunday and nine holes Monday, plus is set to play in a pro-am Wednesday.
 
Donald isn't the only one trying to learn the nuances of PGA National.
 
'Being here, where I haven't been before, I want to get a couple of practice rounds in,' said world No. 2 Jim Furyk. 'It makes for a long week when you don't know the course that well.'
 
A new home isn't the only change for the Honda this week.
 
It's serving as the opener of the PGA's Florida Swing, taking the spot that Doral traditionally held on the schedule; the CA Championship, as Doral's event is now known, will be March 22-25 and ends the four-week Florida stretch that also includes the Tampa Bay Championship in Palm Harbor and Bay Hill in Orlando.
 
'You play tournaments you feel you're going to do well at,' said Donald, the world's No. 10 player in the latest rankings who's playing for the fourth straight week. 'You try to sequence them where you're playing two or three events in a row and then have a little bit of time off.'
 
The early portion of Donald's 2007 season has been up-and-down, with a seventh-place finish at the season-opening Mercedes Championships and then a tie for second at the Sony Open the following week. But those results were followed by consecutive missed cuts at Pebble Beach and the Nissan Open earlier this month -- the first time he missed back-to-back weekends in PGA TOUR events since 2003.
 
He lost in the second round of last week's Accenture Match Play, falling to Aaron Baddeley.
 
'My game feels very good,' Donald said. 'Obviously, not the greatest results the last few weeks, but I'm very close to playing at my best again. I think it just needs a little momentum, a couple shots here or there to go my way and I'll be firing on all cylinders. On the range, my game feels very, very good.'
 
Another win would make it feel that much better, even if PGA National isn't yet giving him the same sort of feelings that Mirasol provided.
 
'I think this course suits my game,' Donald said, 'so I'm excited to play.'
 
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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.