Early Christmas Gift Tiger Honored by Peers
With seven victories and another major championship, Woods won the award Tuesday for the third straight season and the ninth time in his 11 years since he turned pro. The only questions now are whether he's playing his best golf, and how much better he can get.
'Is he spoiling everyone?' Brad Faxon asked after a pro-am round at the Target World Challenge. 'I don't see anyone close. I don't see who the next guy is.'
Phil Mickelson was the only other player on the PGA TOUR ballot with three victories, including The Players Championship. Woods won the money title by more than $5 million over Mickelson, and Woods' stroke average was 1.4 shots per round lower than Ernie Els.
But when asked to review his year, Woods spent a lot of time looking at lost shots.
He was tied for the lead at some point in the final round of the Masters and U.S. Open and was a runner-up in both of them by a combined three shots. And the only tournament he failed to win during the PGA TOUR Playoffs was at the Deutsche Bank Championship, where he took nine more putts than Mickelson in the final round and finished two back.
So while he won one fewer event and one fewer major in 2007, Woods considers it a better season than 2006.
'I had a great chance to win three of the four majors this year,' Woods said. 'I finished second in two of them. I was just a few shots away from basically doing what I did in 2000. What did I finish, second to Phil? And then the two major championships. If I get those done, get those squared away, people would probably be comparing it to 2000, if not better.'
The 2000 season has always been the benchmark for Woods, when he won nine of 20 starts on the PGA TOUR, including the final three majors. He won two of those majors by 23 shots, which is one reason that year draws so much attention.
But he was just as dominant at times, twice winning by eight shots.
'Every year has been an unbelievable year,' Jeff Sluman said. 'He's played well every week of every year.'
The only seasons Woods did not win the PGA TOUR player of the year award were in 1998 and 2004, both times when he was revamping his swing. Mark O'Meara won two majors in 1998, while Vijay Singh won nine times and a major in 2004.
'Not only has he won, but he won and dominated with three swings,' Sluman said, stopping to laugh at the preposterous nature of what he had just said. 'To make changes and still be effective is impressive. And for him to say, 'I need to be better,' after winning the Masters in 1997 ... I don't know of anyone else who could look themselves in the mirror after winning like that and say, 'I need to be better.''
Jay Haas was voted Champions Tour player of the year, while Nick Flanagan won the Nationwide award. The other PGA TOUR awards went to Steve Stricker, the first player to win comeback player of the year in consecutive seasons, and Brandt Snedeker, who won the rookie of the year for winning in Greensboro and reaching the FedEx Cup finale.
Woods had an astounding lead atop the world ranking after 2006, a 11.53 margin over Jim Furyk. His lead now is slightly larger, by 11.59 points, over Mickelson.
'I don't think it's getting closer,' Stricker said when asked about the gap between Woods and everyone else. 'Just playing with him toward the end of the season and watching what he does and what he's capable of doing kind of blows me away at times.'
Stricker recalled the first time he played with Woods, in 1997 at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Stricker was coming off a strong year in which he won twice. Woods was in his first full season on the PGA TOUR.
'I looked at him to see how I could stack up,' Stricker said. 'I didn't stack up very well then, and I don't stack up very well against him now, either. I've learned you can't compare yourself to him. No one can. You just have to go about your own business and try to shoot the lowest score possible.'
Even that might not have been enough this year.
This was the seventh time that Woods swept the three biggest awards on tour -- the Jack Nicklaus Trophy for player of the year, the Arnold Palmer Award for leading the money list ($10.8 million) and the Byron Nelson Award for lowest scoring average (67.79).
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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings
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.
Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut
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
Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements
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.”
Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back
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.