Eighth Hole at Oakmont More Than a Par 3

By Associated PressJune 12, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 U.S. OpenOAKMONT, Pa. -- Golfers would do well to stock up before reaching No. 8 at this week's U.S. Open. Grab some water, a few bananas, maybe an energy bar.
 
Better yet, hire a Sherpa.
 
No. 8 at Oakmont Country Club is a 288-yard par 3 and, no, that's not a misprint. It's the longest par 3 in major championship history, and it's going to give the Open field quite a test -- not to mention a workout.
 
'It's probably our best chance of making birdie, a short par 4,' Sergio Garcia said Tuesday, drawing laughs. 'Hitting woods into a par 3 is never fun. ... There's nothing you can really do about it. You just play it, try to hopefully make a 3.'
 
The U.S. Golf Association has long taken pride in making its Open courses the toughest of the majors. The fairways are traditionally narrow, the greens are quick and the thicker the rough, the better. John Daly was so exasperated by the setup at Pinehurt in 1999 that he vowed he'd never play a U.S. Open again.
 
And he's won a British Open.
 
'We have a philosophy that we really want to test players,' said Marty Parkes, a USGA spokesman. 'You've got to really think your way around the golf course.'
 
Thinking is one thing. Pulling out driver on a par 3 is another.
 
'It's a bit longer than I would picture as an ideal par 3,' defending champ Geoff Ogilvy said. 'I'm not a big fan of drivers and 3-woods into the par 3 with no wind. If it blows into the wind, no one is going to get there in one.'
 
The USGA didn't turn No. 8 into a par 3 1/2 just to be mean, though.
 
The hole was 252 yards back when Oakmont hosted its first U.S. Open in 1927, and the distance didn't change the six times the major returned. When the U.S. Amateur was played at Oakmont in 2003, though, players treated the hole as if it had a windmill and a waterfall on it.
 
'We started watching players in the Amateur routinely hit 2-irons, 4-irons, 5-irons. A few of us shook our heads and said, this doesn't need to be done for the Open,' said Mike Davis, the USGA's senior director of rules and competition who sets up the Open courses.
 
So the tee box was pushed back. Waaay back. The previous longest par 3 was the 262-yard No. 17 at Interlachen at the 1930 U.S. Open, according to Rand Jerris of the USGA.
 
Oakmont's No. 8 is now so long that spectators who don't know the course could easily mistake it for a par 4. The shortest par 4 on the course is, in fact, only 25 yards longer. A second group of marshals had to be added to the hole because the ones around the green couldn't see those on the tee signaling when balls were hit.
 
'We thought this distance would really put 1-irons, 3-woods, even drivers back in the players' hands,' Davis said. 'If we have a few players that just cannot get it there, so be it.'
 
During Monday and Tuesday's practice rounds, only the longest hitters hit irons off the tee. Most used their 3-woods or hybrids, and a few even pulled out drivers. Still, balls were landing anywhere from 10 to 30 yards short of the green.
 
When Trevor Immelman reached off the tee, the crowd roared -- not the typical response for a tee shot on a par-3.
 
'You don't know what to call it. It's probably a par 3 1/2 , so the USGA is going to round up or down,' Phil Mickelson said. 'Well, we know what way that is going to go.'
 
Though its length makes it daunting, the USGA did have some compassion. The tee is slightly elevated, and the fairway is straight and not very narrow. The green is one of the largest on the course, and it's fairly flat.
 
There is, though, a bunker off the left front of the green.
 
'I've hit 3-wood there from the back tee,' Tiger Woods said. 'Even into the wind, I can still reach the front edge with a 3-wood.'
 
The original tee box is still in play, too, so the hole can be shortened to 252 yards if the wind and weather calls for it.
 
But don't count on it. The weather the rest of the week is for clear, sunny skies, and few players even bothered teeing off from the shorter distance during practice rounds.
 
'If you make 4, you're not really losing a lot of ground. There's not going to be many 2s there,' Garcia said. 'Hopefully you make your 3 and run to the next tee. Get out of there as quickly as possible.'
 
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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.