Europeans Trying to Find Their Way

By Associated PressJuly 19, 2006, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship HOYLAKE, England -- The lengthening list of American winners at the British Open hurts the Europeans a little more each year.
Now they're convinced the pain will go away.
Darren Clarke
Ireland's Darren Clarke is one player hoping to end Europe's major drought.
From Sergio Garcia to Colin Montgomerie, Luke Donald to David Howell, Europe has its best chance in years to win golf's oldest major.
'We do have a lot of good European players right now,' Donald said. 'There's no question we're good enough to win a major.'
Paul Lawrie's victory at Carnoustie in 1999 is the only European triumph in 13 years, and that is an embarrassment bearing in mind the team's Ryder Cup successes over the Americans during that stretch.
Americans have won the Open nine times in the past 11 years, with only Lawrie and South Africa's Ernie Els (2002) breaking that streak. To add to the gloom, Lawrie's victory was the last by a European at any of the majors.
'It's frustrating to us, all the Europeans who feel like they should be winning that haven't won,' Donald said. 'I can't really answer why we haven't won a major for a while.
'You would have thought it suited our games, especially the British players who were brought up on this kind of golf course. But it hasn't worked out that way.'
Montgomerie, Padraig Harrington, Thomas Levet, Thomas Bjorn, Sergio Garcia and Ian Woosnam all were close to winning majors during the last five years. Some lost in playoffs, others by one stroke, and Woosnam's title chance went because he was penalized for having too many clubs in his bag.
Still looking for his first major, Montgomerie has been a runner-up five times, including last year's Open behind Tiger Woods at St. Andrew's and a tie for second behind surprise Australian winner Geoff Ogilvy at last month's U.S. Open at Winged Foot.
'To think that no European has won a major since 1999 is something that we're not very proud of here in Europe,' Montgomerie said. 'We'd like to change that as soon as possible.
'Why, I don't know. Lee Westwood was the only Englishman in the top 100 four or five years ago. Now there's got to be 20 Englishmen in the top 200.
'If we (Europeans) win one, we might win four or five in a row.'
Monty is probably the leading British challenger, although Donald, Howell, Darren Clarke, Paul Casey and Ian Poulter are also among the homegrown contenders.
Harrington is the leading Irish hope and Garcia, although his season has been patchy, produced four consistent rounds to finish in a tie for ninth at last week's Scottish Open.
That was won by Sweden's Johan Edfors, who captured his third title in four months to give himself a chance at a place on Europe's Ryder Cup team.
Casey isn't so convinced that the British Open favors European players.
'I'm not actually sure what favors a European player any more. We play all over the world now, so guys are used to playing in any type of condition, any type of golf course,' he said.
'I think the only think that increases the odds is the fact that we have got a lot of good young players and the old guys haven't really gone anywhere either.'
Winner of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles a month ago, Casey has returned to form at the right time after only three top-10 finishes during 2005. He now feels that he and several more Europeans are among the leading contenders here.
'They may have a few majors left in them, like the Montys and the Harringtons,' Casey said.
'Obviously, David (Howell) and Luke (Donald) would be my two picks from the younger guys. They've played some spectacular golf, better golf than I have over the past few years.
'And I think it's only a matter of time, with a bit of luck.'
Related Links:
  • Tee Times - 135th Open Championship
  • Course Tour - Royal Liverpool
  • Full Coverage - 135th Open Championship
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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.