Funk Eyes a Hawaiian Slam

By Associated PressJanuary 3, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007 Mercedes Benz ChampionshipKAPALUA, Hawaii -- Fred Funk kept pushing back his departure to Hawaii, leaving five days later than originally planned. Although most players can't wait to get to this tropical paradise, Funk was in no hurry.
He won't be leaving anytime soon.
There may be no better way to measure the success of the 51-year-old Funk than his golf schedule for the start of the new season. Barring a recurrence of back problems that hampered him last year, he will be the first player to compete four straight weeks in Hawaii.
The first two are on the PGA TOUR. The next two are on the Champions Tour.
'I'm calling it the Hawaii Slam,' Funk said. 'Not many guys have the opportunity to do this.'
Funk is the oldest player at the Mercedes-Benz Championship, courtesy of his victory last year in the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico, and he will stick around next week for the Sony Open in Honolulu. Then comes the MasterCard Championship, the season-opening Champions Tour event at Hualalai, followed by his title defense in the Turtle Bay Championship on Oahu.
'It would be neat if I could come over and win the Hawaii Slam, but I've got to get past this monster first,' Funk said of Kapalua, a 7,411-yard course that is playing longer because of recent rain.
Funk is not the only player to bounce between the PGA TOUR and the Champions Tour.
Jay Haas was still spending most of his time on the PGA TOUR at age 52 before he began concentrating on the senior circuit and reaped big success. But he never became eligible for the Mercedes as a senior; his last PGA TOUR victory came in Texas at age 39.
Craig Stadler won the B.C. Open at age 50 to qualify for the Mercedes, and he played three straight weeks in Hawaii in 2004. There was no Turtle Bay Championship that year.
That puts Funk in a class by himself, although he wants to do more than show up on the first tee.
When he first played the Champions Tour in 2006, Funk still was trying to make the Ryder Cup team. A year later, it was a long shot to make the Presidents Cup team, and even with winning in Mexico, he didn't get past the second round in the FedExCup playoffs. Playing only 10 times on the Champions Tour, he wound up 16th on the money list.
That left him searching for a different goal, and he came up with a doozy.
Funk plans to play a dozen or so times on the Champions Tour and at least 15 times on the PGA TOUR. His dream season would be to earn $2 million on each tour.
'Because I'm not playing enough to have a high-end goal on either tour -- such as the Ryder Cup, the Schwab Cup, the FedExCup -- I'll try to win $2 million on each tour. Last year, I was $3,000 short of winning $1 million on both. Last year, I had a horrible year as far as my physical being. I'm hoping my health will be OK, and I can do something like that.'
The more he talked about it, the more improbable it seemed. But he wants to give it a shot.
Playing 22 times on the PGA Tour last year, including his victory in Mexico at an opposite-field event, Funk earned just over $1.2 million. He figures if his back holds up throughout the year, he can find an extra $800,000 somewhere, especially if he picks his schedule to play courses suited for his short but accurate game.
The stretch might be $2 million on the Champions Tour.
Haas and Loren Roberts were the only players to surpass $2 million last year, and they combined to play 50 events. Prize money on the Champions Tour ranges from about $1.6 million to $2 million, meaning Funk might have to win seven times to reach $2 million playing such a limited schedule.
'I'd have to be Tiger Woods on the Champions Tour,' he said. 'It will be fun regardless. The biggest goal is to stay healthy and let it ride. I just threw those numbers out there as a fun number to go after. But it would be pretty fun if I could do it.'
Funk said he'll switch to a full Champions Tour schedule one of these years, but for now, he's enjoying the competition on both. He is a peashooter on the PGA TOUR -- Funk ranked 184th in driving distance last year -- and figures only a few dozen guys on the Champions Tour can hit it a mile.
The biggest difference?
'If you're playing well, I shouldn't finish out of the top 10 out there (on the Champions Tour),' he said. 'And I've got to play extremely good to finish top 10 out here, even top 30. But I still feel competitive. And that's the biggest thing.'
Mark Calcavecchia, 47, is the second-oldest player at Kapalua, coming off a year in which he won the PODS Championship and finished 13th on the money list.
He played with Funk the first two rounds in Mexico and said winning at that age anywhere is impressive.
'Winning a tournament on the PGA TOUR is a very hard thing to do for most mortals, and being an older guy ... it's nice to know we can still do it,' Calcavecchia said.
But don't look for Calcavecchia to double dip on the PGA and Champions tours when he comes of age.
'I've seen enough of these kids,' he said. 'I think I'll have a hell of lot more fun out there.'
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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.