Gay Captures First Career Title

By Associated PressFebruary 24, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007 Mayakoba Golf ClassicPLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mxico -- Brian Gays 8-year-old daughter had it on good authority that her father would earn his first PGA Tour victory Sunday.
The defending champs 12-year-old son told her so Saturday night.
Although Gay didnt know about the prediction, he did a nice job making it hold up, shooting a 1-under 69 in the final round to win the Mayakoba Golf Classic by two shots over Steve Marino.
The PGA TOURs second annual visit south of the border became Gays to lose when he closed the third round with birdies on five of the last six holes. He took a five-stroke lead into the final round and led by at least four throughout the first 16 holes Sunday. Marino moved a shot closer on each of the last two holes, but all it changed was the margin of victory.
Even though I had a big lead, it was tough just trying to not make mistakes, you know, just trying to make pars and get the ball in the center of the green, Gay said.
In his 293rd career start, the 36-year-old Gay finally was a winner; only 12 active players have entered more events without breaking through. Hes the first first-time winner on tour this year.
Its been a long time, obviously, a lot of hard work, he said. So this is really a big, big relief to finally do it.
Then again, Taylor Funk'whose dad, Fred, won the inaugural event'knew it was going to happen after Gays birdie flurry Saturday. At the hotel pool a few hours later, he told Makinley Gay, Your dads going to win.
Makinley told her mom, Kimberly, who then decided to keep that story between them to avoid adding to the pressure Daddy already felt. That may have been a good idea considering Gay didnt exactly storm to victory on a hot, hardly windy day that seemed ideal for scoring low.
He was even through 10 holes, offsetting a pair of birdies with a pair of bogeys, but was still comfortably ahead because none of the other contenders made a move. He went back under par for the day with birdies on 11 and 13.
Marino, however, birdied 11, 13 and 14, getting within four strokes with four holes left.
Gays tee shot on 16 went in the bunker and his chip was well short of the pin. If he was going to crack, this was going to be it. Instead, he saved par by sinking a putt from at least 30 feet. In a rare display of emotion, Gay even gave a little fist pump. He breathed a little easier when he got on the 17th green in two shots; although he three-putted, he still figured the tournament was his.
The notion really hit him as he walked toward the 18th green, receiving the traditional cheers for the champion.
It was different than I thought it would be, Gay said. Working so hard all day, I had a hard time just letting it go and really enjoying it.
Gay finished at 16-under 264, one stroke better than Funks winning score last year, when Gay tied for 41st.
Marino, who closed with a 66, finished two strokes back. John Merrick, the leader after each of the first two rounds, and Matt Kuchar tied for third at 268.
I just didnt really make enough putts to put any serious heat on Brian, said Marino, who was eighth here last year.
Crowd favorite Esteban Toledo of Mexico wasnt able to match his Saturday surge, shooting a 72 to tie for 11th.
Short off the tee but terrific with a putter, Gay never struggled for victories until moving up to golfs highest level. Hes the only two-time winner of the SEC championship and he helped Florida win the national title in 1993. He won nine of 40 mini-tour starts in 1995, but didnt become a regular on the PGA TOUR until 1999. Until this weekend, his best finish was a pair of ties for second.
One of those came at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, which hes long considered his favorite tournament. Part of his affinity is for the members, who have practically adopted him because he was born in Fort Worth.
Alas, Hogans Alley now moves to second on his list, behind Mayakoba and the 6,923-yard El Camaleon course designed by Greg Norman. After all, Gay shot the lowest round of his career (62, Saturday) and collected his biggest paycheck ($630,000, nearly double his previous best).
I guess this has to be my favorite now that I won, Gay said, laughing.
The only downer might be that he didnt stare down the PGA TOUR's best, as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and 62 others were at the Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona.
But to Gay, a win is a win. Like all other PGA TOUR winners, he gets a spot in the champs-only Mercedes-Benz Championship in Hawaii next year and is exempt through 2010.
It doesnt matter who was here or whats the purse or anything like that, he said. Its just a matter of the fact that I was able to go out and do it and finally get a win.
He even has a new 100-pound limestone chameleon trophy to prove it.
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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.