Greg Norman weighs in on Tiger-Phil Rivalry

By Associated PressApril 1, 2009, 4:00 pm
2007 Shell Houston OpenHUMBLE, Texas ' Greg Norman thinks Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are equal in every category, except when it comes to Woods ability to sink long putts under pressure.
 
Tiger Woods, to me, is the best clutch putter Ive ever seen in the game of golf, said Norman, whos playing in this weeks Shell Houston Open. I think Tigers got him on the mental edge and Tiger has got him outside 9 feet. That would be my assessment of the two.
 
Woods sank a 12-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole at Bay Hill last Sunday to beat Sean OHair. Norman, the worlds No. 1 player for 331 weeks between 1986-98, said only Jack Nicklaus rivals Woods when it comes to sinking putts when they matter most.
 
I think he and Nicklaus are equal inside 6 feet, Norman said. Outside 9 feet, Woods is by far the best youve ever seen play the game.
 
Norman shared a dais with Fred Couples in a wide-ranging interview session at Redstone on Wednesday. The two will captain the opposing teams in the Presidents Cup in October.
 
Both say its too early to break down the points standings and project which players will make their teams. Norman said hell play practice rounds with a few leading candidates for the international squad next week at Augusta.
 
Couples, meanwhile, said Woods sent him an amusing text message about making the U.S team after winning on Sunday.
 
The other day, I congratulated him, Couples said. He said, Yeah, I got a lot of Ryder Cup points. I said, Thats really nice of you, but its the Presidents Cup this year. (He said), I know what year it is.
 
Woods sat out the Ryder Cup last year as he recovered from knee surgery. The United States beat Europe convincingly without him and Couples said hes heard some suggest that the team might play better without the No. 1 player.
 
Couples said Woods addressed that notion in a text message, too.
 
Do you want me on your team? My knee can be bad that week. You guys won the Ryder Cup, Couples said, relaying the message. Its all fun stuff, but I need him on the team.
 
If Woods hadnt won at Bay Hill, Mickelson wouldve had a chance to overtake him this week for the No. 1 world ranking. Couples and Norman expect the two stars to end up going head-to-head down the stretch at Augusta.
 
Next week, its going to be the Tiger and Phil show, Norman said, because the golf course sets up perfectly for both those players.
 
Couples said Woods victory last week re-established him as the worlds top player, even though Mickelson has six top-10 finishes since Woods had knee surgery after winning last years U.S. Open.
 
I dont really know the facts and figures of how you become No. 1 when a guy hasnt played for six, seven months, Couples said. Phil would have won another couple tournaments and passed him. Yeah, I think at that time, he (Phil) may have been the better player, but Tiger has been the best player for eight years or however long. So it was a little misleading.
 
If the Presidents Cup ends in a tie, as it did in 2003 in South Africa, Norman suggested that he and Couples should have a duel of their own, a 1-on-1 sudden-death playoff to decide the winner.
 
Couples endorsed the idea.
 
Well sit around for seven days and go play, Couples said. Wow. That would be good, though.
 
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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.