Harman wins Deere, gets British Open exemption

By Associated PressJuly 13, 2014, 10:31 pm

SILVIS, Ill. - Brian Harman admitted he felt the pressure.

The 27-year-old, in his third full season on the PGA Tour, hadn't been in the final twosome in the final round until Sunday. He held the lead entering the final round of the John Deere Classic, and looked at the scoreboard after hitting a poor shot into the eighth green.

''I saw the guys were playing well, so that's when I felt it, but I was able to hit three really good shots on No. 9 to birdie, and that kind of got me going,'' Harman said.

He kept going all the way to his first victory on the Tour, using three straight birdies down the stretch to hold off Zach Johnson by one stroke.

Harman had a 5-under 66 in the final round for a 22-under 262 total to earn $846,000 and the last exemption for next week's British Open. Johnson had the best round of the day at 7-under 64.

''It was very hard, probably one of the hardest things I've ever tried to do in my life,'' Harman said. ''Just trying not to let your mind run wild is the hardest part out there.''


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Two years ago, Harman played with Johnson in a late pairing of the Deere that Johnson won, and learned a great deal about how to handle the heat.

''I talked to Zach about it, and he felt I was trying to get out of his way a little too much and that I needed to stake my ground a little bit,'' Harman said.

He did so Sunday beginning on the par-5 second hole, sinking a 4-foot eagle putt after a 223-yard approach. That jumped him to 19 under and set the tone. His bogey on No. 5 became only a momentary speed bump once he birdied No. 9. He led Johnson and Scott Brown by a stroke at the turn and was ahead by as many as three strokes after his final birdie, a 6-footer on No. 16.

Jhonattan Vegas had a 65 to finish tied for third with Jerry Kelly (66) at 265. Scott Brown (68) and Tim Clark (67) tied for fifth another shot back.

Three-time winner Steve Stricker fell off the pace set by Harman on the front nine, then fell off the leaderboard with a double bogey on the par-3 12th. His approach ended up in high brush behind and below the green.

''It was hard to play after that,'' Stricker said. ''I was just trying to get it in without getting in Brian's way.''

Stricker finished with a 72 and a tie for 11th at 269.

Brown was tied with Johnson and Clark briefly midway through the round, but played the back nine in par 36 and fell back.

Clark, the lone contender with a long putter, bogeyed No. 9 to fall out of the joint lead.

Harman, whose best previous finishes were ties for third place, also earned his first invitations to the Masters and the Tournament of Champions. He tried to block that out along the way.

''When those thoughts enter, it's like what's the best way to get those things you want,'' Harman said.

He got his third eagle in 19 holes when he eagled the par-5 second for the second straight day. He sank a 4-foot putt after a brilliant approach from 223 yards. A bogey on No. 5 was offset by a birdie on the ninth, the most difficult hole on the front nine. Harman stood 19 under at the turn, and added a birdie at No. 10 to go to 20 under.

Johnson started three strokes behind Harman, but caught him by the 14th hole, when he tapped in from 10 inches for his third birdie in five holes and sixth of the day.

Harman came to the drivable par-4 14th minutes later, and after watching Stricker scramble for a par, got up and down from a greenside bunker with a 14-foot birdie putt. He added birdies on the next two holes to pull away from the field. With a two-shot cushion on the 18th tee, a bogey on the final hole didn't hurt him.

''He's always been known as a gritty player that plays pretty simple golf,'' Johnson said of Harman, a neighbor on St. Simons Island, Georgia. ''To me it was just a matter of time.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth finished in a tie for seventh after a closing 66 for 268. He was joined by Bo Van Pelt, Ryan Moore and Johnson Wagner.

Jordan Niebrugge of Mequon, Wis., the only amateur to make the cut, fired his third straight round in the 60s and finished at 10-under 274.

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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.