Hart Singh 54-Hole Leaders at Pebble

By Associated PressFebruary 9, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Dudley Hart faced his greatest fears last summer when doctors found a softball-sized lump on his wife's lung, which kept him off TOUR the last half of the season to care for his triplets while she recovered.
 
All things considered, staring down Vijay Singh in the final round at Pebble Beach no longer seems as intimidating.
 
Hart, who hasn't been in serious contention in nearly four years, finally got the best of Spyglass Hill on Saturday with a bogey-free round of 4-under 68 for a share of the lead with Singh at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
 
Singh made an eagle on the par-5 12th at Spyglass on his way to a 67 to join Hart at 9-under 207, the highest score to lead after 54 holes at Pebble Beach since 1990.
 
They were two shots ahead of PGA TOUR rookie Dustin Johnson and Michael Allen.
 
Defending champion Phil Mickelson lost all hope of being the first repeat winner at Pebble since Mark O'Meara in 1989-90 when he took an 11 on the par-5 14th and went from trying to stay in contention to missing the cut. He finished with a 78.
 
Hart atop the leaderboard is surprising for a couple of reasons.
 
He has not had at least a share of the lead since the 1996 Canadian Open, which he went on to win for the first of his two victories. And he is still trying to get back into a rhythm of tour life after a summer of uncertainty involving wife Suzanne, who had two-thirds of her right lung removed but is getting back to normal.
 
'It opens your eyes to what's truly important sometimes,' Hart said. 'I think we all take for granted what we have, whatever we're doing, and take our health for granted. It definitely scared me. I kept looking at those kids and I can't imagine ... God forbid, when they get that tumor out, it comes back bad and they don't have their mom around. That fortunately wasn't the issue.
 
'You have a lot of positive and negative thoughts, but the negative ones really scare you.'
 
It's been all good at Pebble, from his share of the lead to weather that makes the Monterey Peninsula feel like paradise.
 
Saturday at Pebble traditionally is for the celebrities, and their antics were limited to leaping into the gallery at the 15th tee and being passed through the crowd, although they struggled with hefty actor Kevin James.
 
The best golf, and at times zaniest, golf was held elsewhere on the peninsula.
 
Hart traditionally struggles with Spyglass, and he had his moments. He made good escapes from the bunker on No. 9 and 16 to save par, made birdies on the short par 3s, and finished with two birdies that put him atop the leaderboard.
 
Johnson, who made it through all three stages of Q-school last year, shot a 68 at Pebble Beach that included a wedge he holed out from 85 yards for eagle on No. 13.
 
The group at 6-under 210 included Steve Lowery, who had two double bogeys, six birdies and one par on the back nine at Poppy Hills that eventually added to a 70. Also in that group was 20-year-old Jason Day of Australia, who made six birdies at Pebble Beach to overcome some sloppy errors on his way to a 71.
 
Singh brought some star power to a leaderboard that had been littered with Nationwide Tour graduates for most of the week, and he might have had the lead outright except for missing birdie putts of 4 feet and 7 feet on the final two holes.
 
He won at Pebble in 2004, the first of his nine victories that year, and is getting closer to feeling comfortable with his swing changes. Four tournaments into the year, Singh does not have a top 10, and the last time he went five events at the start of a season without a top 10 was in 1997.
 
'I just need to make some putts tomorrow,' Singh said.
 
Hart is happy to be playing.
 
He was at The PLAYERS Championship last year when his wife, who had been coping with a bad cough, went to the doctor. The original diagnosis was pneumonia, but the doctors called back and said they discovered a mass on her lungs.
 
She spent a month in the hospital and had surgery on May 21 -- her 36th birthday -- to remove the tumor. Hart said the tumor had cancer cells on it, but doctors told him it wasn't cancerous.
 
'In a nutshell, we got very lucky,' he said. 'They have to keep a close eye on her. She has to go get checked up every three months for a year, but so far the checkups have been good. They just want to make sure nothing grows back.'
 
In the meantime, the PGA TOUR amended its major medical extension policy to include 'family crisis,' which was awarded to Hart and David Duval, whose wife was on bed rest the final six months of her pregnancy.
 
That means Hart has 15 tournaments to earn $485,931 -- the equivalent of No. 125 on the money list last year -- and this would be a good way to take care of that. Hart is far more interested in winning, which he hasn't done since the Honda Classic in 2000.
 
'I know there's a lot of work tomorrow, but I'm happy to have a chance,' he said. 'It's a lot better than barely making the cut and going out there and trying to shoot 60 to make any kind of move. It's just nice to see something positive happen.'
 
The cut in this pro-am event is top 60 and ties, and 60 players made it at 1 under. Among the casualties were FBR Open winner J.B. Holmes, who shot 78 at Poppy Hills, and Bob Hope winner D.J. Trahan, who took double bogey on the last hole at Pebble to miss one shot.
 
Greg Norman, playing for the first time on the PGA TOUR in 18 months, shot 79 at Pebble Beach and missed it by 10 shots.
 

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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.