Hensby Making a Name for Himself

By Associated PressJuly 14, 2005, 4:00 pm
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- It's time to put to rest that story about Mark Hensby sleeping in his car outside the golf course while trying to break onto the PGA Tour.
 
It's time to recognize him for what he's doing on the course.
 
The slender Aussie with the heart-tugging tale of perseverance tends to get lost once he steps out among big hitters such as Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson.
 
Still, Hensby keeps finding ways to contend in the biggest tournaments, a trend that continued Thursday when he opened the British Open with a 5-under 67.
 
Only Woods, one shot better, was ahead of Hensby on the scoreboard at St. Andrews. The only golfers other than Hensby with top-10 finishes in the first two majors of the year are Woods and Singh.
 
``No one expects me to win any tournament,'' Hensby said. ``I don't do anything spectacular. I don't hit the ball 330 yards like all the great players today. With me, it's just a matter of getting it around the golf course.''
 
He handles that task just fine, thank you.
 
With mastery around the green, Hensby played the final 10 holes of the Old Course at 5 under, starting with an eagle on No. 9. He actually had two good chances to pass Woods, but a 12-foot birdie putt at the 16th paused about an inch from the cup, and a similar attempt on the final hole stopped on the left edge.
 
``When Tiger is on, Vijay is on, any of the big hitters are on, I don't really have a chance,'' Hensby insisted.
 
With that in mind, he's realistic about his chances against Woods, who got off to a better start than he did five years ago on the way to an eight-stroke Open victory at St. Andrews.
 
``If he's playing well,'' Hensby said, ``we're all playing for second.''
 
No matter how much he poor-mouths his chances or downgrades his ability, the 34-year-old clearly feels that he doesn't get as much credit as he deserves.
 
Last week, he was a little perturbed about all the attention that went to Michelle Wie at the John Deere Classic, even though he was the defending champion.
 
When he came in for his pre-tournament interview, virtually the entire room cleared out because Wie has just completed her session with the media. Some of those who stayed were noisily breaking down cameras and other equipment while Hensby talked about his chances.
 
Wie failed to make the cut, while Hensby tied for fourth -- his third top-five finish of the year. The others came at the Masters (tied for fifth) and the U.S. Open (a fourth-place tie).
 
``I went out of my way to come here and, obviously, I've done a lot, and I feel like I really wasn't appreciated as well,'' Hensby said after last week's tournament.
 
His road to the tour is well known: Hensby moved from Australia to Chicago in the early 1990s, struggled to get his big break and wound up turning his car into a bedroom for a few weeks, parking it outside Cog Hill.
 
``That's an old story,'' he said when it came up again Thursday. ``It's kind of a funny story, really.''
 
Back to the golf. Hensby spent a total of six years on the Nationwide Tour, earning a one-year stint in the big leagues in 2001 and returning to the PGA Tour last year.
 
He had some staying power the second time around. Hensby won the John Deere, finished in the top 10 seven other times and finished 15th on the money list with $2.7 million.
 
His first victory, on the eve of last year's British Open, earned him a chance to play at Royal Troon. But he didn't have a passport, couldn't get a flight until the eve of the tournament and decided to stay home.
 
This year's John Deere winner, Sean O'Hair, qualified for the Open the very same way. Tournament officials managed to fast-track his passport application, and he arrived at St. Andrews on Wednesday morning.
 
``I don't know anyone in the White House,'' Hensby said, defending his decision not to play in 2004. ``I checked all the avenues to get here and give myself time to prepare for something like this. I didn't want to just come over here and show up.''
 
This year, with his passport renewed and plenty of time to make travel arrangements, Hensby has done more than just show up. He's a contender at one of golf's most hallowed courses.
 
Not that he takes the Open too seriously. His caddie, Mike Carrick, formerly looped for Tom Kite and had some helpful advice for his new client.
 
``He told me, 'If you treat the majors like any other event, you'll do better in them,''' Hensby said. ``He told me that Tom used to practice so hard for the majors. He should have won six or seven, but he always tried too hard.''
 
So far, Hensby's approach is working.
 
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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.

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    Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

    “Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.


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    “We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

    In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010.