Johnson Leads Ryder Cup Charge

By Associated PressAugust 12, 2006, 4:00 pm
2005 The INTERNATIONALCASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- Zach Johnson kept his head up and waited for things to get better, as he knew they would.
Even though he missed four makable birdie putts and bogeyed one of the five holes he had to play at dawn Saturday to complete his rain-delayed second round, Johnson had an inkling this was going to be his day at the International.
Sure enough, he birdied five holes and eagled another for a 15-point third round and the 54-hole lead at golf's most novel event, one which features two cuts and uses the modified Stableford scoring system.
'I had a makable birdie put on 5, 6, 7 and 8 and then I actually made a good bogey on 9,' Johnson said. 'It was unfortunate, I hit one in the water on 9, but at the same time, I made a pretty good save.'
And the optimistic 30-year-old player went to the clubhouse at Castle Pines feeling good about his game instead of lamenting his lost opportunities.
That positive attitude paid off for Johnson, whose 27 points heading into Sunday are one more than Steve Flesch and two more than Stewart Cink and Ian Leggatt. Tom Lehman is three points behind in fifth place.
But this isn't like stroke play. Big changes are the norm at the International, the only stop on the PGA Tour that uses the special scoring system that awards five points for eagles, two for birdies, nothing for pars and deducts one for bogeys and three for double-bogeys or worse.
So, mathematically, just about all of the 33 remaining golfers have a shot at the $990,000 winner's check.
'The point system kind of keeps it real going into the last day,' said Flesch, who has yet to eagle and is kicking himself for not playing more aggressively before Round 3 on the lush 7,619-yard layout.
Johnson, 30, who won the 2004 BellSouth Classic in his first year on the tour, was among half the field of 140 golfers who had to return to Castle Pines at dawn to complete the second round. Play was delayed more than 3 1/2 hours by a thunderstorm Friday afternoon that dumped more than a half inch of rain on the majestic mountain course.
Finishing on the front nine, Johnson's putter failed him for four holes before he teed off into the water, providing no hint to anybody but himself of what was to come.
When the top 70 golfers who made the first cut teed off again for Round 3, Johnson holed out from 96 yards from the fairway for an eagle on the first hole.
'Making that eagle was huge. It brings confidence, it brings momentum,' said Johnson, who birdied four of his last five holes. 'You jump a lot of people and that's the beauty of this format.'
Just before he eagled, a bee landed on Johnson's ball, forcing a bit of a delay.
'You can't touch your golf ball but you can kind of (shoo) the bee off,' he said. 'And eventually it moved. It was probably a wasp or a hornet or something, I don't know. It was big. I didn't want to kill it.'
Just as critical as that sensational start was Johnson's fantastic finish in the morning when he sank a 12-footer for a bogey save on No. 9.
'A horrible third shot and a horrible fourth shot. So, making that putt, I mean that's a two-point putt,' Johnson said. 'And any time you've got a two-point putt, I don't care what it's for, it's huge.'
Johnson is ninth in the Ryder Cup standings, and his solid season excites Lehman, captain of the U.S. team that will go to Ireland next month to try to bring home the cup for the first time since 1999.
'Zach has played very well all year. He's been very steady. He's had some good tournaments and the thing I like is that his bad tournaments have been not too bad,' Lehman said. 'If he plays poorly, he's 30th or 25th, and that's a very comforting thought when you're going into an international competition ... when you know that your player's bad golf is still pretty good.'
Lehman, however, shied away from questions about what he'd do if he played himself onto the Ryder Cup team.
'If I were to win tomorrow and I'd make the team,' Lehman said, pausing, 'I don't know what I'd do.'
2001 champion Tom Pernice Jr. took the 36-hole lead with 19 points but didn't add any in the third round, when he had five bogeys and a double-bogey. ... Phil Mickelson missed the 36-hole cut by one point. ... Saturday's play was interrupted by a 15-main rain delay. More rains are expected Sunday.
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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.