Johnson outduels Dufner to win Crowne Plaza

By Associated PressMay 27, 2012, 10:43 pm

FORT WORTH, Texas – Zach Johnson was so caught up in the emotion of another Colonial title and a victory in honor of his caddie's late father that he forgot to properly remark his ball before his final putt.

Even with a two-stroke penalty, Johnson won by one over Jason Dufner and got to slip on the plaid jacket Sunday for his first victory since also winning at Hogan's Alley two years ago.

''There's a number of adjectives I'm calling myself right now. And lucky would be the biggest one,'' Johnson said. ''Blessed would be another one, humbled would be another one. It's an honor to put this jacket on once. ... I'm in shock I got it twice.''


Video: Crowne Plaza Invitational highlights

Photos: Crowne Plaza Invitational


Johnson moved his original ball mark out of the line of Dufner's putt on the 18th green. But he never moved it back before his final 5-foot putt.

The penalty was assessed before he signed his scorecard, and Johnson's 12-under 268 total was enough to edge Dufner, who finally faltered and closed with a 74.

Johnson had already shared celebratory hugs and kisses with his two young sons and done a winner's television interview before caddie Damon Green, prompted by a rules official, asked the 2007 Masters champion if he had put his ball back in its original spot.

''First time it crossed my mind,'' Johnson said. ''It's not going to be the last time.''

The victory came 10 days after Green's 88-year old father died from stomach cancer. After Johnson's runner-up finish at The Players Championship two weeks ago, the caddie drove to Pensacola, Fla., to see his father. But Damon Green was ready to get back on the course this week.

''He wanted to be here, he felt like his dad wanted him to be here,'' Johnson about his caddie of 10 years. ''I think he's the one that deserves this one more than I do. His courage and certainly his strength to get through last week and then work, and work well this week, to stay focused somehow. That's really commendable.''

It is the eighth PGA Tour victory for Johnson, who won $1,152,000 even as his record streak of 15 consecutive under-par rounds at Colonial ended.

Tommy Gainey was a distant third at 7 under after a 67, a stroke better than Jim Furyk.

In what was essentially a match-play final round, Johnson took command at the 414-yard 15th hole. Dufner's approach hit the left side of that green then rolled into a ditch, leading to a triple bogey that put him four strokes back after Johnson's par.

Dufner's only two PGA Tour victories came in the previous four weeks, a stretch when he also got married.

After winning last week at the Byron Nelson Championship, he was trying to match Ben Hogan, his hero, as the only players to win both PGA Tour events in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the same year. Hogan did it in 1946, when the tournaments weren't played in consecutive weeks.

''Pretty good run, today obviously a little disappointing to play that poorly and not kind of a chance there at the end,'' said Dufner, insisting fatigue didn't come into play. ''I feel pretty good actually. ... I just played really poorly today.''

There had already been four two-stroke swings between Dufner and Johnson before that fateful 15th hole.

Dufner drove into a fairway bunker before the shot that trickled over a ledge into the water. He then pitched his drop all the way over the green and missed a 4-foot putt for double bogey.

Johnson made par at the same hole where a day earlier his approach settled into a grassy clump only inches from going into that ditch. With his feet together to keep from falling over himself, Johnson's pitch from about 81 feet rolled only inches from the cup.

''I hit a terrible shot (Saturday), got lucky. Got a nice break,'' Johnson said. ''He didn't hit a great shot today. But he got a bad break. I don't know how else to explain it other than the fact that it's golf.''

Johnson had blown a two-stroke lead before going back ahead with his 9-foot birdie putt at the 445-yard 14th.

At the 616-yard 11th, a straight par 5, Johnson's drive hit a tree and ricocheted back into the middle of the fairway. He took advantage with an 18 1/2-foot birdie putt to get to 15 under.

Dufner wasn't as fortunate with his wayward drive, which settled under a tree. He had to punch a low shot around the branches before hitting his approach into a greenside bunker and two-putting from 23 feet for bogey.

But Dufner needed only one hole to get even again, with an 8-foot birdie at No. 12. Johnson hit his tee shot into a fairway bunker, then his first attempt out of there hit the lip and rebounded over and behind him before a bogey.

They were tied at 14 under going to the back nine after Dufner's double bogey at the 386-yard ninth hole, where his approach from 103 yards hit just short of the green and rolled back into the water.

After driving into a fairway bunker at the 382-yard second hole, Dufner three-putted from 28 feet for his first bogey on any of the first eight holes all week. Johnson made a 28-foot birdie putt to go in front by a stroke.

At No. 5, Dufner made an 8-footer for his third birdie of the week at the tight par 4 parallel to the Trinity River that is one of Colonial's toughest holes. Even after a frustrating tee shot into the rough at the sixth hole, Dufner regained the lead by rolling in a 34-foot birdie putt.

Johnson trailed by two strokes when his tee shot at the 188-yard eighth was way left before his short pitch shot missed the green and he bogeyed.

''What (Dufner) has done the last month is beyond impressive,'' Johnson said. ''I kind of feel like I somewhat unseated a king to me because he has been on top for four weeks.''

Divots: Hunter Mahan, No. 2 in the FedEx Cup standings behind Dufner, had three consecutive bogeys on the back nine and his only birdie in his round of 74 came on the last hole. He finished with a 282 total. ... Rickie Fowler, who in his previous two starts got his first PGA Tour win along with a runner-up finish at The Players Championship, shot a 69 and was in a group of five players tied for fifth at 275.

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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.