Leonard I Thought Id Won

By Associated PressAugust 15, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 PGA ChampionshipHAVEN, Wis. -- Justin Leonard thought the Wanamaker Trophy had his name on it when he hit a 5-iron and watched the ball sail over Seven Mile Creek guarding the front of the 18th green.
 
'I thought I'd just ended this golf tournament,' he said.
 
But the ball came up just short, in heavy grass around a pot bunker left of the four-leaf clover-shaped green. Suddenly, Leonard's luck had run out.
 
He chipped about 12 feet short of the hole and lipped out the putt that would have won the PGA Championship.
 
Vijay Singh, who hadn't made a single birdie all afternoon, birdied the first hole of the three-hole, three-way playoff to beat Leonard and Chris DiMarco.
 
DiMarco's consolation was a spot on the Ryder Cup team. He entered the week in 15th place and jumped seven spots to No. 8 to secure an automatic spot on the American team.
 
Leonard needed to win to earn a Ryder Cup berth and now can get in only if he is one of Hal Sutton's two captain's picks.
 
'I would love to be picked. I could help the U.S. win the Ryder Cup,' Leonard said. 'But I also know there are a lot of guys ahead of me who have played well in the last three years. I'm just now starting to play well here in the last six weeks. I'm not expecting to get picked. I won't be disappointed.'
 
Not like he was when he watched his aggressive shot on 18 fall short.
 
'Really, I was trying to hit at the hole. If I try to play safe, hit it over the right, I've got a really hard two putts,' Leonard said.
 
Leonard took the same gamble in the playoff. He had no choice then. Singh was a shot ahead and was safely on the green in two. This time, Leonard's shot was better, if just barely, but it didn't matter.
 
Singh said he was mindful of Leonard's miscalculation and the tricky winds on the green when he approached the 18th hole with the same one-shot lead in the playoff.
 
'I was surprised that Justin hit it short,' Singh said. 'I thought it was going to be right. ... It was playing longer than we thought, and I think that fooled everybody. The wind was actually hurting us when we got to the green. We could not feel it from the fairway, but down below it was hurting us.'
 
That's why Singh hit a 5-wood in the playoff, leaving him a longer shot from 240 yards. With the ball slightly above his feet, he hit 6-iron to the middle of the green in regulation.
 
'I had a one-shot lead, so I just said, 'All you need to do is hit the green in some way and put a little more pressure on the guys,'' Singh said.
 
Playing in the final group at the PGA for the third time, Leonard had taken a two-shot lead with five holes to play with an 18-foot birdie putt. But he missed four putts, one of them for birdie, inside 12 feet down the stretch.
 
DiMarco was watching Leonard's collapse from the clubhouse and hustled out to take one practice drive, which he hit right down the fairway.
 
DiMarco had an 18-foot birdie putt on the 18th in regulation that he left less than a foot short. He closed with a 71, the only player in the final nine groups to break par.
 
'To shoot 71 on this course on Sunday, I'm proud of myself,' DiMarco said.
 
DiMarco said he'd love to see another major at Whistling Straits but with a revamped final hole, a sentiment that Leonard would agree with.
 
'The golf course was a lot more difficult today,' Leonard said. 'I think what ultimately cost me the tournament was my putting. I missed about four putts inside of 10 feet on the back nine. It's pretty hard to win a golf tournament, much less a major, when you do something like that.'
 
Was there one putt that will haunt him?
 
'Any one of them,' he said. 'All I needed was one of them to go in. Obviously, 15 and 16 being so close to the end of the round, if either one of them would have fallen, it would have been a different story.'
 
His best shot of the round was a 3-iron from 198 yards into a stiff breeze on the 518-yard 15th to within 10 feet. A birdie would have given him a three-shot lead with three holes to play, but he lipped out. Leonard then missed a 5-foot par putt on the 16th that narrowed his lead to one.
 
'You know, any number of those putts,' Leonard said, shaking his head. 'If the putt at 16 would have gone in, if the putt at 7 would have gone in. I mean, we could go on and on. And I'm sure I probably will through the night in my own mind.'

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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.