Mickelson Returns to Action

By Associated PressApril 28, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 HP Classic of New OrleansNEW ORLEANS -- How much better can things get for Phil Mickelson?
 
He hasn't missed a cut this year, has finished in the top 10 in eight of the nine tournaments he has entered and added the Masters title to his lists of accomplishments two weeks ago.
 
And on Wednesday, he prepared for the HP Classic of New Orleans with a hole-in-one at the 17th hole in the Pro-Am.
 
'It's been fun,' Mickelson said. 'I'm really enjoying playing.'
 
The $5.1 million tournament is the first tournament for Mickelson since winning the Masters, his first major.

'I don't feel any different as a player,' he said. 'I don't feel any different as a human being.'
 
Still, the biggest victory of his career has been a blast.
 
In addition of celebrating with family and friends, Mickelson has relished getting calls from the likes of President Bush and boxing promoter Don King. He said ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange was great, so were appearances on Jay Leno and David Letterman.
 
'That's stuff you don't get a chance to do very often,' Mickelson said.
 
Mickelson credited both playing better and relaxing more with his hot start this year.
 
'I feel as though I have a direction,' he said. 'So that when I practice I'm working on things that will get me better.'
 
On Wednesday Mickelson was relaxed, chatting with fans and officials, pausing to enjoy some of the food scattered around the course. He passed up the red beans and rice on No. 9, but didn't miss the char broiled oysters at the tee on 10.
 
'I love those oysters,' he said. 'I must have had a dozen and a half of them.'
 
Mickelson has played well on the 7,116-yard English Turn course, finishing second in 2001 and earning almost $600,000 in four appearances. Mickelson returned to practice last week, but he acknowledges that with the break in his routine after the Masters, it will be hard to win back-to-back tournaments.
 
'For me to come out and focus and play well will be a challenge,' Mickelson said.
 
Although Mickelson spent a long time after his round Wednesday signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans, he did not have the biggest gallery.
 
That honor belonged to David Toms, an LSU graduate who had LSU football coach Nick Saban in his foursome.
 
'I think coach signed more autographs than I did,' said Toms, whose purple hat had LSU stitched on the side and '2003 National Football Champion' on the back.

Tiger fans, still celebrating LSU's Sugar Bowl victory and the Bowl Championship Series title, brought posters, pictures, shirts and hats for Saban to sign.
 
Saban said his handicap is supposed to be 15 but is probably 18. Finding time to play golf is difficult, he said. LSU wrapped up spring practice on Saturday, giving Saban a chance to make the Pro-Am. Although he loves golf, it's not as good as football practice, Saban said.
 
'Absolutely not,' he said. 'I couldn't yell at anybody out there today.'
 
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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.