Monty Tries to Bounce Back

By Associated PressJuly 18, 2006, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship HOYLAKE, England -- Colin Montgomerie rolled his eyes and tried to conceal that devilish smile.
So, is he still trying to get over the U.S. Open?
No, no affects at all, he replied. It didnt affect me at all.
No one was buying it. Not even Monty.
Colin Montgomerie
A silhouetted Colin Montgomerie practices Tuesday at the Open Championship.
That U.S. Open was a shame, he quickly added, not even needing a follow-up question to deliver the grim punch line to a painful stab at self-deprecation.
While Phil Mickelson will likely go down in golf history as the guy who blew it at Winged Foot'the I am such an idiot post-mortem all but assured it'Montgomerie should probably be kicking himself more than Lefty.
Mickelson made a mess of the 72nd hole right from the start, pushing his drive far left on the way to a double bogey that handed the title to a grateful Geoff Ogilvy. While devastated by his collapse, at least Mickelson could soothe his wounds with three major championships.
Monty doesnt have that sort of comfort zone. Hes never won a major'and he may never get a better chance to wash away the stain on an admirable career.
After knocking his tee shot to a perfect spot in the 18th fairway, Montgomerie overanalyzed his club selection for the approach to the green, didnt get the extra boost of adrenaline he was counting on and wound up short'in a virtually unplayable patch of thick rough.
Instead of a two-putt for par, he wound up with a double-bogey 6. Instead of grasping a major title for the first time, he trudged away with perhaps the most painful loss of a career filled with close calls in the biggest events.
But Montgomerie bounced back with a strong performance at last weeks Scottish Open warmup, and he arrived at Royal Liverpool with high hopes of making another run at the career-defining championship that has eluded him so far.
I try and take the positives from most things, he said. If I took the negatives from everything, I wouldnt be here, believe me. I have to take the positives from anything that happens and theres always a positive in most things, however bad a day that might be.
And what was positive about Winged Foot?
Flying home from New York on Sunday night, Montgomerie recalled, I had to think, Well, that was OK. I came into this event 21st or 22nd in the world and came within a whisker of winning. So I cant complain about that. Thats OK.
If hes truly recovered from the U.S. Open, the 43-year-old Scotsman should be one of the favorites at Royal Liverpool. He certainly knows how to make his way around a links course. And a pair of recent runner-up finishes in the majors'Monty was second to Tiger Woods at last years British Open'have shown hes fully recovered from a painful divorce and an extended slump.
Im confident, Montgomerie said. Im playing well. Im confident where the ball is going. Knowing where the ball is going is half the battle.
Some of his competitors believe he might just be the guy to beat. Montys low, accurate drives and intuitive feel for Britains seaside courses should give him an advantage over many in the 156-player field.
I would say somebody who is a straight ball hitter, somebody who keeps the ball low, somebody like a Montgomerie, is really sort of an ideal choice for a golf course like this, Englands Paul Casey said. My goals for the week are really to play like Colin would: keep the ball low and keep it in play. If I can do that, I think Ill have a chance.
Montgomerie and Mickelson arent the only ones in a recovery mode.
Woods is still coping with the death of his father and missed the cut at Winged Foot'the first time thats happened to him in a major since he turned pro. Ernie Els, the winner at Muirfield in 2002 and a British Open runner-up three times, hasnt finished higher than seventh this year. Vijay Singh had managed only one win after capturing a total of 13 victories the previous two seasons. Retief Goosen has been shut out on the PGA Tour in 2006.
It hasnt been about the Big Four or Five, whatever the number is, Casey said. Maybe there is a feeling that there is an opportunity for some of the other guys to sneak up and come in under the radar.
Not that hes counting out the usual favorites.
Theyre still the ones to beat, as far as Im concerned, Casey said. Phil is very, very keen. Weve heard all about his practice leading up to this week. Youve still got to fear Tiger and Ernie, and (Jim) Furyk would be a great, great call for this week. I really respect his game.
While conceding that hell never forget Winged Foot, Mickelson is adamant hes gotten over his final-hole meltdown. He cant afford to dwell on a few bad swings, which cost him a chance at the British to join Woods as the only players to hold all four major titles in the modern era.
I feel very confident in the way Ive prepared for tournaments and the way Ive been playing, Mickelson said. I dont want to let one bad hole interfere with that.
After the U.S. Open, he showed up at Hoylake the very next week to start preparing for the British. He spent two days at Royal Liverpool, then returned last Thursday to play what amounts to a full tournament.
Mickelson took a little more than eight hours for each of his four rounds, studying every option off the tee, from the fairway, around the green. He played Sunday morning, then returned in the afternoon and played into the late twilight.
Its hard to argue with the results.
In the last 10 majors, Mickelson has won three times, was runner-up twice and has finished out of the top 10 only two times. Beginning in 2004, the start of his stellar streak, he began studying courses as if he were cramming for a final exam, trying to figure out where he could take risks and when he should play it safe.
There was a long time where I wasnt really proud of my performance in the majors, said Mickelson, long known as the best player never to win a major. But the last couple of years, Im pretty proud of that. So again, one bad hole isnt going to change the way I look at that.
Related Links:
  • Tee Times - 135th Open Championship
  • Course Tour - Royal Liverpool
  • Full Coverage - 135th Open Championship
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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.