Nelson Picard Elected to Hall of Fame

By Associated PressApril 19, 2006, 4:00 pm
Hall of Fame logo (75x86)Larry Nelson, overlooked as a Ryder Cup captain and often forgotten despite his remarkable journey from Vietnam War veteran to three-time major champion, finally got his due Wednesday when he was elected into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
 
'Of all the awards, nothing can top this,' Nelson said.
 
Nelson was elected on the PGA TOUR ballot by getting 65 percent of the vote, the minimum required.
 
He will be inducted Oct. 30 at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., along with the late Henry Picard, selected through the veteran's category; and Vijay Singh, who deferred his induction after being elected last year. That will bring membership in the Hall of Fame to 112.
 
Nelson's election came in his 11th year on the PGA TOUR ballot, and in many respects, it was overdue.
 
He won the PGA Championship twice and the 1983 U.S. Open at Oakmont, joining Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Seve Ballesteros as the only players to capture three majors in the 1980s. Nelson played on three Ryder Cup teams, posting a 9-3-1 record and becoming the only player to go 5-0 in a Ryder Cup.
 
But he was passed over as U.S. captain the last four times, with the PGA of America opting for Tom Lehman for this year's matches.
 
'This honor is so far greater than that,' Nelson said. 'I don't relate the two things. This has to do with my career. The Ryder Cup captain has to do with three or four people deciding who does that for the year.'
 
Picard, who died in 1997, won 26 times on the PGA TOUR, including the 1938 Masters and the 1939 PGA Championship. He later became a teacher, with Hall of Famer Beth Daniel among his pupils.
 
No one was elected from the International ballot, with Jumbo Ozaki heading the list with 46 percent of the vote. An inductee from the Lifetime Achievement category is expected later this spring.
 
Nelson was informed of his election three weeks ago, and even for a man who went about his golf so quietly, it was difficult for him to keep this a secret until the announcement at the Legends of Golf tournament in Savannah, Ga.
 
His road to the Hall of Fame is unlike any other.
 
Nelson's joy was baseball as a kid, and he thought golf was a sissy sport until he met a burly soldier in Vietnam named Ken Hummel who told him about guys making a living playing golf. Returning from the war, Nelson went to Kennesaw Junior College in Georgia and decided to play golf when he wasn't in class.
 
He was given Ben Hogan's book, 'Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf,' as a guide, and was encouraged by members at Pine Tree Country Club, where he worked, to try the mini-tours.
 
'I fell in love with it and got better every day,' Nelson said. 'I was always put in a situation where everyone was better than I was. My motivation was getting better and feeding my family.'
 
He broke 100 the first time he played, and made it through PGA Tour qualifying school in 1973. Six years later, he won the Jackie Gleason Inverrary Classic by three shots over Grier Jones, then won his first major in 1981 by four shots over Fuzzy Zoeller at Atlanta Athletic Club.
 
His defining victory might have been the U.S. Open at Oakmont in 1983, when he beat Watson by one shot. Nelson added the '87 PGA Championship at PGA National, beating Lanny Wadkins in a playoff. He ended his career with 10 victories.
 
'Until I get in front of everyone in St. Augustine will it actually feel it's real,' Nelson said. 'I'm living in a dream world right now.'
 
What touched him the most Wednesday was a group of Hall of Famers who attended the announcement, such as Hale Irwin, Tom Kite, Charlie Sifford, Tony Jacklin and Carol Mann.
 
'I don't know of too many people who feel they deserve to be in there,' Nelson said. 'To get the 'welcome' from guys who have accomplished a lot more than you have ... it's like winning another major, as far as I'm concerned.'
 
Picard won the '38 Masters with a 32 on the front nine, holding off Harry 'Lighthorse' Cooper and Ralph Guldahl, then won the PGA a year later with a birdie on the 36th hole to square his match with Byron Nelson, and a birdie on the first hole to win.
 
'Henry Picard was one of the country's brightest stars in the decade leading up to World War II, where his victory total compares favorably to the likes of Sam Snead during that span,' PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem said.
 
The voting body for the World Golf Hall of Fame consists of Hall of Fame members, golf writers and historians, the World Golf Foundation board of directors and members of the Hall of Fame's advisory board.
 
The Hall of Fame does not disclose vote totals, only percentages.
 
While he was selected through the veteran's category, Picard received 53 percent of the vote on the PGA TOUR ballot. Two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange received 50 percent, followed by Craig Wood at 37 percent.
 
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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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.