New dad Horschel focused on Cup defense in Malaysia

By Associated PressOctober 28, 2014, 11:30 am

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Setting out as defending FedEx Cup champion in Malaysia this week, Billy Horschel is a changed man.

It's not the fame, the money or the added pressure that has affected Horschel, but the arrival of his first child, who was born two days after he won the FedEx title.

''Golf isn't what it used to be,'' Horschel said Tuesday as he prepared for the CIMB Classic. ''I used to think of golf as life or death. If I played bad, it showed, and I wasn't a pleasant person to be around.

''With her, she doesn't care if I play bad or good. She just cares that I'm there for her and I love her.''

The perspective on life may have changed, but one thing that hasn't is Horschel's determination to continue his success on the course, and that's reflected in the tough goal he has set himself for the new season.

''I want to be the first guy to defend the FedEx Cup,'' Horschel said. ''No one has been able to do it. There's only been one guy to win two FedEx Cups and that's a guy by the name of Tiger Woods, he's not too bad. But I want to be the first guy to defend the FedEx Cup. That would be an unbelievable thing to do.''

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Horschel, who missed the cut in his opening event of the season at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, is part of a strong field at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club that includes Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Jason Dufner, Charl Schwartzel and defending champion Ryan Moore.

The PGA Tour event's restricted 78-man field – there is no cut – is precisely half American and half international players, including the top 10 money winners from the Asian Tour.

Hideki Matsuyama, Ryo Ishikawa and Chinese teen prodigy Guan Tianlang are also among those vying for the title, with the winner also receiving a place in the Masters and PGA Championship.

Dufner, the 2013 PGA Championship winner, is back from a neck injury and played in Australia last week.

''It was nice to get out and compete again, play some golf, see where I stand health-wise,'' Dufner said. ''Had some rust probably on my game and made quite a number of bogeys that I normally don't make. But pretty good week for the most part, made a lot of birdies, and I did a lot of good things, so I'm encouraged going forward.''

While the new PGA Tour season is in its infancy, the Asian Tour is building toward its climax, with David Lipsky chasing a strong result in Malaysia as he seeks to hang on to his Order of Merit lead.

Nearest rival Anirban Lahiri of India won the prior event in Macau.

''Anirban is playing well but as long as I take care of business and do what I need to do, then everything should take care of itself,'' Lipsky said. ''I have a pretty sizable lead right now as it is. As long as I play well the rest of the year and do what I need to do, I'm pretty confident I can win.''

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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.