New Year for Tiger - With a Little Carryover

By Associated PressJanuary 24, 2007, 5:00 pm
2007 Buick InvitationalSAN DIEGO -- As many times as Tiger Woods has played and won at Torrey Pines, he has never figured out the patchwork shades of blue in the Pacific Ocean below the cliffside course. Looking out from the fourth green Wednesday morning, his New Zealand caddie told him the darker the shade, the colder the water.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods enjoys his practice round Wednesday at Torrey Pines.
It was a fitting start to his 2007 season, staring at segments that represent old and new, but blending.
 
The Buick Invitational is his first tournament of the season, but Woods carries over from last year a PGA TOUR winning streak that dates to July. He is going for his seventh in a row on the PGA TOUR, and odds are in his favor as the two-time defending champion.
 
'It is meaningful because it's not easy to do,' Woods said, and he should know because he won six straight PGA TOUR events at the end of 1999 and beginning of 2000, the second-longest streak behind Byron Nelson's 11 in a row in 1945.
 
But he also doesn't consider it a real streak.
 
That ended at five in October when he lost in the first round of the HSBC World Match Play Championship in England. Throw out match play, and Woods was runner-up consecutive weeks in Asia.
 
'It's a PGA TOUR streak,' Woods said. 'It's not really a win streak because obviously, I lost at Match Play, I lost at the Ryder Cup, I finished second in China, I finished second in Japan. I was on a losing streak for a bit.'
 
Also in transition are his emotions.
 
Gone is the dread Woods felt at Torrey Pines last year when he knew his father had only a short time to live, replaced by the excitement of his wife being pregnant with their first child, due sometime in July.
 
'I'm looking forward to the year and what's going to transpire,' Woods said. 'Last year, I was not looking forward to the year and what was going to transpire. One is just praying and hoping, and the other is pure excitement and enjoyment. So it's two totally opposite ends.'
 
He was lively during his pro-am, talking about the changes to Torrey Pines for the U.S. Open next year, his dinner Tuesday night with San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson, his wife's plans to finish out her spring semester in college.
 
The first step in his new year starts Thursday against a 156-man field that is not as strong as recent years, but looks stacked at the top with Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh.
 
And while there is much talk about a streak, that tends to shift some attention to Mickelson.
 
Woods won the final four PGA TOUR events in 1999 (he finished sixth at the Johnnie Walker Classic in Thailand in November) then won the first two events of 2000 to raise remote possibilities that Nelson's untouchable record might be within reach.
 
The next stop was Torrey Pines.
 
'He didn't get it, did he?' Mickelson said, trying to fool his audience with a quizzical look. Lefty knows better, having pulled away over the final six holes to end Woods' streak at six.
 
'He's on a remarkable tear,' Mickelson said. 'He's obviously an incredibly talented player, but when he gets on runs like this, it's very difficult to stop him. But I know a lot of guys in the field are going to be doing their best.'
 
Not many of them are as fresh -- or maybe rusty -- as Woods.
 
He took a five-week break after his Target World Challenge, skiing in Colorado and going back to the practice range two weeks ago. It was long enough to make him miss the competition, although that has been lacking since July.
 
Woods began his PGA TOUR streak by winning the British Open. His streak included two majors, two World Golf Championships and separation of 20 strokes in combined margin of victory.
 
Isn't that getting a little old?
 
'I would love to be the one to beat him so he wouldn't be able to make it seven in a row,' said John Daly, the last player besides Woods to win the Buick Invitational. 'I don't think it's stale. It's good for the tour. It gets stale for us because he's winning every week. That's what kind of (stinks) a little bit.'
 
About the only thing that might slow him down is becoming a father.
 
Woods said he would skip the British Open if his wife was about to give birth, which was more important than trying to become the first player in more than 50 years to win golf's oldest championship three straight times.
 
'If she's going to have it during the week of the Open, I just don't go,' he said.
 
But previous life-changing experiences haven't stopped him -- not his marriage in 2004, not the death of his father last May. Mickelson has three children, and had lackluster performances during two of those years because of difficulties during the pregnancy. Otherwise, he doesn't expect fatherhood to change Woods.
 
'I certainly hope it does, but I don't see that happening,' Mickelson said. 'He's always been able to balance so many different areas of his life that I think this will just be another area that he adds into the mix, and a very rewarding part of his life.'
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Buick Invitational
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
     
    Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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

    Getty Images

    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.”

    Getty Images

    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.