Notes Belly Putter Debate Continues

By Associated PressJune 16, 2004, 4:00 pm
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. -- Ernie Els thinks they should be banned. Tiger Woods believes they give players an unfair advantage.
 
Ask Vijay Singh, though, and there's nothing wrong with using a belly putter.
 
'It's not banned, it's legal,' Singh said Wednesday. 'I'm going to play with it right now. There's nothing more to say about that.'
 
There seems to be no neutral ground on the belly putter, except among those at the U.S. Golf Association, who seem to be in no hurry to rule on its use.
 
'We do not have any agenda item with respect to taking action with long putters or belly putters at this time,' said Fred Ridley, president of the USGA. 'It is something that we discuss.'
 
Ridley said he once used the belly putter, and said it did not eliminate the skill factor in putting by anchoring one end of the club to the player.
 
'The bottom line is you still have to get the ball in the hole regardless of its dimension, and it's not an easy task,' Ridley said.
 
AUGUSTA MEMBERSHIP
From the time he was elected USGA president, Fred Ridley has brushed off suggestions that his membership at male-only Augusta National conflicts his role as head of a golf organization that promotes golf for rich and poor, male or female.
 
Ridley said in February that he where he plays golf doesn't have any impact on his job as USGA president.
 
He was in no mood to elaborate Wednesday at the U.S. Open.
 
'I have talked quite a bit about that issue,' he said. 'I really don't think it would be useful today that we hash all that out. There's really nothing new to say.'
 
Still, that was more than what Walter Driver said.
 
Driver is vice president of the USGA and chairman of its championship committee. The question about their memberships at Augusta National was asked of both men.
 
When Ridley finished, the reporter looked at Driver.
 
All he did was shake his head.
 
Ridley also is a member at Pine Valley in New Jersey, perennially ranked as the best course in the United States. While Augusta National allows women to play, Pine Valley doesn't even let women on the property.
 
NOISY FINISH
Tiger Woods played the back nine at Shinnecock Hills early Wednesday for his final tuneup with hardly any distractions - until the 18th tee.
 
Woods stopped his swing on the way down when he heard the click of a camera. After glaring at a group of photographers, he hit his drive into the right rough.
 
He decided to hit another tee shot, but the same thing happened. Instead of regrouping, Woods cursed his breath and picked up his ball.
 
'That's the last shot you're getting,' he muttered as he walked toward the fairway.
 
ALL ENGLISH
Sergio Garcia was raised speaking Spanish, but his thought process is becoming increasingly English.
 
Garcia has a South African caddie who converses with him in English. He's primarily playing the PGA Tour, where everything is done in English.
 
Now he finds himself talking to his golf ball in English.
 
'I've sometimes gone to a putt and talked to myself in English, `Come on, let's hole this one,'' Garcia said. 'And probably after I hit the putt and hit the ball I'm like, `What was that?''
 
Garcia, born and raised in Spain, said he finds himself thinking mostly in English on the course.
 
'There's been a couple of funny times where I've stopped and thought, why am I talking English to myself,' Garcia said. 'But whatever gets the ball in the hole.'
 
WOMEN GET TO PLAY PEBBLE, TOO
Women finally are getting a chance to play championships at two of the most famous golf courses in the world.
 
Along with announcing that the U.S. Open will return to Pebble Beach in 2010, the USGA said Wednesday that Pebble Beach has asked to host a U.S. Women's Open for the first time.
 
The year has not been determined, but it will be after the '10 U.S. Open.
 
Last month, the Royal & Ancient Golf Club said the Women's British Open would be held at St. Andrews in 2007, the first time a women's championship has been contested at the home of golf.
 
'I think that's wonderful,' LPGA Tour commissioner Ty Votaw said. 'Those are two indications that women's golf is stepping and growing in the right direction, and that decision-makers in golf outside the LPGA are recognizing the value women's golf can bring to prestigious golf courses like St. Andrews and Pebble Beach.'
 
Pebble Beach held a U.S. Amateur the year before it had the 2000 U.S. Open, where Tiger Woods won by 15 shots with a record 12-under 272.
 
This time, it wanted the women.
 
'We had not had a Women's Open and felt it was the right thing to do,' said David Stivers, executive vice president of Pebble Beach Co. 'It's a great opportunity for women to showcase their games on such a great venue.'
 
Annika Sorenstam will be in her 40s and possibly retired by the time the Women's Open goes to Pebble Beach. Michelle Wie, if she's not playing the PGA Tour, will be in her early 20s.
 
Votaw got the news as he was preparing to speak at a dinner for players at an American Junior Golf Association event in Daytona Beach, Fla.
 
'These are players who in '07 and sometime after 2010 will be playing, and I'll mention these two developments tonight when I talk to them,' he said. 'They'll do something no other generation of women golfers have been able to do.'
 
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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.