Notes Els in War of Words with USGA

By Associated PressJuly 13, 2004, 4:00 pm
TROON, Scotland -- Ernie Els isn't going to beat himself up for shooting 80 in the final round of the U.S. Open, which cost him a chance at a third title and the No. 1 world ranking.
 
But he let the U.S. Golf Association have it - not only for the way Shinnecock Hills was set up in the final round, but for comments by a top USGA official that Els gave up.
 
'That was out of control,' said Els, who made double bogey on the first hole and went on to his worst score ever in a U.S. Open. 'I went from second to ninth with an 80, and that tells you how ridiculous it was.'
 
Tom Meeks, senior director of rules and competition for the USGA, later said that an average score of 78.72 was not ideal and his staff might have done things differently if he knew the greens were going to dry out that quickly. But he also noted winner Retief Goosen and runner-up Phil Mickelson played the best golf.
 
'But let me also say this,' Meeks told the Boston Globe. 'I think a lot of golfers lost their patience and gave up early in the round. I really think Ernie Els gave up after the first hole.'
 
The Big Easy bristled when told of the remarks Tuesday.
 
'How do you give up?' Els said. 'That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard in my life. I've never given up on any round of golf in my life. If I did give up, I would have shot 100.
 
'You know what? They have got no idea,' he continued. 'They've lost the plot in the story. To take one of the best golf courses in this entire world and to make it a farce like that, they've got egg on their face.'
 
Goosen, who grew up with Els and played with him in the final group, had his own observations. He was asked whether Els helped him out once it was clear the Big Easy could not win.
 
'Not really. He was still trying hard,' Goosen said. 'I think after No. 10, that's when he really sort of gave up. I think he felt he was well out of it. He was trying to encourage me, but in general he was trying to stay away, let me do it myself.'
 
BEN BASHING
Darren Clarke wanted to make sure people understood. He was in no way taking anything away from Ben Curtis. But...
 
'This week the best player is going to win,' Clarke said. 'It's a stern test, and chances are it will come from the guys at the top of the world rankings.'
 
Royal St. George's was certainly a stern test last year, too. Some players even complained the deep rough and narrow fairways made it unfair.
 
Curtis barely qualified for last year's British Open, then persevered when everyone else fell apart to become perhaps the most improbable major championship winner in recent times.
 
Still, Clarke seemed to be suggesting that the win by Curtis was more of a fluke than anything.
 
'The best player is going to win this week, and that's not to take anything away from Ben Curtis at all last year,' said Clarke, who has never won a major title. 'But he was obviously a surprise to a lot of people, but he won the golf tournament.'
 
He won it partly because Thomas Bjorn imploded in a bunker on the 16th hole, giving up his lead and opening the way for the American.
 
Bjorn wasn't making any excuses, however.
 
'Ben Curtis played better than anybody else through the tournament,' Bjorn said. 'That's why he won.'
 
VOLATILE PAIRING
Colin Montgomerie and Thomas Bjorn have had a few run-ins while paired together on the European tour. The next occasion will come in the first two rounds of the British Open.
 
Both players downplayed previous incidents.
 
Last year at the Volvo Masters, Montgomerie missed a short putt and stomped off the green without waiting for Bjorn to hole out. Bjorn smiled and waved at him.
 
Then in Thailand at the Johnnie Walker Classic, Montgomerie was hacking up a hole and walked across the bridge as Bjorn was trying to chip. The Dane glared at him, and they exchanged words in the scoring trailer.
 
What to expect Thursday? Both say the story is overblown.
 
'We dealt with it there and then, and it's over with,' Bjorn said. 'We've always had a good relationship and we will continue to have a good relationship.'
 
In fact, Bjorn and Montgomerie said they had dinner Tuesday night.
 
This led to some probing questions. Was it just the two of them? Were they seated at the same table or merely in the same room?
 
'Its like having dinner with the queen - you and another 500 guests,' Montgomerie replied. 'If you've had (dinner with the queen), I don't know. I can speak from experience.'
 
Serving as Switzerland if there is a feud is Frank Lickliter, who has a temper of his own.
 
Lickliter, who grew up in blue-collar Ohio, once cursed at Brad Faxon during a silly-season event when Faxon came over to make sure Lickliter was taking proper relief from a hazard.
 
NOT THEIR BEST
Paul Casey of England is disappointed that Britain has produced only one major champion in the last eight years. Without citing anyone by name, he suggested too many young players were spending more time in the pubs than on the practice range.
 
'There are certain guys that show the George Best syndrome,' said Casey, referring to a Manchester United soccer star whose career ended prematurely with alcohol problems. 'They maybe (throw) it away a little bit. But I don't think there is enough talent coming through.'
 
Casey, who went to Arizona State, said he thinks it will take another year before young British players like Luke Donald, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter start winning big events.
 
'It's frustrating that there is a bit of a lull just now,' said Casey, who tied for sixth in the Masters. 'The last European winner of a major was Paul Lawrie (in 1999 at Carnoustie). It's sad, really.'
 
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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.