Notes Euros Angst Feeling Blue

By Associated PressJune 16, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 U.S. OpenOAKMONT, Pa. -- Get close to the top of the leaderboard at a major, and European players know what's coming.
 
When are you finally going to win one of these things?
 
'It has to happen sooner rather than later,' Justin Rose said Saturday after shooting a 73 that put him three strokes off the lead at the U.S. Open. 'There are so many capable players from Europe it has to be a matter of time.
 
'It's a question of who it will be.'
 
Rose and fellow Englishman Paul Casey both have a shot at it at Oakmont Country Club. The two are 5-over 215, tied for third with Stephen Ames and Bubba Watson behind leader Aaron Baddeley and Tiger Woods.
 
There was a time in the 1980s and early 1990s when the Europeans were major players at the majors. At the British Open and Masters, at least. Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam and Jose Maria Olazabal all have titles to their names.
 
But the Europeans have been shut out since Paul Lawrie won the British in 1999, and you have to go back to Tony Jacklin in 1970 to find the last European who won the U.S. Open. Don't even start on the drought at the PGA Championship.
 
'The British press and the European press are gagging for it,' Casey said. 'They can't wait. Hopefully we can pull it off today.'
 
It's not as if the Europeans don't have the talent. Just look at the last few results at the Ryder Cup.
 
Rose tied for fifth at the 2003 U.S. Open and was third at the Bob Hope this year. Casey has three top 10s this year, including a tie for 10th at Augusta. Throw in Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Padraig Harrington and Henrik Stenson, who all missed the cut this week, and no way the Europeans should be on such an oh-fer streak.
 
'We need to speed it up a bit because it's been too long,' Casey said. 'It's sad that (Lawrie) was the last European to win a major, because we have a nice talented group right now.'
 
BREHAUT DEBUT
Jeff Brehaut waited more than 20 years to play in his first major, and he's making the most of it.
 
The first step was making the cut, which he did with rounds of 73-75. And when it looked like the third round Saturday might get away from him, Brehaut holed a 60-foot par putt on No. 9, then shot 33 on the back for a 70.
 
That left him with a fleeting chance on Sunday at 8-over 218, and if nothing else a chance to return. The top 15 are exempt next year, and the top eight get invited to the Masters.
 
'One shot at a time,' he said. 'Don't do that to me. I'll be grinding over every shot.'
 
Brehaut always thought his game would stack up well in a U.S. Open, a major that rewards par, and he has found that to be true. He has made only eight birdies all week, but at Oakmont that's about par for the course.
 
'I'm not playing that great,' he said. 'I'm just managing it.'
 
It has been a great week off the course, too. His father flew in from the Bay Area, and when Brehaut woke up Saturday morning in the house he's renting a quarter-mile from the course, he couldn't find him.
 
'He came out here at 6 a.m. and was sitting on the patio here reading the newspaper,' Brehaut said. 'He's really jacked up.'
 
FASTH DROP
Any other course, and Niclas Fasth might still be near the top of the leaderboard.
 
At Oakmont Country Club, though, one bad hole has a way of becoming a bunch.
 
Three birdies in his first 10 holes had Fasth near the top of the leaderboard at 3 over. But he got into trouble with a double bogey on the par-3 13th, and dropped two more strokes over the next three holes.
 
'Not that I had much momentum today, but I lost whatever I had from there,' said Fasth, who finished with a 5-over 75. 'It goes quick.'
 
His only consolation is that he's not out of it. At 7-over 217, he's only five strokes behind leader Aaron Baddeley.
 
'Straight bogey-bogey, and it's easy to just fold,' he said. 'But you know, everybody's going to do that.'
 
STYLE WATCH
Sky blue must be the new black.
 
So many players wore shirts of that shade Saturday that it looked like the U.S. Open uniform.
 
'Very unusual,' Stephen Ames said. 'I saw Chad (Campbell) coming down 18 and I went, `Nice shirt.' I think everybody had blue on.'
 
European players are known for their fashion daring -- if Ian Poulter is stuck for a Halloween costume, he can pull out Saturday's outfit and go as a bumblebee. But guys from both sides of the pond were in blue moods for the third round.
 
Paul Casey and Angel Cabrera were bordering on Carolina blue. Ames, Bubba Watson, Nick Dougherty and Tiger Woods went with a much brighter shade. Think Easter or robin's eggs. And Woods and Dougherty could have been twins, their shirts matched so well.
 
Even the law-enforcement details that tail the players were in light blue.
 
'I was trying to blend in with the security guards,' Watson said.
 
QUIET, PLEASE
The distraction isn't always playing with Tiger Woods. Sometimes, it's playing in the group in front of him.
 
Jerry Kelly was on the par-3 sixth tee when he saw a horde of photographers, television, print reporters and security gather about 10 yards away to watch Woods play his second shot to the fifth.
 
Kelly looked perturbed.
 
'Be aware that there are other players on the tee getting ready to hit,' he scowled, sounding like a headmaster. 'Be very aware.'
 
Kelly wasn't nearly as irked by the distraction he had on the 12th hole. He was getting ready to tee off on the par-5 when he saw good friend and fellow Wisconsinite Steve Stricker coming up the 18th.
 
Kelly decided to watch, and good thing. Stricker holed out from the fairway for a birdie that gave him a 2-under 68.
 
'That was awesome,' Kelly said.
 
As he spoke, Kelly spotted Stricker walking toward him.
 
'We're talking about you right now. Your nose itching?' Kelly said. 'Come here. Nice job, man.'
 
BROWN OUT
Ben Curtis made the local fans happy by wearing a Steelers visor again. Good thing they didn't look closely at the rest of his outfit.
 
On his shirt was a very small Cleveland Browns helmet.
 
The diehard Browns fan, who has a deal with Reebok to wear NFL apparel, was booed loudly when he wore Cleveland gear at the 84 Lumber Classic a few years ago. He knew better last year and wore Steelers gear as he won the tournament.
 
He wasn't taking chances at the U.S. Open, making sure Steelers gear was on prominent display.
 
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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.