Notes Harmon Working with Mickelson

By Associated PressFebruary 21, 2007, 5:00 pm
2007- WGC-AccentureMARANA, Ariz. -- Butch Harmon spent the morning watching Phil Mickelson hit balls on the practice range at The Gallery, although it was more a convenience than a change in coaches.
Harmon said Mickelson wasn't entirely pleased with how he was hitting the ball, even though he won at Pebble Beach by five shots and lost in a playoff to Charles Howell III at Riviera.
``Rick Smith isn't here this week, and Phil called me last night and asked if I could take a look,'' Harmon said.
Paul Casey comes to the Accenture Match Play Championship with renewed confidence in this format.
Five months ago, Casey steamrolled through an impressive lineup of champions on his way to the HSBC World Match Play Championship, beating Retief Goosen, Mike Weir, Colin Montgomerie and Shaun Micheel at Wentworth.
He also beat Jim Furyk in singles at the Ryder Cup, meaning he beat three major champions from the 2003 season.
``My match play record last year was pretty good,'' Casey said. ``In fact, the last couple of years it has not been bad. This is 18-hole match play, so you have to be quick out of the blocks. It does help to have confidence.''
Casey lost in the first round last year to Henrik Stenson at La Costa, and he is among several players who were thrilled to leave the spongy, soggy greens of northern San Diego for desert conditions north of Tucson. Casey went to Arizona State and still lives in Scottsdale.
His performance at Wentworth was worth noting.
He never trailed over the final 71 holes he played, posted the largest margin of a championship (10 and 8) and played only 126 holes over the four 36-hole matches.
He opens with Weir, who was leading Casey in the second round when the Canadian's back flared up and Casey pulled away.
``I beat him at the World Match Play, but he did have a slight injury, and I think this is going to be a tight match,'' Casey said.
The Accenture Match Play Championship makes it debut this week on the South Course at The Gallery on Dove Mountain, but it won't he here long. Jack Nicklaus was in town Tuesday to talk about a 36-hole project he is designing - a members' course, and one to be used for the Match Play starting in 2009.
Nicklaus said he would design it for match play, although he's not sure what that means.
``You might have a couple of more difficult pins in some awkward areas that you might not want to have for a medal play tournament,'' he said. ``I really haven't made up my mind how tough I want to make the golf course.''
He said it would be about 7,800 yards from the championship tees, accounting for the 4,000 feet altitude at Dove Mountain that would make the course play closer to 7,500 yards.
``Which for these guys is fine,'' he said.
Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland shared a story about allowing someone to manage a game with him this spring for a $10,000 donation to a cancer charity.
That raised the question - what would Leyland pay to do?
``I'd pay $1,000 to golf with Tiger Woods,'' he said. ``In fact, I might pay $5,000 for a round of golf for charity.''
When the AL Manager of the Year was told that people make $50,000 donations to charity to play with Woods, he decided that would be too much for him.
``I love you Tiger, but I'm sorry,'' he said.
Leyland said he gets 18 strokes when he plays with his coaches such as Gene Lamont and Lloyd McClendon
``Would I be nervous? No. I'd be bad,'' he joked. ``When he sees me play, he might be real nervous. I played with Arnold Palmer once and it was one of the biggest thrills of my life. After playing good on the front, shooting a 41, I hit a bad shot on the back and he gave me the best advice I ever had, 'Jim, you're not good enough to get mad. Enjoy the round.'
``It was great advice. I get more nervous playing with Lamont and McClendon for a whopping 5 bucks.''
Someone told Rory Sabbatini about Nextel Cup drivers getting docked 100 points for cheating, and asked whether he would like to see FedExCup points taken away for slow play.
Which is a lot like asking Jack Nicklaus if the ball goes too far.
``Take them all away,'' Sabbatini said. ``I'd be leading by the end of the year.''
Well, it might be a close race. Sabbatini said everyone knows who the slow players on tour are, which prompted another question whether anyone played quicker than the South African.
His undisputed champion was Mark Calcavecchia, followed by John Daly, and a mention for Chris Riley. There was one more who impressed Sabbatini, although he needed prodding to remember who it was - Lucas Glover.
``If you spend too much time on the tee, you might get involved in his back swing,'' Sabbatini said.
Stephen Ames had to carry the label of ``9 and 8'' for a month after Tiger Woods beat him by that margin in the first round of the Accenture Match Play Championship last year.
That changed after he won The Players Championship, but he still got some ribbing - even from his father.
``It was in the club with all of the other friends at home in Trinidad,'' Ames said earlier this year. ``It was pretty good, actually. I was killing myself laughing. I can't remember what it was. I've got to call him now and find out what it was.''
The next day, Ames was walking down the seventh fairway at Kapalua when he said, ``I remember what my father said.''
``No way I'm telling you,'' he said. ``I was having dinner last night and I suddenly remembered, and I couldn't stop laughing.''
One could easily make a case for the 144-man field being reduced to 132 at the Nissan Open. Despite a full day of sunshine, the entire field did not complete the first or second rounds. ... Nairn has been chosen to host the Curtis Cup in 2012. ... Brett Quigley was scheduled to play Tiger Woods in the first round of the Accenture Match Play Championship until a withdrawal made him the No. 63 seed. ``Now I don't have to play him until Sunday,'' Quigley said with a grin.
Tiger Woods has lost in every round of the Match Play Championship except the semifinals.
'The memories at Augusta will only die when I die.'' - Arnold Palmer.
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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.