Notes Lefty looks for answers Toms example

By Associated PressFebruary 17, 2009, 5:00 pm
Northern Trust OpenFifteen of his 34 victories have come during the West Coast swing, but the fact Phil Mickelson has failed to break 70 this year does not mean its time for him to panic just yet.
 
Even so, Mickelson only has two tournaments left ' the Northern Trust Open and the Accenture Match Play Championship ' to avoid leaving the West Coast without a single top 10 for the first time in his 17 years on the PGA Tour.
 
Its been more challenging this year, for whatever reason, Mickelson said after he made a daring birdie on the 18th hole at Pebble Beach to make the cut on the number. He wound up tied for 55th when the final round was rained out.
 
Mickelson struggled with his driver at the FBR Open and missed the cut. He didnt hole enough putts at Torrey Pines and tied for 42nd in the Buick Invitational. And whatever progress he was making at Pebble Beach was halted with one bad swing.
 
Lefty birdied his first three holes and was 3 under for the tournament until he hooked a 5-iron with a left-to-right wind. The ball hit a cart path and went out of bounds, leading to triple bogey. It was his second OB in as many days' on the other one, he salvaged a bogey on a par 5 at Poppy Hills.
 
Im making dumb mistakes, a couple of squirrelly shots, I havent putted the best, Mickelson said.
 
Lefty has won on the West Coast seven of the last nine years, and he has had at least two top 10s on the West Coast during that stretch. The two years he won the Masters (2004, 2006), he had at least four top 10s in California and Arizona.
 
Mickelson is coming up on the two-year anniversary of when he began working with Butch Harmon, and while he lost the summer of 07 due to a wrist injury, there remains speculation that his two-coach system isnt best for his game.
 
Dave Pelz works with his short game and supplies more statistics than most golfers can digest. The long game belongs to Harmon, who is built more toward feel.
 
Mickelson has been around too long to worry over a ragged start, although he is starting to grind. In the hour before Sundays round at Pebble Beach was suspended because of rain, Mickelson was a lone figure on the range as he went through five buckets of balls.
 

 
TOMS' EXAMPLE: Over the last decade, there has been talk that some players on the bubble to qualify for a World Golf Championship would skip a tournament to improve their ranking.
 
David Toms faced such a dilemma last week.
 
He was at No. 66 in the world ranking, knowing that Pebble Beach was the final tournament before the 64-man field would be set for the Accenture Match Play Championship. If he sat out ' Toms had not played Pebble since 2002 ' his divisor would drop to 41 tournaments and his average points would be slightly higher.
 
I know if I play this tournament and I play well, Ill get in, Toms said before the tournament. Thats the way I looked at it. I was up in the mountains and I said, If I finish 65th and I didnt get in Id probably have that feeling that I didnt give it my best shot.
 
Heres how it played out:
 
With the gradual reduction in points each week, Toms would have moved to No. 62 in the world had he not played Pebble. Because he missed the cut, his divisor went to 42 tournaments and he received no points, losing all hope of finishing in the top 64.
 
And if he had stayed home from Pebble?
 
Three players moved into the top 64 ' Dustin Johnson, who won Pebble, and Anders Hansen and Charl Schwartzel, who went 1-2 in South Africa ' so Toms would have wound up at No. 65.
 
Ultimately, he set a good example of players on the bubble. Its better to play than to leave matters to someone else. Toms had a pair of top 5s this year in three starts this year, and would have needed to finish 28th at Pebble Beach.
 

 
FACT CHECK: Robert Garrigus either didnt do the math or has been listening to one too many tales about how the world ranking is biased against Americans.
 
I dont know if you guys knew, but Kenny Perry won in Phoenix and lost two spots in the world ranking, which is ridiculous, Garrigus said last week. I think that there needs to be some kind of change to that because if you get the top players in the smaller events, your world ranking points are better.
 
He then noted that Rory McIlroy won Dubai and went from No. 68 to No. 15.
 
In fact, Perry went from No. 15 to No. 9 with his victory in the FBR Open. McIlroy went from No. 39 to No. 16.
 
Garrigus probably doesnt realize that the FBR Open actually offered more world ranking points than Dubai.
 

 
MIA: Anthony Kim grew up in Los Angeles and spent his last few years of high school in the Palm Springs area. But the West Coast swing will end without Kim at either of the PGA Tour stops in his hometowns.
 
He missed the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic with a shoulder injury, leaving Mark Calcavecchia to quip, Has he heard of Advil?
 
More peculiar is how Kim could miss the Northern Trust Open at Riviera. Instead, he is playing on the European Tour for the second straight week, this time at the Johnnie Walker Classic in Perth, Australia.
 
Kim has played only twice on the PGA Tour this year, tying for second in Kapalua and missing the cut in Phoenix.
 

 
DIVOTS: Art Spander, a longtime columnist in the Bay Area, will receive the 2009 PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism. Spander first covered the Masters in 1967, and he has written from 120 major championships. He will be honored April 8 in Augusta, Ga., at the Golf Writers Association of Americas annual awards dinner. The Northern Trust Open has seven of the top 15 players in the world. There were 12 of the top 15 at Riviera last year, a number that trailed only the four majors, three World Golf Championships and The Players Championship. Renowned saxophonist Kenny G will sponsor the pro-am at the Honda Classic. As part of the deal, he also will perform on the 18th green before the winner gets his trophy.
 

 
STAT OF THE WEEK: Europe has more players (20) than the United States (17) in the Accenture Match Play Championship for the first time since it began in 1999. In the first year, there were 40 Americans and 11 Europeans.
 

 
FINAL WORD: When I was 15 years of age and I made it onto the Irish boys golf team, I thought I was famous. My picture was in the paper. Gradually, it has crept up. ' Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington.
 

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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.