Notes Masters Field Starts to Take Shape
Toru Taniguchi is at No. 62 in the world ranking, and nothing short of a victory would move him into the top 50.
Augusta National invites the top 50 players in the final world ranking. Other than Taniguchi, there doesnt appear to be anyone who could break into the top 50 -- or fall out'who has not already qualified.
A year ago, Loren Roberts dropped four spots, from No. 47 to No. 51, despite not playing golf in December.
The only players on the bubble who will drop out of the top 50 are Kirk Triplett (No. 48) and Nick Price (No. 50), and both already are on Augusta Nationals mailing list because they finished in the top 16 at the Masters this year.
The final qualification for the Masters is to be in the top 50 in the world ranking or the top 10 on the 2005 PGA Tour money list after The Players Championship.
Among those who will have to play hard the first three months of the season are Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman (No. 59), Brad Faxon (No. 60) and Justin Rose (No. 68), the 36-hole leader at the Masters who shot 81 in the third round and finished out of the top 16 by two shots.
The list currently does not include seven players who won PGA Tour events since the last Masters.
Three of them won opposite-field tournaments'Jonathan Byrd (B.C. Open), Vaughn Taylor (Reno-Tahoe Open) and Bart Bryant (Texas Open). Two others'Brent Geiberger (Greensboro) and Andre Stolz (Las Vegas) were on the verge of losing their PGA Tour cards.
The hard-luck case belongs to Joey Sindelar, who won the Wachovia Championship against an elite field that included Vijay Singh, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Sindelar finished 41st on the money list by $13,254, missing out of a Masters invitation when Tommy Armour III missed a 3-foot par putt on the last hole of the last full-field event.
Also off the list is Woody Austin, who won the Buick Championship in Hartford and finished 45th on the money list.
Chalk up another honor for Vijay Singh, who joined Annika Sorenstam and Craig Stadler as easy winners in the Golf Writers Association of American player of the year awards.
Singh became only the sixth player to win at least nine times on the PGA Tour, replaced Tiger Woods at No. 1 in the world ranking and became the first $10 million man in golf. He got 95 percent of the GWAA vote, followed by Ernie Els and Masters champion Phil Mickelson, who each had 2.5 percent.
Sorenstam won eight times on the LPGA Tour, including her seventh career major. She won her fourth straight GWAA award by getting 93 percent of the vote, followed by U.S. Womens Open champion Meg Mallon (6 percent) and Kraft Nabisco winner Grace Park (1 percent).
Stadlers five victories on the Champions Tour included a major, and the 51-year-old won the money title. He got 88 percent of the vote, followed by Hale Irwin (11 percent) and Mark McNulty (1 percent).
The players will be honored at the GWAA annual dinner April 6 in Augusta, Ga.
Fred Couples was interested in being Ryder Cup captain for 2006, only he wasnt about to lobby for the job with the PGA of America.
Maybe because Couples wasnt sure whom to call.
He played the first round of the Target World Challenge with Jay Haas, another name that surfaced as possible candidates before the PGA settled on Tom Lehman.
Jay and I had talked a little bit about maybe being co-captains, and he asked me if I ever called ... whats his name? Couples said.
Couples was told that the PGA of America president at the time was M.G. Orender.
Maybe thats why I didnt get it, Couples said. Im a little blank. What is it?
The PGA might not have been interested in Couples, anyway. The former Masters champion suggested that captains were overrated and that they couldnt affect how someone was playing that particular week.
I cant help Tiger Woods play, Couples said. But if I can say, Hey, theres one less dinner to go to ... and thats the way I was looking at it. Thats just what I see.
Couples watched the Ryder Cup and was asked to pick an indelible image from Oakland Hills.
Probably Angie Everhart and Donald Trump on the stage before the thing started, he said. That was different. Very different.
DRUG ON STEROIDS
The PGA Tour does not have a policy against steroids, and six-time major winner Nick Faldo says golf doesnt need one.
Its been clean forever, probably because weve proven theres nothing out there we can take to enhance our performance, Faldo said Tuesday. So theres no point looking. Golf has a very good reputation and, fortunately, nothing in the wings is going to dent it.
Faldo said anyone who uses banned substances is cheating. And even if there were such a substance that would help a golfers performance, the games honor code and the stigma of cheating would prevail.
If you cheat with a pencil, youre gone for life, he said. Theres no soft stuff, where you go to six weeks of rehab to learn how to put in a 4 instead of a 3. The bottom line is theyre just cheating. And if you want to play golf, you forget about that from Day One.
ABC Sports analyst Judy Rankin is recovering from a nasty fall at the Tour Championship in which she broke her elbow and nose. All my bumps and bruises healed up and my elbow is coming along, said Rankin, who expects to return when ABC starts is tour coverage at Torrey Pines the third week of January. ... The Wachovia Championship has increased its purse to $6 million, with $1.08 going to the winner. The Byron Nelson Championship earlier raised its purse to $6.2 million, with $1.1 million for first place. They are the only two regular PGA Tour events over the $6 million mark. ... The U.S. Womens Amateur Public Links will require a handicap limit (18.4 or lower) next year.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Fred Couples played 16 times on the PGA Tour and won $1,396,109. He played four times in the silly season and won $1,105,000.
Hes not going to hit less balls. Hes not going to work out any less. I would find it hard to see Vijay being satisfied with his career and slowing down.'Brad Faxon.
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings
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.
Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut
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
Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements
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.”
Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back
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.