Notes Mickelsons Masters preparations

By Associated PressMarch 11, 2009, 4:00 pm
2007 WGC CA ChampionshipDORAL, Fla. ' Phil Mickelson is getting a head-start on preparing for the Masters.
The 2004 and 2006 Masters champion played 27 holes at Augusta National on Tuesday, checking out some minor changes to the course that hes played 62 competitive rounds upon over the years.
That doesnt mean the thrill is gone. Not even close.
Theres just one or two courses in the world I get excited to play, whether its in a tournament or not, and Augusta National is one of those, Mickelson said. I was giddy the night before. I was out putting in the dark. I was so excited once I got there.
Temperatures got into the 80s on Tuesday at Augusta, but could fall into the 50s this weekend ' a common swing for springtime in Georgia.
But even with the swinging weather, Mickelson gave high marks to the condition of the course.
I thought the golf course was in incredible shape, as always, Mickelson said. A lot of coverage, a lot of grass. The greens were perfect.

FEELS LIKE HOME: Given his history, its easy to see why Camilo Villegas enjoys South Florida so much.
First, the obvious: Hes Colombian and theres a huge South American population in the greater Miami area. If past years are a proper indicator, theyll turn out in droves to watch Villegas in the CA Championship beginning Thursday at Doral, where he tied for second behind Tiger Woods in 2006.
But theres also plenty of other reasons, namely that one of his big breaks came in the region a decade ago.
Villegas won the Junior Orange Bowl championship as a 17-year-old in 1999, perhaps the most significant of the many early steps he took toward golf stardom. From there, he got a scholarship to play at Florida, turned pro in 2004 and finally got his first two wins on the PGA Tour last season.
Now the 10th-ranked player in the world, a World Golf Championships win would make another great Miami memory for Villegas.
I have great memories about the tournament, Villegas said. And when that happens, you look forward to going to those places again and again.
Villegas has such popularity in Miami, he was the focus of some pre-tournament TV ads put together by organizers at Doral. The spots appeared in both English and Spanish, playing to the dynamic of the South Florida population.
Villegas is hardly alone in feeling at home at Doral: Spains Sergio Garcia, who could overtake Woods for the worlds No. 1 ranking this week, said he also gets warm welcomes when playing in Miami.
I enjoy the course. I enjoy the city. Its a great city, Garcia said. Theres a lot of Spanish speakers here, and it just makes it a little bit more special to come back here, being Spanish and everything.

RELIEVED LOVE: Davis Love III got into the CA Championship by 0.0009 points in the World Golf Rankings, the extremely thin margin he held over Anders Hansen of Denmark when the latest numbers came out Monday morning.
The skin of my teeth, Love said.
And thats not exactly what hes striving for.
Above all else ' getting into the Masters next month (he has a good shot, but its not yet guaranteed), winning for the 21st time on the PGA Tour and qualifying for more major championships'Love says hes striving to get off the top-50 bubble.
In other words, he thinks hes got plenty of great golf left to play.
The ultimate goal is not to be 50 by .0009. Its to be in the top five, where I got used to being for a long time, Love said. Just got to keep working at it. Obviously, this is a great boost if I play well this week, to move up some. And whatever happens in the next two weeks, Ill try to play well and get in Augusta.
Love didnt play the Masters last year, saying he only caught bits and pieces of Sundays final round.
I went turkey huntin, he said.

HERE AND THERE: Defending CA Championship winner Geoff Ogilvy is an avid reader, and his latest book is From Lance to Landis, a story of various doping scandals and controversies at the Tour de France. If you like cycling, its probably best not to read it, Ogilvy said. Tiger Woods will play the first two rounds with Mike Weir and Robert Karlsson. Woods and Weir played a practice round Wednesday.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - WGC-CA Championship
  • Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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

    Getty Images

    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.”

    Getty Images

    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.