Notes New Orleans Event Back to English Turn
Where to play the Zurich Classic of New Orleans?
The TPC of Louisiana was hammered by Hurricane Katrina, and commissioner Tim Finchem said the course will not be ready for the April 27-30 tournament. Instead, it is headed back to English Turn Golf & Country Club, where it had been played the previous 16 years.
Were about to get this done, Finchem said. Were in discussions with English Turn. We cant play the TPC in April. Its just too much work.
An announcement is expected as early as this week.
Finchem said English Turn lost several trees, as did most golf courses in the area, but otherwise was in pretty good shape and primarily needed overseeding of the grass. That wasnt the case at the TPC of Louisiana.
We lost 40 percent of our turf, Finchem said. We could overseed, but its going to die, anyway. The agronomists tell us theres no way.
The Zurich Classic still figures to be a big week. With the Saints having moved to San Antonio and Baton Rouge, La., for the rest of the season, the Hornets playing their NBA home games in Oklahoma City and the Sugar Bowl moving to Atlanta this year, tournament director John Subers said the Zurich Classic will be the first major sporting event in New Orleans post-Katrina.
We want to use that week to tell the story about the future of New Orleans, to showcase it, Finchem said. We definitely will use it as a way to think about it'not so much look back to Katrina, but looking forward.
VIEW FROM AUGUSTA
While the players might find Augusta National to be more tough, it should be easier for spectators to watch the Masters next April.
While pushing the par-3 fourth tee back some 40 yards, the club removed enough trees to allow more fans to see the third green, regarded as one of the best short par 4s in golf. The 11th tee also was pushed back, but now there is some 20 yards of open space for fans to watch the tee shots.
And those perched behind the 10th green can also watch players tee off on the par-5 15th.
Perhaps the biggest difference is No. 7, stretched some 40 yards. Previously, spectators could not get back to the tee box. Now there is a large area to the right of the tee where a maintenance shed once stood. It was so dense back there, that few people realized there even was a maintenance shed.
As for the first tee, which nearly adjoins the practice green?
Spectators no longer will be able to walked behind the tee, but it is far enough back that views from the balcony of the clubhouse will not be obstructed by the large oak tree.
FAXON ON THE MEND
Dont count out Brad Faxon for the season-opening Mercedes Championships.
Faxon, who became eligible for Kapalua when he won the Buick Championship at Hartford, had surgery to repair ligaments in his right knee Sept. 13. His doctor told him the recovery would be four to six months.
Hes closer to six, Faxon said. Im closer to four.
Faxon, at the Tour Championship to receive the Payne Stewart Award, said he was ahead of schedule. He was on crutches for six weeks, but doctors like his motion and muscle tone.
The Mercedes Championships starts Jan. 5, which will be 16 weeks and two days from his surgery. Asked if he would be on Maui, Faxon replied, Im going to do everything in my power.
If the first shot I hit after surgery is Thursday (of the tournament), Im happy with that, he said.
Faxon, who lives in Rhode Island, usually takes the winter off and goes to either Florida or California a week before the season to get ready. The only issue might be the hilly terrain of the Plantation Course at Kapalua.
And if hes ready for Kapalua, the temptation will be to stay an extra week for the Sony Open at Waialae, where Faxon won in 2001. The goal all along was to be ready for one of Faxons favorite tournaments, the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, which starts Feb. 9.
For those who believe the golf ball is solely responsible for distance gains, the pro-am at the Chrysler Championship showed other factors at work.
The wooden driver, for example.
As the PGA Tour reached a conclusion to its Drive to a Billion charity campaign, it had five persimmons drivers available on the first tee and asked players to give it a crack, then use their titanium drivers for the shot that counted on their pro-am scorecard.
Adam Scott hit it pure, a majestic ball flight with a slight draw to the middle of the fairway. Out came his Titleist titanium driver'same golf ball, by the way'and another beautiful swing. Stepping it off, it was 32 yards longer.
Davis Love III also ripped the wooden driver. His modern driver sent the ball 40 yards longer.
A record 26 players averaged at least 300 yards in driving distance on the PGA Tour this year, up from 14 a year ago.
The leader was Scott Hend at 318.2 yards, which was nearly 60 yards more than last-place Corey Pavin.
But for those who think power is the answer on the PGA Tour, some degree of skill is required. Of the top four players in driving distance, Tiger Woods (second at 316.1 yards) is the only one who finished in the top 125 on the money list. The others were Brett Wetterich and Scott Gutschewski.
Deb Richard, a five-time winner on the LPGA Tour who retired earlier this year, has been named senior vice president of golf for the LPGA. She will approve courses that are used and how they are set up. ... A week after the Masters, the Golf Club of Georgia will host the U.S. College Championship with 12 top teams. Georgia Tech and Georgia will have permanent spots, joined by 10 teams from the Golfweek/Sagrin College Rankings. ... The USGA will not adopt the local rule allowing for distance-measuring devices at its championships or qualifying rounds in 2006.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Chris DiMarco set a PGA Tour record for most money ($3,562,548) without winning.
Probably the longest courses on the LPGA Tour. - Scott Verplank, when asked on which golf courses Michelle Wie would have the most success.
Copyright 2005 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.