Notes Player Tabs Baker-Finch as Asst Captain

By Associated PressAugust 19, 2005, 4:00 pm
AKRON, Ohio -- Gary Player had no trouble making his two captain's picks for the Presidents Cup. The hard part was finding as assistant captain for the International team.
 
Player finally selected former British Open champion Ian Baker-Finch, the congenial Australian who will be helping out for the third time. Baker-Finch also was the assistant captain in 1996 under Peter Thomson and in 2003 under Player when the matches ended in a tie in South Africa.
 
``The assistant was supposed to be the alternate,'' Baker-Finch said Friday. ``Gary told me a few months ago that he would get a player who was unlucky not to make the team. I'm happy to be back.''

Player first wanted Nick Price, who failed to make the International team for the first time, but was turned down.
 
``He wanted to make the team, and it was just a letdown not making the team that he'd like to be excused from being the vice captain,'' Player said Tuesday.
 
He also asked Steve Elkington, who many figured would be a captain's pick after his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship. Player instead took Peter Lonard and Trevor Immelman, and Elkington wasn't interested in riding around the Robert Trent Jones Club with only a radio.
 
Others that Players wanted for his assistant were Robert Allenby and Craig Parry.
 
Baker-Finch had no trouble being on a waiting list, and he has no interest in becoming captain one day.
 
``I'm happy to be assistant captain,'' he said. ``If I ever get to be captain, by the time it gets to me, a lot of other guys -- Nicky Price, Greg Norman -- all those guys should be captain before me.''
 
U.S. captain Jack Nicklaus will have Jeff Sluman for the second straight time.
 
A REAL MONSTER
The 16th hole at Firestone already is a beast at 667 yards, and it played like one Friday. The pin was all the way to the right, squeezed behind the large pond and in front of deep rough. The tree-lined fairway blocked some of the wind, which was helping the players.
 
It was difficult to pull the right club, and it showed in the scores.
 
Davis Love III was 4 under par when he put his third shot into the water, his fifth shot over the green, then had to make a 3-footer for a triple-bogey 8. Vijay Singh was at 5 under and tied for the lead when his third shot came up short and into the water. He holed a chip with a fairway metal just off the green to save bogey.
 
There were only nine birdies, and it ranked as the third-hardest hole. Five players made double bogey, while Love had triple bogey and Chris Riley made a quadruple-bogey 9.
 
Tiger Woods narrowly escaped a big number.
 
His tee shot went off a cart path into the trees. He tried to punch out to the fairway, but it rolled into a bunker 163 yards to the hole over the water. He hit 8-iron to 20 feet and two-putted for par.
 
``Just play it like I did,'' he said. ``Lay up to a full 8-iron out of the bunker.''
 
Three players tried to reach the green in two. Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke came up just short and both made birdie; Stuart Appleby's second shot hit the green and went over, and he had to settle for par
 
NEW TITLE SPONSOR
Firestone is getting a new title sponsor for the first time since 1984.
 
The Akron Beacon Journal reported Friday that Bridgestone Corp., the Tokyo-based tire company, will take over as title sponsor of the World Golf Championship starting in 2006. Details were expected to be announced on Sunday, although it is believed that the deal will run through 2010, keeping the tournament at Firestone the next five years.
 
NEC took over as title sponsor in 1984 when the tournament was known as the World Series of Golf, and it became the NEC Invitational when it became a WGC event in 1999.
 
Bridgestone bought Akron-based Firestone Tire & Rubber Co in 1998, but it never owned Firestone Country Club. Firestone sold its country club to ClubCorp of American in 1981.
 
DIVOTS
Starting times have been moved up in the third round to avoid thunderstorms in the forecast Saturday afternoon. Players will go off from both tees in threesomes starting, and the round is to be finished by 2 p.m. EDT. ... Marc Cayeux of Zimbabwe, the 27-year-old who played with Woods in his U.S. debut, had a 75 and was at 6-over 146. ... Mike Weir shot a 69, his first round in the 60s since he shot a 68 in the third round of the Masters.
 
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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.