Notes Pressel Fires Salvo at Wie
During a conference call for the Fields Open in Hawaii, the 17-year-old rookie said Michelle Wie should have to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open instead of getting an exemption.
Several veterans were outraged when Wie got a a special exemption to the Women's Open in 2004, although she tied for 13th to earn a trip back. Last year, Wie was tied for the lead going into the final round at Cherry Hills until closing with an 82 to tie for 23rd. Only the top 20 and ties are exempt the following year.
Pressel, who tied for second at Cherry Hills, said she doesn't think Wie will get an exemption this time.
'I'd be very surprised, just because of what happened last time,' Pressel said. 'I don't think she needs an exemption. I've been through qualifying. Everybody who doesn't make it on the money list, other amateurs, other professionals that aren't members of the tour, they all have to go through qualifying, too.
'I don't see why she shouldn't, or why she should be afraid, or expect an exemption.'
Even so, USGA executive director David Fay sounded as though that were a possibility -- provided Wie 'earned' her exemption in the LPGA Tour events she plays before qualifying begins for the Open.
'She's not exempt now,' Fay said. 'But she's in limbo.'
The 16-year-old from Hawaii is exempt into the other three majors based on her '05 performance -- runner-up at the LPGA Championship and a tie for third at the Women's British Open.
Along with being the biggest draw in women's golf, one reason Wie received a special invitation in 2004 was because money she would have earned on the LPGA was equivalent to the top 35 on the LPGA money list, which is one of the criteria for being exempt.
Wie turned pro in October, although she is not a member of the LPGA Tour because of her age. Whatever money she earns does not appear on the money list. That's why Fay refers to her being in limbo.
'Let's say she were to do well enough in women's events she's going to be playing this winter and spring that if she were a member, her earnings would be such that she would be exempt,' Fay said. 'I think you'd be hard-pressed to explain why you wouldn't allow her to play.'
The only way for Wie to avoid qualifying is to win on the LPGA Tour, and her only two chances likely will be the Fields Open or the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Fay said for the USGA not to consider her earnings -- and where that puts her on the money list -- would be holding Wie's age against her.
'How else could she qualify without winning an event?' Fay said.
The USGA had its annual meeting over the weekend in Atlanta, and Fay said there has been no decision on a special invitation. But it sounds as though Wie will need to play well in her limited starts.
The record will show that Luke Donald tied for 52nd in the British Open, although barring a future victory, it might rank among his most memorable majors.
Donald played the first two rounds with Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus, who ended his major championship career at St. Andrews. Donald still has several pictures of the three as they crossed the Swilcan Bridge that Friday afternoon.
'They're sitting in Jack's locker at the Bear's Club waiting for him to sign when he goes there,' Donald said. 'He only plays there about twice a year, so we'll see how long that will take.'
More than the pictures or the commemorative bank notes of Nicklaus (four of those are waiting to be signed), Donald won't forget the scene walking up the final few holes.
'You're walking up the 18th, every window of every building there were people watching,' Donald said. 'I saw Ernie Els looking out on the 17th of the (Old Course) hotel. I mean, everyone was watching. This was a huge moment in golf, and to be playing with him was pretty special. It was a great treat.'
HOME ON THE RANGE
Michelle Wie might feel like she's at home in the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Her family is buying a house at Bighorn Golf Club, where Wie made her professional debut at the Samsung World Championship in October. Bighorn is about 15 minutes away from Mission Hills, site of the LPGA's first major.
'We would like to use our Bighorn house as often as possible for Michelle's golf training and vacation,' said her father, B.J. Wie. 'It will also be very convenient to stay at Bighorn during the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the Samsung World Championship.'
Brad Faxon and Billy Andrade have distributed $239,000 to more than 41 children's charities in New England through their annual CVS Charity Classic. The Andrade-Faxon Charities for Children also donated $100,000 to the Rhode Island chapter of the American Red Cross for families who fled from Hurricane Katrina. ... Morgan Pressel turned pro in November, but a car will have to wait for the 17-year-old senior in high school. 'I don't have my license,' she said last week. Pressel said Florida law requires a permit for one year, and she never got around to getting that until after the U.S. Women's Open.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Since his first full season in 1993, Phil Mickelson has gone only three years without winning on the West Coast swing. Two of those years (1999, 2003), he ended the season without a PGA Tour victory.
'Most people work all their life to be able to retire and play golf. I've played golf all my life to retire and go to work.' -- Jack Nicklaus.
Copyright 2006 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.