Notes Ryder Cup Leftys Plans
Don't expect that to change any time soon.
'Most everything that other event does has been suggested to us,' said Jim Awtrey, chief executive officer of the PGA of America.
That 'other event' to which he referred is the Presidents Cup, and two of the suggestions Awtrey has heard were to play an additional team match each session, and to let the captains manipulate the draw to get more marquee pairings.
Awtrey wasn't impressed with either.
'When we were talking about adding points, or adding matches, we saw what can happen,' he said. 'You get too many points early, and it's over before it gets to Sunday. With the possibility of a nonevent on Sunday, that has never been a serious discussion.'
Indeed, the International team took a 141/2-51/2 lead going into Sunday in the '98 Presidents Cup. Two years later, the United States led 14-6 going into the last day. Both matches ended in blowouts. Three of the five Presidents Cups have been decided by at least eight points.
Awtrey also said television officials liked the idea of the captains announcing one match at a time.
'They thought that would be great theater, and television wants theater,' he said. 'But the captains know they've got to start out with strong players and have someone to close it out. We've found that created some strategy, some excitement. And that had tremendous theater.'
He also believes playing 36 holes on Friday and Saturday (the Presidents Cup spreads the four team sessions over three days), leads to more strategy because captains have to decide who has the stamina and the hot hand.
The only substantial change Awtrey can recall is allowing the home captain to decide which format to use at the start the Ryder Cup. Seve Ballesteros changed in 1997 to start with better-ball matches.
'I don't recall that we've done any material change,' he said. 'And I really don't expect any.'
Phil Mickelson has played Hartford the last three years and won consecutive titles in 2001-02. But the Buick Championship has been moved to the end of August, and Lefty might have to skip it this year.
Mickelson won't play again until the PGA Championship, followed by the NEC Invitational at Firestone. To play at Hartford would be three straight, with the Ryder Cup looming.
'The date change has made it difficult for me,' Mickelson said. 'After the major, I have historically tried to take a little time off because they are draining weeks. So Hartford is difficult. It's not a for sure 'no,' but it's very unlikely.'
Mickelson said he probably would take two weeks off after Firestone, then play in the Canadian Open leading into the Ryder Cup matches Sept. 17-19.
And after that?
'I may play zero tournaments, I may play five tournaments,' he said of his end-of-the-year schedule. 'It just depends on how I feel. I haven't really taken any full weeks off. I've kept practicing, trying to maintain my level. But then, I may be trying to get that money list because I know Vijay (Singh) is going to play every week, trying to make up ground. I just don't know yet.'
Mickelson has a $420,000 lead over Singh, despite playing four fewer tournaments.
BEEFING IT UP
With so many repeat winners on the LPGA Tour, the Tournament of Champions was turning into one of the smallest fields in golf. Now, tournament officials have added an extra year of eligibility to beef it up.
Starting this year, players who have won LPGA events in the last four years (dating to 2001) will be eligible for the $800,000 event at Magnolia Grove in Alabama. Previously, winners from the last three years were eligible.
'With the increasing number of multiple tournament winners on the LPGA Tour, we have seen the eligible field list limited in numbers,' tournament director Steve Harrelson said. 'These moves allow us to keep the tournament's reputation as a 'best-of-the-best' event.'
Because of the change, nine players will be added to this year's field, raising it to 42 players. The field has declined each year since the tournament moved to Alabama, from 44 in 1999 to 29 last year.
Two-time British Open champion Greg Norman and his wife are encouraging couples to play golf and contribute to child cancer research.
Norman is behind 'Golf for Living,' an innovative program this summer at clubs in eight PGA of America sections. With a $50 donation, couples are automatically entered into a sweepstakes for an all-expenses trip to the Franklin Templeton Shootout that Norman hosts in Naples, Fla.
The money goes to CureSearch National Childhood Cancer Foundation.
'What better way to spend time with your partner, while actively helping in the fight against childhood cancer?' Norman said.
Yahoo! Inc. has signed a deal to power Tiger Woods' Web site in exchange for editorial and promotional content. Under terms of the deal, Yahoo! will be responsible for advertising sales on tigerwoods.com, and both camps will share the revenue. Along with text-based editorial articles, Woods' Web site will give Yahoo! exclusive one-on-one online interviews and video highlights. ... Robert Gamez shot a 61 in the B.C. Open and a 60 at the Bob Hope Classic and didn't win either tournament. ... A Titleist ball was used by 153 out of the 156 players at the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship last week. ... Yuri Fudo, the leading money winner on the Japan LPGA Tour the last four years, captured her 30th career victory last week to earn a lifetime exemption. Only five other players have earned lifetime exemptions on the Japanese tour.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Players from five countries have won the six USGA championships played this year -- South Africa (U.S. Open), Korea (U.S. Junior Amateur), Paraguay (U.S. Girls Junior Amateur), China (U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links) and the United States (U.S. Women's Open, U.S. Amateur Public Links).
'Golf has only one winner. Second doesn't do it for anybody.' -- Jane Park, 17, runner-up at the U.S. Women's Amateur and the U.S. Girls' Junior Amateur.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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.
Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026
SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.
“Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.
“We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.
In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010.