Notes TOUR to Revisit Cut Policy
The new policy, approved by the board in November, allows for the top 70 and ties to make the cut, the way it has been since 1969. But if that results in more than 78 players, then the closest number to 60 advance to the weekend, and the rest go home with last-place money.
Eighteen players were lopped off at the Sony Open. Two weeks later at the Buick Invitational, 19 players got tagged with 'MDF,' which is becoming a dirty little acronym that is short for 'Made the cut, did not finish.'
That's 37 players in two weeks, although no one has been MDF twice.
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem has heard enough complaints that he said the Player Advisory Council will meet at the Northern Trust Open next month to give it a closer look.
'The players I've heard from are generally upset with any reduction of guys playing on the weekend,' Finchem said. 'On the other hand, a lot of guys don't like it, but would be in favor of something else.'
When the PAC met last fall, it discussed top 65 or top 60 and ties, or perhaps a Saturday cut for the top 70 and ties. Even if 85 players made the cut on Friday, that number likely would be reduced going into the final round.
In both tournaments this year, someone who made the 'playing cut' on the number wound up in the top 10. Parker McLachlin tied for 10th at the Sony Open, and Justin Leonard was fifth at Torrey Pines.
Finchem said it was possible to amend the policy, but he offered no predictions.
'What I said to the PAC was there's a lot of interest in this, we ought to have a thorough discussion the week of L.A. and made sure we're looking at all possible alternatives,' Finchem said. 'I wouldn't predict we would change anything.'
PAR FOR THE COURSE:
The USGA always says it's not trying to protect par, so it's peculiar why it keeps reducing par for the U.S. Open to lower than what the course normally plays, even when that course already hosts the best players.
Pebble Beach went to a par 71 in 2000. Torrey Pines will be a par 71 in June, and it could have been worse. There was consideration to make No. 18 a par 4 until officials decided to leave it as it was.
But why does No. 6 on the South Course have to be a par 4 for the U.S. Open?
The sixth hole played as a par 5 at 560 yards last week, and it's worth noting that Woods never reached the green in two in any of his three rounds on the South Course. He didn't even make a birdie at No. 6 until the final round.
The hole will be just over 500 yards as a par 4 in the U.S. Open.
'The USGA just thrives on that,' Woods said. 'Par is just a number. What I mean by that is that Pebble could set up for a 72, and I would have been what, 16-under par? So under par doesn't really matter that much. It's just going out there and shooting a number.'
More than anything, it's a head game.
'When you have four par 5s in a U.S. Open, you always feel a little bit more comfortable because you're going to have some more birdie opportunities,' he said. 'When you get to par 70s and 71s, those opportunities are taken away.'
Looking for an election without any dirty politics or cheap promises? The best golf has to offer is the campaign to be the next chairman of the Player Advisory Council, with promotion to the full policy board in two years.
The candidates are Rich Beem, Brett Quigley and Zach Johnson, and voting takes place through Friday at Riviera.
'I was just frustrated with the process,' Quigley said about being one of the candidates for chairman. 'I think we need some guys who have a different perspective on some of the issues.'
All three of them paid their dues to reach the PGA Tour, spending time on various mini-tours.
'I think you have three guys who care about the PGA Tour and have played everywhere,' Quigley said.
The PGA TOUR event in Los Angeles has a new title sponsor that is serious about upgrades.
Northern Trust signed on as the new title sponsor at Riviera late last year, and already it has raised the purse by $1 million to $6.2 million, made courtesy cars available to all players (up from half the field) and eliminated one of the amateurs from the pro-am, a top perk among players because it speeds up the round.
The tournament also is offering free parking for fans at the VA Hospital (fans used to pay $5 for a shuttle bus), and will offer handheld leaderboards to the first 400 fans each day.
It also will stage a celebrity event open to the public on Feb. 10, the Sunday before the tournament, called 'The Michael Douglas and Friends Celebrity Golf.' And it expects to raise $2.5 million for local charities, up 30 percent from last year.
That doesn't guarantee getting the No. 1 player in the world.
Tiger Woods, who first played the PGA TOUR at Riviera as a 16-year-old, has not said whether he plans to play, although it is unlikely. Even so, it represents a strong push by a title sponsor to upgrade a tournament that for years relied mainly on being held at Riviera.
A fifth-place finish by Justin Leonard at Torrey Pines moved him up to No. 51 in the world, all but clinching a spot in the Accenture Match Play Championship. Leonard started the year at No. 89 and has not finished out of the top 10. ... Two weeks before the LPGA Tour season begins, Lorena Ochoa and Natalie Gulbis already are off to a good start. Ochoa has been honored with the Heather Farr Player Award, while Gulbis received the William and Mousie Powell Award. ... Rory Sabbatini has finished in the top 10 in six of his past seven starts on the PGA TOUR. The exception came at the Mercedes-Benz Championship, where he was 17th in a 31-man field.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Tiger Woods' 62 career PGA TOUR victories is one fewer than Phil Mickelson (32) and Vijay Singh (31) combined.
'If he's working out every day, he's going to get bigger. I don't work out every day, and I've gotten bigger.' -- Tim Herron, affectionately known on the PGA TOUR as 'Lumpy,' on Tiger Woods' fitness routine
Copyright 2008 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.