Notes Vijay Lefty Feud Jack at Masters

By Associated PressFebruary 14, 2006, 5:00 pm
Vijay Singh didn't like the length of Phil Mickelson's spikes at the Masters. And after playing with him the first two rounds of the FBR Open, he had questions about Lefty's driver.
 
Not only did Mickelson beat him by two shots each day, he routinely hit his tee shots beyond Singh. On average, he was 6.1 yards longer than Singh in the first round, and 15.4 yards longer than Singh on Friday.
 
When Mickelson showed up Saturday morning, the PGA Tour asked to test his Callaway FT3 driver to make sure it was under the limit for springlike effect. The driver passed the test.
 
A person involved with the tour said Singh asked for the driver to be tested. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the test is supposed to be confidential.
 
At least Singh was playing with Mickelson.
 
A year ago, Tom Pernice asked for Tiger Woods' driver to be tested after watching on TV as Woods routinely blasted it by Mickelson in the final round of the Ford Championship at Doral.
 
MASTER JACK
Jack Nicklaus received his annual invitation to play in the Masters early last month, a tradition that for him began in 1959. But this was the earliest he said no.
 
'I received a letter of invitation in early January and have already declined,' Nicklaus said.
 
Nicklaus ended his incomparable run in the majors at the British Open last year, and the only reason for him to take his clubs to Augusta National this year is for the Par 3 Tournament.
 
There was speculation last week about Nicklaus' plans, considering this is the 20-year anniversary of winning his sixth green jacket at age 46. He was quoted at the Champions Skins Game as saying he hasn't made up his mind what he was going to do at the Masters and 'I hope I'm smart enough not to take my golf clubs.'
 
Nicklaus, however, is only going to Augusta National for the Champions Dinner on Tuesday and the Golf Writers Association of America dinner Wednesday. He will not be part of the competition.
 
WESTERN FLAIR
In announcing a revamped schedule for 2007, the PGA Tour originally referred to events after the FedEx Cup as the 'Quest for the Card,' later changing it to the 'Fall Series.'
 
Perhaps another slogan it should consider is 'Go West, Young Man.'
 
Officials are closing in on deals that would bring two PGA Tour events to California in the fall of 2007. One tournament would be in Fresno at Running Horse Golf Club, which is being designed by Jack Nicklaus II and is scheduled to open this fall.
 
What makes it unique is that the charitable partner will be U.S. veterans. Running Horse spokesman Tim Ummel said a California Veterans Home is being built adjacent to the gated community, with U.S. and San Joaquin Valley veterans benefiting from the tournament.
 
'We'll honor a veteran every year, and we would like to tie this in to players with fathers or grandfathers who were veterans,' Ummel said.
 
Jack Nicklaus is helping his son with the course, and the Nicklaus clan was on site two weeks ago as plans for a PGA Tour event were coming together.
 
'Although the deal is not totally done, we like the way it's coming together,' PGA Tour spokesman Bob Combs said. 'And we like even more the potential for the event. We think the community support in Fresno and throughout the San Joaquin Valley is going to be absolutely tremendous.'
 
Ummel said Running Horse was negotiating with three potential title sponsors, and an announcement was expected next month at The Players Championship.
 
Also in the works is a tournament near San Jose, Calif., that would be sponsored by Fry's Electronics on a private course called The Institute, which is owned by Silicon Valley mogul John Fry. During the American Express Championship at Harding Park last October, a few players took part in an outing at The Institute. Fred Funk was said to have shot the lowest score (75) on a course that measured about 7,900 yards.
 
RORY ROARS BACK
Coming off his worst season since he was a PGA Tour rookie, Rory Sabbatini has made up ground quickly by sneaking into a couple of runner-up finishes. He shot 62 at Waialae and tied for second at the Sony Open, then closed with a 70 at Pebble Beach to finish second.
 
Now, the South African appears to be a shoo-in to get back to the Masters.
 
Sabbatini, who started the year at No. 71 in the world ranking, is all the way up to No. 33. He also is third on the money list with over $1.2 million. The top 50 in the world and top 10 on the money list after The Players Championship get into the Masters.
 
'It would be nice to get back,' Sabbatini said. 'I haven't had as much success there as I would like, but I think my mental game is ready for it now. I'm a lot more mature.'
 
Sabbatini has missed the cut the three previous times he has played Augusta National.
 
HAT TRICK
Loren Roberts has a chance to make Champions Tour history this week at the ACE Group Classic in Naples, Fla., where he will try to win the first three events of the year.
 
Only two other players have had that chance - Don January in 1981 and Larry Nelson in 2001, and both tied for eighth in the third tournament. Five other players have won three straight Champions Tour events, while Chi Chi Rodriguez holds the record by winning four straight times in 1987.
 
DIVOTS
Rory Sabbatini has started doing his own yardage to help him slow his pace of play. ... Phil Mickelson's caddie, Jim 'Bones' Mackay, was a late arrival to Pebble Beach. His wife gave birth to their second child, Emma Elizabeth, last Monday. ... Former USGA president Fred Ridley is the 2006 recipient of the PGA Distinguished Service Award, the organization's highest honor.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK
Three players in the top 10 of the U.S. Ryder Cup standings were not even among the top 30 when the PGA Tour season began six weeks ago.
 
FINAL WORD
'I've had a lot of humbling experiences in my life.' - Former President Clinton, after playing golf with Tiger Woods. Clinton didn't say what he shot, only that Woods beat him by 25.
 
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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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.