Ochoa Looks to Get Back on Track

By Associated PressOctober 3, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 Longs Drugs ChallengeDANVILLE, California - Lorena Ochoa needed a quick translation: One of her colleagues on the LPGA Tour had described the star from Mexico as mystical.
 
'Thank you,' Ochoa said Wednesday with a grin. 'It's a good thing, right?'
 
A compliment, indeed, for the world's No. 1 ranked player, who this week could become the first woman ever to earn $3 million in a single season. She needs to finish sixth or better in the Longs Drug Challenge to do it, entering the first round Thursday with $2,966,454 in prize money in 2007.
 
Reaching that milestone would help Ochoa forget another mark she had been shooting for before falling short in her previous tournament.
 
Ochoa was trying to become the first with four straight tour victories since Annika Sorenstam did it in 2004-05. Sorenstam and Nancy Lopez hold the record with five wins in a row in events in which they played.
 
Not that Ochoa is dwelling on that close finish behind Maria Hjorth and Stacy Prammanasudh in the inaugural Navistar LPGA Classic last weekend in Prattville, Ala.
 
'I do get really mad and disappointed, but I just kind of move on and leave things behind and put them in the trash and I keep going,' Ochoa said after completing her round of the Pro-Am at Blackhawk Country Club. 'I think that's something that really helps me.'
 
Defending champion Karrie Webb is expected to challenge Ochoa among a talented 108-player field that is missing 2006 runner-up Sorenstam. Webb beat Sorenstam by one stroke in this event last year, finishing 15 under par.
 
'I think we've got as tough a competitor in Lorena,' Webb said. 'She's playing similar, consistently very good golf as Annika has done in the past. So I wouldn't be surprised to see Lorena's name up on the leaderboard this week.'
 
The tournament moved last year from the Sacramento area to the picturesque and hilly Blackhawk Country Club in this well-to-do San Francisco suburb.
 
Webb, the Hall of Famer from Australia, is winless this year and she attributes her problems primarily to her inconsistent putting. She is encouraged by her fifth-place finish last week in Alabama.
 
'Well, like anything, confidence, every week you play good and your confidence just continues to grow,' Webb said. 'When you're playing that well, you don't notice the bad breaks you get. And if you do get a bad break generally it doesn't seem like it costs you anything.'
 
Local favorites Juli Inkster, Natalie Gulbis and Paula Creamer also will take part in the event featuring the entire top-10 in the LPGA player of the year race.
 
Typically a crowd favorite, Creamer came off the 18th green and chatted with fans in the gallery, signed autographs and posed for pictures. She is fresh off a victory with the U.S. Solheim Cup team, and thrilled to be back home to the Bay Area.
 
'It's so nice to be able to come here and play in front of my friends and my family, come out and play this golf course,' Creamer said. 'It's kind of a crazy week with everything going on, but I love to be back.'
 
Ochoa won the Women's British Open, Canadian Women's Open and Safeway Classic before taking an extended break that ended with her tournament last weekend. This tournament, she wants to do a better job of gauging the speed of greens and improve her long putting.
 
Such attention to detail, she said, is what has helped her become the top player in the world in about the time she expected it to happen after her rookie year in 2003. Now, it's all about doing the things to keep that spot.
 
'I think it's all about breaking records and making history,' Ochoa said. 'I don't really pay too much attention to the money. I have no control over that. I just make sure I do my process and I just practice and whatever is in my control. Get in my routine and getting a good feel of the golf course and having a strategy to play the tournament.
 
'The money is just a plus, and it counts and I'm very thankful.'
 

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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.