OHair Early Leader in Dallas

By Associated PressApril 26, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 EDS Byron Nelson ChampionshipIRVING, Texas - Sean O'Hair wants to be known for his game, not how he was pushed into the professional ranks while still in high school by an overbearing father.
 
With the way O'Hair is playing these days, his past is becoming less of the story, though it's no less disturbing.
 
O'Hair shot a season-best 5-under 65 on Thursday in the EDS Byron Nelson Championship to take a one-stroke lead over defending champion Brett Wetterich and Anders Hansen after the tournament's first round without its namesake.
 
'You don't want to be known for other stuff,' the 24-year-old O'Hair said. 'My life is in a great spot. I've got two beautiful kids I love to death and I've got a beautiful wife who does nothing but support me. ... I'm very fortunate to be in the situation that I'm in.'
 
That wasn't always the case for O'Hair, who was pushed relentlessly by his father to be a star. He used to have to run a mile for every bogey and turned pro at age 17, a year before he finished high school.
 
Wetterich's 66 included an eagle 3 on the 554-yard 16th hole when he hit his approach within 7 feet of the pin. His 20-foot birdie attempt for a share of the lead at the closing 440-yard hole at the TPC Four Seasons course slid just left of the cup.
 
One of the things Wetterich treasured about his only PGA TOUR victory was the personal congratulation he got from Nelson at the 18th green after the final round. Wetterich was the last winner to have that privilege.
 
Nelson, the champion golfer known as 'Lord Byron' and in 1968 the first to have a PGA TOUR event named after him, died Sept. 26. He was 94.
 
'It is a little sad to not see Byron there. I really miss him,' Phil Mickelson said after his round of 69. 'But I don't think he's very far away from us. We still have all the great memories he's provided.'
 
Luke Donald, with his ninth consecutive Nelson round in the 60s, and Scott Verplank were among five players tied for fourth at 67. Another dozen players posted 68s.
 
When O'Hair was the Nelson runner-up to Ted Purdy as a PGA TOUR rookie two years ago, O'Hair's story became well-publicized. But by then, he had already severed ties with his father.
 
'I kind of had my life in order. ... Once the media kind of got involved in that situation, it made it a little bit more difficult for me,' O'Hair said. 'That stuff is long gone, and it's been long gone for a long time.'
 
O'Hair said he now talks to his father 'once in a while.' While he politely described their relationship as a 'good situation,' he didn't elaborate.
 
Coming off four consecutive top-15 finishes, O'Hair got off to a good start with birdies on the opening two holes at Cottonwood Valley, the easier of the two courses used for the Nelson's first two rounds. He finished with seven birdies and two bogeys, the last on the par-3 17th after 'the one bad swing of the day' left his tee shot in the bunker.
 
Before his last four tournaments, O'Hair started the season missing five of six cuts and tied for 56th at the Nissan Open.
 
'I went back to an old instructor of mine, and things are starting to click,' O'Hair said. 'Golf is just about confidence, and it's just going out there with the feeling I'm going to play well, and that just wasn't the case at the beginning of the season.'
 
It also helped to be back at Nelson. The only place O'Hair has finished better was at the 2005 John Deere Classic in Illinois.
 
Mickelson, No. 4 in the world ranking and highest-ranked player in the field, was 4 under in his first round since the Masters before his only three bogeys came on the last four holes. Afterward, he didn't want to discuss the swing changes he's been working on with new instructor Butch Harmon.
 
'I'm pleased so far, yeah,' Mickelson said. 'I hit the ball well, gave a few shots back in the end.'
 
Mickelson, No. 7 Vijay Singh and No. 11 Donald are the only three of the top 13 players in the world playing this week. Mickelson and Singh, who also had an opening 69, are past Nelson champions.
 
Rod Pampling and Ken Duke, the 2006 Nationwide Tour champion coming off a PGA TOUR-best runner-up finish last weekend at New Orleans, were in the group at 68. Both missed chances to do better.
 
Pampling had birdies on three of his first five holes at the TPC, including a 60-foot chip-in at the 490-yard No. 3. But he had an erratic back nine with three consecutive birdies sandwiched by four bogeys, missing the green on the final two holes.
 
Duke hit his drive at TPC's No. 14 out of bounds and three-putted at the 17th.
 
DIVOTS
Hansen had a bogey-free round. ... Hank Kuehne shot a 74 in his first PGA TOUR round since THE PLAYERS Championship in March 2006 before he had surgery on his left hip. His gallery included tennis standout Venus Williams, who he is reportedly dating. They rode on a golf cart together back to the clubhouse after his round. ... Friday's rounds will be the last for the Nelson at Cottonwood Valley, which has been used every year since 1994. A multimillion dollar redesign of the TPC course begins May 10.
 
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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.