Oklahoma Well Represented at Southern Hills

By Associated PressAugust 8, 2007, 4:00 pm
PGA ChampionshipTULSA, Okla. -- Two colors stood out to Charles Howell III at the PGA Championship in a state where he went to college and won an NCAA title.
'The orange is Oklahoma State and the red is Georgia, right?' Howell said Wednesday after his final practice round at Southern Hills. 'Either way, it's a win-win.'
Even while playfully dismissing the crimson of Oklahoma, Howell said he really 'didn't get into that utter hatred' in the Bedlam rivalry that this week will feature seven golfers -- five from Oklahoma State and two Sooners -- in the PGA field.
Scott Verplank, Hunter Mahan, 1986 PGA champion Bob Tway and Bo Van Pelt -- who made it in at the last minute as an alternate -- will also be representing Oklahoma State this week in Tulsa, about 80 miles east of the school's Stillwater campus. The field also features Anthony Kim and Todd Hamilton, who played for the Sooners.
For Howell, Southern Hills presents the second time in the year's four majors that he'll get to play on something of a home course. The Augusta, Ga., native tied for 30th at the Masters in his hometown in April.
'If we can keep coming here and Augusta, we'll be great,' said Howell, who won the individual title while leading Oklahoma State to the NCAA championship in 2000.
Howell said he remains close with Van Pelt, who was his college teammate in 1998. They will frequently play practice rounds together on Tuesdays and Wednesdays leading up to tournaments 'when he doesn't sleep in on me,' Howell said. The other former Cowboys aren't strangers either.
'We see each other all the time, and it's really nice,' Howell said. 'There is a bond there because we all did play for the same program and the same coach.'
Mahan agreed that the Oklahoma State golfers maintain a brotherhood, maybe because the program has had only three coaches in its 60-year history and most of the current players on tour played under Mike Holder, who is now the university's athletic director. The Cowboys have won 10 NCAA titles, nine in the past 31 years, the most in the nation in that span.
'I think everyone really respects him and the program and what it's meant to each of them,' Mahan said.
The fans clad in orange or crimson will provide the biggest edge for the golfers returning to Oklahoma this week. The tournament isn't being played on a home course for any of them.
'I've only played one tournament here, so I didn't really remember too many holes,' Mahan said.
That one previous experience at Southern Hills for Mahan was a 13-stroke victory over Texas' Jason Hartwick and the rest of the field at the 2003 Big 12 tournament. He shot a 73 and then finished with rounds of 67 and 68 to finish at 2 under.
Mahan said the course will play far differently with a PGA Championship setup that includes more difficult rough.
'This is a major, that was a Big 12 championship. No disrespect to the Big 12 by any means, but this is the big time,' Mahan said. 'At this course, they've been waiting for this for a couple years, they've been getting ready for it.'
Mahan has been considered a dark horse by some after a two-month surge that included his first PGA TOUR win at the Travelers Championship in June. He followed that with three more top 10 finishes -- including sixth at the British Open -- before tying for 22nd at last week's Bridgestone Invitational.
'He's got a lot of momentum and he's playing great,' Howell said. 'Anytime you get hot like that, your confidence runs up and the game seems pretty easy.'
Mahan grabbed the first-round lead at each of his last two events, matching the Canadian Open record with a 62 that included three eagles.
'I definitely feel like I'm trying to get stronger throughout the week,' Mahan said. 'I want to build rounds and build a tournament and build a week. I want to make sure I'm fresh on Sunday and ready to play.'
That could be a little easier this week, with fans yelling 'Go Pokes!' to help him hearken back to his college success.
'Golfers don't get many home games like this,' Mahan said. 'So I'm going to take advantage of it.'
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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.