Park Eyes Second Major at McDonalds

By Associated PressJune 9, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 McDonaldWILMINGTON, Del. -- Grace Park doesn't need a world ranking, a money list or another statistic to tell where she is on the LPGA Tour landscape.
 
'I just know there's one person ahead of me,' she said Wednesday.
 
Park knows what it's like to be No. 2 behind Annika Sorenstam, on paper and on the golf course.
 
A year ago, she found herself in contention at a major for the first time in the LPGA Championship, closing with a 67 at DuPont Country Club to force a playoff with the best player in women's golf. Park played a safe but short tee shot, then tried to pound a 4-iron up the hill and came up short in thick rough, making bogey to lose to Sorenstam.
 
'This is the best finish in a major for me so for, so I'll always remember this -- but you won't,' Park told reporters that day. 'Nobody will. Nobody remembers second.'

A year later, Park can look back at that bitter loss as a turning point in her career. She swore that she would never let another opportunity slip away so easily, and so far, she has made good on her promise.
 
Second on the money list and in the player-of-the-year standings, Park comes into the LPGA Championship with another 'No. 2' in mind -- trying to capture the second leg of the Grand Slam.
 
Three months ago, she holed a 6-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole at Mission Hills to win the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major of her career and a clear sign that the awesome potential she showed as an amateur is ready to come to fruition.
 
'Finishing second here last year makes me want to win this more,' she said. 'Winning the first major of the year makes me crave my second major. I really want to do it. Since winning Kraft Nabisco, I've kind of slowed down, and I think it's finally time for me to step up again.
 
'This is the week to do it.'
 
Her life has been geared toward this. Born in South Korea, she moved to the United States when she was 12 to learn how to play golf. She won an NCAA title at Arizona State, and in 1998 joined Patty Berg as the only women to sweep the top three women's amateur events in one year.
 
Unlike the instant success enjoyed by Se Ri Pak (two majors as a rookie) and Karrie Webb (leading money-winner as a rookie), Park's progress has been slow. She has never won more than one tournament in a season, and that remains the case this year.
 
Then again, her lone title was a major, and her peers expect greatness to follow.
 
'I've always respected Grace's game,' Sorenstam said. 'And most of all, I really like her attitude. She's very motivated. It was just a matter of time for Grace to win the first major. I don't think anybody was surprised.'
 
Sorenstam remains No. 1 by a mile.
 
She already has won three times this year, although her goal of winning the Grand Slam ended quickly when she tied for 13th at the Kraft Nabisco. Sorenstam, 33, is at a stage in her career where she is limiting her tournament schedule to focus more on the majors.
 
She has good vibes at DuPont. She hit a 7-wood into the tough 18th in regulation last year that set up par to force a playoff, and she used a clutch tee shot and 6-iron on the first extra hole to win.
 
'Wonderful memories from last year,' Sorenstam said.
 
The McDonald's LPGA Championship has a recent history of bringing out the best in women's golf.
 
Pak has won at DuPont twice in the last six years, and she is as big a threat to Sorenstam as anyone. Juli Inkster won back to back at the LPGA Championship and, two weeks before her 44th birthday, has not shown any signs of slowing down. Webb, who won the LPGA in 2001 to complete the career Grand Slam, is coming off a victory last week.
 
They face a DuPont course that has some of the thickest rough they will see all year, including the U.S. Women's Open in three weeks. The greens have subtle contours that are difficult to read. Twice since 2000, the winner has shot over par in the final round.
 
'It's a true test,' Sorenstam said.
 
The challenge for Park is not to get too far ahead of herself. Having won the first major, she is the only one capable of winning the Grand Slam, and many believe that's realistic.
 
'My goal this year was to win one major, and after winning the first, I changed it to winning two major championships,' Park said. 'And if I'm fortunate to win this one, I'll switch it to three and go from there.'
 
But she has not lost sight of her primary goal -- replacing Sorenstam as the best in women's golf.
 
That, too, remains a work in progress.
 
'I don't know if I can beat Annika this year,' Park said. 'She's so far ahead of everyone. My goal is to not only catch her, but to get my game higher and better, so that I can be No. 1.'
 
It all starts with No. 2 -- the second major of the year.
 
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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.