Players Enjoying Relaxed Champions Tour

By Associated PressApril 29, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 BrunoHOOVER, Ala. -- With a relaxed atmosphere and some friendly competition, the Champions Tour stands in sharp contrast to the PGA Tour.
'The PGA Tour was life and death,' Bruce Lietzke, a 13-time winner on the PGA Tour, said Thursday. 'The Champions Tour is not. It makes this tour pretty attractive.'

For the fans as well as the players.
The Champions Tour players have to work a little harder to promote their circuit, without the publicity and star power of players like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. They are required to play in two pro-ams leading up to each tournament compared to one for PGA Tour players. They willingly meet-and-greet with corporate types and media and attend various functions leading up to the tournaments -- including the Bruno's Memorial Classic, which starts Friday.
'I was blown away when I started going back to the PGA Tour to see what players don't give over there,' said Tom Kite, who won 19 PGA Tour titles.
'What the players give out here is so far beyond what the guys on the PGA Tour give, it's not even funny.'
Players and president Rick George discussed the present and future of the tour Thursday at Greystone Golf & Country Club, including a rule change banning carts during competition starting in 2005.
George said the feedback from players has been 'all over the map' on the cart issue.
'Some are adamantly against it, some are in the middle and some are for it,' he said.
Lietzke favors walking at tournaments himself, but worries that the change might force popular older golfers like Chi Chi Rodriguez out of tournaments.
'Chi Chi's not going to win this tournament this week, but he will have the first- or second-biggest gallery,' Lietzke said.
The $1.5 million tournament on the 6,992-yard, par-72 course in suburban Birmingham is a perfect example of the tour's parity, with 12 different winners in 12 years. Tom Jenkins won last year.
Still, as Kite emphasized, it's not the PGA Tour. Many of the older players are already established and financially secure and not so burdened by the overwhelming pressure to win.
'We can't emphasize competition as much as the PGA Tour does,' Lietzke said. 'The PGA Tour is probably 80 percent competition and 20 percent entertainment.
'You can almost flip-flop that number for us. We have to emphasize entertainment more, because the PGA Tour doesn't. That's where we can find our part in this crazy sports world market.'
The next challenge is convincing marquee players like Greg Norman and Curtis Strange -- who turn 50 next year -- to play on the Champions Tour.
George said he has spoken with Norman on the phone recently and plans a face-to-face meeting in the 'very near future' with that objective in mind. Former U.S. Open winner Jerry Pate and Jay Haas are among the newcomers this year.
Gary Koch has seen both sides, as a player and as a TV analyst trying to scramble for interviews with PGA Tour players, waiting hours for interviews with players who might or might not oblige.
He said it boils down to one thing -- attitude.
'They can be pretty unapproachable at times, very unapproachable,' Koch said of PGA Tour players. 'You won't find that out here on the Champions Tour.'
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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.

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    Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

    “Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

    “We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

    In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010.