Rory Tiger in a Duel at Firestone

By Associated PressAugust 4, 2007, 4:00 pm
WGC-Bridgestone - 125wAKRON, Ohio -- Rory Sabbatini met one goal Saturday. He gets another shot at Tiger Woods.
 
Sabbatini got his mistake out of the way early at the Bridgestone Invitational, settling down after a double bogey to salvage a 2-over 72 and build a one-shot lead over Woods, a five-time winner at Firestone.
 
Woods dropped out of a share for the lead with a bogey from the trees on the 18th hole, but he still managed a 69 and left himself a good chance to win this World Golf Championship for the third straight year.
 
'I tried to hang in there and not give any shots back,' Woods said.
 
Sabbatini was at 4-under 206, the highest score for a 54-hole leader at Firestone since it became a WGC event in 1999.
 
Kenny Perry had a 71 and was the only other player under par at 1-under 209. He will be in the final threesome Sunday, presumably playing the part of Switzerland.
 
Sabbatini and Woods verbally sparred this spring starting at the Wachovia Championship, where Woods rallied from one shot behind the spunky South African to win at Quail Hollow. Five days later, Sabbatini said he thought Woods looked 'as beatable as ever.' And while he said Woods can be scary when he's on his game, he liked 'the new Tiger' better.
 
Woods responded the next day by mentioning he had three victories in 2007, as many as Sabbatini had in his career.
 
What kind of fireworks will Sunday bring?
 
'He's trying to obviously think of ways to motivate himself,' Woods said. 'A lot of guys don't really externalize it. We all say things like that inside, and he's just trying to gain any kind of edge mentally when you're out there playing. He just verbalizes them.'
 
Sabbatini didn't back down, on the golf course and when he had finished his round with a 54-hole lead for the sixth time in his career. He mentioned he was 1-1 going against Woods in the final round, the most recent coming at Quail Hollow.
 
And the other time?
 
'NCAAs, final round. I beat him by five,' Sabbatini said proudly.
 
But didn't Woods win the NCAA title that year?
 
'He did, but I beat him in the final round,' Sabbatini said with a grin. 'So if I beat him by five tomorrow, I'm loving my chances.'
 
Whether it becomes a two-man race remains to be seen.
 
Ten players were separated by five shots going into the final round, and Masters champion Zach Johnson was among those who showed how quickly it can turn on a Firestone course that might be tougher than Southern Hills next week for the PGA Championship. He dropped six shots in two holes with a quadruple bogey-double bogey stretch that sent him to a 76.
 
Of the last three groups, Woods was the only player to break par. The other five players were 21 over par.
 
With storms in the forecast Sunday, the starting times have been moved up to the morning in threesomes with hopes of finishing. Rain might be the only thing to spare players from another grueling round.
 
The best anyone could do was a 67, one of those belonging to Aaron Baddeley. That put him in a tie for fourth at 1-over 211, a group that included Justin Leonard and Hunter Mahan, who each had a 71; and Andres Romero, the 26-year-old from Argentina coming off his first European Tour victory last week in Germany.
 
'It so firm right now, you look at some of these pins and you just start to laugh,' Leonard said. 'But it's supposed to rain tomorrow, soften up a little bit. And if that happens, we might see some better scores.'
 
Big numbers figure to stick around regardless. Sabbatini got his early when his shot out of a fairway bunker clipped a tree and dropped into the deep rough, leaving him little chance of reaching the green. Joe Durant got his late.
 
'If you fall asleep for just a minute or two, it can bite you,' Durant said.
 
He fell asleep for two holes at the end of an otherwise solid round, and he had teeth marks. First came a three-putt bogey on the 17th when he missed a par putt from 20 inches, then a double bogey on the 18th during a journey through the trees for a 71.
 
No one suffered quite like Johnson.
 
The Masters champion was tied for the lead at 5 under par when his tee shot on the par-4 ninth went right into deep rough. He tried to hack out to the fairway, but the grass turned his club and the ball shot across into the left rough. From there he went into a bunker, then over the green. His wedge slid under the ball during a flop shot, moving it only a few feet. Another chip didn't reach the green. Johnson had to make a 4-footer to escape with a quadruple-bogey 8.
 
Then he took double bogey on the next hole, and went from leading to five shots behind.
 
'I tried to play safe every shot,' Johnson said. 'I tried to play the percentages on every single shot I hit. And I made a 4-footer for an 8. A good 8.'
 
Of the top five on the leaderboard going into the final round, everyone made double bogey except for Woods. He was more bothered by not making birdie, especially after missing chances inside 15 feet on his first three holes. But he finally made one from 10 feet on the fourth, and we he holed an 8-foot birdie at No. 6, he was tied for the lead.
 
He swapped birdies and bogeys the rest of the way, with one unusual par on the 13th. He hit his drive so far left that it went into the 14th fairway, which led to a blind shot over the trees into a bunker. He blasted out to 5 feet and made the putt.
 
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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.