Senior Moment Funk Prevails in Mexico

By Associated PressFebruary 25, 2007, 5:00 pm
2007 Mayakoba Golf ClassicPLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico -- Fred Funk won one for the old guys Sunday.
 
Playing with an achy back befitting his senior status, the 50-year-old Funk won the Mayakoba Golf Classic on the second hole of a playoff with Jose Coceres to became only the second man to win a PGA TOUR event after winning on the Champions Tour.
 
Fred Funk
Fred Funk gives his son, Taylor, a hug after his victory. (WireImage)
'I think I validated how good the players are on the Champions Tour,' Funk said. 'Even though you are 50 or 51 through 55 ... age doesn't really mean anything. I just want to see how long I can last.'
 
Funk led the tournament -- the PGA TOUR's first in Mexico -- since setting the course record with an 8-under 62 Thursday. He never gave it up, but was tied several times, including from the 14th hole Sunday until sinking the birdie putt in the playoff.
 
The former University of Maryland coach closed with a 1-over 71 to match Coceres (69) at 14-under 266 on the Greg Norman-designed El Camaleon course. Funk earned $630,000 for his eighth PGA TOUR victory.
 
Craig Stadler became the first Champions Tour winner to win a PGA TOUR event when he followed his 2003 Senior Players win with a victory the following week in the B.C. Open, played opposite the British Open. Funk has won twice on the Champions Tour, including the Turtle Bay Championship in Hawaii last month.
 
Funk one-upped Stadler in another way: At 50 years, 8 months and 12 days old, he jumped ahead of The Walrus as the fifth-oldest PGA TOUR winner. All four guys ahead of him pulled off their feats in 1975 or earlier, emphasizing the rarity of someone his age topping fields that include foes old enough to be their kids.
 
In fact, Stadler's son, Kevin, was in this field.
 
The only downer to Funk's feat is that he didn't beat the PGA TOUR's elite: The world's top 64 players were in Arizona for the Accenture Match Play Championship.
 
Australian Peter Lonard, who played with Funk and Coceres, birdied the final hole for a 67 to finish third at 13 under.
 
Ryan Armour (66) was 12 under, and Bill Hass (67) followed at 11 under. Kevin Stadler tied for 13th at 6 under.
 
Funk came into the final round with a two-shot lead and a back problem that bothered him so much Saturday that he wondered whether he'd be able to finish.
 
He got off to an ominous start Sunday when his very first shot rolled to the lip of the 'Devil's Mouth,' the opening to an underground cave in the middle of the fairway. With two bogeys on the front nine, he wound up tied at the turn, and with his back bothering him again.
 
He laid down for massages from his wife on the sixth tee and from a tour therapist at the 12th tee.
 
'Then I found a stretch, putting my (left) leg on top of my (right) knee, working that one spot,' he said. 'It went away again and I was fine coming down the stretch.'
 
Funk got the lead back with a birdie at 13 but a bogey on 14 left them tied again. Coceres made about a 10-footer to keep it knotted on 15, then nearly putted in from off the green at 16, patting his heart and smiling after the ball curled around the lip of the cup.
 
More close calls prevented the Argentine from giving the tour's first trip to Latin America a winner from Latin America.
 
There were birdie tries on 17 and 18 that didn't fall, then a great chance on the first playoff hole -- No. 18 again -- after Funk found a bunker. From about the same distance he had when playing the hole a few minutes earlier, Coceres left it way short.
 
Funk didn't make the same mistake when he had about a 6-footer on the second extra hole, nailing it with so much confidence that he threw a victory punch before the ball even fell.
 
The victory was Funk's first on the PGA TOUR since The Players Championship in 2005. It wasn't his first title in Mexico, though -- he won the 1993 Mexico Open.
 
Funny thing is, Funk almost backed out of this tournament. He committed to playing the Champions Tour event in Florida, but ended up coming here because he'd promised them long ago.
 
The victory likely will bring him back to the Riviera Maya next year, and perhaps for many more years. The TOUR has a contract with this event through 2012 -- and he'll be only 55 then.
 
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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.