Seventh Hole Turns Ugly Sunday

By Associated PressJune 20, 2004, 4:00 pm
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. -- U.S. Open officials knew they were in trouble when tiny blades of grass on the seventh green at Shinnecock Hills wilted before their eyes Sunday morning.
 
And this was two hours before the final round began.
 
It wasn't long before the 189-yard 'Redan' hole turned into the disaster they feared.
 
Despite moving the hole to the easiest location, the first two players -- J.J. Henry and Kevin Stadler -- took triple bogey when they could not keep their ball on the severely sloped green. The next group didn't fare much better. Cliff Kresge made triple bogey, while Billy Mayfair escaped with a bogey.
 
'I'm not very happy about this,' said Walter Driver, chairman of the USGA championship committee, standing glum-faced behind the green. 'You've just got to do the best you can to make it as fair as you can.'
 
The solution was to lightly spray water on the green between groups to try to keep the grass alive. The round was stopped for 10 minutes for the maintenance staff to arrive with their hoses, and they hosed down the green after the next nine groups.
 
This didn't sit well with the boisterous New York fans, who enjoyed watching the world's best players look foolish.
 
'Let them play! Let them play!' they chanted when the maintenance staff started spraying the green.
 
One fan said, 'When the leaders get here, you're going to have to mow.'
 
Mayfair came up short, then made a sign of the cross before hitting his second. It went by the cup and had no chance, rolling off the green. He chipped up and made a 3-footer for bogey, then waved his putter like a sword at the hole, and saluted the gallery.
 
Mayfair wound up shooting 89, but was in no mood to blame the USGA -- or the idea that the watering didn't start until after he played No. 7.
 
'We were so far out over par, so far out of it,' Mayfair said. 'I'd rather they water the greens for the other guys out there who have a chance.'
 
Watering greens in the middle of competition is not unprecedented.
 
Six years ago at The Olympic Club, the USGA lightly sprayed the 18th green when the wind and dry conditions -- not to mention a hole location just over a knob -- made it nearly impossible to play.
 
The image of that second round in 1998 was Payne Stewart tapping a 10-foot putt that curled just below the green, then rolled some 40 feet to the bottom. Stewart was waiting for the ball when it got there.
 
That was a bad hole location.
 
This was simply a bad green.
 
The hole slopes away on the sides, with the most severe undulation toward the left. It is supposed to play into the wind, but the breeze was at the players' back, making it next to impossible.
 
Problems began in the third round when only one of 66 players managed a birdie. Phil Mickelson had an 8-foot par putt, and was lucky it rolled only 12 feet by instead of going off the green. He made double bogey Saturday.
 
The gallery must have sensed this would be a horror show. By 8 a.m. Sunday, there already were 54 people in the grandstand behind the green, almost as many as in the bleachers next to the 18th, where a champion would be crowned. And as No. 7 took its toll on one player after another, there was a line that stretched 50 feet to get a seat in the grandstand.
 
The hole location for the final round was supposed to be seven paces on and seven paces from the right. But with the grass dead, Driver ordered his crew to change it.
 
'We moved the hole to put it in the most benign position we could find,' he said.
 
Driver found a small, circular patch -- about the only area where the grass was green -- for the new location.
 
'We thought a change in hole location was enough,' he said.
 
The watering helped. The crew went five groups before watering at one point, feeling the green with their hands.
 
Defending champion Jim Furyk missed well to the left and chipped to 2 feet for par. Joe Ogilvie went into the bunker and blasted out to 3 feet. Both made par, then high-fived each other.
 
Barry Proctor, who works at Huntingdale Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia, was in charge of watering. He waved the hose like a can of spray paint, and every time he walked onto the green, he was booed.
 
'I guess it's entertainment for them,' he said. 'I'm just doing my job.'
 
Robert Allenby, who had a par round of 70, didn't think the watering made much of a difference.
 
'It was like they didn't turn the hose on,' he said.
 
Jay Haas, who had a final-round 71, was also sarcastic about the watering.
 
'I'm not sure the water hit the green,' he said.
 
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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.