Storm Leads Daly Surprises at Southern Hills

By Associated PressAugust 9, 2007, 4:00 pm
PGA ChampionshipTULSA, Okla. -- After all these years, John Daly still loves to grip it and rip it.
 
First at the slot machines.
 
Then at Southern Hills.
 
Neither figured to be the smart choice at the PGA Championship. Instead of practicing on a course he had not see in 13 years, Daly chose to gamble at Cherokee Casino. Then he really rolled the dice by hitting driver at every opportunity on a track that demands precision.
 
Graeme Storm
England's Graeme Storm leads by two after Rd. 1 in Tulsa. (Getty Images)
Against all odds, it worked.
 
Drenched in sweat and drowned by cheers, the two-time major champion walked off the 18th green Thursday with a 3-under 67 that left him two shots behind Graeme Storm, another unlikely star on a day rife with surprises.
 
Storm, who was washing trays at cake factory in England five years ago, was the only player who made it around Southern Hills without a bogey on his way to a 65 that left him looking down a leaderboard to find some of the usual suspects.
 
'The longer you stay ahead of Tiger Woods, the better,' Storm said.
 
Woods, the defending PGA champion trying to make sure he doesn't end the year without a major, birdied three of his first six holes before he ran out of improbable par saves and settled for a 71.
 
Woods' name on any leaderboard can be intimidating. These days, Daly's name looks out of place.
 
Especially this week.
 
He didn't bother with a practice round the previous three days because of the oppressive heat, where temperatures climbed past 100 in the opening round and a cold front this week is anything in double digits. While some guys went through a liter of water every two holes, Daly loaded up on caffeine and cigarettes.
 
Not long after his best round at the PGA Championship in 10 years, it was all a blur.
 
'I can't remember, to tell you the truth,' Daly said when asked about his four birdies. 'Only had three heat strokes out there.'
 
No one else could believe it.
 
'Must be from all of the practice rounds he played here,' Woods said.
 
Daly had not played Southern Hills since he missed the cut at the '94 PGA Championship. Best he can recall, only one other time has he showed up at the first round of a major without a practice round. That would be the '91 PGA Championship, when he was the ninth alternate who drove through the night to Crooked Stick in Indiana.
 
And then he won.
 
Only a dozen players managed to break par on a course that provided ample opportunity for birdies, yet meted out its share of punishment with the slightest mistake.
 
Stephen Ames birdied his last three holes for a 68, putting him with Arron Oberholser and Woody Austin. The group at 69 included British Open champion Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and former U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, who made seven birdies.
 
So many others weren't so fortunate.
 
U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera was at even par until he hit two balls out-of-bounds, one in the water and took three putts from 30 feet for a 10 on the par-3 sixth hole, sending him to an 81, his worst score in a major championship.
 
Woods was in great shape at 3 under, saving one par from the trees on No. 16 and another by chipping in on the 17th. But from the middle of the fairway, his approach to No. 18 (his ninth hole) clipped a tree and dropped into the bunker. His next shot rolled down a slope some 50 feet away and he did well to make bogey.
 
Three more bogeys followed, although the world's No. 1 player didn't sound concerned.
 
'I felt like I hit the ball better than my score indicates, which is good,' Woods said.
 
Phil Mickelson made his share of amazing birdies to go with a collection of blunders, such as his journey through the rough in trees for a bogey on the par-5 sixth, and dumping a flop shot into the bunker on No. 8.
 
'You're going to hit some bad shots and get bogeys here,' he said after shooting a 73. 'You're not going to be able to go all 18 holes and go unscathed.'
 
Storm was the exception.
 
He had the only bogey-free round, which required no small measure of skill, along with some luck.
 
The 29-year-old player from England had little left in the tank when he arrived in Tulsa from the World Golf Championship at Firestone, where he finished 18 over par. This is his eighth week in a row, a stretch that began before he won the French Open for his first European Tour victory. Storm decided to forget about technique and enjoy the day, and it turned out to be a blast.
 
He started with consecutive birdies, nearly making an ace on the 11th. And when it looked as though he might get in trouble with a tee shot into the trees on the No. 2, he chipped in for birdie and raised his hands, wondering what was happening to him.
 
'It was one of those rounds when I never really thought about anything,' Storm said.
 
This was no time to reflect on his past, either, the darkest days coming at the end of the 2002 season when he lost his card in Europe and was broke. He found work at a cream cake factory, washing trays in the back alley in weather so cold the pipes were frozen. It paid about $250 a week, a job he kept for two months.
 
'You have to bite the bullet and go back,' he said. 'I was just being a normal person doing an everyday job, eight hours a day. I didn't know where my career was going to go. I thought that might be the end, to be honest.'
 
Daly's career looks like it might end any minute.
 
He lost his PGA TOUR card last year and has been getting by on sponsor's exemption when he needs them. But that hasn't been his problem. Daly has finished only five of his 19 tournaments this year, and he hit a milestone this year by recording his 50th round in the 80s on the PGA Tour.
 
So how to explain ripping driver on a course that requires careful navigation? Signing for a 67 at a major where he had broken 70 once in the last 10 years?
 
'I have no idea,' Daly said.
 
And then there's the heat, so severe that workers doused greens with a hose and Ames stood in front of a fan to cool his face.
 
'No wonder he didn't play any practice rounds,' Ames said of Daly. 'He would have died.'
 
Daly found it a victory simply to finish, huffing and puffing up the hills, especially on the last hole.
 
'There was odds with all the caddies and players this week who would fall first, me or my caddie,' he said. 'So we made it. We made 18 holes. It was one of those rounds I was very aggressive off the tee. I didn't know what else to do.'
 
The bigger question is where he goes from here.
 
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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.