Strong Start for May Gore Too

By Associated PressOctober 11, 2007, 4:00 pm
  LAS VEGAS -- Bob May's back screams at him from time to time when he leans over to pick up a ball. Those spasms might knock him out for weeks, or even months.
 
It rarely happens anymore, and he's thrilled finally to be healthy and on the comeback trail after years of injury issues.
 
Practically playing in his backyard on a picture-perfect day in the desert, May shot a 9-under 63 at TPC Summerlin on Thursday to top the leaderboard in the Frys.com Open. Jason Gore finished with an 8-under 63 on the nearby par-71 TPC The Canyons.
 
May, who lives in Las Vegas, is using a belly putter for the second straight week after spending a couple of months practicing with it. He was finally persuaded by family and friends to try it out in competition, calling it a 'radical change.'
 
'I have been hitting the ball well but haven't been scoring,' said May, noting that his improved putting is making a difference. 'It's nice to finally get a good round under my belt. Who knows what could happen this week.'
 
Gore will play the Summerlin course Friday and May at Canyons, then everyone will tee off at Summerlin for the final two rounds this weekend.
 
Jeff Overton, D.J. Trahan, Cameron Beckman and Rich Beem were two strokes back, all but Beem (64 at Canyons) sitting at 65 after playing their rounds at Summerlin. The Pro-Am event is missing the star power of other more high-profile tournaments, with many players here balancing the temptation of fun and nightlife in Sin City with the need to be focused on moving up the money list late in the year. This is the fourth of seven Fall Series tournaments.
 
'We're in Vegas,' Gore said, chuckling. 'If you can't have fun here ... this is the place. This is not a high-stress week for me. I got here on Saturday and got Vegas out of my system.'
 
With the dry air and playing at just below 3,000 feet in elevation, the conditions were ideal for long drives.
 
Last month, May withdrew from the Viking Classic in Madison, Miss., after his back flared up again. He injured his hip and back warming up on the stationary bike in February, forcing him out of action for 12 weeks -- and he hasn't been back on the bike since.
 
May, who has finished no higher than 41st in 12 previous events this year, eagled No. 3 and also the 341-yard, par-4 15th on Thursday after starting the day with a bogey. Just playing well again is a big boost to his confidence, considering the 39-year-old May returned to the PGA Tour last year for the first time since 2003. He played 2006 on a Major Medical Extension after not swinging a club for two-plus years because of his back.
 
'The way I played all year, I still feel like I'm trying to fight my way back in,' May said. 'I've actually struck the ball very well this year, I just haven't got anything good out of it. Hopefully I'm going to start getting something out of it.'
 
Gore made 10 birdies, using former Canyons pro Mike Messner as his caddie. Not a bad advantage to have. Messner now works at Gore's club, TPC Valencia in Southern California.
 
'I'd just basically stand over to the side of the green and scratch my head and wait for him to tell me where to hit it,' Gore said.
 
Overton, too, arrived in Las Vegas ready to enjoy himself -- and he thinks that approach might just help him play his best golf.
 
'Viva, Las Vegas, right?' Overton said with a grin. 'I hit so many good shots and drove it really well. It's fun when the ball is going out there like that.'
 
He even brought in his buddy, local professional poker player Pat Cruise, to be his caddie this week.
 
Steve Lowery and John Huston, paired together, shot 66s. John Daly was dead last on the leaderboard through 12, and finishing at 3-over 74. Scott Verplank, the highest ranked player in the field at No. 24, shot a 70 on The Canyons course.
 
Mike Weir (69 at Canyons) and Chad Campbell (75, Canyons) also both came in expected to contend.
 
For Trahan, posting strong finishes in the cuts he's made has been tough this year. He hopes three more great days of golf will help keep him on track heading into the end of the season and then on to 2008.
 
'I've only had two top-10s, and it's just been a tough, long year from the fence,' he said. 'Ultimately, I know I need to work on my putting and make more putts. It's a frustrating position to be in but I am fortunate to have won last year and not be on that bubble like a lot of guys are, with some heavy stresses with only a few weeks left.'
 
Tadd Fujikawa, a 16-year-old from Hawaii who stands at all of 5-feet-1, finished the day with a 2-over 74.
 
'I made a few bad swings that cost me a few strokes and made too many bogeys. But other than that, I played pretty well today,' said Fujikawa, playing his fifth tournament since turning pro in July. 'I'm really learning a lot out here. It's definitely improving.'
 
Pitcher Greg Maddux, the San Diego Padres' 347-game winner, was paired with Cameron Beckman.
 
How was he swinging it?
 
'Not well, but I'm having fun,' said Maddux, who lives five miles away during the offseason. 'It's nice to be outside.'
 
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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.