Team Mickelson Looking for History

By Associated PressMay 7, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 THE PLAYERSPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- A corridor beneath the grandiose clubhouse is lined with black-and-white photographs from more than a quarter-century of winners at THE PLAYERS Championship since it moved to the notorious TPC Sawgrass.
 
They have little in common except they beat the best field in golf and got very rich.
 
There is powerful Adam Scott, 23, and pea-shooter Fred Funk, 48, the youngest and oldest champions.
 
Hal Sutton captured this event twice, once as a svelte young man in his second year, later at age 41 with a paunch, sweat stains and five of the most famous words uttered on the 18th hole of the Stadium Course'Be the right club today!
 
Past champions feature the power of Tiger Woods, Greg Norman and Fred Couples, the accuracy off the tee of Calvin Peete, grinders like Tom Kite, Lee Janzen and Justin Leonard, the pure ball striking of Nick Price, the short game of Phil Mickelson.
 
It suits good players, Paul Goydos concluded Wednesday. If you show up here with your best game, you have a shot to win. I dont think anyone walks out there and says, I cant play this golf course.
 
There are a few things about THE PLAYERS Championship that fall into the death-and-taxes category.
 
  • Woods has no chance of winning because hes not here. He had surgery on his right knee two days after the first major, giving him time to recover before the second major, making his absence a setback for the tournament debated as the fifth major.
     
  • Every player will watch anxiously until his tee shot on the 17th hole hits the island green, if it does.
     
  • The winner will walk away with $1.71 million, more money than any other single tournament offers on the PGA TOUR.
     
    But making a sound prediction on which style of game the Sawgrass best suits is like spinning a roulette wheel.
     
    Everybody can play their own game on this golf course, said British Open champion Padraig Harrington, twice a runner-up. Theres a lot of different strategies. Probably the greatest thing about the course is you can watch a threeball (threesome), and theyll consistently hit different clubs off the tee.
     
    Power is negated because everyone can reach the par 5s in two shots, except for the ninth hole, where the entrance to the green is blocked by a massive oak. And now that the fairways have been refurbished to allow for fast, firm conditions, the par 4s are all about position. Length really only helps on a couple of holes, such as the seventh and 14th.
     
    You can probably get away with probably three holes where youd have to hit driver, Lee Westwood said.
     
    Perhaps the greatest testament to the variety of winners at THE PLAYERS Championship is that Mickelson will try to become the first player in 35 years' this is the 27th year at the Stadium Course'to successfully defend his title.
     
    Mickelson was asked why it has been so hard on defending champions.
     
    Until this year? he said to laughter. I dont know. I have no idea.
     
    If anyone is a favorite at THE PLAYERS, it would be Mickelson based on the trophy in his possession and his No. 2 world ranking. Of the top 25 players in the world at Sawgrass this week, only Mickelson and third-ranked Scott have won this tournament.
     
    Not having Woods around helps only slightly.
     
    Hes giving us a little bit of a break at the moment, said Scott, two weeks removed from a playoff victory in the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. Still, theres so many good players here this week that I think your percentages are only just a little bit better.
     
    Woods will be out at least until the Memorial, but he was rarely a factor at The Players. Since winning in 2001, he has failed to crack the top 10. There hasnt been much buzz during the practice rounds, but there rarely is at a tournament that has yet to attract a national following like the four majors, something PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem hopes will happen over time.
     
    The field, however, is considered the strongest in golf. Unlike the other four majors, which include amateurs, club pros or past champions approaching Social Security, everyone in the 144-man field is capable of winning.
     
    In fact, 101 players in the field have won on the PGA TOUR.
     
    And in this age of golf courses being lengthened, the Stadium Course hasnt required an overhaul to remain a test.
     
    When par times 100 is less than the yardage, its a relatively short golf course, Goydos said. And this is a pretty good course.
     
    It is a tough test, but not overbearing like a U.S. Open. Norman set the record in 1994 at 24-under par, which should be safe for quite a while, but that doesnt mean Sawgrass wont yield a good score to some good golf.
     
    No matter how tough the course is playing, you feel like if you get on a run out there, you can shoot a 65, Harrington said. There will be great scores shot on the course, but its hard to keep it going for 72 holes.
     
    It is such a unique design, beyond the infamous island green, that anyone can win. Not even the man who designed it'Pete Dye, selected Tuesday for the World Golf Hall of Fame'could explain why the roll call of champions is so diverse.
     
    Thats a secret, Dye said, acting at first as though there was a clue stashed away in some vault. If I tried to tell you, Id just be lying. I havent any idea, to tell you the truth.
     
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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.