Tiger First In Line for Testing

By Associated PressJanuary 8, 2004, 5:00 pm
04 Mercedes ChampionshipsKAPALUA, Hawaii -- Tiger Woods was the first player to openly question whether all drivers on the PGA Tour conformed to USGA standards.
 
It was only fitting that he was the first player to have his club inspected at the Mercedes Championships.
 
As promised, the PGA Tour rolled out a new device that measures the trampoline effect (coefficient of restitution) in drivers to make sure they don't exceed the limit.
 
The test is voluntary, and the tour won't say which players have submitted their drivers for testing.
 
'I don't know if it's going to make a difference, but at least we have testing implemented,' Woods said. 'In the future, it might change. But this is a nice, positive step in the right direction.'

Woods and Jim Furyk are among those who felt the test should have been mandatory. Woods said last summer he believed some players were using 'hot drivers,' which exceeded the USGA limit for COR (0.83).
 
'I don't believe people are out there knowing that they're getting away with something - or if you want to call it cheating,' Furyk said. 'I don't think that's the case. But if there is a person or two out there, we're not going to catch them, anyway.'
 
The tour explained the process in a one-page handout left in every player's locker at Kapalua.
 
- Players are encouraged to have their drivers tested, and only players and their caddies can submit the club.
 
- If anyone questions another player's driver, it must be tested.
 
- The testing takes place in the rules office, out of public view, during tournament hours.
 
- The 'pendulum tester' only reveals whether a club passes or fails. It does not show how close to the limit a driver might be, to prevent players from bringing several clubs so they can choose the hottest one.
 
Vijay Singh had his driver tested by the company that made it - 'They said it's normal, it's perfect' he said - and he believes that's where the responsibility should lie.
 
'We use their equipment,' Singh said. 'If there's something wrong with the equipment, I think it's the manufacturer's fault, not the player's fault. They should make sure the clubs they give us are legal.'
 
No manufacturer wants to be caught supplying players with drivers that are illegal for competition. Tour officials believe players will want to be sure their clubs conform.
 
If a player uses a driver that is over the limit, he would be disqualified.
 
The 'pendulum tester' was developed by Matt Pringle, senior research engineer for the USGA. It replaces the old COR test in which drivers had to be sent to USGA headquarters, where a ball was fired at the club.
 
The new device is black and about the size of a cowboy boot.
 
The driver is held in place by a vice, and Pringle uses a template to draw a small circle on the sweet spot. The pendulum strikes the clubface, causing a vibration. Test measures 'characteristic time,' which translates to COR.
 
The test requires nine strikes by the pendulum - three each from about 12 inches, 6 inches and 3 inches. It feeds to a laptop computer, then shows whether the club does or doesn't conform.
 
One thing seemed certain: There should be no surprises.
 
The USGA sold at cost ($4,000) six of the devices to the PGA Tour - two for the PGA Tour, two for the Champions Tour, one for the Nationwide Tour and one at PGA Tour headquarters.
 
The USGA also licensed the technology to several manufacturers, so they could replicate the pendulum tester to make sure the clubs were legal.
 
While 'hot drivers' were a big topic on tour in July when Woods initially aired his complaints, there wasn't much buzz at Kapalua.
 
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem believes it will become even less of an issue as the year goes on.
 
'This is a game of honor and integrity. It will continue to be that way,' Finchem said late last year. 'There's no doubt in my mind that every player is going to get their driver tested. And it about four weeks after we start this procedure, it's going to be a non-issue. It will be yesterday's news.'
 
Related Links:
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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.