Tigers Swing Changes Ready For Spotlight

By Associated PressJanuary 5, 2005, 5:00 pm
04 Mercedes ChampionshipsKAPALUA, Maui -- History indicates Tiger Woods could be in for a big year.
Competition suggests it wont be easy.
There already have been a number of parallels with the last time Woods overhauled his swing at the end of the 1997 season, after he won four times and shattered records at Augusta National as the youngest Masters champion.
He won only one PGA Tour event in 1998, just like last year.
He lost his No. 1 ranking for longer than three months'to David Duval in 1999, to Vijay Singh last year.
He had a moment on the range in May 1999 when the swing changes he made with Butch Harmon finally kicked in. Woods went on an incredible run, winning 31 times and seven out of 11 majors over the next five years.
That happened to him again in November, an epiphany when all the mechanics drilled into his head by Hank Haney all made sense. It was an 8-iron on the range at Big Canyon in California, and Woods finished off his lackluster year by winning in Japan and at his unofficial Target World Challenge.
On the eve of the 2005 season, which starts Thursday with the winners-only Mercedes Championships at Kapalua, Woods was asked if he had the same feelings as he did five years ago.
No, he said, pausing for effect. Its better.
That would suggest Woods is on the verge of something grand, although his next answer spoke volumes to the obstacles that werent around five years ago'namely, Singh, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, Retief Goosen and others.
Can he win eight times like he did at the end of 1999? Or almost 50 percent of his tournaments and three majors like he did in 2000? Is that expecting too much?
It depends on how well I play and how well the rest of the guys play, Woods said. I can hit the ball as great as I want and make a bunch of putts, but if other guys play well and make everything, its tough to win.
From 99 to now, the margin of error has gotten even smaller to win golf tournaments. Its become more difficult.
Cuts are getting lower. Consequently, you cant have an off day where you shoot 71 or 72 anymore. An off day has to be 69.
And he has to hope'as does everyone'that Singh is having an off day.
While several top players have not failed to mention that Woods appears to be in control of his game again, the focus remains on the 41-year-old Fijian, and rightfully so.
Singh joined Woods in some exclusive company last year, becoming only the sixth player to win at least nine times in one season. He also swept all the major awards, and shattered the PGA Tour record with nearly $11 million in earnings.
And age means nothing. No one is more fit than Singh. Few work harder.
The guy had a season for the ages and took only a couple of days over the last month where he wasnt working on either his game or his conditioning. Clearly, Singh isnt ready to let go of his title as the worlds No. 1 player.
He wants to start strong on the Plantation Course at Kapalua, where 31 tour winners from last year are assembled. Mickelson is the only one missing, electing not to play.
I would really like to go out there, stake my ground and say, Im still here, Singh said.
But he knows the sharks are circling.
Els was a couple of putts away from a spectacular year'he missed putts on the 18th hole that would have gotten him into playoffs at the Masters and PGA Championship, and won the British Open. Instead, the Big Easy had to settle for five wins worldwide.
Goosen is a sleeper, but the players know how good he is. The quiet South African won his second U.S. Open title last year and ended the season by rallying past Woods in the Tour Championship.
Singh also continues to point out former Masters champion Mike Weir as someone who could be ready to rise up, while other wonder if this is the year Sergio Garcia breaks through with a major season.
Youve seen the era'Nicklaus, Palmer, Player'those guys at their best, Singh said. Youre seeing the same thing right now. Theres not just one guy dominating. Theres three, four, five guys that can win player of the year. Its going to be a great season.
Singh said late last year that he felt like he was running in an open field, far ahead of the pack, pushing himself harder so that no one could catch him. And as the No. 1 player, it all starts with him.
The pressure is on me to keep performing, he said. Thats something I have to deal with myself, not put too much pressure on myself. If I can deal with that in a good way, I think Ill be the one ahead. If I let that bother me, then Im going to lose a little bit there. Thats the only thing Ive got to worry about right now.
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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.

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    Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

    “Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

    “We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

    In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010.