Unbelievable Casey Tames Oakmont

By Associated PressJune 15, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 U.S. OpenOAKMONT, Pa. -- Paul Casey, 66.
Casey's second-round score Friday from tough-as-reputed Oakmont may be remembered for years for its brilliance, even if Casey doesn't win this U.S. Open. For one exceptional round, Casey was beyond good on a day when some of golf's biggest names were caving in to Oakmont's toughness and struggling to break 80.
'Sixty-six is way beyond my expectations, and I'm still a bit surprised at the score I shot,' Casey said.
Fellow Englishman Justin Rose was walking to the 10th tee when he glanced at the leaderboard and saw what Casey was about to do. He didn't need much time to think of a superlative to describe it.
'That's unbelievable,' Rose said. 'Ten shots better than the field average or more? Unbelievable.'
Remarkably, Casey accomplished what Brandt Snedeker predicted a few hours before couldn't be done: break par with Oakmont at its challenging best.
'The wind is blowing so hard on some of those holes, it's virtually impossible to hit a lot of fairways,' Snedeker said. 'The rough is as nasty as it can be and the greens are as firm and fast as anywhere I've seen. You would really have to have an unbelievably good round to even consider breaking par out there.'
Somehow, Casey regrouped from his opening-round 77 to tame Oakmont with what may be the best round played there, given the conditions, since Johnny Miller's record 63 in 1973. For some perspective, consider these other scores: Rich Beem 85, Adam Scott 82, Phil Mickelson 77, Vijay Singh 77. The average score for the day was nearly 77.
'I just hope it gives some of the guys some hope out there and shows them it can be done,' Casey said. 'I certainly don't want the USGA to make it any tougher. ... I got some lucky breaks, because it's brutal.'
Comebacks like this are becoming commonplace for Casey in majors. At last year's U.S. Open, he followed a first-round 77 with a 54-hole closing stretch that was the tournament's best (72-72-69), tying him for 12th. At the Masters, he rallied from a 79 for a 68-77-71 finish and tied for 10th.
To get over his tendency to start majors with bad rounds, he kept score while playing his final practice round Wednesday, something he never does. He shot a 69, and considered that streak to be stopped. Then he shot his 77 on Thursday.
On Friday, Casey got going as soon as he dropped a 45-footer for birdie on the par-4 No. 10, his opening hole -- 'If it doesn't go in, it's 10 feet by the hole,' he said.
'You need breaks like that and it boosted my confidence,' he said.
Casey also birdied the longest hole on the course, the 667-yard No. 12, and was 3 under at the turn despite a bogey on No. 18.
Only in America. He may be British, but he considers the U.S. Open to be the toughest test in golf. Because no one else on the course was scoring well, he picked up extra fans on every hole Friday and said they provided a mental boost.
'I could sense they really wanted to see a low round of golf,' he said. 'They didn't want me dropping shots (to par). They wanted me to try to make birdies. They were just excited.'
That might not have happened several years ago, after Casey was critical of Americans following Europe's Ryder Cup romp over the United States in 2004. Then he said, 'Americans are stupid. I hate them' -- a reference mostly to his perception of how little they follow international affairs.
Casey also said he hated the 'U-S-A! U-S-A!' chant and that it 'makes you want to beat them even more.' The comment was more than a little curious given he was a three-time Pac-10 champion at Arizona State and lived in Arizona for years.
There was considerable fan backlash for a while, and Casey began ducking some PGA Tour events because of it. He also sought professional help for a brief time. But time has diminished the effect of his words, which he said he will 'regret for the rest of my life.'
Now, his round of a lifetime has put the 29-year-old Casey in position to win the national championship of the country he once ridiculed.
Curiously, his Web page opens to an image of Casey and this quotation: 'Almost there. I feel my game is almost there.'
Almost no more. It arrived Friday on one of the world's toughest golf courses.
'Without a doubt, it's the best round of golf I've ever played,' Casey said.
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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.