Watson in 3-way tie for U.S. Senior Open lead

By Associated PressJune 27, 2015, 3:06 am

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Tom Watson still gets quite a thrill seeing his name atop the leaderboard.

Maybe even more at age 65.

Watson withstood the scorching heat to shoot a 1-under 69 on Friday, finishing in a three-way tie atop the bunched leaderboard after the second round of the U.S. Senior Open.

''The illusion that I can still do it,'' Watson said when asked what keeps him playing competitive golf. ''I don't have the tools in the toolbox I used to have. They're missing. Some of the tools are missing. And so it's getting more and more difficult for me to compete, but I still feel as if I can somehow get it done.''

Sure seems that way so far in Sacramento.

Watson was joined at 5 under for the championship by Jeff Maggert and Peter Fowler. Maggert shot a 65, and Fowler a 66 in their morning rounds.

But all the attention turned to the Hall of Famer heating up in the sizzling sunshine.

Watson made four birdies and three bogeys to provide the drama at sun-drenched Del Paso Country Club, where the temperature soared above 100 degrees again. Watson is trying to become the oldest winner of the event, the oldest to win a senior major and the oldest to win on the Champions Tour.

''To hit a shot under pressure that's really a good golf shot is why I'm out here,'' Watson said. ''That's what I like to do. And when I get to the point where I can't do it or I can't do it often enough to really satisfy myself, then I won't be out here.''

It's the fourth time Watson has held or shared the lead through 36 holes at the U.S. Senior Open. He has never won the event, which is in its 36th year.

A victory would be the exclamation point to his storied career.

Watson will play in his final British Open next month at St. Andrews. He's the only man to claim the claret jug on five courses - but never at St. Andrews - and suddenly seems ready to be more than a feel-good story at the Old Course.

If he can sweat out the competition at Del Paso, Watson would be the oldest player to ever win such an event.

Allen Doyle was 57 when he won the U.S. Senior Open in 2006. Jock Hutchison was 62 when he won the Senior PGA Championship in 1947, and Mike Fetchick was 63 when he captured the Hilton Head Seniors Invitational in 1985.

''Not surprising. I don't know what else to say about it,'' said Rocco Mediate, who is at 2 under after a second-round 66. ''He's got very much control of his golf ball.''

Watson will have plenty of competition this weekend. Defending champion Colin Montgomerie (68), Bart Bryan (65) and Jim Carter (69) are all at 4 under, and several others are within striking distance.

The forecast highs are in the low 90s for Saturday and Sunday, with increasing wind. But neither the course nor the conditions have caused Watson much trouble.

In his opening round Thursday, Watson took advantage of the cooler morning conditions to shoot a 66. When he teed off Friday afternoon, the temperature was about 25 degrees warmer with almost no wind and climbed to 102 degrees in the afternoon.

''The heat wasn't a big deal today. I was hydrated,'' Watson said. ''We kept in the shade most of the time, as much as we could. We played at a reasonably good pace.''

Watson controlled his irons, consistently found fairways and putted with precision. He birdied all three par 5s - laying up each time - but provided his most-crowd pleasing moment on the par-4 ninth.

Watson's 20-foot putt stopped on the lip of the cup before falling in. That touched off the loudest roar of the week around the clubhouse, though Watson just straightened his shoulders and exhaled.

He stumbled a bit after the turn, with bogeys on the 10th and 13th. He got one shot back with a birdie putt from the fringe on the par-5 15th, raising his right hand in celebration.

Watson also saved par after hitting into the long, lush rough on No. 17, but he bogeyed on the 18th after his 10-foot putt stopped short - giving him something to think about heading into the weekend.

''I still have nerves,'' Watson said. ''If you don't have nerves, you're lying. The guys out here, if you're playing in this competition, there's an element of pressure that affects you. But the thing is I played under this type of pressure all my life.''

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.”

Getty Images

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.