Weir Crane Return with Good Memories

By Associated PressMarch 31, 2004, 5:00 pm
DULUTH, Ga. -- Ben Crane strolled along the back nine this week at the TPC at Sugarloaf and relived his memories from last year's victory.
 
Mike Weir soon will have the same opportunity at Augusta.
 
In the 2003 BellSouth Classic, Crane came out of the pack with a brilliant weekend. He made the cut by one shot, then shot 64 and 63 over the final two rounds for his first win on the PGA Tour.
 
His 29 on the back nine Sunday included an eagle on the par-5 18th and left him four shots ahead of the field.
 
'I couldn't have written it any better,' Crane said. 'Really a special, special nine holes, special place being back here. That's probably the best golf I've played.'
 
While Crane was finishing his comeback, Weir was on his way to the Masters after missing the cut at the BellSouth by three strokes. He blamed the poor effort on 'reckless golf,' then moved down the road about two hours.
 
There, Weir beat journeyman Len Mattiace in a playoff to become the first left-hander to win at Augusta.
 
'I was hitting the ball so well here that I was going for everything,' Weir said of his 76 and 73 last year in the BellSouth. 'It was more strategy than anything else.
 
'Sometimes, that happens when you're playing well. You think you can hit it close on every hole. You can't do that.'
 
Weir spent the last few weeks getting ready to defend his title. Since Augusta National favors a traditional draw from a right-handed player, Weir needs to fade his shots.
 
That, and work on his chipping and putting, filled up his practice time. He played well earlier this season -- a run that included a victory in the Nissan Open -- then took nearly a month off before last week's Players Championship.
 
He missed the cut there, but figures Sugarloaf will be good preparation for the Masters.
 
'This is a golf course that is forgiving off the tee, which Augusta is, too,' Weir said. 'But you have to be creative with your short game.'
 
Last year, Crane seemingly only needed his putter in the final round. He made an 11-footer for bogey on the ninth hole, a putt that jump-started his round, then birdied three of the next four holes to get into contention.
 
He had the tournament well in hand as he stood on the 18th tee, two shots ahead of Bob Tway. With par the only score on his mind, Crane ripped a 357-yard drive down the middle of the fairway, leaving him only 190 yards to a pin protected by water.
 
His 7-iron stopped 20 feet past the hole, and he calmly drained the putt.
 
'Obviously, my putter was hot, things were kind of clicking,' Crane said. 'I think about that. It's fun to relive it a little bit.
 
'But I understand this is a completely different week, so I need to go out and prepare the same way and see if I can have another good week.'
 
That mentality is the goal of Adam Scott, too. He held on to win The Players Championship by making a 10-footer to save bogey and avoid a playoff on the 18th.
 
He set up the drama by dumping a 6-iron in the water.
 
Still, it was Scott's first victory on the PGA Tour, and made him 6-1 worldwide with at least a share of the lead going into the final round. His scoring average in those seven events is 68.14.
 
'I have been able to see the last putt a couple of times now and the shot in the water, I try to forget that one,' Scott said. 'I am still really on cloud nine and I just kind of floated in this week.
 
'It is back to business again.'
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - BellSouth Classic
     
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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.