Will Love be Requited

By Associated PressNovember 12, 2008, 5:00 pm
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. ' So much for that notion the Fall Series on the PGA Tour is meaningless.
On the surface, Davis Love III winning at Disney might have looked that way.
He scrambled for pars on the last two holes to hold off a rookie (Tommy Gainey) who was 228th on the money list, wears two gloves and looks like hes trying to kill a snake every time he swings. When it was over, Love posed with a bronze trophy of Mickey Mouse playing golf (just think of the white elephant gift nobody will take off your hands).
Davis Love III
Davis Love III has won 20 times on the PGA Tour. (Getty Images)
But that one victory was enough to change the perception of Love.
Timing is everything.
He won the final event of a season in which Love struggled to return from a devastating ankle injury last October that kept him out of golf for four months, out of the Masters and off another Ryder Cup team. And his victory came one day before the induction ceremony for the World Golf Hall of Fame.
It probably wont be long before Love is on that stage, perhaps as early as next year.
Love received 19 percent of the votes on the PGA Tour ballot this year, eighth place in the voting and far short of the 65 percent needed for election. The only difference between now and then is a victory across the street from the Magic Kingdom.
It gave him more than $828,000, a two-year exemption and a trip to Kapalua for the winners-only Mercedes-Benz Championship.
More than anything, it gave him 20 victories.
Thats like a 300-game winner in baseball, Brad Faxon said Tuesday. Fewer and fewer guys are going to reach that number. Its going to be harder and harder to do.
Those 20 victories include the PGA Championship at Winged Foot in 1997, and two victories at The Players Championship, which is considered the next best thing to a major. Love has won at least once in 13 seasons, and he extended his PGA Tour record by going over $1 million in earnings for the 14th consecutive year.
A year ago, he was considered the most talented underachiever.
But a number like 20 tends to shift focus on what he has achieved instead of what he could have.
Among active players, only Tiger Woods (65), Phil Mickelson (34) and Vijay Singh (34) have won at least 20 times on tour. No one else is particularly close to that number, and few have a chance of getting there.
Ernie Els has 16 wins (three majors), a number that might be higher if not for playing around the world for the last two decades. Fred Couples and Corey Pavin have 15 wins and one major. David Duval looked like a lock for 20 wins until injuries begat a loss of confidence and sent him into a mystifying slump. He is at 13, along with Jim Furyk.
Love won half of his tournaments after Woods arrived, and its getting even tougher to win with greater depth and more international players on the PGA Tour.
He nearly choked up behind the 18th green of the Magnolia Course at Disney for so many reasons.
Love is 44, and while he still looks and feels much younger, it is an age when players naturally wonder if their last victory is behind them. It doesnt help to go two years without a victory while struggling to return from an injury.
You always question, Am I doing the right things? and Can I still do it? and Why am I doing it? Love said. But I didnt doubt my desire. I didnt doubt the fact that I could compete.
The victory also came nearly 20 years to the day when his father was killed in a plane crash.
I would put this one right up there with New Orleans, said Faxon, referring to Loves victory in 1995 that got him into the Masters as longtime friend Harvey Penick was dying. I thought it had to be as meaningful a win as any of them. Hes been hurt. He hasnt won. His 20th victory on the 20th anniversary of his fathers death.
This virtually guarantees his spot in the Hall of Fame.
But if 20 wins is comparable to a pitcher winning 300 games or a hitter with 500 home runs, the Hall of Fame vote probably should start with another 20-tournament winner ' Lanny Wadkins.
Wadkins was not nearly as congenial as Love, which might explain why he hasnt been elected. Wadkins, who received 50 percent of the vote last time, finished his career with 21 victories, one major at the PGA Championship at Pebble Beach and Ryder Cup heroics.
The one difference might be consistency. In the 21 years between his first and last victory, Wadkins finished out of the top 50 on the money list seven times. Love has done that only twice in same stretch.
Of the seven players with at least 20 victories who are not in the Hall of Fame, only Love and Wadkins have won majors.
I just remember that Lanny, when he won 20 (he) was so excited and what a big deal it was to him, Love said. That separated Lanny from everybody else, that he had won 20 events. And back then, that was a dream, fantasy.
Indeed, when Wadkins won his 20th tour event in 1991, that moved him past contemporaries like Hale Irwin (19), Curtis Strange (17), Ben Crenshaw (15) and Tom Kite (15), all of whom now are in the Hall of Fame.
Thats the kind of separation Love now has over some of his colleagues.
Wadkins should not have had to wait this long for his Hall of Fame election. Love should not be too far behind.
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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.