Woods Moves Out Front at Doral

By Associated PressMarch 23, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 WGC CA ChampionshipMIAMI -- The putt was about 10 feet and looked like so many Tiger Woods had faced over the first two days at the Blue Monster. The difference Friday was the ball went in, and it put him back on track for a third straight victory at Doral.
 
The par putt on No. 9 sent him to three consecutive birdies, and Woods closed with the 10-footer on the final hole for a 6-under 66 and a two-shot lead over Rod Pampling in the CA Championship.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is the 36-hole leader at Doral. (WireImage)
'I hit good putts ... but still had not made one yet,' Woods said. 'Then all of a sudden I had this one up here at nine and I poured that one in. I said, 'That's my stroke. Just try and keep this thing going.' And I did.'
 
And just like that, this again looks like his tournament.
 
He was at 7-under 137 and will play the third round Saturday with Pampling, a frequent practice partner at the majors.
 
Ernie Els, who held off Woods five years ago at Doral, also made progress with his putter and had another 70. He was in a large group at 4-under 140 that included Henrik Stenson (73), Charles Howell III (71), Thomas Bjorn (72) and Trevor Immelman (68).
 
The wind was far less severe, and the scoring was about a stroke easier.
 
Woods' 66 was the best round of the tournament, and another example of how strong wind and new greens that are unfamiliar to so many regulars at Doral has affected scoring. A year ago, Woods had a share of the halfway lead at 13 under.
 
Robert Allenby, who shared the first-round lead with Stenson, had a 74 and was in the large group at 3 under.
 
Woods is the two-time defending champion on the course and this tournament, a World Golf Championship that invites top players from the money lists of six major tours and the top 50 in the world.
 
In his final tuneup before the Masters, Woods had reason to be concerned with his putting after taking 32 putts in his opening round of 71. He spent 45 minutes with his caddie, Steve Williams, on the practice green Thursday evening, and finally got the result he wanted.
 
'I told Stevie what I was feeling and he told me what he saw, and we just kind of worked through it and finally got to the position where I could release the blade again,' Woods said.
 
He opened with birdie putts inside 3 feet and was stuck in neutral with a collection of long two-putt pars and simple saves. Then came the par-3 ninth, where he put his ball in the left bunker and blasted out 10 feet by the hole.
 
He made that to stay four shots behind, then found another gear.
 
Woods made an 8-foot birdie on the 10th after hitting into a greenside bunker, holed a 6-foot birdie on the 11th and made a 10-footer on the par-5 12th to surge into a tie for the lead. His final birdie in a bogey-free round came on the 17th, when he hit his tee shot into the right rough, still far enough that he hit wedge into about 6 feet.
 
His final act was the 18th, a scary hole with water down the left side the wind blowing to the right. He bailed out to the right -- way right -- leaving himself an approach through the skinny palms that came up just short. He chipped across the green to 10 feet below the hole, and made the par to give himself a two-shot cushion.
 
Woods took only 26 putts in the second round.
 
His record is intimidating enough -- 26-6 with a 36-hole lead on the PGA Tour -- especially at Doral.
 
But he will be playing with a scrappy Aussie he knows well.
 
Pampling first started showing up at dawn for practice rounds with Woods about three years ago, which Williams arranged.
 
'You just like to see the way he gets around the course,' Pampling said. 'He's pretty open with his information, and you have some fun out there. It's nice to get in amongst the gallery early in the week and just get used to the huge numbers out there.'
 
Pampling also wonders if recent history plays into his favor.
 
Woods opened with a 64 last week at Bay Hill, but the rest of the week was a struggle, particularly the final round. Woods took two double bogeys and a triple bogey in a back-nine 43 that sent him out of the top 20.
 
'We certainly don't rule ourselves out,' Pampling said. 'I don't think he's going to have the weekend he had at Bay Hill, but it's a golf course where you've still got be pretty strong off the tee and play some good shots. I don't think it's going to happen, but it's still there. Maybe it's something that's fresh in his mind that someone gets near, he may actually feel a little bit of pressure for once.'
 
If not from Pampling, there remains plenty of candidates.
 
It's hard to tell what Els is thinking, for he left the course without speaking, holding his daughter's hand. Sergio Garcia had a chance to get into the final group with Woods until a double bogey on the 18th hole sent him to a 70, four shots behind.
 
'I need to go to the range,' Garcia said when he finally emerged from the scoring trailer.
 
Howell stayed in the mix despite two bogeys on the par 5s, violating his own rule of taking advantage on the scoring holes and hanging on for dear life on the others. But he already has a victory and two runner-up finishes this year, and he's back in the mix again.
 
DIVOTS
Vijay Singh, the only two-time winner on the PGA Tour this year, had a 68 and was in the group at 2-under 142. Masters champion Phil Mickelson shot 72 and was at 5 over, not sure what's going on with his game and not appearing to be overly concerned. ... Thomas Bjorn was atop the leaderboard until he had a long wait when he made the turn. He four-putted from 45 feet for double bogey.
 
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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.