A World of Possibilities

By Associated PressJuly 1, 2008, 4:00 pm
AT&T NationalBETHESDA, Md. -- The AT&T National is missing eight of the top 10 players in the world, only one of them on crutches.
 
As everyone knows, Im not going to be there to play in the event, Tiger Woods said.
 
He wont be at Royal Birkdale or Oakland Hills for the final two majors. He wont get to wear a tuxedo for the gala dinner at the Ryder Cup. And he wont be at East Lake for the TOUR Championship to see who will be the first to kiss the FedExCup.
 
The PGA TOUR sees this as a wonderful opportunity to showcase so many other stars in golf. But why should that be anything new? There have been 28 tournaments this year, and Wood played only six of them before season-ending surgery on his left knee.
 
The real opportunity belongs to the players.
 
Who stands to gain the most from the worlds No. 1 player spending the next six months on his couch?
 
Everyone, Robert Allenby said Tuesday on a quiet practice range at Congressional, where Woods was nowhere to be found except on the promotional posters. Theres anywhere between $300,000 to $1 million every week thats up for grabs.
 
He was close.
 
In the 11 tour events that Woods played after he heard his ACL pop while jogging after the British Open last year, he picked up seven checks worth at least $1 million, and the smallest was $285,000 for a fifth-place finish at Doral.
 
The British Open is in two weeks. It will be the first major without Woods since Mark Brooks won the 1996 PGA Championship, a week before Woods captured his third straight U.S. Amateur.
 
Woods was a 5-to-2 favorite at Royal Birkdale after winning the U.S. Open. Three days later, when he announced he was done for the year, Sergio Garcia and Ernie Els were installed as co-favorites at 12-to-1.
 
You look at guys who havent won majors, Hunter Mahan said. You think of Adam Scott and Sergio. But if they do win, there will be an asterisk because Tiger wasnt there. Theyre going to be the Houston Rockets of the mid-90s when they won back-to-back titles after Michael Jordan retired.
 
Winning a claret jug without Woods around would not bother Allenby.
 
If I win, Im going to have it on my mantle, drinking the best wine in the world out of it, he said. Everyone else can go get stuffed.
 
Who has the most to gain?
 
The answer starts with Phil Mickelson, and not just because he is No. 2 in the world.
 
Lefty probably wont be able to replace Woods atop the world ranking unless he wins a major, a World Golf Championship and one or two other events worldwide, which is more than hes ever done in one season.
 
But there is much more on the table.
 
Only a dozen players have won more PGA TOUR events than Mickelson, who has 34 career victories and three majors. Just his luck he came around in the era of Woods, which is why someone of that caliber has never won a PGA TOUR money title, player of the year or the Vardon Trophy for the lowest scoring average.
 
One of his best years was in 1996 when he won four times, and Mickelson looked like a shoo-in to win the money title. But in the final event of the year, Tom Lehman won the TOUR Championship to earn $540,000, edging out Mickelson by $82,630.
 
Then Woods came along, and that was that.
 
Mickelson finished No. 2 on the money list four more times, including 2001, when he still thought he had a chance late in the season for player of the year. He was only $229,366 behind Woods and in the hunt at a World Golf Championship.
 
If I can have a good finish this week and get to No. 1 on the money list, I think that I would have shot, Mickelson said that day.
 
Two days later, Woods won Firestone in a seven-hole playoff.
 
Mickelson, who has won at Riviera and Colonial this year, trails Woods by just over $1.8 million on the money list and he still has at least six tournaments left, all of them with at least $7 million purses. He might not have a better chance than now.
 
Then again, a resurgent Kenny Perry is about $400,000 behind Mickelson after two victories in the last five weeks. The 47-year-old Perry is also closing in on Mickelson for lowest scoring average on tour.
 
Phil would be the one expected to do it, Fred Funk said. But if one of the other guys did it, I think that would be a bigger story than if Phil did it.
 
Woods absence certainly wouldnt hurt Ernie Els. The Big Easy has been runner-up to Woods seven times, more than any other player. British bookmakers think enough of Els to make him a co-favorite at Royal Birkdale, and he probably will have just as good a chance at Oakland Hills for the PGA Championship.
 
Garcia is the best player without a major, and he already acknowledged Woods absence in a playful manner when he thanked him for not being at Sawgrass when Garcia won THE PLAYERS Championship.
 
Pat Perez heard a rumor that Woods had such a big lead that he could still win the FedExCup. Woods might be the No. 1 seed, but he has no mathematical chance of even reaching the Tour Championship.
 
Oh, really? Perfect, Perez said.
 
But the more he thought about Woods being gone, the more he wished he were here.
 
Everyone is trying like hell to beat him, which is hard, Perez said. But to be the best, youve got to beat the best. He gives everybody something to work for. I hope he plays another 10 years.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - AT&T National
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • 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.