Americans May Be Underdogs

By Brian HewittOctober 29, 2003, 5:00 pm
Increasingly, in the days ahead, you will be hearing more and more about the Presidents Cup matches scheduled to be played at Fancourts Links Golf Course in South Africa. One of the themes in the pre-Cup build-up will focus on trying to figure out which team'the Americans captained by Jack Nicklaus or the Internationals captained by Gary Player--is the favorite to win.
And isnt that a novel idea?
The Americans are always favored. Arent they?
Its been a little bit of a drought for the U.S. in these Cups, says Jeff Sluman, who will serve as a special assistant to Nicklaus in South Africa. They might even be favored.
It has been more than a little bit of a drought for the U.S. Our country lost the last Ryder Cup, the last Solheim Cup, the last Walker Cup and the last Palmer Cup. Moreover, the world ranking status of the Presidents Cup participants on the International side rivals that of the Americans.
Seventeen of the top ranked 21 players in the current official world golf rankings will be at Fancourt. Nine of those 17 will be playing for Player. Our team is a lot stronger than it has been, said Zimbabwe native Nick Price. But to say were favoredI dont know.
Nobody wants to be favored in these things anymore. The Euros found out the benefit of being underdogs in the Ryder Cup more than a decade ago. It breeds team unity. Dont think for a minute Sluman doesnt believe the Americans have the best team. But hes smart enough not to declare that in public.
On the subject of Sluman, his presence will be invaluable to Nicklaus. Nicklaus captained the American squad at the Presidents Cup in Australia in 1998. And the Internationals massacred his team 20 to 11 . Nicklaus critics said he should have been more hands-on. His special assistant that year was his son, Jackie.
And Jackie Nicklaus is one of the nicest people in golf. He is not without knowledge of the game. But he doesnt know the ins and outs of tour players like Sluman who, by the way, will make a superb sub if another American pulls out at the last minute.
I know the players personally as friends and professionally, Sluman says. And I know exactly whats going on with them. I can funnel that to Jack. I think there will be more camaraderie within the team and I dont just mean laughing and giggling.
OK, then. We now know the Presidents Cup will be more than a hit-and-giggle for the Americans. For the Internationals, the Presidents Cup has always been their version of the Ryder Cup, an event that still commands more interest worldwide even though its geographic parameters are narrower.
This will be the biggest event in South Africa since the Rugby World Cup, says South African Retief Goosen. In 1995 South Africa won the first Rugby World Cup ever staged on its soil.
The matches are going to be close, Goosen says. Yes, Id like to say were the favorites. And a Tiger-Ernie singles match on the last day to decide the Cup would be great. But well have to see.
Price, too, would love to see a Woods-Els singles match-up. What he wouldnt like, at age 46, is the deciding match being his. No, he said. My nerves are too frayed.
Well have to see about that, too.
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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.