Aussies Take Aim On Augusta

By Brian HewittMarch 26, 2008, 4:00 pm
Things are happening fast now for Geoff Ogilvy. Not long ago he became a father for the second time. A week ago Monday he played a practice round at Augusta National, a tournament for which he now finds himself on the short list of favorites.
 
Seven days later he won the WGC-CA Championship. That victory jumped him seven spots and into the top 10 (No. 10) in the world rankings.
 
Next week he will join young countrymen Aaron Baddeley and Adam Scott in the field for the Shell Houston Open which, this year, also serves as the final Masters tune-up in the U.S.
 
Baddeley got up to Augusta for practice rounds Monday and Tuesday. Scott said he was pleased, during his recent visit there, to notice the removal of trees on the right side on No. 11 that now gives players more room off the tee on that hole.
 
All three are acutely aware that no Australian has ever won the Masters. Only Scott, among the three, has a top 10 at Augusta. Baddeley made his first cut last year after missing the Masters cuts in his first two appearances. Ogilvy was a T16 in 2006 and a T24 last year in his only two Masters. Scott hasnt finished in the top 20 in his last five tries.
 

GLOBAL SCHMOBEL
Meanwhile it appears neither global warming nor a fierce Georgia drought will affect golf course conditions at Augusta National this year. The azaleas began popping, right on time, last week.
 
And, according to Masters spokesman Glenn Greenspan, Augusta actually received more rain this winter than last. Unlike Atlanta, which is still under Level 4 watering restrictions, Augusta is at a Level 2 which allows watering three days a week.
 

FLOWER POWER
How much care does the Masters take to prepare Augusta National for the years first major?
 
For starters, according to sources, the club has a staff of 30 for the nursery/garden duties alone.
 
When the seventh and ninth greens had to be re-sodded to accommodate new hole locations, also according to sources in Augusta, the sod was trucked in refrigerated compartments to the golf club. The idea being that the temperature of the new soil had to be exactly right for the new conditions.
 
Speaking of conditions, Augusta also reportedly uses grow lights'that they often keep on all night long'to enhance the growing conditions on the 12th green which doesnt get as much sunlight because of its location deep in Amen corner.
 
And finally if you ever get near the golf course in September, right around the time of the perennial rye overseed, you will see a course that looks almost completely brown.
 
In the past the club has received help from students at the nearby Augusta Technical College, which has a golf course management department. The overseed process, according to sources, is a seven-day, 7 am-7pm process.
 

RETIEF RELIEF
Retief Goosens second place finish at the WGC-CA Championship that concluded Monday was a sign that Goosens golf game is on the mend.
 
But its still somewhat astonishing that Goosen, now ranked No. 26 in the world, is only the fourth-highest ranked South African on that list.
 
Ernie Els (No. 3), Rory Sabbatini (No. 11) and Trevor Immelman (No. 24) are all above Goosen in the latest Official World Golf Rankings.
 

Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Zurich Classic
  • Full Coverage - WGC-CA Championship
  • 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.