A British to remember

By Brian HewittJuly 16, 2008, 4:00 pm
The elephant in the room is the absence of Tiger Woods, the best player in the world, and, to a lesser extent, the absence of Kenny Perry, the hottest player in the world.
 
However, the shrills are wondering, will the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale survive?
 
The answer is simple: What has to happen to get the entire sporting worlds eyeballs on this event is something compelling.
 
Like weather gone crazy.
 
Or an eight-way playoff.
 
Or a good, old head-scratching contentious rules controversy.
 
Or a player throwing up on his shoes ' thats figurative golfspeak ' at the worst possible moment.
 
Or a player shooting a Sunday 59 to win by a shot.
 
One way or another, the 137th British Open needs something compelling to save itself from being remembered as the 'Asterisk Open Championship, i.e. the one that Tiger missed because he was recovering from knee surgery.
 
On the other hand, if, say, Oliver Wilson wins by three on a drama-less final day, this one will indeed be remembered as the Tigerless Open. Asterisks will appear out of nowhere.
 
Not to pick on Wilson. Hes an up and coming 20-something Englishman who has finished second four times on the European Tour this year. But very few people outside of the U.K. can tell you very much about him.
 

MORE ABSENCES AND ASTERISKS: Woods wasnt around for the weekend two years ago at U.S. Open at Winged Foot. He was still grieving over the passing of his father and he missed the cut.
 
That was also the U.S. Open at which Phil Mickelson made a hash of the 72nd hole and immediately labeled himself an idiot.
 
Geoff Ogilvy, meanwhile, made a difficult and pressure-filled par putt on the final hole to win the championship.
 
I havent heard anybody lately use the word asterisk whenever Ogilvys victory at Winged Foot comes up in conversation. To paraphrase author Gertrude Stein, a major is a major is a major.
 

LOCAL FAVORITE: A lot of the smart money is on Englands Lee Westwood, who has worked his way up to No. 19 in the world rankings and was one makeable putt shy of getting into the playoff at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in June.
 
Birkdale, Westwood said, is a good drivers golf course, and I consider myself a very good driver of the golf ball.
 
Westwoods answers at press conferences usually arent long. But if you pay attention, you will usually learn something from him.
 
He was quite outspoken about the 17th green which controversially has been redone since the Open Championship last visited Birkdale in 1998.
 
Westwood said he first saw the new green a few weeks ago.
 
Im assuming its not changed since then, he added. Nobody has dug it upI think eventually they will. I think everybody has accepted that something has gone wrong with it. Its just out of character with the rest of the golf course.Its not to the standard of the rest of the greens. The rest of them are brilliant.
 

GRAEMES EDGE: Many Irishman like to celebrate and they are proud if you know it. But Northern Irelands Graeme McDowell, who won at Loch Lomond Sunday, has held the full party mode in abeyance.
 
He said there were a few glasses of champagne Sunday night but he has a birthday coming up and he wants to wait until after this weeks British Open to pop more corks.
 
Hopefully punch in a good week this week and really have something to celebrate next week, he said.
 
McDowell was brought up in Portrush, Northern Ireland, which boasts Royal Portrush, one of the best links golf courses in the world. Links golf, he said, has always been a little bit in my blood.
 

MILWAUKEE TALK: Perry is now the oldest player in PGA TOUR history to win three times in the same season. In 1967, Julius Boros was 47 years, three months and eight days old when he won his third event that year. Perry was 47 years, 11 months and three days old when he captured the John Deere Classic for his third 2008 victory.
 
Meanwhile the last 10 winners of the U.S. Bank Championship, at which Perry is the pre-tournament favorite, have all shot four rounds in the 60s.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - 137th Open Championship
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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.