FBR Full-Blown Riot
Every Sunday in golf is super.
With apologies to Tom Brady and Adam Vinatieri and Ricky Proehl and Jake Delhomme, Ill take Arnold Palmer and Jonathan Kaye and Miguel Angel Jimenez and Phil Mickelson.
You can have the frenzy of Reliant Stadium in Houston. Ill take the madness of the arena that is the 16th hole at the TPC of Scottsdale at an event theyre now calling the FBR Open.
FBR. It stands for Friedman, Billings and Ramsey, the new title sponsor of the tournament formerly known as the Phoenix Open.
But acronyms were made to be broken. Try FBR as in Full-Blown Riot. Thats riot in the best sense. No violence. Just a lot of testosterone and noise. Every couple of weeks out of the year a little craziness in golf is a little refreshing.
You can have former player Michael Irvin mugging for the cameras during the Super Bowl post-mortems. Ill take current player Chris DiMarco taking his medicine (and not particularly liking it) moments after finishing second to Kaye despite making six straight birdies on the back nine.
Yes, it was one of those kind of weekends in our sport. Phil Phil Will Be Phil Mickelson was tied for the lead with five holes remaining and lost by an astonishing six shots. Still, his play at Phoenix coupled with his victory at last weeks Bob Hope Chrysler Classic leaves us with the feeling that one of our games gifted players has moved back into the best fraternity house after living off campus for 18 months.
To extend the Greek metaphor, the chapter president was up to his old tricks again as well. That would be 74-year-old Arnold Daniel Palmer, who made five birdies in a seven-hole stretch on his way to beating Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino at the Wendys Champions Skins Game in Hawaii.
Spains Miguel Angel Jimenez shot 31 going out Sunday in Thailand and hung on while Thomas Bjorn bogeyed both back-nine par-5s at the Johnnie Walker Classic. Jimenez wore an orange shirt to match his pony-tailed coiffure en route to his eighth victory on the Euro Tour. The significant stat here: Jimenez turned 40 last month. We should have known.
Speaking of ages, its hard to believe that Kaye, who wears the look of a guy who just burned a bootleg Grateful Dead CD, is just six weeks younger than Mickelson, who won his first PGA event 13 seasons ago. Kaye wears a soul patch under his lower lip. Mickelson wears a Ford patch on his shirt. Both are 33. And both have every bit as much identity as Sundays in golf.
Now the tour jumps from the raucous frying pan that is the TPC of Scottsdale into the banked fire of beauty that is the Monterey Peninsula. The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am will never suffer from an identity crisis, no matter what they decide to call it.
Robert Louis Stevenson once referred to the curve of Carmel Bay as it simultaneously embraces and buffets the sand and rocks at Pebble Beach as the most felicitous meeting of land and sea in creation.
Creation is the key word there. Jonathan Kaye has introduced himself to golfs stage with the help of a game that is sounder than the casual observer might suspect. Phil Mickelson has returned after being absent without leave. The last two winners on the European Tour have sported pony tails. Arnold Palmer, in his eighth decade, is still shaking down the thunder.
So, nicely done, New England Patriots. Quarterback Brady, the experts are now saying, is Joe Montana Lite.
Im not sure what label we should affix to Jonathan Kaye or what the next story will be that pops onto golfs radar screen. But I cant wait until next Sunday to find out.
With apologies to Roget, Webster, Merriam, Bartlett and Miss Pemberton, my eighth grade English teacher, every Sunday in golf is super.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut
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
Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements
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.”
Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back
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.
Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026
SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.
“Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.
“We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.
In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010.