Gary Player The Best Ever
Ive said for years that hes the best golfer that ever lived.
It was in response to a question, asked Tuesday. And I quote the question: Jack, with Gary playing his 50th, could you just comment on Garys ability and just what made him a champion?
The Gary referenced was Player and the 50th was The Masters.
OK, admit it. You didnt see this quote. Tuesday was a busy news day in golf. The USGA announced a proposal for more stringent standards on wedge grooves; Ernie Els left Titleist for Callaway; and The Tiger Woods Foundation became the primary beneficiary for the July 4th weekend PGA TOUR event that will take place near Washington D.C. and replace The International, which is now officially defunct.
I will admit this: I have never thought of Gary Player as the best golfer who ever lived. Top 10? Probably. Top five? Certainly not. Woods, Nelson, Hogan, Nicklaus and Snead'just to name a quick quintet in no particular order'are ahead of Player.
I will also admit this: I cant, for the life of me, figure out why Nicklaus, a proud man, chose to single out Player in such an exalted way. Yes, yes, of course. Players record for winning is prolific: Twenty-four PGA TOUR victories; 19 Champions Tour wins; And, in the PGA Champions Tour media guide, are listed 110 other victories.
Player won nine professional majors and is one of only five men to have won all four at least once. The latter feat he achieved before his 30th birthday.
Only Nicklaus, with 163, has played more Masters rounds of golf than Player (158).
Maybe Jack was trying to soften Player up for the next renewal of their rivalry as captains. That would be the Presidents Cup in late September in Canada. In fact it was at a press conference to promote that event that Nicklaus made his comment.
Nicklaus also tried to paint the Americans as underdogs. Gary will have more players in the top 20, than I will probably, Nicklaus said.
Not so fast, Jack. Currently there are six Americans in the top 20; seven Internationals in the top 20 and seven Euros on the top 20. Who among us can be sure how those numbers will shake out by September?
Player, of course, didnt sit by mum at this Tuesday gathering in Florida. Among his notable statements:
On the friendly rivalry embraced by the Presidents Cup: The War on the Shore: If youve got a son who lost his life in the war you dont want to hear about a golf match being a war because it certainly isnt a war. The spirit was going downhill until September 11, and since then the Ryder Cup has gone on in a terrific atmosphere, absolutely marvelous. But prior to that it was terrible.
Nicklaus went on to add that he could envision, some day, a combining of the Presidents and Ryder Cups. King of the Hill, Nicklaus called it. Nicklaus also said, since the top Americans play a Cup every year, he would excuse a player taking a year off if he didnt feel he was sharp or fresh or both.
Player, not surprisingly, wasnt hearing any of that. Is that really asking too much when you think of what it does for the game of golf? he asked. Dont they owe it to golf, or are we going to be insular and say, Im not going to play. Im tired. Ive done this, Ive got the money. Surely weve got to think of more than that. The average businessman goes to work 50 weeks a year, 49 weeks a year. It doesnt matter how rich he is. And he is under big pressure. I think were going into an age where we spoil our golfers, quite honestly.
Player also said he wouldnt put Mike Weir on his team simply because the matches are taking place in Weirs home country. I cant just put a Canadian in because were playing in Canada and the people would love to see it, Player said.
Meanwhile Player had plenty of nice things to say about Nicklaus as a player as well. But he was more effusive in his praise of Ben Hogan particularly in the context of equipment improvements in recent years.
You can only say the best striker I ever saw in my life, ever by a mile, was Ben Hogan, Player said. But he was the best in his era. He was the best in his era and Tiger is the best in his era. Give Ben Hogan this stuff (modern equipment) and lets see what happens then. Ben Hogan might not have left the fairway in a month. Im not joking when I tell you that. I mean, he was a machine. With that crappy stuff? I watched him the first time I played in my life in America at Seminole. You cannot believe how he played. I mean, its very important to put things in the right perspective.
How about this perspective?
Gary Player is the best golf talker that ever lived.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings
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.
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.