Haney Tiger is Better in All Areas

By Brian HewittJanuary 25, 2007, 5:00 pm
A Tuesday conversation with Hank Haney, Tiger Woods' swing coach, confirmed the bad news for everybody else. Woods, Haney told me, is a better player in every phase of his game than the Tiger Woods who finished second to Trevor Immelman at the Cialis Western Open last July 9.
 
That date also marked the last time Woods lost to anybody in a PGA TOUR event. He's going for seven straight this week at the Buick Invitational.
 
Tiger Woods and Hank Haney
Tiger Woods and Hank Haney work together during Tuesday's practice round.
'But you never get completely there,' Haney told me. 'That's why it's so much fun working with him. We know that every day there will be a challenge.'
 
What's left unsaid here is the universal knowledge in golf that Woods is clearly the best player in the world. Since there is nobody to chase down in the world rankings, the only thing left to pursue is perfection. Woods has said he knows he won't ever completely get there but if he keeps getting better, no one will pass him.
 
Meanwhile the sniping at Haney has died down to a whisper. 'I'm happy for Rex Grossman,' Haney said. 'One or two years ago I felt like Rex Grossman.'
 
By way of explanation, Rex Grossman is the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears and has been the target of heavy criticism this year. Now the Bears are in the Super Bowl and Grossman is at least partially responsible.
 
Similarly, Haney came under heavy public attack in his early days of working with Woods. But he has been more than partially responsible for Woods' latest sustained brilliance.
 
LATE NIGHT WITH TIGER:
Meanwhile, don't expect to see Tiger Woods making the rounds on the talk shows any time soon. But his absence won't be for any lack of interest on the part of the networks.
 
According to Woods' sources, Tiger has a standing offer to guest on a number of shows. Included among them are 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.'
 
Do expect to see Woods on Leno if he wins the Masters, for the fifth time, in April. That victory could conceivably coincide with Woods breaking Byron Nelson's long-standing record of 11 straight PGA TOUR wins.
 
PROTO-ATYPICAL:
Eyebrows were raised recently when Vijay Singh and Paul Goydos won the first two events of the PGA TOUR season using a Titleist Pro V1 prototype ball that wasn't listed as such on the USGA's conforming golf ball list.
 
'Certainly a legitimate question that has a pretty simple answer,' said Dick Rugge, the USGA's Senior Technical Director. 'While the ball may be referred to by Titleist and journalists as a 'prototype', that is not the actual name of the ball. ... Titleist has 13 different 'Pro V' models on our conforming list. All of them are allowed for play under the Rules of Golf.'
 
Added Rugge: 'The PGA TOUR rules officials have the authority to check whether or not a ball being used is on the conforming list, so it is rather unlikely that any TOUR player--winners or otherwise--could be using a ball that is not on the conforming list.'
 
A quick check with Titleist officials confirmed that the winning Pro V1s used by Singh and Goydos are, indeed, on the USGA's conforming list.
 
ROGER THAT: Sources say we shouldn't be surprised if Callaway Golf wedge designer Roger Cleveland puts design plans for a full set of irons into the pipeline. Most recently, Cleveland has been best-known for Callaway's X-Tour wedges. None other than Phil Mickelson helped inspire Cleveland to come up with a PM grind and 'Mack Daddy' grooves for the wedges he uses on TOUR.
 
COMFORT ZONE: You have to give John Daly, or at least the people who run his website, credit for candor.
 
Daly's people recently announced a new John Daly clothing line about which the website said this: 'At first glance Big John may seem like an unlikely candidate to headline a golf apparel collection.'
 
As you might imagine, comfort, not style, is the key to John Daly Apparel
 
DALY II:
TaylorMade sources say Daly was so enamored with a recent trial of the company's TP Rescue hybrid that he has taken his 2-iron out of the bag. The TP Rescue has a smaller head, a tighter, more compact look and is designed for better players.
 
A TRUE DAILY DOUBLE, ALEX:
On the Monday night version of long-running game show Jeopardy one of the categories was 'A Few Good Men.'
 
The $600 answer in that category was: 'In 2004 this Fijian set a new record for pro golf winnings in one year, $10,905,166.'
 
The correct answer, as delivered by one of the contestants, was, 'Singh.'
 
Memo to any of Vijay Singh's critics who don't believe he belongs in a category labeled 'A Few Good Men': You can't handle the truth.
 
SMART MOVE:
The LPGA has modified its criteria for sponsor's exemptions. Specifically, a sponsor's exemption is now available (over and above the normal exemptions) to the U.S. Women's Amateur champion if that player is still an amateur and the event is staged in that player's home state.
 
What this means is that reigning champion, Kimberly Kim of Hawaii, will now have a chance to play in next month's SBS Open at Turtle Bay and the Fields Open in Hawaii.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
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.