Hats Off to Funky Tiger

By Brian HewittMarch 19, 2008, 4:00 pm
A lot of people, judging by many of the e-mails that arrived here earlier this week, didnt get the joke. Fortunately, Fred Funk and his caddie did.
Trademark infringement, Funk huffed. I had a patent.
That was copyrighted, added Funks caddie, Mark Long. Weve got to sue them.
Funk and Long were referring to the hat spike Tiger Woods performed on the 18th green Sunday at Bay Hill after making the lengthy birdie putt that beat Bart Bryant by a shot on the 72nd hole of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
It was suggested (by me in my Monday column on this Web site) that Woods had taken a page from Funks book when Funk had similarly spiked his hat after making what turned out to be the winning putt on the 72nd hole of the 2005 PLAYERS.
My tongue was lodged firmly in my cheek when I wrote that Woods was stealing the scene Funk had famously made two years ago. Funk, bless him, got it immediately.
Actually, added the self-effacing Funk this week, there was a difference. When Tiger made his putt at Bay Hill he knew it was to win the golf tournament. When I made mine I was just happy to have made a putt of any kind. I had been three-putting all over the place on the last nine holes. It was a relief just to get one in the hole.
Long said that long before Woods pulsating Sunday victory Funk asked Woods where he comes up with the theatrics that so often accompany his great golf shots on the big stages.
Woods reply to Funk, according to Long, was, I have no idea.
Funk is off this week nursing sore cartilage in his right knee. He says he still plans to play 15 events on the Champions Tour and 15 events on the PGA TOUR this season.
But, he added, still plans to complete, with help from his doctor, what most agree is an ambitious schedule for a player who turns 52 in June. Its getting tougher walking the hills right now, said Funk.
His next scheduled PGA TOUR starts are the Verizon Heritage in April and THE PLAYERS in May. In four events on the Champions Tour this year Funk has one victory. In six events on the PGA TOUR he has posted one top-10. Both the win and the top-10 came in Hawaii in January.
As for Woods and his current streak of five straight official TOUR victories, Funk said, I predicted early in the year that he could go undefeated if he got past the Match Play. Now that hes done that it seems like the others are almost guaranteed.
It seems like hes in a place in his life that hes never been before. It looks like hes got more awareness of his own personality and his swing. There doesnt seem to be anything pulling on him from the outside. Hes ready to rock and roll.
Butch Harmon, Adam Scott, Fred Couples and Nick Watney comprised a foursome at Augusta National Monday as part of their early preparation for next months Masters.
Scott said he was impressed, in no particular order, with the course condition; Couples grasp of Augusta Nationals subtleties; and the seamlessness with which tournament officials have added new hole locations on the seventh and ninth greens.
The course is looking perfect, Scott said. The greens were rolling really good.They have got plenty of grass coverage, so they can start cutting it down any time they want now.
Flamboyant Ian Poulter, the Doug Sanders of the 21st century, wont reveal what he will be wearing at Augusta National this year. But his design company, appropriately named Ian Poulter Design, will have his spring summer line in UK stores in time for the first round of the Masters April 10.
Will the theme be green? Poulter was recently asked. Ive got lots of colors in my wardrobe, he said.
Ian certainly pushes the boundaries, said the more conservative Scott, when asked about Poulters wardrobe proclivities. Thats for sure.

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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.