November Starts With a Bang

By Brian HewittNovember 3, 2003, 5:00 pm
So much to keep track of on a Sunday in golf where so much of significance happened and so very little of it had anything to do with Tiger Woods.
 
Oh sure, Woods is now poised to go out in a blaze of official 2003 glory. If he wins next Sunday at the Tour Championship and Vijay Singh doesn't finish better than a three-way tie for third, Woods will capture the money title. The Player of the Year votes he will then need to capture that award will be a mere formality.
 
But Woods didn't tee it up last weekend. Singh did. And he almost won for the second straight week. Only the style of and grace of the preternaturally calm Retief Goosen, who won in Tampa, kept Singh from sewing up the money title.
 
Isn't it interesting how players, when they target something very specific, come so close to those targets? Players just trying to make the cut usually make or miss the weekend by no more than a shot or two. Singh's publicly announced goal is the money title. With one tournament to go, only a Woods victory and a Singh finish of a four-way tie for third or worse will stop him.
 
Meanwhile, over on the Nationwide Tour, a good-looking, smart-sounding young player named D.J. Brigman moved from No. 32 on that tour's money list to No. 16 at its season-ending Tour Championship in Alabama. And that was good enough to earn him his PGA Tour card for 2004. Brigman was the biggest winner in all of golf over the weekend. If he plays well in 2004, equipment companies will be falling all over themselves to sign or extend him as an endorser.
 
How can you not like a guy (Brigman) who once washed dishes at different local restaurants to pay for his wife's wedding ring?
 
In Korea, a 19-year-old Korean woman, Shi Hyun Ahn, eagled the final hole to win the LPGA's CJ Nine Bridges Classic by three shots. Michelle Wie, for her part, shot 85 in the first round. Ahn's victory was the seventh by a Korean woman or a woman of Korean descent in 28 LPGA events this year. That's a 25 percent victory rate for Koreans. Ironic, isn't it, in a year in which Korean fathers were accused of cheating by coaching their daughters from outside the ropes on the LPGA? And who will soon forget Jan Stephenson's ill-advised criticism of Korean women and their alleged standoffishness with their American partners in pro-ams?
 
Here's a flash: Language barriers still exist, even in golf. Pretty tough to come off like Katie Couric when you can't speak English. The Korean women in golf need to be cut some slack.
 
'Standoffish,' by the way was the word used by ABC golf analyst Curtis Strange to describe Singh's behavior towards the media. It went farther than just a few dust-ups with the media, Strange pointed out. How, Strange wondered, must Singh's sponsors like it when their player wins and continues to do great things on the course but refuses to promote their 'brand' in interview situations - which, by the way, are the best form of free advertising extant.
 
(And if I get one more E-mail telling me to leave Singh alone because he is a great player, I will scream. Of course Singh is a great player. And by many accounts he is a fun human being. But it doesn't follow that because he plays good golf, we should worship the ground he walks on away from the golf course any more than the stellar graduation rate of basketball coach Bob Knight's players should be offered as a defense of his often boorish antics.)
 
Suffice it to say that November in golf came in with a bang. A Tour
Championship freighted with meaning remains this month as does a Presidents Cup loaded on both sides with top 20 players in the world rankings.
 
This is all good.
 
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.