A Texas Three-Step

By Brian HewittOctober 5, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 Valero Texas OpenNice little Texas golf storyline down in San Antonio this week.
 
Colt Knost and Justin Leonard.
 
And Randy Smith.
 
Knost is the current U.S. Amateur champion who turned pro this week at the Valero Texas Open which meant, among other things, he was surrendering exemption/invitations into next years Masters, U.S. Open and British Open. He learned to play golf near Dallas.
 
Leonard is the former U.S. Amateur champion, who missed his first six cuts this year but fired a 5-under 65 Thursday and is currently chasing 36-hole Valero Texas Open leader Jesper Parnevik. He learned to play golf near Dallas.
 
Smith is a perennial fixture on all those top 100 golf teachers lists. He used to coach Leonard before Leonard switched to Butch Harmon. Now Leonard is back with Smith.
 
Knost, who has only been playing competitive golf for six years, got turned down by Smith when Knost first asked Smith to help him with his game.
 
Not the smartest thing Ive ever done, Smith told me yesterday.
 
This was after Smith had followed Knost for all 18 holes up and down the hills of LaCantera. 71 is about the worst score Colt could have shot, Smith said. He hit just one bad drive and paid for it with a double bogey. And he had three three putts.
 
Knosts technical strengths? Exceptional ball striker, Smith said.
 
The reason Leonard is playing well again? Actually hes been hitting it pretty well for two and a half months, Smith said. He just wasnt putting that well.
 
Heres the thing on these coaching switches: When Leonard left Smith to work with Harmon a couple of years ago it didnt mean that Smith suddenly didnt know what he was talking about. Similarly, when Phil Mickelson famously left Rick Smith (no relation to Randy) for Harmon earlier this year, it didnt suddenly mean that Rick Smith still didnt have one of the best pair of teaching eyes in the game. Nor did Leonards move back to Smith around the time of Bay Hill in March cast a shadow over Harmon.
 
You have to take what people tell you and make it your own, Leonard said. You know, you can tell me all day long I need to play more aggressively, and, you know, do this and do that in order to play well. But until I really get it into my thick head and it becomes my own thats when I think I see progress.
 
Knost, for his part, is a little thicker around the waist than Leonard. But dont let that fool you. He has an athletic swing that is already making longtime TOUR observers think about the same gift that John Daly has for staying on balance despite a wide swing arc.
 
When I asked Smith if he saw any similarities between Leonard and Knost, he didnt hesitate. Absolutely no intimidation factor, Smith said. Thats the way Justin was when he came out on TOUR.
 
Heading into the weekend in Texas, Leonard sits alone in fifth place, six back of leader Parnevik. And as for Knost? Well, he birdied three of his last eight holes to make the cut on the number.
 
Nice little Texas storyline, indeed.
 
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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.

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    Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

    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.


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    “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.