Tiger Would Win Popularity Contest

By Brian HewittOctober 8, 2003, 4:00 pm
This torrid Player of the Year race that has become the focal point of the 2003 season would have turned into a great excuse for Tiger Woods to divert attention from the fact that he hasnt won a major championship this year.
 
Except Woods doesnt look for excuses. He doesnt operate that way.
 
What the Player of the Year race does give Woods is a legitimate reason to focus on the rest of a season. He has won five times but didnt play as well as he wanted in the tournaments that counted the most.
 
The Masters is still six months away, which means its a little early for Woods or anybody else to start getting their game faces on for Augusta. So Woods has set his late-season sights on Player of the Year, an award the rank and file of the PGA Tour didnt start voting on until 1990.
 
Woods has won the last four POY awards and five of the last six. But how many people other than Wayne Levi remember that the players voted Levi in over Greg Norman way back in 1990?
 
It was quite a year, Levi said of a campaign that produced four victories and helped him earn a Ryder Cup berth. Norman won three events that same year and beat Levi out for the No. 1 spot on the money list. Moreover, Levi missed the cut in six of his first nine events in 1990. Neither player won a major championship that year. Levi only had one other top 10 to go with his four wins.
 
When its close, Levi said of the POY, I dont think you have to win a major.
 
When its close, Levi added, it can boil down to a popularity contest.
 
Levi doesnt think thats the way it ought to be. Its just his opinion. The odd thing about 1990 is there are players who will tell you that Norman wasnt popular. There are others who will tell you Levi wasnt the friendliest guy on the range or in the clubhouse. So much for the popularity contest theory.
 
For his part, Levi finds it hard to believe that Norman, ranked No. 1 in the world for 332 weeks in the late '80s and '90s, only won Player of the Year once (1995). He really came out on the short end, Levi said of Norman.
 
Levi said if he had to vote today, he would cast his ballot for Woods. Winning, Levi said, is the main criterion. The next closest player in victory count after Woods is Davis Love III with four. Mike Weir, Kenny Perry and Vijay Singh all have three. Weir and Furyk are the only players still in the running for POY to have captured a major championship in 2003.
 
Anyway, getting back to Tiger, he should be all right if it does, indeed, get down to a popularity contest. Early in his professional career Woods engendered a lot of jealousy from the other players. For the most part he has won them over on that score. Besides, his record in the years he won POY was clearly superior.
 
Meanwhile Levi, for his part, cant help but wonder how Norman didnt salt away more POYs. I cant believe he didnt win five or 10 tournaments a year, Levi said. He hit it so far and so straight.
 
Woods hits it farther, if not straighter, than Norman. Stuart Appleby called Woods a shoo-in for Player of the Year after Woods victory Sunday at the WGC-American Express Championship in Atlanta.
 
I cant say as I disagree.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
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.

Getty Images

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.


Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


“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. 

Getty Images

Woods impresses DeChambeau, Day on Tuesday

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 11:27 pm

SAN DIEGO – Bryson DeChambeau played with Tiger Woods for the first time Tuesday morning, and the biggest surprise was that he wasn’t overcome by nerves.

“That’s what I was concerned about,” DeChambeau said. “Am I just gonna be slapping it around off the tee? But I was able to play pretty well.”

So was Woods.

DeChambeau said that Woods looked “fantastic” as he prepares to make his first PGA Tour start in a year.

“His game looks solid. His body doesn’t hurt. He’s just like, yeah, I’m playing golf again,” DeChambeau said. “And he’s having fun, too, which is a good thing.”

Woods arrived at Torrey Pines before 7 a.m. local time Tuesday, when the temperature hadn’t yet crept above 50 degrees. He warmed up and played the back nine of Torrey Pines’ South Course with DeChambeau and Jason Day.

“He looks impressive; it was good to see,” Day told PGATour.com afterward. “You take (Farmers) last year and the Dubai tournament out, and he hasn’t really played in two years. I think the biggest thing is to not get too far ahead, or think he’s going to come back and win straight away.


Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


“The other time he came back, I don’t think he was ready and he probably came back too soon. This time he definitely looks ready. I think his swing is really nice, he’s hitting the driver a long way and he looks like he’s got some speed, which is great.”

Woods said that his caddie, Joe LaCava, spent four days with him in South Florida last week and that he’s ready to go.

“Before the Hero I was basically given the OK probably about three or four weeks prior to the tournament, and I thought I did pretty good in that prep time,” Woods told ESPN.com, referring to his tie for ninth in the 18-man event.

“Now I’ve had a little more time to get ready for this event. I’ve played a lot more golf, and overall I feel like I’ve made some nice changes. I feel good.”

Woods is first off Torrey Pines’ North Course in Wednesday’s pro-am, scheduled for 6:40 a.m. local time.