Turning Point at Turning Stone - COPIED

By Brian HewittSeptember 14, 2007, 4:00 pm
Joe Durants pride goeth before the Fall Series.
 
Last year at this time Durant was arguably the hottest player in golf. He finished 2006 with five straight top 10s including a victory at the FUNAI Classic at Walt Disney World Resort.
 
If you havent won in a long time, you go from tunnel vision to spray vision, Durant said that day in Orlando after the win. Disney was his first victory since prevailing at at Doral in 2001. And it spearheaded a late 2006 charge that would leave him with a career best 13th place finish on the money list.
 
Durant also closed last year with 17 straight rounds of par or better and Player of the Month honors for October/November.
 
Now Durant is looking for a little dj-vu-all-over-again. And hes hoping it will begin for him at the Turning Stone Resort Championship that begins next Thursday at Atunyote Golf Club in Verona, New York where a full field of PGA TOUR players will compete for an eye-popping six million dollar purse.
 
Turning Stone will also mark the kickoff of the 7-event 2007 Fall Series where players will, among other things, be looking to secure their cards for 2008 and nail down a variety of berths in 2008 major championships and invitationals. For example, the top 30 players on the season-ending money list will receive invitations to next Aprils Masters.
 
Durant is exempt on TOUR through 2008 thanks to his Disney win. But hed dearly love to get back to Augusta. A top 10 finish at Turning Stone would be his first of the year and would provide the kind of momentum he needs to make a jump from the money list doldrums where he currently is languishing at No. 121.
 
I feel like I need to try and redeem this year, Durant said recently. I need a fall like I had last year. So hopefully I can start cranking things up a little bit.
 
Atunyote Golf Club, near Syracuse, is a 7,315-yard Tom Fazio design that got pressed into service last year when flooding forced this event to move from nearby En-Joie Golf Club. The 2006 winner was John Rollins, who stormed to victory with an 8-under closing 64.
 
For his part, Durant dropped out of the FedExCup race the first week of the playoffs at The Barclays. He had finished tied for 18th at the PGA Championship and tied for 14th a week earlier at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. But he realizes now it was too little too late for the FedExCup.
 
You need to come out of the box (this year) a little quicker, he said. I started very slowly.
 
Now he has seven events to make amends. They are, in order, Turning Stone, the Viking Classic, the Valero Texas Open, the Frys.com Open, the Frys Electronics Open, the Ginn sur Mer Classic at Tesoro, and a defense at Disney World in what is now called the Childrens Miracle Network Classic presented by Wal-Mart.
 
Durant led the TOUR in driving accuracy last year and was a respectable 93d in driving distance. Those numbers have dropped significantly this year to sixth in driving accuracy and 126th in driving distance.
 
Certainly, the $1.08 million dollar first prize at Turning Stone will also serve as incentive to Durant and the rest of what shapes up to be a strong field.
 
The Viking Classic, which comes the week after Turning Stone, was where Durant lost in a three-hole playoff last year to first-time winner D.J. Trahan. Durant fired a sizzling 66, the low round of the final day at Annandale Golf Club to make up five shots on Trahan. But Trahans birdie on the final hole of the playoff kept Durant from being a two-time winner in 2006.
 

 

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - TOUR Championship
  • Full Coverage - Solheim Cup
     
    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.