Player Finally Gets His Chance

By David Marr IiiNovember 15, 2001, 5:00 pm
Gary Player never got a chance to compete in a Ryder Cup match, and that's a shame. He's been an eternal optimist, voracious competitor, and gregarious ambassador of the game for more than 48 years. He would have been an ideal golfer on that international stage. He embodies the qualities that Samuel Ryder sought to honor when he offered the Cup in the 1920s: tenacity between the ropes and dignity outside of the arena. Player could only watch, as others played biennially for a cause greater than their own bank accounts.
 
To understand Gary Player's essence, you need to look at his origins. Born in South Africa, possessing great skill and determination, Player's idol early on was Bobby Locke. Locke is considered by some to be the greatest pressure putter in history, but his eccentricities and disdain for the American tour seems to have limited his stature in the game, at least in this country. The distance between his homeland and the riches of the PGA Tour was so extreme, the odds were against him ever making an impact on the U.S. golf scene.
 
Player was certainly the best South African golfer of his generation and has inspired the likes of major championship winners Ernie Els and Retief Goosen. To reach his potential, Player knew early on that he needed to compete against the best golfers in the world, week in and week out. Since the world's best rarely made their way to South Africa, Player needed to take his show on the road.
 
People who travel to remote locations these days do so with huge airliners, business class, hot towels for your face, little booties for your feet, a couple of pieces of luggage and a carry-on bag. The Players traveled in the days before in-flight movies, and they traveled en masse. Golf wives like Winnie Palmer and Barbara Nicklaus have always been commended for the jobs they did running their families and supporting their husbands, and each was vital to her husband's success. But Vivienne Player had a tall order.
 
When the Player clan hit town, it was a scene like no other. Six children of varying ages, more than 30 pieces of luggage including steamer trunks, suitcases and satchels, cribs, clubs and helpers. The luggage alone took three taxicabs to transport. Gary was physically fit, but he was 5'7' 145 pounds soaking wet and didn't look even that big. He wore black to soak up all available solar energy, ate a clove of garlic each day and practiced religiously while Vivienne took care of the domestic situation. It looked like the Players were actually moving their entire life and resettling every week.
 
They would settle in to their new temporary home early in the week, and then Gary would go big-game hunting. Arnold Palmer was the dashing crowd favorite with great physical strength and daring style. Later, Jack Nicklaus burst on the scene with a physique and single-mindedness that made his nickname fit to a tee - 'the Golden Bear.' Player was the diminutive man with the funny accent, strange dress, doing push-ups and eating only healthy food, but he got the better of his famous rivals on more than one occasion.
 
When Player completed his career Grand Slam at Bellerive in 1965, only Gene Sarazen and Ben Hogan had accomplished the task. He may not admit it, but Player is proud that he reached that milestone before Nicklaus. His rivalry with Palmer was intense as well. The two were always respectful and complimentary, but the competition was more heated and the desire to beat the other was more deeply rooted than they ever let on.
 
Gary Player was well in to his Senior career when the Presidents Cup was created and Ernie Els got a run at the Americans in an international competition. I can only imagine what Player must have been feeling - probably pride, perhaps a little envy, but certainly rooting for his team.
 
2001 Warburg CupThis week he captains the internationals at the UBS Warburg Cup. It is a long awaited assignment. The same resolve that enabled him to overcome tall odds, move his entire family on a weekly basis and take on the game's giants over and over again will be present at Kiawah Island. He will say all the right things, sign all the autographs, and smile for all the cameras. He will also look across the table at his old adversary and do whatever he needs to lead his team to victory.
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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.