Despite back, Woods set to defend Doral, ranking

By Doug FergusonMarch 5, 2014, 9:39 pm

DORAL, Fla. – The only tools Tiger Woods used Wednesday at Doral were a wedge, a putter and a gold pair of scissors.

Three days after he withdrew in the middle of the final round at the Honda Classic with lower back pain, Woods returned to work at the Cadillac Championship by saying he feels better after a few days of constant treatment, and that he was good enough to try to defend his title.

He just won't be playing the new Blue Monster until the opening round Thursday. Still being cautious about back spasms, Woods said he would chip and putt while walking a course that is entirely different from the one where he has won four times.

As for the scissors?

That was for the ceremonial opening of the Tiger Woods Villa at Trump National Doral.

Woods playing Doral was not a big surprise. The last time he dealt with back spasms in the final round was at The Barclays last August (he tied for second), and he played the following week outside Boston.

Even so, it was the second time in 10 tournaments that Woods experienced back pain during a round. It was the fourth time in five years that he withdrew in the middle of a round because of injury. For a guy with four surgeries on his left knee, the focus has shifted to his lower back.

''I think we have to take a more global look at it, absolutely, because it comes and goes,'' Woods said. ''We've got to make sure that we do preventative things to make sure that it doesn't happen and adjust certain things, whether it's swing, lifting, whatever it may be. You have to make certain adjustments. We've done that throughout my entire career, and this is no different.''


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His health is only part of the drama at Doral.

The lone applause at the end of a 20-minute press conference came from Donald Trump, who took over the resort and whose presence is everywhere. The majority of the 69-man field at this World Golf Championship is gearing up for the Masters next month. And at stake this week is a possible change atop the world ranking.

Woods returned to No. 1 nearly one year ago when he won at Bay Hill. Now, it's Masters champion Adam Scott who has a mathematical chance of being No. 1 for the first time in his career provided he wins this week.

''It would be a dream come true to make it to that point, but it's not necessarily probable, either,'' Scott said. ''If you look at stats and numbers, there's no reason why I'm just going to roll out and win this week. But there's great motivation for me to do that.''

The motivation for Woods is to complete 72 holes without injury. It's being fit for the Masters, his next chance to end a five-year drought in the majors.

''It's been a long couple days of just treatments nonstop, trying to get everything calmed down,'' he said. ''First of all, get all the inflammation out and from there, getting the firing sequence right again, getting everything firing in the proper sequence. And once we did that today, feels good.''

He did hit balls Tuesday at his home in Jupiter Island, no shot longer than 60 yards, mainly an attempt to make sure he kept the feel with his hands on a golf club. His caddie came down to Doral and charted the course, giving Woods an idea of what to expect.

That wouldn't do it justice.

''I'm like, 'What? There's water on that hole?''' Woods said.

There is water just about everywhere, including a new lake on the 15th and 16th holes that figures to play a big role in the Sunday finish. The PGA Tour issued a release detailing the changes:

- Rebuilt and reshaped all the greens.

- Rebuilt and repositioned all the bunkers.

- Rebuilt all the tees.

- Rebuilt all the fairways.

Now if Woods can only rebuild his body. He turned 38 last year, though health concerns are nothing new. He had the first of his four knee surgeries while at Stanford. He said he first experienced back pain in college.

''I've had a knee injury, wrist injury, elbows, you name it. Now I've had back, neck. It's the nature of repetitive sport,'' Woods said. ''We do the same motion. Some guys do it a thousand times a day, but it's the same exact motion. So you have repetitive injuries and most of my injuries are that. So that's the nature of why we lift, why we work out – to prevent a lot of these things and keep us healthy and keep us out here.

''As we get older – and I've learned it as I've aged – I don't quite heal as fast I used to.''

The real concern is his back, however.

Woods said even with shredded ligaments and two stress fractures, he was able to win the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines because the pain didn't arrive until after he had launched his shot. He said at the Honda Classic, his movement became so restricted that he couldn't rotate his body. The pain occurred as he was starting his swing and affected how he struck the ball.

''A bad back is something that is no joke,'' he said. ''With the back, it's a totally different deal. There are certain movements you just can't do. That's one of the things I've started to learn about this type of injury. It's very different.''

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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.