Lewis brings star power to rain-shortened LPGA Bahamas

By Doug FergusonMay 22, 2013, 11:22 pm

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – Stacy Lewis brings more value to the LPGA Tour that just her golf.

Along with becoming the first American in 18 years to win LPGA player of the year, and then rising to No. 1 in the world for four weeks, Lewis had a direct hand in bringing two tournaments to the LPGA Tour. One of them is this week, the Bahamas LPGA Classic, which grew out of her partnership with Ohio-based title sponsor Pure Silk.

She also aced what amounted to a pop quiz by the chief executive of Marathon Oil, which now sponsors a tournament in July.

That's what led LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan to jokingly say Wednesday, ''She's better at sales than me.''

''Your stars drive your sport,'' Whan said. ''Your athletes generate the momentum, and your job is to turn that momentum into business.''

Lewis, however, is not good enough to dictate weather.

A storm the locals haven't seen in some 20 years pounded Paradise Island through the night, dumping about a foot of rain in an eight-hour span that flooded the Ocean Club. There was so much water on the course – the entire 18th fairway was covered – that the tournament was reduced to 54 holes.

The first round is to start Friday with a Sunday finish, leaving some flexibility in case more showers cause problems.

''I'm happy I got 18 holes of practice in yesterday,'' Suzann Pettersen said. ''We'll play whenever we can.''

The rain wiped out the pro-am, so the LPGA Tour hastily arranged for players to meet at a restaurant at The Atlantis for question-and-answer sessions with the amateurs. The group of players included the top three in the world ranking – Inbee Park, Lewis and Pettersen, along with Brittany Lincicome and Natalie Gulbis.

It was an example of how the LPGA players try to do a little more, and it goes back to the pop quiz for Lewis.

She had a marketing sponsorship with Marathon, and the company was thinking about sponsoring a tournament. Lewis was playing in a pro-am with the CEO when he turned to her and said, ''Why should I sponsor an LPGA event?''

''It caught me off guard,'' Lewis said. ''I said it was a different experience than the PGA Tour and your customers will love it. I think that's more why they did. They do a big customer outing. You get your name out there, but mostly they take care of their customers. And our pro-ams are better than any out there.''

The LPGA stars all turned out for a pro-am party Tuesday night at The Atlantis, with its massive aquarium as the backdrop.

As for the golf? No chance.

The rain fell so hard and for so long that on Wednesday morning, the tip of a red hazard stake down the right side of the 18th fairway was barely visible. The entire hole was a water hazard except for the tee and the green. On the adjacent ninth hole, water covered a deep bunker on the left side of the green – two turtles were swimming in what had been a bunker – and it was nearly coming onto the green.

Whan asked some officials from The Bahamas if they should have considered an earlier date. The advance staff had not seen much of a cloud of the last week.

''They said they had never seen a storm like this, so we're probably in a good spot,'' Whan said.

Lewis is trying to get back to the top spot after winning the LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix in March to reach No. 1 in the world. Not since Beth Daniel in 1994 had an American won LPGA player of the year, and Lewis was on an upward trend by winning the HSBC Champions in Singapore the following week in Phoenix.

Park won the Kraft Nabisco Championship and replaced Lewis at No. 1. There now is a three-way battle - and it could grow – as the LPGA Tour heads into the heart of its major championship season, including a return to St. Andrews.

Lewis is concerned with the careless mistakes leading to bogeys, though the real struggle is finding a balance with her recent star power. She is one of the more remarkable stories in women's golf, having spent most of her childhood in a back brace because of scoliosis, and then having to go through surgery after high school to install a rod and metal screws. None of that kept her from reaching the top.

As for the attention? She is getting recognized more often. She gets some of the largest galleries, even when playing early in the morning.

''The hardest for me is the extra stuff, being the only American up there,'' she said. ''That adds to the media requirements, sponsor requirements, doing extra things at tournaments. Managing my schedule has been the hardest thing.''

In her first tournament after getting to No. 1, Lewis had interviews in the morning, went to practice, another session of interviews in the afternoon, followed by a video interview, a photo shoot and the pro-am party.

''It was exhausting,'' she said

After a morning practice Tuesday this week, she headed over to Atlantis for a promotional spot – she swam with dolphins. That was fun. And after getting out of the water, it started to rain. If nothing else, Wednesday brought a day of rest.

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.