McDowell, NFL's Coughlin bound together by charity

By Doug FergusonSeptember 15, 2016, 2:47 pm

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - Tom Coughlin and Graeme McDowell share an Irish heritage and the highest achievement in their sports. One has a U.S. Open title and delivered the clinching point in the Ryder Cup, the other has two Super Bowl titles as coach of the New York Giants.

Only when McDowell opened another restaurant, this one down the road from PGA Tour headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, did they discover a similar passion.

They sat at a table a few hours before Nona Blue was filled to capacity Wednesday on opening night, swapping stories about their foundations, each geared toward helping sick children without neglecting the financial and emotion burden on the entire family.

What brought them together was McDowell wanting to be a good neighbor in a new town, and Coughlin already having done his part.

''When you come into an area, if you want to establish yourself, giving back is a great starting place,'' McDowell said.

The original Nona Blue opened three years ago in Orlando. For the next tavern, McDowell and business partners Joe Davi and Bill Bona had what amounted to a dress rehearsal last week for the staff. The food was complimentary. All they asked was for guests to leave a gratuity that would go to a local charity.

Jamie Baird, who handles the marketing, found the Jay Fund Foundation that Coughlin began in 1996 when he was head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

It seemed like a good fit.

The tips that night came out to $15,000.

''When Graeme got ready to open the restaurant, the first thing they did was try to give back,'' Coughlin said. ''And when they were talking in the community about giving back, we were fortunate that they named the Jay Fund Foundation as the charity of choice. So it worked out super for us.

''They were practicing to open,'' said Coughlin, still relying on football terms. ''When I heard it was $15,000, I couldn't believe it.''

McDowell, raised in Northern Ireland, did his homework on Coughlin's foundation and the man who won 170 games in 20 years as an NFL coach. He even read Coughlin's book, ''Earn the Right to Win.''

And yes, he made sure he was on time - which means early - for the opening.

''People were very passionate about coach's foundation, and they gave generously,'' McDowell said.

Coughlin's inspiration for his foundation was Jay McGillis, a safety who played for Coughlin at Boston College when he died of leukemia in 1992. He made up for his lack of size by working harder than anyone else. He was Coughlin's kind of guy. And his death, along with the effect on parents and five siblings, stayed with the coach.

''The experience we had with Jay and his family, I just knew we would give back and it would be in the spirit of Jay,'' Coughlin said.

Coughlin is still popular in Jacksonville, having taken the Jaguars to the AFC title game in 1996 in just their second season. He was fired after a third straight losing season in 2002, and he was hired by the Giants in 2004.

Two major hospitals were concerned that would be the end of the Jay Fund. Instead, contributions increased when Coughlin said he was leaving it there, and he started a branch of the Jay Fund in New York.

Only when he met McDowell did Coughlin realize The G-Mac Foundation was for children's medical research. One aspect of the foundation brings Irish children and their families to Orlando during the holidays for some happy times.

''That's what coach's foundation looks after,'' McDowell said. ''It's not only the victim, but the siblings and the families, and the fact it tears them apart. It's a financial strain. So the idea of bringing families to Orlando is just to put smiles on their faces and put families back together.''

It put a smile on Coughlin's face just listening to McDowell speak.

''Bringing kids to Disney,'' he said. ''Can you imagine the look on their faces, coming over from Ireland, the whole family?''

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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.