Notes: Davies reconsiders stance on Hall of Fame

By Doug FergusonMay 28, 2013, 9:10 pm

DUBLIN, Ohio – The only thing keeping Laura Davies out of the World Golf Hall of Fame is her stubborn desire to make it on merit.

Now the 49-year-old star from England is starting to reconsider.

Davies wants to get in through the LPGA’s strict criteria of 27 points accumulated primarily through wins and majors. She has been stuck on 25 points since her last LPGA win in 2001 in Rochester, N.Y. Those numbers are misleading, however. She has played a limited LPGA schedule because Davies has supported the Ladies European Tour for nearly three decades, winning 45 times in the 307 events she has played.

She is eligible to be placed on the International ballot of the World Golf Hall of Fame but has instructed officials to leave her name off.

''Maybe it's time to buckle and say, 'Yeah.' Obviously, I've always wanted to be in, but I wanted it to be my way,'' Davies said in the Bahamas. ''I've read articles, where people have said it's nuts that I'm not in. But that's being mean to the World Golf Hall of Fame. People should know it's been me that's been saying no. I've always had the dream of getting in the LPGA Hall of Fame by playing my way in.''

The feeling is that Davies would have had well over the 27 points needed to qualify through the LPGA standards if she had stuck primarily to an LPGA schedule because she gave up about 10 tournaments a year for 20 years during the height of her powerful game.

''She did that to support her tour, and you can't fault her for that,'' Juli Inkster said. ''I just think she represents women's golf as an icon. Laura is worldwide golf. She's a slam dunk for the Hall of Fame for what she's done for golf, women's golf and European golf. There's no reason she shouldn't be in.''

Told that Davies was thinking about allowing her name to be on the International ballot, LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said, ''It couldn't be early enough.''

Davies would still have to allow her name to be on the ballot – the last woman elected that way was Ayako Okamoto of Japan in the class of 2005. She received 52 percent of the vote, elected because of the loophole that takes one player with at least 50 percent of the vote if no one gets the minimum 65 percent.

If Davies were to allow her name to go on the International ballot, she likely would easily clear the 65 percent threshold.

Whatever she decides, Davies won't be giving up on golf anytime soon.

''I don't think I'll ever retire,'' she said. ''I'll just keep going. I'm enjoying it. I love it. There's nothing I'd rather do.''


LONG AND SHORT OF IT: The LPGA was quick to announce last week that it would go along with the new rule that bans anchored strokes, even though a few of its players use the long putters.

One of them is Mo Martin, who has used a broom-handle putter anchored to the chest from the day she first learned to play. Martin grew up with scoliosis, though not to the same degree as Stacy Lewis. She didn't have to wear a brace or have surgery.

''I was 6 years old,'' Martin said. ''My dad wanted me to play a sport for life, and he thought the long putter would spare my back. And if there was a stink about them, he thought it might be an advantage.''

Martin said she was frustrated that the R&A and USGA proposed and adopted the new rule, though she won't fight it. Like others, she has until 2016 to change.

''I based my career on it, and now they're telling me, I can't use it,'' she said. ''But I have respect for the USGA and R&A, and I'll go along with what they say. The frustrating part is the stigma – people who can't putt have to go to a long putter.''

What puzzled Martin was how ''anchoring'' became part of golf's vernacular during this debate.

''Anchoring didn't come up until the belly putter came along,'' she said. ''No one ever referred to anchoring with the long putter. It was always the broom stick or the long putter. Because the end of the club wasn't stuck into your body.''

Martin has used a short putter in competition. She was in a putting slump a few years ago on the Symmetra Tour and decided to mix it up by going to a conventional putter.

''I used it in competition and shot 69,'' she said. ''Someone in the gallery saw me and came out and said, 'You're a great putter.'''


U.S. OPEN QUALIFYING: Matteo Manassero and Boo Weekley qualified for the U.S. Open by winning on separate tours. Manassero earned an exemption by winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on the European Tour, while Weekley's win on the PGA Tour at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial moved him into the top 60 in the world.

That means 78 players are exempt from qualifying, the highest number to earn exemptions since 80 players in 2006. That includes 2010, when the 78 players who didn't have to qualify included Tom Watson and Vijay Singh, who were given special invitations.

Even with half the field qualifying, it's still the most ''open'' of the major championships. Seventeen players already made it through sectional qualifying in Europe (12 players) and Japan (5 players). That leaves 61 spots still available.

Still be to be determined is how many spots will be dispersed in sectional qualifiers across the U.S. on Monday. The USGA will have to leave a couple of spots available for players (if any) who move into the top 60 by the week of the U.S. Open. On the bubble are Jimmy Walker (No. 62) and Byron Nelson winner Sang-Moon Bae (No. 65), along with Charles Howell III (No. 68).

One player who qualified and will not be at Merion on June 13-16 is David Lynn of England. He is exempt as being top 60 in the world but has told the USGA he will not be playing because of a vacation he already booked.


CHANGE OF DIVERSION: Laura Davies stayed last week with the rest of the LPGA in Atlantis Resort with its large casino. For those wondering how she ever pulled herself away to get to the golf course, Davies had a surprise.

''I don't like casinos. I don't go anymore,'' she said. ''I'd rather bet on the horses and football. I'll walk through it to get to breakfast. And I might go in one night this week.'' Why did she give up on the casinos? The answer was vintage Davies.

''I don't win anymore,'' she said.


DIVOTS: Jordan Spieth tied for seventh at Colonial and now has $905,873, the equivalent of No. 51 on the Tour money list. The 19-year-old Texan, who started the season with no status on Tour, is a lock to have a full Tour card when the 2013-14 season starts in October. But he can't participate in the FedEx Cup playoffs unless he was to win a tournament. ... Matt Kuchar has agreed to play in the French Open, two weeks before the British Open. ... Caroline Powers of Michigan State has been selected to receive the Dinah Shore Trophy, awarded to the female college golfer who has at least a 3.2 GPA and has a scoring average of 78.0 or better, while playing in at least 50 percent of her team's tournaments.


STAT OF THE WEEK: South Africa has seven of the top 10 players in the Presidents Cup standings.


FINAL WORD: ''Golf is a funny game. It comes and goes. Sometimes it seems like the harder you try, the further away it gets.'' – Geoff Ogilvy.

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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.