Spieth, Walker tied at rainy Pebble Beach

By Doug FergusonFebruary 8, 2014, 1:07 am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – The wind and the rain arrived Friday, perhaps a prelude to a nasty weekend. Leave it to a pair of Texans – Jimmy Walker and Jordan Spieth – to thrive in Crosby Clambake conditions at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Walker made some tough par saves and wound up bogey-free at Spyglass Hill with a 3-under 69. Spieth was down the coast at Monterey Peninsula, where he called the birdie on his final hole the best of his life. He's only 20, but it was a proud moment.

They were tied for the lead going into the third round, one shot to par ahead of Hunter Mahan.


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The slight advantage would go to Walker, who was at 9-under 135. Already a two-time winner this season, Walker next goes over to Monterey Peninsula, the easiest of the three courses in the rotation. Spieth was at 9-under 134 and headed to Pebble Beach, which can be brutal in nasty weather.

And the forecast for Saturday was not particularly pleasant.

Along with a three-club wind on the exposed sections of all three courses, steady rain began coming down sideways toward the end of the second round. There was about a 75 percent chance for more rain Saturday.

More than looking ahead, Spieth was looking behind. He was happy to at least get Spyglass out of the way already, having opened with a 67 on Thursday. That didn't make the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula a picnic.

''Today was very difficult,'' Spieth said. ''We started out in the rain and wind, and we finished in rainier and windier,'' he said.

Spieth caught Walker for a share of the lead on the 187-yard ninth hole, which typically requires a 6-iron. He watched Kevin Chappell hit first with a 3-iron, and the ball rolled back down off the front of the green. Spieth doesn't carry a 3-iron.

''I went to a hybrid,'' he said. ''And I just kind of hit a little stinger cut about 20 feet away. And then it was normally a straight putt and Michael (Greller) and I, my caddie, are looking at each other saying, 'Well, we've got to play this about a foot out to the right with the wind.' And so I hit it a foot out. With about 3 feet to go, the wind just blew it right, just broke perfectly right into the hole.''

Walker's best holes were his pars, particularly the par-5 14th. His 8-iron came back down into a bunker, leaving him such an awkward lie that he had to plant his feet outside the sand. With a shallow swing, he did well to blast out 12 feet away, and he made the par putt.

''That was pretty big to keep it feeling like things were still in my favor,'' Walker said.

He made two long birdie putts, and then hit a drive of nearly 390 yards on the seventh hole – with the aid of a cart path. It left him only an 8-iron to the green, and he had an easy up-and-down for his final birdie.

Mahan had a 68 at Spyglass Hill, with half of his six birdies on the par 5s. He was at 8-under 136.

''Coming up these last few holes are tough,'' Mahan said. ''They're uphill, they got the wind, it's getting cold, raining. You just don't want to throw away shots. Because this can be a long week, and it could be mentally more grinding than anything.''

Andrew Loupe, who has missed every cut in his rookie season so far, followed his 63 at Monterey Peninsula with a 73 at Pebble Beach. That wasn't too bad, for Pebble Beach was playing to an average of 74.1, about 2 1/2 strokes more difficult than Thursday. He was at 7-under 136 and plays Spyglass on Saturday.

Phil Mickelson finished off his 66 at Monterey on Friday morning, and then got an early indication at Pebble Beach that this might be a long day. He three-putted from 5 feet above the hole on the par-5 second for a double bogey. Mickelson holed some good birdies, but missed plenty of short ones. He switched from a conventional grip to the claw during his round, searching for answers. A three-putt bogey on the 18th at Pebble gave him a 73. He was at 4-under 139, still very much in the game.

''Tee to green, I'm playing very well, but I haven't putted this poorly in a year,'' he said. ''For the way I'm hitting it, it's a little disappointing because I should have a really good opportunity. And I'll have to turn it around. It's not too late, but I've got to get it turned around here.''

This is his last tournament until the Florida swing.

David Duval showed some promise in his first PGA Tour event of the year with a 68 at Spyglass, a course that traditionally gives him fits. He was at 4-under 140.

''What's the forecast tomorrow? More of this? Cool,'' Mickelson said with a deadpan delivery. ''We've had a great run of weather ... so we certainly can't complain. It's sometimes a fun challenge to play out here as the reigning Scottish and British Open champion. I don't really mind the elements, but I do have to get this putter worked out.''

It already was a challenge for so many others. John Daly shot 79 at Monterey Peninsula. Four players failed to break 80. Two-time champion Dustin Johnson fell back with a 73 at Monterey. Jason Day of Australia shot 77 at Pebble Beach with one birdie.

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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.

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Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

“Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.


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“We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010.