Expert Picks: 2015 Memorial Tournament

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 3, 2015, 12:37 pm

This week marks the 30th event of the 2014-15 PGA Tour season, as 120 players tee it up at the Memorial Tournament. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players, based on Golf Channel's fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard and Randall Mell; editorial director Jay Coffin; associate editor Will Gray; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; host Charlie Rymer and defending fantasy champion Ryan Lavner.


Will Gray

Group 1: Jim Furyk: The former Memorial champ (2002) was also a runner-up in 2009 and knows his way around Muirfield Village, with five top-25 finishes in his last six starts. He is only a few weeks removed from a win at Harbour Town and a run through the bracket at TPC Harding Park.

Group 2: Matt Kuchar: Kevin Na and his consistency are tempting here, but I'll go with the player who has better course form. Kuchar has seven straight top-15 finishes at this event, highlighted by a win in 2013, and seems tailor-made for demanding layouts like Muirfield Village.

Group 3: Justin Thomas: The rookie is due to break through soon, and I don't want to miss out when he does. Thomas' length off the tee will be an asset this week and he played well last year in his Memorial debut, finishing T-37 with three rounds of par or better.

Group 4: David Hearn: The Canadian has a knack for this track, with three straight finishes of T-28 or better. His current form shows signs of promise, with a T-6 finish at Zurich followed by three strong rounds at TPC Sawgrass and bookend scores of 66 at Colonial.


Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Dustin Johnson: The bomber has not played Muirfield Village particularly well, he has just one top-10 finish in seven starts, but with rain in the forecast his length will be an even bigger advantage.

Group 2: Kevin Na: He’s become a leaderboard staple on the PGA Tour and came up just short last year at the Memorial with his runner-up showing.

Group 3: Robert Streb: He’s been playing consistent golf this season, with a victory last fall and six top-10 finishes, and was solid in his first start at Jack’s Place last year with a tie for 28th.

Group 4: Colt Knost: In his last four starts he’s finished T-65 (Zurich Classic), T-66 (Wells Fargo Championship), T-10 (Crowne Plaza Invitational) and T-10 (AT&T Byron Nelson). We see where this is heading.


Randall Mell

Group 1: Hideki Matsuyama: Going with the defending champ. With all that talent, he’s due to make another impression state side, especially a place he’s obviously comfortable.

Group 2: Matt Kuchar: He won the Memorial two years ago, but he plays well there just about every year.

Group 3: Steve Stricker: Going with another past Memorial champ who has a good history at Muirfield Village. Stricker won there four years ago and was T-6 last year.

Group 4: Tony Finau: It’s his first time playing the Memorial, but he’s on a nice little run with three consecutive top-20 finishes.

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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.