Power Rankings: 2014 Evian Championship

By Will GraySeptember 10, 2014, 3:37 pm

This week marks the final two-event fantasy week this season, as the LPGA conducts its fifth and final major at the Evian Championship. An elite field will tee it up this week in Evian-les-Bains, France, with the event in its second year as a major championship.

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Suzann Pettersen returns to defend the title that she won here a year ago by two shots over Lydia Ko. Here are 10 names to watch in France:

1. Stacy Lewis: Her tie for sixth here last year came on the heels of back-to-back runner-up finishes in 2011 and 2012. The No. 1 player in the world has had a stellar 2014 campaign, but she has yet to hoist a major championship this year and has one final chance to join the other three Americans, along with Inbee Park, who have already done so this year.

2. Lydia Ko: Last year's runner-up has one final chance to eclipse Young Tom Morris as the youngest major champion in golf. The 17-year-old has a pair of wins already this year and finished third at the most recent major championship, the Wegmans LPGA Championship, last month.

3. Inbee Park: After Americans dominated the first three majors, Park snuck up and claimed the Wegmans LPGA Championship in a playoff over Brittany Lincicome for her fourth major title in her last nine major starts. She followed that up with a third-place finish in Canada and boasts four results in a row of fourth or better.

4. Suzann Pettersen: The defending champ pulled away from the field a year ago, and now returns to France on the heels of six straight results of T-16 or better. After battling injury during the first part of 2014, the Norwegian now has a clean bill of health and should be in contention for the second year in a row.

5. So Yeon Ryu: The Korean won last month in Canada, and enters the final major of the year on a hot streak that includes three top-three finishes in her last four starts, with the outlier still netting a T-13 result at the Wegmans. She tied for fourth a year ago and hasn't finished worse than T-32 in three career Evian starts.

6. Karrie Webb: The veteran can still hang with players half her age, and she tends to thrive on this venue. Webb won the Evian in 2006, one of four top-five finishes she has in France since 2003, and tied for 15th in last year's rain-shortened edition.

7. Lexi Thompson: Thompson finished third at Evian a year ago, and tied for second in her 2010 debut in France. While she has cooled since her torrid start to the year that included a major win, her length off the tee will once again prove a sizeable advantage on a course where she has experienced prior success.

8. Na Yeon Choi: Choi tied for fifth in her most recent start in Portland, a result that came on the heels of a runner-up showing at the Canadian Pacific Women's Open. While she hasn't cracked the top 20 in the last three years in France, she did have a three-year run from 2008-2010 that included a pair of runner-up finishes and a tie for eighth.

9. Shanshan Feng: Feng has showed up this year in the majors, with four finishes that ranged from a runner-up (Ricoh Women's British Open) to a T-15 (U.S. Women's Open). She tied for 11th at Evian last year, and managed a T-4 finish in 2012 after going 68-66 across the weekend.

10. Cristie Kerr: Kerr has been in contention for much of the summer, and enters this week off a string of four top-10 finishes in her last seven starts, including a pair of runner-ups. While she missed the cut at this event last year, she had five straight results of T-31 or better from 2008-2012, including a pair of top-10s.


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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.

Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

“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. 

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Woods impresses DeChambeau, Day on Tuesday

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 11:27 pm

SAN DIEGO – Bryson DeChambeau played with Tiger Woods for the first time Tuesday morning, and the biggest surprise was that he wasn’t overcome by nerves.

“That’s what I was concerned about,” DeChambeau said. “Am I just gonna be slapping it around off the tee? But I was able to play pretty well.”

So was Woods.

DeChambeau said that Woods looked “fantastic” as he prepares to make his first PGA Tour start in a year.

“His game looks solid. His body doesn’t hurt. He’s just like, yeah, I’m playing golf again,” DeChambeau said. “And he’s having fun, too, which is a good thing.”

Woods arrived at Torrey Pines before 7 a.m. local time Tuesday, when the temperature hadn’t yet crept above 50 degrees. He warmed up and played the back nine of Torrey Pines’ South Course with DeChambeau and Jason Day.

“He looks impressive; it was good to see,” Day told PGATour.com afterward. “You take (Farmers) last year and the Dubai tournament out, and he hasn’t really played in two years. I think the biggest thing is to not get too far ahead, or think he’s going to come back and win straight away.

Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

“The other time he came back, I don’t think he was ready and he probably came back too soon. This time he definitely looks ready. I think his swing is really nice, he’s hitting the driver a long way and he looks like he’s got some speed, which is great.”

Woods said that his caddie, Joe LaCava, spent four days with him in South Florida last week and that he’s ready to go.

“Before the Hero I was basically given the OK probably about three or four weeks prior to the tournament, and I thought I did pretty good in that prep time,” Woods told ESPN.com, referring to his tie for ninth in the 18-man event.

“Now I’ve had a little more time to get ready for this event. I’ve played a lot more golf, and overall I feel like I’ve made some nice changes. I feel good.”

Woods is first off Torrey Pines’ North Course in Wednesday’s pro-am, scheduled for 6:40 a.m. local time.