Power Rankings: 2015 Sony Open

By Will GrayJanuary 13, 2015, 6:05 pm

The PGA Tour continues the Aloha Swing with the Sony Open in Hawaii, the first full-field event of 2015 but the the ninth event of the 2014-15 wraparound season.

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Jimmy Walker won this event a year ago by one shot over Chris Kirk. Here are 10 players to watch in Honolulu:

1. Jason Day: The top-ranked player in this week's field, Day enters off a course record-tying 62 in the final round at Kapalua. He hasn't played this event since 2011, when he finished T-20, but Day now has top-five finishes in each of his last three starts in the U.S. dating back to the Tour Championship.

2. Chris Kirk: Like Day, Kirk arrives in Oahu on the heels of a Monday 62 in Maui and has some unfinished business at Waialae, where he finished runner-up a year ago. Kirk also finished T-5 at this event in 2013 and he boasts a 67.3 stroke average in four career trips to Honolulu.

3. Zach Johnson: Johnson appeared in contention to defend his Hyundai title, but despite a disappointing third round he still finished seventh. Now he heads to a course that suits his short-but-accurate style of play, and one where Johnson won in 2009 and finished T-8 last year.

4. Jimmy Walker: The defending champ appeared in line for a win at Kapalua before folding down the stretch. He certainly knows his way around Waialae and now has nine straight rounds there in the 60s, but it remains to be seen how much Monday's playoff loss to Patrick Reed will linger.

5. Russell Henley: Henley set the 72-hole tournament record en route to victory in 2013, and he returns to Oahu after a T-3 finish in Maui where he birdied each of his final five holes. Henley is among the game's best putters, and if he continues to hole putts at the pace he did last week at Kapalua, he'll surely be in contention once again.

6. Matt Kuchar: Kuchar surprisingly struggled over the weekend on the Plantation Course, but his track record at this week's event can't be ignored: T-5, T-5, T-8 in his last three starts dating back to 2011. Kuchar was one of the most consistent players last season, and he'll likely return to that billing sooner rather than later.

7. Hideki Matsuyama: The Japanese phenom held a share of the 54-hole lead last week before ultimately falling one shot short of the playoff, but it was still a strong start and his third top-10 finish on the young season. He hasn't had much success at this week's venue, though, with missed cuts in each of his prior three appearances (2011-13).

8. Tim Clark: Clark withdrew from this event last year because of injury, but his four other appearances all yielded top-25 finishes at Sony, including runner-up showings in 2011 and 2013. Clark isn't long off the tee, but he's certainly accurate with his approaches - he led the Tour last season in proximity to hole. That will come in handy amid the cozy confines of Waialae.

9. Charles Howell III: While he hasn't won, Howell is among the all-time leading money winners at this event after eight top-10 finishes including five in the last six years. Howell has slipped all the way to No. 137 in the world rankings, but Waialae seems to bring out the best in him each year.

10. Marc Leishman: The Aussie is another player with a strong track record at Waialae, having finished no worse than T-27 in five prior appearances. He has cracked the top-10 in each of the past two years, including a fifth-place finish in 2014 after closing with a 65.

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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.