Power Rankings: John Deere Classic

By Will GrayJuly 10, 2013, 1:05 pm

With the season's third major now just one week away, many of the game's best head to the Midwest for a final tune-up event. TPC Deere Run hosts this week's John Deere Classic, an event where birdies will fly early and often and a venue where final-round fireworks can be expected.

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Zach Johnson returns as defending champion, a title he won last year in a playoff over Troy Matteson. Here are 10 players to watch this week in Illinois:

1. Steve Stricker: A three-time winner of this event from 2009-2011, Stricker 'only' managed a tie for fifth last year. Flourishing this season amid a reduced schedule, he makes his first start since a near-miss at Merion in an event that he has dominated in recent memory.

2. Zach Johnson: The Iowa native has struggled somewhat this year, but like Stricker always seems to find his groove in the Quad Cities. Before last year's win,  Johnson tied for second in 2009 and tied for third in 2011. He's recorded 16 straight rounds in the 60s at TPC Deere Run.

3. Keegan Bradley: Making his first appearance in Moline, Bradley has finished inside the top 25 in more than half of his 2013 starts (9 of 17). He enters the week ranked in the top 20 on Tour in total driving (fourth), scoring average (15th), birdie average (17th) and the all-around ranking (13th).

4. Brendon de Jonge: Still looking to break through for his first PGA Tour win, the Zimbabwean tied for 17th at Greenbrier despite a Saturday 73. He's had success in the Quad Cities before, with last year's T-19 showing preceded by back-to-back ties for seventh in 2010 and 2011.

5. John Senden: The Aussie notched his lone PGA Tour win here in 2006 and has finished inside the top 15 in each of his last two appearances, a tie for 12th in 2010 and last year's solo fourth-place finish. Though he's failed to match last season's success in 2013, Senden has made four straight cuts, including a T-15 finish at the U.S. Open.

6. Louis Oosthuizen: Having taken time off this summer both for injury and for the birth of his child, Oosthuizen got back into the swing of things last week with a T-17 finish in Greenbrier. An avid farmer back home in South Africa, Oosthuizen may find extra motivation from this week's title sponsor.

7. Ryan Moore: Moore has been feast or famine of late, with three missed cuts along with three top-15 finishes comprising his last six PGA Tour starts, including a tie for seventh at TPC River Highlands in his last event. He's made the cut in each of four John Deere starts, including a tie for eighth last year, so he appears much more likely to spend the weekend in contention than at home.

8. Jordan Spieth: It's clear that it's only a matter of time before the former Longhorn hoists his first trophy on the PGA Tour. He was in contention in West Virginia before fading to a T-23 finish Sunday, but he seems able to challenge in virtually every event in which he plays. This week should be no exception.

9. Kevin Streelman: In the midst of the best season of his career, Streelman tees it up on a course where two of his three appearances have gone for top-10 finishes, including a tie for eighth last year. Though he's missed four straight cuts, a run of three straight top 10s preceded that stretch and this event may be what he needs to get back on track.

10. Luke Guthrie: Like the man at the top of the rankings, Guthrie played his college golf at Illinois and last year appeared buoyed by the Midwest crowds, ultimately tying for fifth in his first appearance at TPC Deere Run. With six top-25 finishes in 21 starts this year, he's on the verge of eclipsing $1 million in 2013 earnings and may very well do so this week in Moline.

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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.