Power Rankings: Waste Management Phoenix Open

By Will GrayJanuary 28, 2014, 6:32 pm

This week marks the 11th event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, as players head to the "Greenest show on grass" at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. (our Power Rankings for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic can be viewed here). A field of 132 will look to go low at TPC Scottsdale while dealing with the raucuous crowds around the famed par-3 16th hole.

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Phil Mickelson returns to defend the title he won last year by four shots over Brandt Snedeker. Here are 10 players to watch this week in Arizona:

1. Webb Simpson: After beginning the new season with a win in Las Vegas, Simpson has continued to impress and his T-23 at Humana was his first finish outside the top 10 since September. He holds the early-season lead on Tour in GIR percentage, strokes gained putting, birdie average and scoring average - not a bad combination.

2. Keegan Bradley: Bradley has been quietly consistent this season, finishing T-18 or better in each of his first four starts including a tie for 16th in San Diego where he shot par or better in each of his three rounds on the brutal South Course. He's only made two starts in Phoenix but both resulted in top-25 finishes, including a T-15 showing in 2012.

3. Bubba Watson: Watson cracked the top 25 at Torrey Pines with a 3-under 69 Sunday, and he certainly has the length to bomb it around TPC Scottsdale. The former Masters champ has finished inside the top 15 each of the last two years at this event, including a T-5 in 2012. 

4. Graham DeLaet: The Canadian had yet another close call at Torrey Pines, as the question of his maiden PGA Tour title appears to be when, not if. DeLaet led the Tour last season in ball-striking and appears to have picked up right where he left off, now riding a string of three straight top-10 finishes.

5. Gary Woodland: A runner-up in Malaysia, Woodland appeared in line for victory last week before his accuracy left him on Sunday. He remains on the upswing overall, though, and now heads to an event where his length will prove to be an asset and where he has finished T-26 or better each of the last three years.

6. Hunter Mahan: A winner here in 2010, Mahan tied for 16th last year and hasn't carded a round over 70 at TPC Scottsdale since 2009. Knocked some rust off with a T-47 last week in his season debut at Torrey Pines and should be expected to fare much better this time around. 

7. Harris English: It's early in the season, but already English finds himself fifth on Tour in birdie average and seventh in scoring average - both of which should help this week where scores will be low. A winner earlier this season in Mexico, English nearly won again in Hawaii and tied for 15th in his Phoenix debut in 2012. 

8. Phil Mickelson: Mickelson's potential this week depends entirely on his aching back. If he's healthy, he's a threat to repeat and hoist the trophy for the fourth time in his adopted hometown. If the injury that forced him out last week continues to linger, he could struggle to even get his title defense off the ground.

9. Scott Piercy: Piercy is a resident of nearby Las Vegas and has won in Reno, so golf in this area of the country seems to suit him. His third-place finish last year was the third top-10 in his last four Phoenix starts, and the friendly confines of TPC Scottsdale should help him rebound from back-to-back missed cuts.

10. Marc Leishman: Opened the new year with a fifth-place showing at Sony and followed that up with a share of second at Torrey Pines. The Aussie had a banner year in 2013 that yielded a Presidents Cup berth and appears eager for more in 2014. Tied for 19th here in 2012.

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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.