In 95 Open Pavin Hit Shot Heard Round the World

By George WhiteJune 7, 2002, 4:00 pm
The past five years he has been only a shadow of what he once was ' the smartest, meanest, feistiest, most competitive player in golf. Corey Pavin was all that, regularly beating the best in the world ' he just might have been the best in the world on certain courses. To watch Pavin square off against the No. 1s, No. 2s, on the planet was to watch a little bulldog battle over a scrap of hamburger. And in this case, the bulldog nearly always won.
 
Pavin developed some bad habits in his swing in 1997 and his game hasnt been quite the same. On one shining day in 1995, though, he stood on top of the world. On June 18 of that year, he won the United States Open. In the one major that he was sure he would never win, Pavin took the trophy at a course that never seemed right for him ' Shinnecock Hills. And he did it hitting a 4-wood approach to the par-4 18th, a 450-yarder that today would play anywhere from a 6-iron and a 9-iron for most of the field.
 
This week, another course not far from Long Islands Shinnecock ' Bethpage Black ' hosts the U.S. Open. In 1995, though, Corey Pavin and Shinnecock were at the center of the universe.
 
His fellow professionals knew what they were getting in Pavin. Corey is a fighter, said Tom Lehman. He has a huge heart. He has all the shots. And he is a great putter. There isnt a course in the world that Corey cant play.
 
That Pavin was the champion comes as a shock to those who think that length is the most important weapon in the arsenal. During the four rounds he averaged just 257 yards off the tee, a figure that was beaten by all but three players. He didnt do particularly well at hitting greens ' he was 50th out of 73 weekend players. But he was a Pavrotti with the putter, finishing in a tie for first on Shinnecocks little greens.
 
Pavin won it on the 72nd hole. It was the second most difficult hole during the week, doglegging sharply left towards the green, the flag cut to the far left of the hole. To reach the pin from Pavins angle 228 yards away, a gap of perhaps 20 years of rough had to be negotiated.
 
He stood in the fairway after a drive of a little over 230 yards with a wind whipping right to left. All I wanted to do was get the ball in the fairway so I could have a decent shot at the green, said Pavin, who was one shot ahead of Greg Norman as he played 18. He had steadily clawed his way up the leaderboard after starting the day three shots off the lead.
 
Then came The Shot. It was a longish 4-wood, he said of the 228-yarder. Two-twenty is usually my max. But I was pumped up and I didnt think I could go past the hole with a 4-wood. I didnt want to go by the cup and have a tricky downhill putt.
 
As it turned out, I hit the shot as good as I could and it ended up exactly pin-high. I was trying to hit a low draw to keep it out of the wind. It was certainly the right club.
 
The ball landed in the intervening rough and bounced twice to get to the green. It hopped and rolled right up to the cup, stopping five feet away.
 
When I saw it come off the clubface, I knew I hit a good shot, Pavin said. It was the best shot I have hit under pressure. It was the best rush I ever felt.
 
Pavin, of course, missed the putt ' the only putt he missed all week, said his caddy, Eric Schwarz. But he won the Open by two strokes. And, to be honest, no one was surprised.
 
Pavin had won 13 times on the PGA Tour, nine times world-wide. He won in just about every way imaginable, and in 1992 he beat Fred Couples at the Honda two ways ' with an 8-iron holeout to send it into overtime, then a 12-footer dead in the heart to end it.
 
Corey is too good a putter to just watch him putt, said Couples, who was the best in the world at the time. I just knew he was going to make it, and of course he did, right in the center.
 
From 120 yards, I would have to say hes got an advantage. From 15 feet, hes definitely got an advantage.
 
For a long time, Pavin was unbeaten in playoffs. He was a perfect 4-0 in his first four, lost one, then beat Couples in his sixth.
 
I really dont know what he does, said Craig Stadler, a playoff victim. When he got me, I just looked up and the damn ball was dropping in the cup ' a 35-foot putt.
 
A pit-bull kind of mentality, said Gary McCord.
 
Perhaps the most dramatic stroke ' besides the 4-wood in the Open ' was the chip shot he hit in the 95 Ryder Cup that went in, boosting him and Loren Roberts to a win over Nick Faldo and Bernhard Langer.
 
Thats the epitome of the type of situations I like to be in, Pavin said. I like the pressure where somethings gotta give. Its a lot of fun.
 
He may yet be the master again if he find the old magic. But Pavin in his prime was awesome to behold.
 
Hes like a pinball machine ' ding-ding-ding-ding, said Paul Azinger. All over the course, he uses everything the architect gives him. He just keeps applying the pressure.
 
Hes not a guy who can airmail bunkers out there 260 like other guys. He cant reach those par-5s. He has to do other things. To win as much as he has is really impressive.
 
Bottom line ' intestinal fortitude.
 
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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.