For Excellence and Longevity He Stands Alone

By George WhiteMay 1, 2004, 4:00 pm
Quick now, name the first player to amass $6 million in earnings. Seven mil. Eight mil. The first to win $9 million.
No, it isn't the obvious guess, Tiger Woods. No, it wasnt Greg Norman. Curtis Strange? Nope.
If you said Tom Kite, its obvious you ' like me ' were looking at a PGA Tour media guide. Tom Kite, 5-9 inches tall in his trademark gardeners hat, was the most consistent golfer of all in the era from the early 80s all through to the mid-90s two No. 1s in money, a No. 3, a couple of No. 5s, 10 times out of 13 years in the top 10. Twice more he was 15th or better.
Was Kite as good a player as Norman? He was over that 15-year period. Norman, when he was good, couldnt be beaten. But over a long period, Kites statistics are brilliant, though individual seasons werent really his gee-whiz kind of stuff. Tom Kite was really just a solid, solid player who could, occasionally, turn on the brilliance.
I say this because two weeks ago Tom Kite was elected to golfs Hall of Fame. Tom certainly isnt one to crow about it, but if you ask him point-blank, theres no question that he is proud, thrilled and awed ' all at once.
Obviously, I am very pleased - now that Ive had the chance to absorb it and to hear so many great comments from so many fans and friends said Kite, and if you know Tom, you realize how momentous that statement is. He was at the Brunos Memorial Classic in Birmingham this week on the Champions Tour, and if you asked, he would flat-out tell you what an honor it is. He was lying when he said that he had to have the chance to absorb it.
Its quite a nice feeling to have a chance to be added to that list, he said. I mean, youre talking about a small, small number of people in the Hall of Fame. And when you start talking about the actual players versus those who contributed to the game, its even a smaller number. So to be on that list is pretty good stuff.
Kite was thinking about his chances two years ago when his childhood pal Ben Crenshaw was elected. Crenshaw showed signs of greatness, actually winning 19 times along with two Masters. He bluntly predicted victory in his only Ryder Cup captaincy after the Americans were down big in the 2001 Ryder Cup ' and the U.S indeed won. But Crenshaws career, as sparkling as it was, doesnt measure up in over-all excellence to Kites.
And when Kite didnt make it after last years ballot, doubts that he would ever get there began to creep in.
I obviously had hopes when Ben got inducted two years ago ' he went in with Harvey Penick, said Tom. I looked at the things Ben has done throughout his career and the things I have done, and theyve been very, very similar. I probably had a little bit longer longevity than he did, maybe a little more consistent for a longer period of time than he had, but in terms of the wins and things like that, were very similar.
Indeed, Kite also won 19 times on the regular tour. He won the 1992 U.S. Open. He, too, was a Ryder Cup captain. The numbers were almost identical ' except that Kite was the most consistent player in the world for 15 years.
So - when he (Crenshaw) went in, I really had hopes that I had a chance to get in, said Kite. And then, when I didnt get in last year, it was kind of like ' Ooo, well, maybe Im gonna get passed by.
'So obviously, when I heard this year ' Tim Finchem called me and told me, I was very proud, most pleased.
But he neednt have worried. The voters proved that they hadnt forgotten him, and they didnt think less of his accomplishments. This time its his turn ' and its richly deserved.
And, enough of the gentlemanly, self-deprecating stuff. For once in his long and storied career, Kite is happy to let the world know that hes had ' well, a Hall of Fame career.
Obviously, Im proud of a number of things Ive done and the number of wins I had, the honors Ive been given ' to win the Bobby Jones award, captain of the Ryder Cup team, all the tournament wins and things, Im very proud of that, said Kite, ticking off just a few of his numerous accomplishments.
I really am pleased the fact I was able to build a game, I guess be passionate enough and enjoy the game so much that Im still playing and I love to do it.
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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.