Two Heavyweights Two Admirers

By George WhiteMarch 8, 2005, 5:00 pm
Tiger just doesnt like Phil, we have been continuously told. The Ryder Cup last year was supposed to have borne that out for seemingly the 100th time, when Woods and Mickelson had a magnificent flameout after being paired together twice.
 
Mickelsons occasional misspeak ' remember the inferior equipment jab a couple of years ago ' has contributed to the alleged falling out. But such resentment is purely speculation. Woods has too much class to put it into words - if ever it existed in the first place.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods came out on top after his much anticipated Sunday duel with Phil Mickelson.
Suffice it to say that Tiger has never been particularly palsy-walsy with ANYONE on the golf course. After 18 holes, players say that Woods is as nice a guy as you could ever meet. But Woods never has been a Lee Trevino on the course, jaws flapping at his playing partner about nothing in particular and everything in general. And Tiger especially does not make small talk with Mickelson. Mickelson, after all, is one of the real forces to be met and conquered.
 
After their great round Sunday, though, when every punch seemingly was met with a counter-punch, there seemed to be a genuine respect between the two. Phil spoke glowingly about Tiger after his Saturday round. Tiger was full of respect late Sunday afternoon.
 
Mickelson was especially disconsolate after it was over, and it is to his everlasting credit that he was. He has been playing well enough that he feels he is superior to anybody ' read that to mean Tiger Woods - and he was particularly downcast after this defeat.
 
I can understand why he's feeling the way he is, because all the pressure was on Phil, said Tiger, who then proceeded to mention the reasons for noting that.
 
But I can understand why he felt that way, there's no doubt about it. A lot of the pressure was on him and I was - I caught him at 10, all of a sudden I took a two-shot lead, two holes later he comes right back with back-to-back birdies.
 
'That shows you what kind of competitor Phil is, what kind of player he is. Don't forget what he did on that back nine. That was impressive to watch.
 
Mickelson, though, despite his obvious disappointment, seemed to realize this had been a memorable match-up.
 
There was a lot of positive things that happened, said Phil of this once-in-a-blue-moon day. I mean, I enjoyed and loved playing head-to-head against Tiger at his best. It was great fun.
 
Later, Mickelson reiterated his point. I loved it. I mean, I really loved it. I want to play him at his best again. I hope he plays his best at The Players, and I hope I do, too. I want to be head-to-head against him again.
 
And for Tiger, this was as close to the perfect day as it gets. After it was over, he allowed himself the opportunity to get a little emotional.
 
We were both excited, he said. I can't speak for Phil, but I certainly was nervous out there. If you're not nervous on a day like this, you're not alive.
 
That's what's fun about it, because we are both going at it and we both knew that we had to make birdies. It wasn't like a U.S. Open where you just go out and make a bunch of pars and you probably end up winning the tournament. You could not sit on a par. You had to be aggressive. You had to be aggressive on every hole to try to make birdies.
 
Woods gave the impression that just playing against Mickelson on a day when the two heavyweights were in near-perfect form is a pleasure. Certainly, this was a lot of fun to be able to be a part of something like this, he said.
 
Phil returned the high praise. He may not be playing his best, but it sure is one of the best games ever, Mickelson said Saturday evening. It's just that when he plays his best, things like the 2000 U.S. Open happen where he wins by double digits. He's a remarkable competitor.
 
And yet, Mickelson made it plain that hes reached that upper-upper level, too.
 
When he made eagle on 12, I loved it, because I want a chance to compete against him at his best, said Phil. And when he knocked that in, he was 6-under through 12 holes and I think he was playing at his best. And that's what I wanted, a chance to compete against him at his best. I didn't want him to be giving it to me. I wanted to go after it. When he knocked that putt in (on 12,) I loved it.
 
I think sometimes that too much is being made of the personalities, that this person doesn't like that person. True, I have never heard Tiger dispute the rumor of his anti-Phil bias, but then again, I can never recall him being asked about it point-blank.
 
Tiger, it's true, didn't like the inferior equipment comment, but then Mickelson in his own way was passing along an underhanded compliment. Woods has a true respect for anyone who can strike the ball a la Phil. Both are around 30 now, and surely whatever problems they once had - or didn't have - are forgotten. They are, after all, two of the game's supreme competitors. And both enjoy the rivalry immensely.
 
And after it was over, the other players knew what had happened. They knew that they were part of a very special day.
 
I think it's a great week for golf, said Zack Johnson. This is what the spectators want. They want these kind of duels. They will have a lot more of them. Four or five, six years ago, Tiger raised the bar and now everybody is starting to come toward him.
 
It's fun to watch as a spectator, but it's frustrating for us because we have to step it up. All in all, it's great for the game.
 
Email your thoughts to George White
Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.”

Getty Images

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.