After Further Review: DJ has learned to close

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 12, 2016, 1:41 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On Dustin Johnson's newfound ability to close ...

Greatness separates itself in the clutch.

In basketball, it’s the guys who live to take the last shot and more often than not make it. In baseball, it’s the guys who hit the walk-off game winners. In football, it’s the guys who make the big plays in two-minute drills.

In golf? Yes, it’s players who can hit brilliant shots at the finish, but more often than not the great closers don’t have to be brilliant in the end. They just have to avoid beating themselves. This is where Dustin Johnson is separating himself now, with his combination of brilliance and steadiness when the pressure mounts.

After struggling in final rounds and beating himself on too many grand stages, he looks comfortable under pressure. He showed it closing out the U.S. Open at Oakmont this summer and again closing out the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick on Sunday. He’s learning golf’s greatest skill, the ability to separate himself in those moments when it’s the most difficult to separate. - Randall Mell


On DJ's bid for Player of the Year ...

An unscientific poll of players last week at the Deutsche Bank Championship suggested that the PGA Tour Player of the Year award would be decided over the next three events.

Dustin Johnson was a slight favorite, but nearly every player who was asked said the decision could be swayed if Jason Day, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour this season, were to win one of the three remaining FedEx Cup playoff events.

On Sunday at the BMW Championship, Johnson seemed to finally put the debate to rest. With a late eagle to seal a three-stroke victory, the American claimed his third Tour title this season, a total highlighted by his major breakthrough at the U.S. Open.

With that third victory, he also seems to have locked up the Player of the Year award. - Rex Hoggard


On Davis Love's unenviable task ...

Darren Clarke had plenty of good options to round out his European Ryder Cup team. The same can’t be said for his American counterpart.

Of Davis Love III's most likely choices – Matt Kuchar, Jim Furyk and Rickie Fowler – only Kuchar is moving on to East Lake for the Tour Championship. Furyk didn’t even make the BMW after starting his season in May; Fowler played the last five weeks in a row in a desperate attempt to make the team, but he finished better than 22nd only once during that span.

The point of waiting so long to announce the picks was to identify the hottest players. Suffice to say, Love’s newest additions aren’t peaking at the right time. – Ryan Lavner


On why Love may skew conservative ...

Don’t act surprised if Davis Love III’s three Ryder Cup picks Monday morning don’t exactly re-invent the wheel.

Entering this week, Rickie Fowler seemed like a lock. Now J.B. Holmes appears to have a late burst of momentum and Matt Kuchar remains a steady, albeit safe, option. But those clamoring for an outside-the-box pick, or even two, should remember that the U.S. task force process started by tabbing Love for a second term despite a losing effort four years ago.

Some will say he deserved another shot, and has the support of the team room. That may be true, but it’s unfair to give Love another crack and then expect him to turn his strategy and tactics on their collective head. He’s still the same man that walked off that last green at Medinah.

So when Phil Mickelson alludes to the fact that Love’s first three picks are essentially a fait accompli, lending credence to the thought that he’ll look to add some familiar faces, it shouldn’t come as a shock. Chances for overhauling change with these choices went out the window when Love was called back for another go-around.  – Will Gray

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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.