After Further Review: Moving The Players

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 15, 2017, 2:51 am

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

On holding The Players Championship in May or March:

The PGA Tour has some tweaks to make to its flagship event, and a move up the calendar would be a good start.

There is a general expectation that The Players Championship will switch from May back to March at some point in the near future. In the 11 years since it’s been played in the heat of late spring, there have been constant changes to the greens and course – and according to some players,  they still don’t have it right.

Adam Scott, who won in 2004 when it was in March, was particularly outspoken about the fact that the newly redesigned mounding around several putting surfaces doesn’t mix well with the grainy Bermuda grass.

“I think that we’re just going to have to figure out the best way to balance the green complexes with this kind of grass and run-offs and stuff,” he said. “I think it was much more playable and user-friendly with an overseed and bent greens with this kind of created mounding and severity of slope.”

The new 12th hole served as a microcosm of that sentiment: an innovative idea that lacked execution, with a severely sloped bank left of the green turning what the Tour had hoped would be a risk-reward thriller into a snoozefest chock full of mid-iron tee shots.

The 12th will likely be better next year; the tournament will probably be better once it gets back to March. - Will Gray

Whether The Players moves back to March likely depends on a collection of factors – from the cooperation of other events, most notably the PGA Championship, to the support of the players – but after another challenging week at TPC Sawgrass it’s become increasingly clear it’s a better event in May.

Despite this week’s demanding conditions, the Stadium Course actually plays harder, statistically, in March than May; but harder doesn’t mean better. A hard and bouncy TPC Sawgrass is a better course that identifies a greater range of champions, from Tiger Woods to K.J. Choi, and demands a more varied set of skills, not just a long drive. - Rex Hoggard

On making No. 12 a drivable par-4:

No. 17 will always be the signature hole at TPC Sawgrass, with 16 and 18 close behind. But kudos to the PGA Tour for creating another risk/reward challenge by turning the 12th into a drivable par-4. It now joins the 10th at Riviera, the third at Augusta National, the 17th holes at Oakmont and TPC Scottsdale and the 15th at TPC River Highlands as some of my favorite par-4 holes on Tour. - Al Tays

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.

Getty Images

Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

“Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

“We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010.