Burke wins second Long Drive title in three years

By Jason CrookOctober 22, 2015, 4:37 am

THACKERVILLE, Okla. – Under the bright lights of the World Long Drive Championship, one of the circuit’s biggest stars shined the brightest.

Tim Burke of Orlando, Fla., blasted a 394-yard piercing drive through an Oklahoma crosswind to top Jeremy Easterly and take home his second World Long Drive title belt in three years as his personal cheering section roared from the stands.

“I just wanted to make sure I put a good golf swing on it … and I hit it pretty good,” Burke said shortly after claiming his $150,000 first-place prize. “I got dedicated this year, got a little better golf swing, learned how to handle the pressure a little better and everything came together tonight.”

Burke, 29, wasted no time getting to the championship round, bombing drives of 401 and 403 yards on his first attempts in the quarterfinals and semis to roll past Justin Young and Will Hogue, respectively. Each time he asked his fans for help before, during and after his turn. And each time, they delivered.

“It’s awesome; they were at the first one, too. It’s the best, just having a little section, it makes me feel comfortable and able to let go,” Burke added.



Easterly, for his part, said he was “speechless” just making it to the final. The 38-year-old beat out the only other two-time winner of this event in the field, superstar Jamie Sadlowski, in the semifinals.

After registering a 380-yard drive, Easterly watched as Sadlowski couldn’t manage to find the grid, hitting ball after ball out of bounds, even switching drivers halfway through his turn and frantically jumping off the stage to find a tee to hit his final ball before time ran out.

“It hurts a little bit when you beat yourself and not hit a good shot in, but that’s life,” Sadlowski said. “It’s hard. Maybe I took those first two world championships for granted, maybe I didn’t enjoy them enough to realize how hard this is. Falling short, it hurts.”

But in the end, Burke put an end to Easterly’s Cinderella run. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound fan favorite proved to be too much.

“He’s a great competitor, you’ve got to give him everything you got and it still may not be enough," said Easterly, who came up eight yards short in the final. “I hit a good ball, not a great ball, but he’s got a lot of horsepower and he can put a good number up.”

That number Easterly refers to may be something long drivers are chasing for a long time to come, because Burke is already looking ahead.

“I was definitely hungry to get No. 2 after last year. I just worked really hard this year. I feel blessed and I’m just going to keep it rolling,” Burke said while surrounded by friends and family on stage. “I’m in an elite club and I’d like to get Nos. 3, 4 and 5.”

So, rest of the long-drive world, consider this your official notice - this may only be the beginning of the Tim Burke Era.

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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.