The 5 best stories to emerge from U.S. Open qualifying

By Ryan LavnerJune 9, 2015, 3:37 pm

David Lingmerth topped the sixth-ranked player in the world in a playoff Sunday at the $6.2 million Memorial Tournament, but he’ll watch the U.S. Open from home after he slept two hours and failed the 36-hole test.

The Road to Chambers Bay proved a bit smoother for a slumping former world No. 1, a Champions Tour regular and a 15-year-old high-school freshman, all of whom earned their spot in the field through sectional qualifying on Monday. 

Gotta love golf’s ultimate meritocracy.

Here are the five best stories to emerge from one of the most fascinating days in golf:   

MICHAEL PUTNAM: Imagine all of the pressure he felt to get through – and then the relief after he closed with 64 to lead the toughest sectional. Putnam lives about a mile and a half from Chambers Bay, his dad still walks the four-and-a-half-mile loop around the course each morning, and he estimated that he’s played there about 40 times. That’s a big deal, remember, because USGA executive director Mike Davis cautioned that only the players who took the necessary time to learn the course had a chance to win. Putnam isn’t the favorite next week, of course, but he is one of two local products in the field, along with Ryan Moore. Last week Moore, who grew up about 15 miles from Chambers Bay, said that he “can’t go anywhere” without being asked about the upcoming Open venue. To have a rare home game, it’s definitely worth it.

CASTRO BROTHERS: Roberto Castro had a few uneasy moments Monday in Ball Ground, Ga. Waiting to see if his 12-under 132 total would be good enough to secure one of the three berths, it became clear that only one player could spoil his bid: his younger brother, Franco. In fact, he stood over a 15-foot birdie putt on the final green that would have forced a playoff between the two brothers, but it slid by. “A friend of mine said if you play this game long enough, you’ll see everything,” Roberto told Georgia Tech’s website. “That definitely goes to the top of the list. Crazy stuff.” Franco is now the first alternate from that site, and there is a chance that both Castros could still make their way to Chambers Bay. The U.S. Open field has eight spots available, which will be filled by those who move into the OWGR top 60 Monday and then the alternates. 

LUKE DONALD: Back in sectional qualifying for the first time in 11 years, the former world No. 1 benefited from not only playing his home course (Bears Club), but also having swing coach Pat Goss on the bag as he earned one of the four spots in Jupiter, Fla. It’s been a rough go of late for Donald. He has one top 10 this season and has played so poorly over the last 18 months that he’s fallen outside the top 60 in the world, thus necessitating his return to sectionals. This will be his 13th Open appearance, and likely the one he enters with the lowest expectations. 

OLD AND NEW: Fifty-year-old Lee Janzen, who won the U.S. Open in 1993 and ’98 and now plays full-time on the Champions circuit, medaled in New York, while 15-year-old Cole Hammer, a rising sophomore who has already committed to play college golf at Texas, was two shots clear of the cut line in Dallas. They are the oldest and youngest qualifiers, respectively. Janzen hasn’t played in the Open since 2008, when his 10-year exemption expired. Hammer, meanwhile, is the third-youngest qualifier in the Open's long history.  

AMATEUR HOUR: Fourteen youngsters yet to join the play-for-pay ranks moved on to Chambers, the most since 2009. Some big names among them, too: Beau Hossler, who is already making his third Open appearance; Bryson DeChambeau, the NCAA champion who advanced through the Tour-heavy Columbus regional; Lee McCoy, a Haskins Award finalist and four-time winner this season; and Sam Horsfield, the English prodigy who has been trumpeted by Ian Poulter. Last year only one amateur made the cut at Pinehurst, but a few up-and-comers have starred at the Open over the past several years. The battle for low-am honors should be fierce. 

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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.