Inkster grinding over Solheim captain's picks

By Randall MellJuly 24, 2015, 6:30 pm

Juli Inkster is already proving to be the ultimate grinder leading the U.S. Solheim Cup quest as captain.

She’s grinding over who might be her two captain’s picks and how injuries might affect her team’s makeup.

“I’m not sleeping much at night,” Inkster told Golf Channel’s Tom Abbott and Karen Stupples during Friday’s telecast of the Meijer Classic. “It’s a headache waiting to happen.”

With just four events remaining for Americans to qualify for the team, pressure’s ratcheting up on players and the captain. The team will be finalized at the conclusion of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open on Aug. 23. The Solheim Cup matches are scheduled Sept. 18-20 at St. Leon-Rot Golf Club outside Heidelberg, Germany.

Inkster’s choices are complicated by some nagging injuries to players lining up to make the team. Michelle Wie has hip, knee and foot injuries; Jessica Korda an elbow injury and Lexi Thompson a wrist injury.

If the American team were settled today, all three of those players would be on the squad and all three would be dealing with questions over whether they could play 36 holes in a day. Cristie Kerr’s wrist injury in Ireland four years ago proved pivotal in Europe’s victory as she had to concede her singles match to Stupples in a tight competition that came down to the final singles match.

“I really need somebody who can play 36 holes,” Inkster said. “If you can’t play 36 holes, you really aren’t helping the team out. You might help the team in the singles matches, but you’ve got to rely on every one of them being able to play 36 holes every day.

“We’ll just have to see if they get healthy next month. We have four more tournaments the next month so that could do a lot of damage, too.”

As of this week, Stacy Lewis, Thompson, Wie, Cristie Kerr, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel, Angela Stanford and Gerina Piller would make the team on points. Paula Creamer and Korda would make it off the Rolex rankings list.

That leaves Lizette Salas, Brittany Lang, Austin Ernst, Mo Martin, Christina Kim, Alison Lee and Kim Kaufman with the best chances to crack into qualifying or make the team as captain’s picks.

There will be double points at stake at next week’s Ricoh Women’s British Open.

What is Inkster looking for in a captain’s pick?

“Good form,” she said. “I’m looking for someone that’s going to mesh with the team as far as not worrying about how much they’re playing or not worrying about their record. I’m also looking for someone that’s a grinder and has a lot of heart.”

U.S. Solheim Cup points list 

1. Stacy Lewis 994.5

2. Lexi Thompson 606.5

3. Michelle Wie 463.5

4. Cristie Kerr 445.5

5. Brittany Lincicome 418

6. Morgan Pressel 380.5

7. Angela Stanford 326.5

8. Gerina Piller 288.5

9. Paula Creamer 277.5

10. Lizette Salas 261.5

11. Jessica Korda 259

12. Brittany Lang 253.5

13. Austin Ernst 191.5

14. Mo Martin 173

15. Christina Kim 132 

*The top eight in points at the conclusion of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open (Aug. 23) earn automatic spots on the American team. A victory this week is worth 60 points, second place is worth 30, third 28.5, with points awarded down to 20th place (3 points). Majors are double points. 

Rolex World Rankings list

32. Paula Creamer

33. Jessica Korda

34. Lizette Salas

41. Brittany Lang

43. Mo Martin 

*The top two Americans in the Rolex women’s world rankings who aren’t already qualified on points automatically make the team.

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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.