Korean rivals eager to put pairing behind them

By Randall MellJune 9, 2016, 1:51 am

SAMMAMISH, Wash. – Ha Na Jang and In Gee Chun will draw curious eyes when they tee off together at 4:30 p.m. ET in Thursday’s first round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Sahalee Country Club.

They were, after all, at the center of a tempest back in their South Korean homeland in March, and this will mark the first time they’ve been paired together since the infamous escalator incident in Singapore set off the controversy.

What did they think when they saw the pairing?

“I knew it was coming,” Chun said Wednesday through Won Park, her coach who acted as translator. “I didn’t know it was going to be this tournament or later, but am glad it’s this time. The sooner the better.”

The pairing rekindles accounting of the issues that erupted back in their homeland after Jang’s father dropped a 15-pound travel bag down an escalator at the Singapore airport, striking Chun in the tailbone. It knocked Chun out of three events while she recovered from the injuries. It also set off a media firestorm in South Korea as Jang went on to win in Singapore, bumping Chun out of the Korean Olympic qualifying mix that week.

“It’s a tough situation, but I have to face it and Ha Na has to face it,” said Chun, the reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion. “It’s good to get it over with.”

It makes for more scrutiny in Jang’s return after a long absence on tour.

Jang, who won twice at season’s start, has not played an LPGA event in six weeks, since she withdrew in the first round of the Swinging Skirts Classic. Jang said she was suffering from the effects of anemia, which caused dizziness, headaches, insomnia and vomiting.

KPMG Women’s PGA Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“I was very scared,” Jang said.

After withdrawing from the Swinging Skirts Classic, Jang said she sought medical treatment in San Francisco, but doctors didn’t have an answer for what was ailing her. She flew to her Korean home and spent five days in a hospital there undergoing tests but never got a complete answer as to what was causing her health problems. After five weeks of rest, though, she said she’s feeling much better.

Jang said stress might have been a factor in the ailment, but she thinks fatigue was a larger factor.

“I’m fine now,” she said. “Not feeling dizzy anymore.”

Jang said she has only been back practicing for less than a week in preparation for her start. She said Chun approached her on the practice putting green at Sahalee earlier this week.

“She says `You OK?’” Jang said. “She was worried about me. I said `I’m OK, thank you, let’s enjoy this week.’”

Jang said her only goal this week is to break 80.

“I just want to enjoy playing,” Jang said. “I’m a little uncomfortable because I haven’t played in five weeks.”




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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.

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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. 

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Woods impresses DeChambeau, Day on Tuesday

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 11:27 pm

SAN DIEGO – Bryson DeChambeau played with Tiger Woods for the first time Tuesday morning, and the biggest surprise was that he wasn’t overcome by nerves.

“That’s what I was concerned about,” DeChambeau said. “Am I just gonna be slapping it around off the tee? But I was able to play pretty well.”

So was Woods.

DeChambeau said that Woods looked “fantastic” as he prepares to make his first PGA Tour start in a year.

“His game looks solid. His body doesn’t hurt. He’s just like, yeah, I’m playing golf again,” DeChambeau said. “And he’s having fun, too, which is a good thing.”

Woods arrived at Torrey Pines before 7 a.m. local time Tuesday, when the temperature hadn’t yet crept above 50 degrees. He warmed up and played the back nine of Torrey Pines’ South Course with DeChambeau and Jason Day.

“He looks impressive; it was good to see,” Day told PGATour.com afterward. “You take (Farmers) last year and the Dubai tournament out, and he hasn’t really played in two years. I think the biggest thing is to not get too far ahead, or think he’s going to come back and win straight away.

Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

“The other time he came back, I don’t think he was ready and he probably came back too soon. This time he definitely looks ready. I think his swing is really nice, he’s hitting the driver a long way and he looks like he’s got some speed, which is great.”

Woods said that his caddie, Joe LaCava, spent four days with him in South Florida last week and that he’s ready to go.

“Before the Hero I was basically given the OK probably about three or four weeks prior to the tournament, and I thought I did pretty good in that prep time,” Woods told ESPN.com, referring to his tie for ninth in the 18-man event.

“Now I’ve had a little more time to get ready for this event. I’ve played a lot more golf, and overall I feel like I’ve made some nice changes. I feel good.”

Woods is first off Torrey Pines’ North Course in Wednesday’s pro-am, scheduled for 6:40 a.m. local time.