McNealy rallies to make match play at U.S. Amateur

By Ryan LavnerAugust 19, 2015, 1:35 pm

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Maverick McNealy made sure Wednesday that a fitful night of sleep wasn’t for naught. 

On the cut line for match play at the U.S. Amateur, the No. 2-ranked amateur in the world needed to play his final two holes in 1 under to avoid a win-to-get-in playoff. He said the past 12 hours were so stressful that he tossed and turned all night and could barely keep his food down.

It was all worth it Wednesday when he canned a 30-footer for birdie on his 17th hole of the day, the par-4 eighth at Olympia Fields’ South Course. After a mud ball in the fairway, he got up and down from right of the ninth green for a tap-in par to post 2-over 142 and punch his ticket to match play.

“These were two-and-a-half of the hardest days of golf I’ve ever played,” said McNealy, the reigning NCAA Player of the Year. “It felt like I was up against it every step of the way.” 

The Stanford junior's misfortune began during the opening round, when he played the most difficult stretch on the North – the course that was used for the 2003 U.S. Open – in the wicked weather that swept through the area Monday. He bogeyed three of his last four holes and shot 72. 

U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos

Because of a 90-minute weather delay Tuesday, he didn’t tee off for his second round until 3:10 p.m. local time. He tried to pass the time, watching a movie and nibbling on food, but it was a long and uneasy wait. 

“We’ve used up all of our bad luck,” said McNealy’s father, Scott, who is on the bag this week. 

McNealy was 2 over par for the day (4 over overall) and outside the cut line when he made a 5-footer for birdie on 6. He failed to convert an easy up-and-down from the bunker on the par-5 seventh before the horn sounded.

His outlook changed at 7:35 a.m. Wednesday, when he hit 6-iron from 184 yards on No. 8 and drained his longest putt of the week.

“Getting up early,” he said, “these next couple of hours will be huge. It was not a very restful night.”

And it was a stark departure from how his 2014 U.S. Amateur ended. Inside the cut line while playing the last hole, he misjudged his layup shot with a 9-iron and found the water. After a drop, he sailed his next shot into the back lip of a bunker and took triple to miss out.

“This feels so much better to be on this end of it,” he said. 

The seeds have not yet been determined for match play, but McNealy will be somewhere in the 30s. He enters this event with plenty of confidence, having dusted the field last week at the Northern California Match Play, where he medaled by five shots and never played past the 15th hole in the match-play bracket.

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. 

Getty Images

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 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, 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.