Watson stands by decision not to pick Horschel

By Randall MellSeptember 17, 2014, 8:03 pm

U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson sent a text to Billy Horschel late last week as Horschel was making his run winning the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup in Atlanta.

Watson’s message?

“Billy, you’re a day late, but not a dollar short,” Watson texted.

In a U.S. Ryder Cup teleconference Wednesday, Watson said he had some fun last week texting back and forth with Horschel, who was on Watson’s “radar” early in the year. Watson told Horschel he was looking at him back in February, when they were doing a photo shoot together for a Polo ad.

“I like your golf swing, I like your fundamentals and love the attitude on the golf course,” Watson told him.

Watson followed Horschel throughout this year, but Horschel didn’t make his move until it was too late for serious consideration as one of Watson’s three captain’s picks. Horschel won both his FedEx Cup playoff events after Watson made his picks.­­

“He just didn’t perform well enough to get on the team,” Watson said of Horschel’s record up until the deadline for the picks.

With growing talk that the PGA should move the captain’s picks back until the FedEx Cup playoffs are complete, Watson isn’t in favor of that. It would mean the captain would make his picks a week before the team leaves for the Ryder Cup instead of three weeks before.

“In ’93, I made my two captain’s picks the day after the PGA, six weeks before the Ryder Cup,” Watson said. “Logistically, there are so many different things that go into it, just in getting the players over there and getting ready ... get their families involved, get their families and friends over there. It would be awfully tough to make the decision the week before the Ryder Cup.”

Other points Watson made in his teleconference:

• Europe’s stunning come-from-behind victory at Medinah two years ago didn’t hurt just the Americans on that team.

“When I watched that Sunday, I had a pit in my stomach for several days afterwards,” Watson said. “It just stayed there.”

Watson wants the Americans to take their memory of that loss to Scotland next week as motivation.

“These fellas, many of whom played on that team, remember that like it was yesterday,” Watson said. “I want those players to talk to the players who weren't on that team, and tell them how disappointed they were, and to get them pumped up, and not let that happen again.”

• Watson said he has picked the brains of recent American captains for ideas, including Paul Azinger, who led the U.S. team to its last win six years ago at Valhalla. Azinger famously instituted a “pod system,” linking players in small groups on and off the course.

“The pod system has very beneficial elements to it, and I'll be using it in some modified form in the preparation of this next week,” Watson said.

• Watson was asked if the Europeans have prevailed in seven of the last nine Ryder Cups because they have more skill or more heart.

“I think the bottom line is that over the time, their players have simply played better,” Watson said. “Whether it's a heart issue, I can't determine that, I wasn't on those teams. But I know one thing: To win a Ryder Cup, you've got to have heart. Bottom line, you've got to have heart and you've got to have `never say die’ in you. That's what I've stressed to my players this last year, calling them, being with them. The most important thing is that you go out there and fight and scratch and never give in on any shot in the entire match. You go out there with one purpose in mind, to hit the best possible shot every time you draw the club back.”

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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.