LPGA waves age limit, grants Henderson membership

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2015, 8:11 pm

Brooke Henderson’s petition for a waiver of the LPGA’s rule requiring members to be 18 was granted Tuesday by tour commissioner Mike Whan, allowing Henderson to immediately claim tour membership for the rest of this year and through next year.

That means Henderson, 17, will tee it up Thursday at the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open as an LPGA member.

“Brooke truly earned her card, and we are looking forward to Brooke joining our tour and our family,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said. “She’s a special player and a wonderful person.”

Henderson will play out of Category 7 on the LPGA’s priority list, a category reserved for non-members who win an LPGA event in the previous calendar year.

As a non-member winning the Cambia Portland Classic Sunday, Henderson had the right to claim tour membership. However, because she doesn’t turn 18 until Sept. 10, she required a waiver of the age rule to play as a tour member this week. The only question in the wake of her victory was whether she would seek to take up membership this week or defer membership until next year.

After huddling with her family and her agent, IMG’s Kevin Hopkins, Henderson decided Monday night to seek to take up membership this week. By doing so, Henderson’s officially a rookie this season. If she had deferred membership, she would be considered a rookie next year. By deferring, she would have gained membership for 2016 only.

“Since I was a little girl in Smiths Falls, Ontario, my dream has been to play on the LPGA tour,” Henderson said. “I am so grateful for the opportunity to join the tour as a member and play alongside so many of my role models.

“Realizing this dream here at the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in my native Canada is even more amazing, and I am so proud to be an ambassador for golf in this amazing country. I would like to thank Commissioner Mike Whan, the LPGA tour staff, and all my sponsors, fans, friends and my amazing family for all the support I have received.”

Though Henderson has won $661,264 in 10 LPGA starts this year, the money’s considered unofficial. She’ll tee it up Thursday with zero dollars in official money and zero points in the Rolex Rookie of the Year standings.

Henderson has guaranteed herself a spot in the Evian Championship next month and in the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship. She also met the deadline Tuesday for filing to commit to play in next week’s Yokohama Tire Classic in Prattville, Ala. After the Yokohama Classic, the LPGA moves in to its Asian swing and the limited field events there and the limited field event at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational. She’ll have three events to climb the money list fast to try to qualify for them. The Sime Darby is for the top 62 money winners. The other Asian events have even more stringent field requirements, though spots do open for players who are higher on the money list, depending on who skips those events.

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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.

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“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.

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“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.