Back to the Beach

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 6, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-AmBubba Watson this. Bubba Watson that. For a guy who has competed in only four career PGA Tour events, Bubba Watson sure is receiving plenty of national attention.
 
Some of the focus is due in part to his tie for fourth in his first start as a rookie this year at the Sony Open. But more so, it has to do with his prodigious length ' the fact that he can hit the ball 398 yards, like he did at Waialae, and do so with a pink-shafted driver.
 
Bubba Watson
Bubba Watson is right where he wants to be this week at Pebble Beach.
Watson has even been called the future of golf by no less an authority than Tiger Woods.
 
The funny thing is, is that were is not for Jason Gores breakout season of 2005, Watson would still be languishing on the Nationwide Tour. Hed be little more than a tall tale, an urban legend told by many but witnessed by few.
 
Watson finished 21st on last years money list, which is one higher than what it usually takes to graduate from the secondary circuit. But because Gore won on the PGA Tour after having already received a promotion from the Nationwide Tour, he was put in a different exempt category, thus opening up an additional spot on the Nationwide money list.
 
Enter Bubba.
 
Had that not happened, had Gore not won the 84 Lumber Classic, then Watson likely would be sitting at home right now, getting ready for a trip to Australia for the Nationwides Jacobs Creek Open Championship next week.
 
Instead, hes right where he wants to be.
 
Even if I shoot 80, I'm still going to be happy, Watson said, because it's Pebble. All my friends want to play there; I grew up wanting to play there, so I'm looking forward to it.
 
Watson is in the field for this weeks AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, displaying an affinity for the host site than so many others used to share -- used to.
 
For a few years now, the AT&T Pro-Am hasnt attracted the top players like it once did.
 
In 2001, Woods was the defending champion at Pebble Beach. There were seven of the top 10 players in the world in attendance that year; the next year there were five; then three; then three again; and just four a year ago.
 
Once again, four of the top 10 players on the Official World Golf Ranking are in the field: Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk and Chris DiMarco.
 
No Tiger, no Ernie Els, no Retief Goosen, no Sergio Garcia, no David Toms, no Adam Scott.
 
But if the event is lacking in star power ' at least golfing star power ' youd never know it by looking down the list of past champions.
 
Since the event was cancelled in 1996 due to inclement weather, the honor roll reads, in order: Mark OMeara; Mickelson; Payne Stewart; Woods; Davis Love III; Matt Gogel; Love; Singh; Mickelson.
 
Gogel aside, thats two current Hall of Fame members; two certain, future Hall of Fame members; and two possible Hall of Fame members on its victory list.
 
Even the list of runners-up during that nine-year stretch is impressive, including the likes of Woods, Singh (twice), David Duval, Mike Weir and Tom Lehman.
 
Here are five players ' Hall of Fame worthy or not ' who have a chance to add their name to this list.
 
Phil Mickelson
For the second straight week, Mickelson will try and successfully defend a title. He failed to do so last week in Scottsdale, tying for seventh at the FBR Open. As mentioned, Mickelson is a two-time winner of this event, capturing the Waterford Crystal trophy in 1998 and 2005. He also finished third in both 2001 and 2004. Following a three-month layoff, Mickelson will be making his fourth consecutive start. He has three top-10 finishes in his first three events of '06.
 
Vijay Singh
Much like Mickelson, his not-so-chummy buddy, Singh is in search of his first victory of the season. And much like Mickelson, he has had plenty of previous success in this particular tournament. Singh was the champion in 2004 and finished runner-up in both 2000 and 2001. Surprisingly, he missed the cut last year, one of four MCs on the season. That equaled his highest total in that ignominious department since 1995. Singh began the season with a playoff loss to Stuart Appleby in the Mercedes Championships. He has since finished sixth, T8, T24 and T20, including a pair of starts on the European Tour.
 
Jim Furyk
Furyk would certainly fit the mold of recent Pebble Beach champions: hes a major winner and could be a Hall of Fame candidate by the time his career wraps up. Furyk has played this event nine times and has three top-5 finishes. He has a pair of top-10s in his first two events in '06.
 
Rory Sabbatini
Sabbatini is a hit-or-miss guy in this event. He has played it six times, has three missed cuts and three top-15s. The 29-year-old South African is off to a great start to the 06 season. Hes finished T2, T10, T16 and T20 over the last four weeks.
 
Tim Clark
Clark has been a very popular pick to win a PGA Tour event over the last couple of season. As of yet, he is still winless in the States. That could change this week. The South African tied for fourth a year ago at Pebble Beach and tied for 10th in his previous appearance in 2003. He also tied for 10th at the Buick Invitational, his last start on tour.
 
Related Links:
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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.