Tom Fazio on Course Changes
When Augusta National chose Fazio to alter its course to stay abreast of the added length that new balls and clubs are affecting, it chose one of the very best. Fazio spoke about the project on TGC's Golf Talk Live. Following is his comments about each of the holes he cosmetically altered:
HOLE NO. 1 ' From where the spectator sees it, the hole hasnt changed at all. But with the tee moving back and to the left, that hole is 23 yards longer, and that brings the bunker more into play. Its been reshaped so that it has the design principle that it was intended to have - the hazard feature on the right side of the hole. Todays players, todays golf balls and todays golf courses ' the bunker did not come into play for 70 percent of the field. Now, that bunker will come into play.
Mark OMeara and Tiger Woods wrote an article a couple of weeks ago about playing the finished course. It reminded me of Pinehurst No. 2 during the Open few years ago which Payne Stewart won. That Open happened to come in weather, which was misty and cloudy and wet. The golf course played substantially longer than it normally would have played in the summer months. Its not the same golf course that Tiger and Mark will play in April. I doubt that Tiger will hit a 6-iron on the first hole.
HOLE NO. 7 - If you just put down on paper 410 yards, and the golf ball can be hit by todays tour players from 290 to 310 ' subtract that 310 from 410 and that leaves 100 yards. So they can still use a sand wedge.
I think on No. 7, the intent of that golf hole originally was the narrow landing area necessitated by the trees, and you had to drive it in position. Many players in the 60s and 50s - and maybe the early 70s - would lay up off the tee with a 3-wood or maybe an iron. As Mark OMeara said in his article last week, where he could hit a 2-iron and a 9-iron or a pitching wedge, he now he has to hit a driver or 3-wood and a 9-iron or pitching wedge.
This goes back to what the intent of the golf course was. As Mr. (Hootie) Johnson (Augusta National chairman) said at the press conference last year, the intent was not to be playing 425, 435-yard par-4s with driver and pitching wedge or sand wedge.
HOLE NO. 8 - The additional 20 yards will be substantial on this hole because of the angle of moving the tee to the right. I believe that the yardage on 8 will bring the bunker more into play, which was the intent.
HOLE NO. 9 ' It now plays 460 yards. I think well see the David Duvals, Phil Mickelsons and other long hitters hit 7-, 8-, 9-irons into this green.
Again, it has to do with the weather. But I believe the longer length of this hole, along with tree plantings which have been placed on the right side of the hole, will put a little bit more premium on that tee shot and make the 9th hole the strong hole it was intended to be. The crosswalks have been moved almost every year where the gallery crosses the hole because the ball keeps going further and further into the crosswalk.
HOLE NO. 11 - I stood there and watched Phil Mickelson hit a pitching wedge because of his tee shot and position. (Ben Hogan commented that if he ever hits the No. 11 green, its because he has pulled his approach shot.) But I dont believe that todays players are going to be aiming away from that green when they are hitting 9-irons and pitching wedges and sand wedges (Hogan hit a 5-iron.) They (todays players) are going to be aiming right at it.
The only thing thats been done by lengthening the tee shot is to have the landing area back where it was within the original intent of the golf hole.
HOLE NO. 13 ' The new addition thats been added here, I dont believe its going to be a substantial change. Just getting over the fact of change - if you had a par-5 that was a 3-wood, 7- or 8-iron, would you say that has the maximum strength it could have? No, you wouldnt. You would say, Lets make it long enough where we can put a driver in the players hand. But if they want to hit a 3-wood, they can hit a 3-wood, just to put it in position.
So this adjustment, I dont think its going to be major. But I think its going to be enough to affect play.
HOLE NO. 18 - I have a hard time accepting the comment that its a major change. I dont see it as a major change. The tee has been moved back and to the right. What its done is make the hole play ' my opinion ' almost the same way it would have played in the 60s. Duval and Mickelson and Tiger and McCarron, theyre going to be hitting 6-, 7-, 8-irons, even with the new length.
The bunkers off the left are the target feature and also the hazard for the hole. As we know, trees were added to the left of the hole. I believe Cliff Roberts added those for Tom Weiskopf, who used to drive it left of the bunker down into the open spaces.
The wonderful thing about golf is that everybody has an opinion. And theres no absolute answer.
Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings
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.
Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut
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
Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements
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.”
Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back
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.