Arnie Jack Cant Say Goodbye to Augusta

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 10, 2003, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- Dogwoods and azaleas, the King and the Bear. They go hand-and-hand at the Masters.
 
Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer are back at Augusta National, and it's hard to know who's happier - the fans who flocked out in the cold, gray weather to see them play practice rounds Wednesday or club chairman Hootie Johnson.
 
'I've been looking forward to that question, as opposed to the women's issue,' Johnson said, when asked about Jack and Arnie's return halfway through his contentious news conference.
 
Their goals this week are different: Nicklaus wants to compete. Palmer, who called it quits here last year, then changed his mind, simply wants to play. But they were united in the feeling that Johnson misstepped last year when he hastily drew up a rule to limit the lifetime exemption for past Masters champions to age 65.
 
Before last year's event, Johnson sent letters to aging former champions Doug Ford, Gay Brewer and Billy Casper, suggesting they sit it out. A few days later, Johnson announced the new policy, and that was partly why Palmer, who hasn't made the cut since 1983, said he wouldn't return.
 
'I don't want to get a letter,' Palmer said famously last year.
 
Upon review, however, the 73-year-old Palmer decided he'd like to come back. He sent Hootie a letter of his own, and the 63-year-old Nicklaus did the same.
 
They suggested to Johnson that taking away the past-champion's exemption was a misguided step that could turn the Masters into 'just another tournament.'
 
'If we just resign ourselves to having the everyday tournament, and it has nothing to do with who won or why they won or how they won, then you lose some of the tradition that made the tournament what it is,' Palmer said.
 
In what was certainly his strongest public-relations move during a year of questionable ones, Johnson relented last month, with the caveat that players police themselves, and decide when they no longer belong.
 
'I guess you might say that I overfixed our problem,' Johnson said.
 
While he admits he has already reached the point at which he is no longer competitive, Palmer's goal is to play two more Masters to make it an even 50. Given his history in the sport and at this event, nobody is going to argue.
 
'It's fun reminiscing and looking back,' said Palmer, whose four wins here from 1958-64 were key in delivering a rich man's game to the masses.
 
Nicklaus, a six-time champion, is also returning, after sitting out a year because of back problems that ruined his swing.
 
'I've got to go and relearn how to play the game of golf,' Nicklaus said. 'I would love to have a golf game. I don't think I'm there yet, obviously.'
 
But unlike Palmer, Nicklaus is not simply happy playing ceremonial golf. He's here to compete, and aside from winning, he feels a top-10 finish is realistic if he plays really well.
 
'You've got to have some goal,' he said. 'I've never enjoyed finishing 20th. I might as well shoot for closer to the top.'
 
Of course, Nicklaus and Palmer make the gallery happy simply by showing up.
 
Anytime Nicklaus gets on the leaderboard at Augusta - he finished sixth in 1998 and briefly got into the top 10 in 2000 - there's an incomparably electric feeling.
 
When Palmer made what was supposed to be his final walk up the 18th fairway last year, fans packed 20 and 25 deep just to catch a glimpse of The King. They didn't want him to go, and as it turned out, he didn't really want to leave.
 
Or at least that's what he thought. After spending some time on a waterlogged course eerily similar to the one that ate him up last year, Palmer knows he's got a tough ay ahead of him Friday.
 
'It's very hard out there,' he said. 'But I'm going to tee it up because I said I would. That's the way I do things.'
 
Related Links:
  • 2003 Masters Tournament Mini-Site
  • Tournament Coverage
  • The Augusta National Membership Debate: A Chronology
     

    Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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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.