Singh Relaxed Ready for Augusta

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 6, 2004, 4:00 pm
Vijay Singh can still remember that day in April of 1994 very well. It was his first Masters, he was coming in as a rookie participant, and the first sight of the clubhouse and the incredible foliage surrounding it was just a bit overwhelming for one person to absorb.
 
And if he could choose just one tradition to savor, he doesnt hesitate in the slightest. Its that first peek at Augusta National Golf Club.
 
I guess driving up the Magnolia Lane, he said of the one custom that he finds most revealing about the Masters.
 
We came the other day and it was just a good sight. I had not come back in a year. The last time I played here was last year, and just driving up there, you know, it's a great feeling. You get the chills going again, you feel fired up. I guess that's one of the biggest.
 
And playing the golf course. This is, to me, the hardest test of golf we play. It requires the whole package. You can't come here with one part of the game missing. You're just not going to function. This golf course, it's exciting me to come over here and play the tournament.
 
Its been a great couple of years for Singh. Last year he was tours leading money winner. He burst out of the starting gate with at least a top 10 in his first four tournaments. Lately he has slipped a little with no top 10s in his five succeeding events. But over-all, its the best time of his life.
 
I'm enjoying my game and I look forward to going out there and playing, Singh said. You know, I know I can go out there and win every time I tee up if I play the way I know how.
 
Off the golf course, I'm pretty relaxed. I have a great family, great friends that I deal with. It's the first time my dad's ever here, so it's good to see him out here at the Masters. I'm just having a great time.
 
Its a much more mellow Singh that were seeing today. Hes in his mid-40s now. He is well-liked on the PGA Tour by his fellow players. He entertained them with a big party at his home during The Players Championship. He is looked upon as the wise elder statesmen by many of the youngsters. Following a rather strained relationship with the media, a slow thaw has developed. More than anything, people are beginning to realize what the Fijian is all about personally.
 
I think I'm more relaxed because I don't have a need to go to the driving range, say I missed an hour or something, Singh said. My game is to a point where I just have to warm up, go work on a few bits and pieces and go out and play.
 
I'm comfortable with how I'm playing. I know how to fix my problems. Probably that's why I'm a little bit more less tense about my game. I'm always pretty tense about my game. Obviously I'm 40 odd years old now.
 
Singh says the problems he has had of late have all revolved around his putting. But he feels that he has the kinks worked out. The pros who live around Ponte Vedra Beach requested that the TPC greens be left at a lightning-fast speed last week. That way, the greens simulated the Augusta greens.
 
I had a good practice session last week, he said. I played well at TPC, but my putting wasn't up to standard. I worked a little bit on it and got one or two tips last week. I feel like I'm putting a lot better this week, and my whole game is good.
 
For some reason when I come into the gates, my game just lifts another level. Hopefully I just maintain that for the whole week.
 
Vijay is still Vijay, of course. And he has worked on much more than just his putting. A Singh session is very thorough, as any pro can readily tell you.
 
I've been working on the same thing for the last five, six years; good setup, good position on the top, using my hips. There are about five or six different things. And working with it for so long, I think it's just come down to a point that I am doing all of those things correctly now, and probably that's why you see my golf game has improved, as well, said Singh.
 
According to the World Rankings, Singh is still No. 2. But in GolfWeek magazines rankings, he has leapfrogged over Tiger Woods into the No. 1 spot. Thats nice, he says, but the world still recognizes Tiger is No. 1. That, he feels, hasnt changed yet.
 
I think it's still very intimidating when he's up there just because he's been up there for so long, he said. But I think the standard of play has just lifted a little bit. You look at the scorings this year, it's incredible how guys are scoring so much better and there's so many different guys that are doing the same thing.
 
You know, Tiger is Tiger. I don't know if he's not playing well now or he just is waiting for the majors, I have no idea. I just speak for the rest of the guys; I think our play has gone a step higher, and that's closed the gap, if there was one.
 
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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.