A Trophy with a Business Card
The British Open is famous for having an engraver etch the champion's name into the silver claret jug when victory is apparent. At the U.S. Open, the winner is responsible for getting the trophy engraved.
'Payne (Stewart) had won the previous year, and he had to get his (engraving) done in Orlando,' Tiger Woods said, recalling his 2000 U.S. Open victory at Pebble Beach. 'He left the card taped underneath it.'
Jim Furyk, ever the student for detail, got home from Olympia Fields and started studying the names on the trophy dating to 1895.
Most of the engraving was similar. Ernie Els ('97), Lee Janzen ('98), Stewart ('99) and Woods also were living in the Orlando area.
'But if you notice, the engraving is off,' Furyk said, lightly scanning his finger over the names. 'Els is a little bigger. And Tiger's spacing is not that good.'
Woods noticed a difference, too.
'I remember Jack Fleck being on there, and it was huge,' he said.
Furyk is not sure who will engrave his name on the trophy, but if next year's winner is a neighbor in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. -- Vijay Singh, perhaps? -- he can expect a card with the trophy.
OLD FRIEND, FAMILIAR PLACE
Playing against Phil Mickelson in San Diego County brought back fond memories for Ernie Els.
Twenty years ago, the Big Easy came to the United States for the first time and was paired with Mickelson in the final round of the Junior World tournament at Balboa Park.
Els doesn't remember much about the final round in the 13-14 age group, only that he had a big lead and held on to win.
'Even then, you kind of knew the rest of your life you'll probably be seeing this guy,' Els said. 'It's been true. It's been a nice ride for both of us.'
Barring an injury, Tom Watson has a chance to set a record by playing the most majors in one year -- nine.
Watson received an invitation to play in the PGA Championship at Oak Hill, the only major keeping him from the career Grand Slam. He already has played in the Masters (missed cut), U.S. Open (T28) and British Open (T18).
And the Champions Tour expanded to five majors this year.
Watson already has played the Senior PGA Championship (T17), Senior U.S. Open (2), Senior Players Championship (T2) and Senior British Open (Won). The final stop is the Tradition, which has moved to Oregon and will be played in late August.
Jack Nicklaus played in all eight majors on the schedule in 2000, while Arnold Palmer never played more than seven in a year.
HOW SOON THEY FORGET
Paul McGinley of Ireland was a late addition to the PGA Championship field, but only after the PGA of America realized he was the only Ryder Cup player from last year who was not invited.
McGinley holed an 8-foot putt on the 18th hole at The Belfry to clinch the Ryder Cup for Europe. Since then, he has dropped to No. 144 in the world.
Ian Woosnam and Lee Westwood also have been invited to Oak Hill, bringing the number of Europeans in the PGA Championship to 28. The last European to win the PGA Championship was Tommy Armour in 1930.
There have been times when a European player had an American caddie at the Ryder Cup, such as Jesper Parnevik with Lance Ten Broeck.
Next year, the European captain will be Bernhard Langer, who lives almost exclusively in the United States and whose wife is American.
A divided house? No chance.
'The kids have no problem with whom they support, despite their mom being an American,' Langer said. 'They support Europe. Last year, Jackie and Stefan were with me at The Belfry. They were even in the European team room, and they definitely wanted us to win.'
BACK OF THE BUS
Two agents at IMG made sure Ben Curtis flew home from the British Open in style.
Curtis and his fiancee booked coach tickets on Continental to London, and they were unable to upgrade to business class for the long flight home to Cleveland.
That's when Mark Steinberg (who represents Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam) and Clarke Jones (Vijay Singh, Sergio Garcia) stepped in. The agents had seats 2A and 2B. They gave them to Curtis and his fiancee for coach seats -- Steinberg got the window seat.
BETTER WITH AGE
Jim Colbert and Jim Fleck did something that not even Tiger Woods can match -- at least not for a while.
Colbert shot his age in the second round of the Senior British Open at Turnberry, a 62 that also tied the lowest score for a senior major.
Fleck, who beat Ben Hogan in a playoff at the 1955 U.S. Open, shot his age -- 81 -- in the first round at Turnberry.
Among those in the gallery at the 'Battle at the Bridges' was Fred Couples. ... Colin Montgomerie has agreed to play in the UBS Cup, the Ryder Cup-style matches for players 40-and-over. Also playing for the Rest of the World team at Sea Island on Nov. 21-23 is European Ryder Cup captain Bernhard Langer. ... Greg Norman's silly season event, the Franklin Templeton Shootout, will return to Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Fla., through 2004. ... Todd Fischer has shot under par his last 12 rounds, the longest active streak on the PGA Tour. He tied for 12th in Milwaukee, tied for 39th at the B.C. Open and was third in Hartford, moving him up to 85th on the money list.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Three players eligible for the 50-and-over Champions Tour next year also will be exempt on the PGA Tour -- Craig Stadler, Peter Jacobson and Jay Haas.
'When you get to the Hall of Fame and you win 30 tournaments, everybody wonders what you play for. I play because I love the game, but I also play to keep etching your name in the record books.' -- Juli Inkster.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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.