Vershure Ralston in Finals

By Golf Channel NewsroomFebruary 2, 2003, 5:00 pm
PGA of AmericaPORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Senior pros Rick Vershure of Armonk, N.Y., and Bob Ralston of Little Rock, Ark., won their semifinal matches Sunday in the 40th annual PGA Match Play Championship at the PGA Golf Club.
 
The championship match is scheduled at 8 a.m. Monday on the Dye course.
 
Both had entered a qualifying tournament Monday at the Country Club of Miami for the Royal Caribbean Classic, the season opener on the Champions Tour later this week at Crandon Park on Key Biscayne.
 
However, each was expected to compete here. The winner will earn $4,500, the runner-up $2,800, from the $52,130 prize fund.
 
In the semifinals Sunday, Vershure, 50, a two-time former champion, beat Chris Campbell, 48, of Vero Beach, 4-and-2, and Ralston, 53, defeated Steve Heckel, 56, of Carterville, Ill., 3-and-2.
 
Vershure, the head professional at Quaker Ridge Golf Club in Scarsdale, N.Y., has a chance to become the first three-time winner of the Match Play, which began in 1964. His previous titles were in 1990 and 1993. Both times, he beat Larry Rentz in the finals on the Champion course at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens. Other previous two-time champions, all back-to-back, were Bob Brue, 1975-76; Lonnie Nielsen, 1987-88; and Gene George, 1996-97.
 
'I hit the ball more solid today than I have been all week,' Vershure said. 'I only missed two greens but I still didn't make anything,' carding just one birdie and two bogeys.
 
Vershure took a 3-up lead with pars at the third and fourth holes and a birdie at the seventh. After Campbell birdied the eighth, Vershure won the ninth, 10th and 11th holes with pars for a 5-up lead.
 
But after Campbell, head professional at Vista Plantation, won the 14th and 15th with birdies, he bogied the 16th and the match was over. 'I'm just disappointed I didn't play as well today as I have been this week,' Campbell said.
 
Ralston birdied the first and fourth holes for a 2-up lead before Heckel rallied to tie with birdies at Nos. 5 and 6. Ralston went in front again with birdie at the eighth and saved par at the ninth moments before Heckel lipped out his par putt.
 
'The ninth hole was huge,' said Heckel, pro-owner at Crab Orchard Golf Club. 'He's 15 yards longer off the tee than I am and some of those holes were just too long for me. He was hitting 4-irons and I was hitting 4-woods.'
 
With the lead at the turn, Ralston pulled away by winning the 13th and 15th holes with pars.
 
'This is the first time I've played in the PGA Match Play and I didn't decide to play until five minutes before the deadline' Heckel added. 'I usually have members and friends down this time of year and play golf with them. But I like match play. I've won the Gateway PGA Section Match Play three times.'
 
The Match Play is the last of six national championships staged here annually by the PGA of America. The PGA Winter Tournament Program is co-sponsored by Reebok Golf and the Greg Norman Collection.
 
Sunday's semifinal results:
 
Bob Ralston, Little Rock, Ark., d. Steve Heckel, Carterville, Ill., 3-and-2.
Rick Vershure, Armonk, N.Y., d. Chris Campbell, Vero Beach, 4-and-2.
 
Monday's schedule:
 
Finals, 8 a.m., Ralston vs. Vershure.
Getty Images

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.”

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

“Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.


Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


“We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010. 

Getty Images

Woods impresses DeChambeau, Day on Tuesday

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 11:27 pm

SAN DIEGO – Bryson DeChambeau played with Tiger Woods for the first time Tuesday morning, and the biggest surprise was that he wasn’t overcome by nerves.

“That’s what I was concerned about,” DeChambeau said. “Am I just gonna be slapping it around off the tee? But I was able to play pretty well.”

So was Woods.

DeChambeau said that Woods looked “fantastic” as he prepares to make his first PGA Tour start in a year.

“His game looks solid. His body doesn’t hurt. He’s just like, yeah, I’m playing golf again,” DeChambeau said. “And he’s having fun, too, which is a good thing.”

Woods arrived at Torrey Pines before 7 a.m. local time Tuesday, when the temperature hadn’t yet crept above 50 degrees. He warmed up and played the back nine of Torrey Pines’ South Course with DeChambeau and Jason Day.

“He looks impressive; it was good to see,” Day told PGATour.com afterward. “You take (Farmers) last year and the Dubai tournament out, and he hasn’t really played in two years. I think the biggest thing is to not get too far ahead, or think he’s going to come back and win straight away.


Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


“The other time he came back, I don’t think he was ready and he probably came back too soon. This time he definitely looks ready. I think his swing is really nice, he’s hitting the driver a long way and he looks like he’s got some speed, which is great.”

Woods said that his caddie, Joe LaCava, spent four days with him in South Florida last week and that he’s ready to go.

“Before the Hero I was basically given the OK probably about three or four weeks prior to the tournament, and I thought I did pretty good in that prep time,” Woods told ESPN.com, referring to his tie for ninth in the 18-man event.

“Now I’ve had a little more time to get ready for this event. I’ve played a lot more golf, and overall I feel like I’ve made some nice changes. I feel good.”

Woods is first off Torrey Pines’ North Course in Wednesday’s pro-am, scheduled for 6:40 a.m. local time.