Analyzing Ryder Cup first-session matches

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 27, 2012, 10:30 pm

MEDINAH, Ill. – The match-ups for Friday's first session of the Ryder Cup have been announced. Golf Channel writers Rex Hoggard and Randall Mell analyze the pairings:

8:20 a.m. (ET): Jim Furyk-Brandt Snedeker (United States) vs. Rory McIlroy-Graeme McDowell (Europe).

This could qualify as the only surprise from the morning foursomes draw. Snedeker, a Ryder Cup rookie and fresh off an emotional victory on Sunday at the Tour Championship, and Furyk were both captain’s picks who will meet the Continent’s top two-ball in McIlroy and McDowell, who went 1-1-1 together at the 2010 matches.

Both captains talked about striking first to either inspire or quiet the Chicagoland masses. Europe’s Jose Maria Olazabal answered with his first line, only time will tell if Davis Love III responded in kind. – Rex Hoggard

8:35 a.m. (ET): Luke Donald-Sergio Garcia (Europe) vs. Phil Mickelson-Keegan Bradley (United States).

The new Mickelson-Bradley pairing will play an important role in trying to get the Americans off to a fast start. They’re going up against Europe’s most formidable tandem. Donald and Garcia have never been beaten when paired together in the Ryder Cup. They are 4-0 together, all those wins coming in this foursomes (alternate-shot) format. Donald has a marvelous short game and terrific putter. Garcia is a masterful ball striker whose putting has significantly improved.

Mickelson and Bradley have become great chums, the veteran Mickelson taking Bradley under his wing in so many practice-round matches. Mickelson did so with this kind of day in mind, with future Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup battles in mind, but Mickelson has a tough task. He has never won a Ryder Cup match when playing against Donald or Garcia. He’s 0-4 in matches that included Garcia, 0-1 against Donald.

Mickelson and Bradley have chemistry going for them, and the course setup should help. If Mickelson isn’t sharp with his driver, this generous rough will help Bradley recover. Donald and Garcia also have terrific chemistry and a proven record together. – Randall Mell

8:50 a.m. (ET): Jason Dufner-Zach Johnson (United States) vs. Lee Westwood-Francesco Molinari (Europe).

Although low-key, the American twosome may be the U.S. side’s best foursome combo. They have similar games and demeanors but they will have their hands full in the day’s third match.

Westwood has a 7-2-4 foursomes record and Molinari may be the European side’s most underrated player. – Rex Hoggard

9:05 a.m. (ET): Ian Poulter-Justin Rose (Europe) vs. Tiger Woods-Steve Stricker (United States).

This could be the best match in the morning foursomes. Poulter and Rose are 2-1 overall when playing together in the Ryder Cup with both of their victories coming in foursomes. Stricker and Woods are 2-1 overall together and 1-1 in foursomes.

Poulter is an especially feisty Ryder Cup player. The event brings out the best in his game, but he has had his most trouble in this event when pitted against Woods. Poulter is 8-3 overall in Ryder Cup play with two of his losses involving Woods. He has never won a Ryder Cup match with Woods on the other side of the pairing.

Rose is in good form, ranking first in GIR on the PGA Tour, 20th in total driving and seventh in scoring. His putter can run hot and cold. Poulter is a terrific scrambler, ranking second on the PGA Tour in that stat. Still, if Woods and Stricker are making putts, nobody may be able to beat them. They’re two of the best putters in the game. – Randall Mell

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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.

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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.

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“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.