Anything Tiger Can Do

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 3, 2008, 5:00 pm
Editor's Note: In Backspin, the editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.
NOT SO FAST MY FRIENDS: Lorena Ochoa made her LPGA season debut at the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore and showed aboslutely no signs of rust as she blew away the field, winning by a whopping Tiger-like and career best 11 strokes.
BackspinAfter seeing Sorenstam and Creamer win the first two events of the LPGA Tour season, there was no doubt Ochoa was itching to get into the mix. The final leaderboard looked like a dream scenario for golf fans with the names Sorenstam, Creamer, Morgan Pressel, Stacy Prammanasudh and even Karrie Webb all positioned in the top-10. The only problem was Ochoa decided to go Tiger on everyone, thus sucking the air out of what could have been a race to the finish with Tour's top stars. Shame on Lorena for being so good, so early in the season.

WORTH THE WAIT?: Ernie Els got off to a hot start in the final round of the Honda Classic and then held on to claim his first PGA TOUR victory since the 2004 season. The win vaulted Els pass Steve Stricker in the world rankings, right behind Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
Backspin The golfing gods must have figured it was time to even things out for the Big Easy. His share of misfortune and missed opportunities over the last couples years has been well documented and this time Els watched as others made the mistakes coming down the stretch. Just two days into March, the TOUR has already seen Tiger, Lefty and now Els all visit the winner's circle - just the kind of build up we want to see heading towards Augusta National.

FREDDIE AND THE SHARK: The Presidents Cup will have two new captains as it was announced that Greg Norman will head the International team and Fred Couples the United States squad. The two will become the first captains who have competed in the matches Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player were captains at the last three competitions.
BackspinThe announcement this week moves the Presidents Cup into a new era as it said goodbye to two icons from the '60s and '70s, Nicklaus and Player, and welcomed two stars from the '80s and '90s in Freddy and the Shark. This was an honor clearly not lost on Couples, who said, Not in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen. And Robin Williams as a vice-captain should be fun.

CUT IT OUT ALREADY: The PGA TOUR announced early last week that the much-maligned new cut rule that went into effect at the start of the year has been altered and will now have a 54-hole cut if the situation arises in which 78 or more players are on the number.
BackspinThe new cut rule has not only been controversial to many players, but also quite confusing to many fans as well. Perhaps best to sum up the seemingly ongoing sticky situation is none other than TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem, stating, 'I just think we didnt think through the new rule. Its hard to understand. People see players making the cut and not playing. Nobodys happy with that.' Mark one up in the accountability department for the commish.

WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU?: New Zealand's Mark Brown heated up on the back nine on Sunday - posting birdies at the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th - to pull away and win the Johnnie Walker Classic in New Delhi, India. It was Brown's first career European Tour title.
BackspinThe amazing story here is the fact that Brown gave up on the game several years ago after he became completely frustrated with his lack of good results - to the point of taking an office job. But the lure of the game once again came calling and the 33-year-old found his way back out onto the course in 2006 and in just over two years remarkably found himself in the winner's circle. Said Brown in an understatement, 'It's a dream come true.'

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: David Duval missed the cut at the Honda Classic, shooting 72-78; Billy Walters, who teamed with Fredrik Jacobson to win the pro-am portion of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, was cleared by officials concerning the authenticity of his stated handicap of 11.
BackspinA story nobody wants to hear, but Duval has played in five events in 2008 and has missed the cut in four and withdrew from the other. In 11 rounds has yet to break 70, this from the former No. 1 player in the world; As reported by GOLF CHANNEL's Brian Hewitt, the well-know Vegas golf hustler actually didn't even break 80 in any of his rounds and attributed their record win as a classic ham and egg effort. Must have been one tasty omelet.

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Honda Classic
  • Full Coverage - HSBC Women's Champions
  • Full Coverage - Johnnie Walker Classic
  • More Headlines
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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.