Backspin Wildfires Both Real and Imagined

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 29, 2007, 4:00 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.
CHOP THIS UP TO PATIENCE: It took five days, but after waiting nearly four full seasons, it was all worth it. Daniel Chopra claimed his first PGA TOUR title Monday, winning the weather-delayed Ginn sur Mer Classic at Tesoro. Chopra was tied for the lead when darkness suspended play Sunday, but came out the following morning and played his final three holes in 1 under for a one-shot triumph.
Backspin The Fall Series has pretty much played out like expected, with a mixture of proven TOUR winners (Leonard, Campbell) breaking winless droughts and first-time champions (McNeill, Chopra). There is only one tournament left for players to earn their keep, and keep their cards. And then the real money grab begins.
ON THE MOVE: Chopra moved from 104th on the money list to 46th. Shigeki Maruyama, who finished co-runner-up, went from 137th to 103rd. And Cameron Beckman went from 128th to 118th.
Backspin Beckman was fighting to stay inside the top 150 when the Fall Series began, but a tie for third in Las Vegas and a tie for fifth this past week have him pretty much locked in for 2008. Meanwhile, Ted Purdy is now the bubble boy at No. 125, leading J.B. Holmes by just over $4,000. Kevin Stadler missed the cut at the Ginn to fall from 125th to 127th, more than $21K back of Purdy.
NEVER TOO EARLY TO TALK RYDER CUP: Captains Paul Azinger and Nick Faldo came together for a press conference in Louisville, Ky., to promote the 2008 Ryder Cup, now just one year out. The two captains posed for photo ops and answered many questions, ranging from strategy to team chemistry to their own experiences from past Ryder Cups.
Backspin Former on-course rivals turned colleagues for ABC Sports' golf coverage, the two quick-witted major champions are back to opposing one another; though, not with the same intensity as their playing days. If you are scoring at home, this round went to 'Zinger as he tried not to let Faldo off the hook when the European captain attempted to brush off a controversial question about Colin Montgomerie.
REPEAT AND NOT TO REPEAT: Jim Thorpe was the last man in the field for the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. And he was the last man standing. Thorpe successfully defended his title, shooting a tournament record 20 under to win by three strokes over Denis Watson and Fred Funk.
Backspin While there was a repeat performance in the event, such was not the case in the season-long Cup race. Loren Roberts, who butchered the final hole a year ago to hand the Cup title to Jay Haas, held on this year for the $1 million annuity. And so end another scintillating season on the senior set.
WILDFIRES: Massive wildfires swept throughout the state of California, causing hundreds of thousands of people to be evacuated, including Phil Mickelson's family who lives in Rancho Santa Fe near San Diego. The fires also threatened the golf course that will play host to this week's Nationwide Tour Championship.
Backspin The Nationwide Tour Championship, slated for Barona Creek in Lakeside, Calif., will be played as scheduled. But the first stage of PGA TOUR Q-school was moved from Carlton Oaks GC near San Diego to the Champions Course at TPC Scottsdale due to poor air quality. Meanwhile, Mickelson's house reportedly escaped any serious damage.
WARNING: FLAMABLE: If fire was personified it would be named Suzann Pettersen. The Norwegian almost blew a seven-shot lead, but eagled the 72nd hole to win by one stroke over Laura Davies at the Honda LPGA Thailand.
Backspin Pettersen's victory was her second in a row, her third in her last four starts, and her fifth overall for the season. There are only three tournaments remaining on the 2007 LPGA schedule. Pettersen can't win Player of the Year, as Lorena Ochoa has already wrapped up that points title, but perhaps she can keep her momentum heading into the ADT Championship finale and set up a Sunday showdown with the world's No. 1.
REIGN IN SPAIN: Frenchman Gregory Bourdy captured his first European Tour title by winning the Mallorca Classic in Madrid, Spain. Bourdy's three-birdie, no-bogey final round was good enough to give him a two-stroke triumph.
Backspin Congratulations to Bourdy, but the main story involved Sergio Garcia. The Spaniard shot 3-over 73 Sunday to tie for 16th. It was yet another frustrating final round for Garcia, and marked the first time in the last four years that he has finished outside the top 2 in this event. Wonder who he blamed for this one?
JUST BECAUSE YOU DONT SEE ME : Despite rumors to the contrary, Hank Haney is still Tiger Woods' swing coach. 'I'm still on the payroll,' he told Insider Brian Hewitt this past week.
Backspin Haney has been spending time at home with his wife, who is recovering from an illness, while Woods is reportedly spending his time 'skiing and chilling on his yacht.' Odds are you won't see Woods play a TOUR event until the Buick Invitational in late January 2008. Guess we should expect to see Haney by his side before then.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Arron Oberholser pulled out of the World Cup due to a hand injury; John Daly applied for, but was not awarded a sponsor's invite into this week's TOUR finale at Disney; Keep an eye on Jay Williamson this week. Williamson will have a familiar face on his bag at Disney -- GOLF CHANNEL's Kraig Kann.
Backspin Has any event fallen farther, faster in terms of mass appeal than the World Cup? The new U.S. team is Boo Weekley and Heath Slocum. Seriously; Good for the people at the Children's Miracle Network Classic. Exemptions should to go to appreciative players who are willing to prove that they deserved a spot in the field, not Daly, who withdrew with no reason given prior to the fourth round at the Ginn (which awarded him an exemption) and will once again finish outside the top 180 on the money list; Hopefully, Kraig will not get dumped mid-round like one of Williamson's other caddies this year.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Ginn sur Mer Classic
  • Full Coverage - Charles Schwab Cup Championship
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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.