A Big Win A Bigger Loss

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 2, 2008, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: In Backspin, the GOLFCHANNEL.com editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.
 
BE LIKE TIGER...: Kenny Perry fired a solid 3-under 69 in Sunday's final round to overcome a three-stroke deficit to win the Memorial Tournament. In the process, he joined Tiger Woods as the only three-time winner of Jack's event.
 
Backspin Its an absolutely huge win for the 47-year-old Perry for several reasons: A) this victory goes a long way for him reaching his stated, beginning-of-the-year goal of making the 2008 Ryder Cup team that will be played in his home state of Kentucky; B) it quells the demons in his head after two near misses in his last two events - THE PLAYERS and the AT&T Classic - were he played in the final round and couldn't close the deal; and C) turning 48 in August, he now is exempt on TOUR up until he is eligible for the Champions Tour. This, of course, is not to mention the other 1,080,000 reasons this was a big win for Perry.
 

...OR NOT: Tiger Woods didnt play the Memorial Tournament for the second time in three years, but he was in the news this past week, giving a pre-tournament press conference for his AT&T National.
 
Backspin Woods said his game wasnt up to snuff for competition, but he expects it to be for next weeks U.S. Open. He added that his knee is still a bit of a bother, but he didnt expect it to keep him out of the winners circle at Torrey Pines. His coach, Hank Haney, told GolfChannel.com Insider Brian Hewitt: 'Tiger (recently) hit the ball as good as I have ever seen him hit it with all his clubs. Tiger is an amazing individual and he feels good about his chances at Torrey Pines.' Now it's just a wait-and-see situation.
 

'LET' HER PLAY: Michelle Wie made just her third start in 2008, competing in the Ladies German Open on the Ladies European Tour (LET). Wie opened in 4-under 68 and closed with a 5-under 67 to finish sixth.
 
Backspin Wie, who ranked second just two years ago, has plummeted in the world rankings, and this could turn out be the perfect spark for the 18-year-old to rebuild some much needed confidence. A year ago at this time Wie was all the (negative) talk in golf after bowing out of the Ginn Tribute through 16 holes of the first round while on the verge of shooting the dreaded 88. Now she barely makes a blip on the radar screen when she plays. And thats probably a good thing. Then again, this solid showing in Germany quickly raises the bar.
 

WHERE'S THE LIFE PRESERVER?: Seon Hwa Lee may have won the Ginn Tribute Hosted by ANNIKA in a playoff over Karrie Webb, but the big story was the fact that Sophie Gustafson held a six-shot lead with 18 to play and didn't even make it into the playoff.
 
Backspin Gustafson, who hasn't won on the LPGA Tour win since 2003, looked to be in total control after shooting 66, 65, 67 in her first three rounds to reach 18 under. She even started Sunday's final round with birdies on two of the first three holes to reach 20 under par. What should have been smooth sailing from there on, quickly turned into a boat taking on water and eventually capsizing. She played the final 15 holes in 9 over par and missed the playoff by three shots. The good news is that she finished seven strokes better than fellow Swede and tournament host Annika. Thats good, right?
 

HANDLE WITH CARE: Ernie Els flip-flopped and decided to play at Jack's tournament, the Memorial. The Big Easy surprised everyone - though only momentarily - when his Web site reported that he would not play again until this week in the Stanford St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn.
 
BackspinWe don't know the exact reasons for Els' change in heart, although we find it a little strange that the South African decided to play in the event after a certain someone withdrew. Coincidence? Yes. Smart move? No. Ernie went on to miss the cut in his second straight event and is seemingly limping toward Torrey Pines.
 

USA! USA! USA!: The American squad rolled to a 13-7 victory in the biennial Curtis Cup, which matches top female amateurs from the U.S. against those from Great Britain and Ireland. The United States now leads the series, 26-6-3.
 
Backspin This was the U.S. team's sixth straight win in the event and with it brought up suggestions that the event begin including all of continental Europe - as opposed to just GB&I - as the Ryder Cup did back in 1979. Countered legendary U.S captain Carole Semple-Thompson, I can understand Great Britain and Ireland would be a little frustrated at this point since weve won six in a row, but I think that the level of their play is fantastic.' Sounds like she is well aware of what has happened to the U.S. since the Ryder Cup changed its format.
 

SAD DEPARTURE: Lorena Ochoa withdrew prior to the start of the Ginn Tribute to be with her ailing uncle in Mexico. Two days after her withdrawal, her uncle, Pedro Ochoa, died after a long illness at age 73
 
BackspinFamily is first and foremost to Ochoa and it showed when she left Annikas event, a tournament which she lost in a playoff last year, to be by the bedside of her dying uncle. Ochoas Web site said she would return to competition this week for the seasons second major, the McDonalds LPGA Championship, where she will go for her third straight major victory. Expect Ochoa to be focused and inspired at Bulle Rock.
 

DOUBLE REPEAT:Jay Haas won for the second straight week and the second straight year at the Principal Charity Classic, shooting 6-under 65 Sunday for a one-shot triumph over Andy Bean.
 
Backspin Haas now leads the senior circuit in money and on the Charles Schwab Cup points list. Hes also 1-for-1 in the majors this year. Chalk up another P.O.Y. campaign for Mr. Haas.
 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Colin Montgomerie wants to change the Ryder Cup format to extend it to four days of action; Scott Strange won The Celtic Manor Wales Open in wire-to-wire fashion, his maiden European Tour victory; Kris Blanks won his maiden Nationwide Tour event at the Bank of America Open.
 
Backspin Usually we feel if it ain't broke, don't fix it. However, an extra day of Ryder Cup excitement? Sign us up!; Strange admitted afterwards, 'I felt numb on the last tee. I had a vacant brain.; Blanks moves from 31st to fifth on the Nationwide money list.
 

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Memorial Tournament
  • Full Coverage - The Celtic Manor Wales Open
  • Full Coverage - Principal Charity Classic
  • Full Coverage - Ginn Tribute Hosted by ANNIKA
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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.