Last event for U.S. players to qualify for Solheim Cup

By Randall MellJuly 30, 2013, 1:28 pm

There isn’t a lot of room for jockeying in this final week of Solheim Cup qualifying for the Americans.

U.S. captain Meg Mallon has pretty much narrowed the team to where 13 players are vying for 12 roster spots.

“It really looks like 13 players have separated themselves, but it’s still very tight right now,” Mallon told GolfChannel.com. “I couldn’t be happier. For the most part, they’re playing well. We have a great team coming together.”

Mallon heads to the Ricoh Women’s British Open this week knowing there are seven locks among the 10 players who will qualify to make the team on points or rankings, though nine spots seem all but solidified. So, that really leaves a musical chairs kind of week with four players jockeying for three spots. Whoever secures the ninth and 10th automatic roster spots at St. Andrews this week will shape who Mallon takes with her two captain’s picks.

The American and European teams will be announced after Sunday’s finish to the Women’s British Open with the Solheim Cup scheduled Aug. 16-18 at Colorado Golf Club.

The top eight in points automatically make the team, and six of those spots have already been clinched: Stacy Lewis, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Angela Stanford, Brittany Lincicome and Lexi Thompson.

While Jessica Korda isn’t a mathematical lock at seventh in the point standings, it would take an extraordinary circumstance this week to bump her out. Even in the unlikely event Korda is bumped in points, she still likely qualifies off the rankings list. Brittany Lang is eighth in points and also likely to make the team through the rankings if she’s bumped out in the point race.

The top two Americans on the Rolex world rankings list who aren’t already qualified for the team on points also automatically make the team. Lizette Salas (No. 20) is a lock for one of those spots with Jennifer Johnson (No. 50) and Morgan Pressel (No. 51) waging a fierce Solheim Cup battle for the final roster spot off the rankings. Johnson is just three hundredths of a point ahead of Pressel in the rankings.

If the U.S. Solheim Cup were settled today, the roster would sport at least four players who have never played in the event: Thompson, Korda, Salas and Johnson.

Michelle Wie, despite an up-and-down summer, is very much in the mix to make the team, Mallon confirmed.

Here’s a look at the four players who appear to be vying for the last three roster spots, two of which will be captain’s picks:

Johnson: If the team were set today, Johnson would claim that last automatic roster spot off the world rankings list. She played her way into Solheim Cup consideration winning the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic earlier this year and then bolstered her standing tying for seventh at the Marathon Classic two weeks ago. She can bump her way into the top eight in points with a third-place or better finish at St. Andrews this week. She’s the only American left who can move into the top eight in points without winning the Women’s British Open.

Johnson, 21, has never played in the Solheim Cup before, though she helped the Americans win the 2010 Curtis Cup.

Pressel: Pressel must win the Women’s British Open to make the team on points. She is in position, however, to grab that final roster spot in the world rankings with a good finish at St. Andrews. That last rankings roster spot appears to be down to Johnson (No. 50), Pressel (No. 51) and Gerina Piller (No. 55).

Pressel, 25, was 4-0 in the last Solheim Cup. She has played on three American Solheim Cup teams and is a proven match-play force as a former U.S. Women’s Amateur champ. With her form returning, she appears a strong bet to make this team as a captain’s pick if she fails to qualify.

Piller: Piller, 28, is tied for 10th in points and must win the Women’s British Open to make the team on points. A strong finish at St. Andrews, however, could give her the last roster spot off the rankings list. Piller has never won an LPGA event, though she is becoming a regular on tour leaderboards. She also has never played in a Solheim Cup.

Wie: At No. 13 in points, Wie must win the Women’s British Open to make the team. She is the lowest player on the points list who mathematically still has a chance to automatically qualify on points. Wie, 23, has shown flashes of returning to form this year, with back-to-back top-10 finishes in June, including at the Wegmans LPGA Championship. She has, however, been erratic. After those top-10s, she failed to make the cut in back-to-back weeks and has missed seven cuts this season. Wie is a two-time LPGA winner who played in the last two Solheim Cups, proving a force in her first.

Here is how the race shapes up:

USA

American Solheim Cup point standings (top eight qualify):

1. Stacy Lewis, 857

2. Paula Creamer, 526.5

3. Cristie Kerr, 484.5

4. Angela Stanford, 406.5

5. Brittany Lincicome, 269

6. Lexi Thompson, 261

7. Jessica Korda, 247.5

8. Brittany Lang, 241

9. Jennifer Johnson, 185

T-10. Lizette Salas, 174

T-10. Gerina Piller, 174

12. Morgan Pressel, 164.5

13. Michelle Wie, 160.5

14. Katie Futcher, 116.5

15. Nicole Castrale, 104

*The top 20 places in an LPGA event are awarded points with 60 points for first place, 30 for second, 28.5 for third and all the way down to three points for a 20th-place finish. Points are doubled in majors.

American Solheim Cup world rankings standings (top two qualify)

1. Lizette Salas (No. 20)

2. Jennifer Johnson (No. 50).

3. Morgan Pressel (No. 51).

4. Gerina Piller (No. 55).

5. Mo Martin (No. 73).

*Two captain’s picks will fill out the American squad.

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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.