Local Knowledge

By David AllenJune 18, 2009, 11:24 pm
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – If anyone can sympathize with the first wave of players who went off in the mud and rain at Bethpage Black, it's Darrell Kestner. The Long Island pro had the second-to-last tee time in the second round of the 2002 U.S. Open, which was played in a similar downpour. Only, they never stopped play, causing Sergio Garcia to call out the USGA and say that play would’ve been suspended had Tiger Woods been on the course. Woods played in a morning drizzle and shot 68.

Garcia shot a 74, Kestner shot 86.

'It was miserable, the hardest conditions I've ever played in,' said Kestner, who's played in eight U.S. Opens. 'It was very similar to what it was today – very cold, rainy. ...the rain was coming down sideways. We were getting no roll and some guys had trouble reaching the 10th fairway it was playing so long.'

Woods wasn't quite as fortunate this time as he was one of the first groups off the first tee at 8:06 a.m. Play was suspended two hours later with Woods at 1-over par, facing a par putt of 6 feet on the seventh hole.

'Days like this, you're just trying to survive and then hope things turn in your favor,' said Kestner, the head professional at Deepdale Golf Club in nearby Manhasset, N.Y. 'It's an endurance test. It's hard to keep any momentum going because you're constantly stopping and starting again.'

Kestner said the most difficult thing for him wasn’t that the ball wasn't going anywhere, but that the green speeds were so unpredictable.

'I had a hard time guessing the pace of each putt because of how much water was on the green,' said Kestner. 'They were squeegeeing every green, trying to get water away from the hole. So while the greens looked slow they were keeping pace.'

The other thing players have trouble controlling in the rain is spin, especially on approach shots into the green. The ball tends to knuckle with no spin, much like a Tim Wakefield knuckleball. Indeed, Woods came up short on several holes on Thursday morning, hitting his third shot into the bunker on the par-4 fifth hole (leading to a double-bogey 6) and his second shot into the right greenside bunker on No. 7. The tee on the 525-yard hole was moved up 30 yards on Thursday but only two players reached the green. Neither Woods nor his two playing partners, Padraig Harrington and the long-hitting Angel Cabrera, got home in two.

'When you're hitting off spongy fairways like this, there's no way of hitting a cut or draw because water gets on the ball – and between the ball and the clubface – so you can't put any spin at all on it,' said Kestner. 'You're trying to start it as straight as possible and hope it doesn't get too much of a knuckleball action on it, because then you're not able to control it.'
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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.