Moody and Blue

By Mercer BaggsMay 11, 2009, 4:00 pm
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HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, DADDY: Henrik Stenson emerged from the pack Sunday at The Players to become just the third European-born golfer to win the prestigious event. With most everyone cracking in the final round heat, the Swede shot a bogey-free, 6-under 66 to win by four over Englishman Ian Poulter.
 
Backspin Before Padraig Harrington enjoyed major stature, Stenson was regarded by many as the top European player. He still doesn't have a major title to his credit but he does have a very impressive resume: one Players title; one WGC-Match Play title; five European Tour victories; and two Ryder Cup appearances. He now also has a three-year exemption into the Masters and a five-year PGA Tour exemption, should he choose to accept it (he's not currently a Tour member).
 

 

 
THE AGONY OF DEFEAT: Alex Cejka began the final round at TPC Sawgrass with a five-shot lead and saw it evaporate by the fourth hole. The Czech-born German finished with an 7-over 79 to tie for ninth.
 
Backspin It was evident on the very first hole Sunday that Cejka could have be leading by 10 and would have struggled to hold on. The pressure of trying to win The Players, playing alongside Tiger Woods ' whatever it was, he unraveled early and never, um, raveled back up. There will be better days for Cejka. There will have to be.
 

 

 
I FEEL YOU, ALEX: Tiger Woods started the final round five back of Cejka, watched his playing companion crumble like a Ritz cracker before his eyes, and still couldn't mount a charge. Woods shot 1-over 73 to finish in solo eighth place, seven back of Stenson (one ahead of Cejka).
 
Backspin Apparently Tiger Woods had his knee surgery in the same Crystal Chamber that sapped Superman's powers. For the second week in a row, Woods had a chance to win on Sunday and was less threatening than a Sinbad comedy routine. Here's an idea for Tiger: play more tournaments. Get in some extra competitive reps before Bethpage. We know you're not listening.
 

 

 
WOE IS ME: Defending champion Sergio Garcia made the cut on the number and then shot 73-69 over the weekend to tie for 22nd. No one has ever repeated as champion of The Players.
 
Backspin Listening to Sergio talk in his press conferences ' before and during the tournament ' was more depressing than reading Sylvia Plath. Good Lord, man: you're 29, a multi-millionaire, Ricardo Montalban with the ladies, and play golf for a living. Lighten up, Francis.
 

 

 
WOE IS US: Garcia wasn't the only big name who endured big disappointment at The Players. Phil Mickelson finished T-55; Ernie Els T-45; Padraig Harrington T-49; and Adam Scott missed yet another cut.
 
Backspin Perhaps the biggest disappointment ' save for Cejka ' came courtesy Retief Goosen. The two-time U.S. Open champion shared the lead at one point in the final round, but played his final six holes in 5 over to tie for 22nd. Goosen's days of being a 'major' factor may have come to a screeching halt at Pinehurst in 2005.
 

 

 
HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU: Kenny Perry played the first two rounds in a group with Angel Cabrera, the man who beat him in a playoff at this year's Masters. Perry, who admitted it was very difficult to concentrate, shot 73-71 to barely survive the even-par cut. Cabrera, meanwhile, opened in 72-65 to challenge for the lead. Once the two were separated, however, Perry shot 68-74 to Cabrera's 77-71. Ultimately, Perry finished one shot back of his Augusta nemesis.
 
Backspin Groupings over the first two rounds of PGA Tour events are 'randomly 'selected by a computer. Raymond Babbitt's television viewing habits are more random than this. We get that the Tour wants to create cute pairings for their 'major' like the PGA Championship does. But this isn't a major and it wasn't cute. It was actually kind of mean. Or, as Perry put it, 'Just sad.'
 

 

 
HOORAY, BEER: Cristie Kerr claimed her 12th career LPGA title at the Michelob Ultra Open. Kerr, the 2005 winner of this event, birdied the 15th hole to break away from the competition. She finished with a closing 1-under 70 and a two-shot win over In-Kyung Kim.
 
Backspin Meanwhile, Lorena Ochoa led by three shots through two rounds, before shooting back-to-back 74s to finish in 10th place. That was the second most bizarre thing of the week at Kingsmill. The first? Watching Kerr celebrate by pouring beer over her own head. Who does that?
 

 

 
PSYCHEDELIC SECOND: John Daly shot four rounds in the 60s, with his closing performance his best score of the week, a 6-under 66, to finish co-runner-up at the Italian Open. The finish was his best on any tour since he lost the 2005 WGC-American Express Championship in a playoff to Tiger Woods.
 
Backspin First of all, that's great news for JD and his supporters. Secondly, let's hope there weren't any $5,000 slot machines near the course. And thirdly, let's hope he can bring this kind of game back to the States ' and keep those Abbie Hoffman pants in Europe.
 

 

 
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Skins Game officials announced that they would not contest an event this year due to the ailing economy. ... SBS has taken over as title sponsor of the PGA Tour's season-opening event. ... Daniel Vancsik won the Italian Open by six over Daly and two others, if you were interested. ... CBS Sports golf analyst David Feherty apologized for morbid comments he made in a magazine about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
 
Backspin Was it the economy or the fact that last year's edition included K.J. Choi, Stephen Ames, Rocco Mediate and Phil Mickelson? Might as well kill it for good. ...The Tour let Mercedes-Benz out of its contract a year early, and got SBS for a decade. ... We didn't think you were. ... It's actually amazing that this is the first time we can remember Feherty getting in trouble for something he said.
 

 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage ' The Players
  • Full Coverage ' Michelob Ultra Championship
  • Complete News 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.