What we learned: Byron Nelson, Sybase

By Bailey MosierMay 20, 2012, 11:10 pm

Each week, the GolfChannel.com team offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the most recent events and news developments. This week we learned that unlike the PGA Tour, the LPGA has no problems with extending penalties for slow play.

I learned that Jason Dufner isn't exactly practicing what he preaches. This past Wednesday, I stood on the driving range at the Byron Nelson Championship as Dufner produced a debate team-worthy rant – yes folks, he really does talk – about how difficult it is to win on the PGA Tour. He cited Fred Couples, a probable Hall of Fame inductee, who won less than 2 percent of his starts. He pointed out the depth of talent on the game's most elite level. And then he went out four days later and refuted his own theory, making it look easy in his second victory in his last three events. OK, so maybe he was right; maybe it really is tough to win on the PGA Tour. You just wouldn't know it by watching him lately. – Jason Sobel

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have all the facts or specifics; I don’t have a list of every slow-play penalty assessed or the official times of all the rounds played on the LPGA or PGA Tour.

But today’s slow-play penalty assessed to Morgan Pressel – that arguably cost her a shot at the Sybase Match Play Championship – tells me that the LPGA isn’t afraid to dole out penalties. The PGA Tour on the other hand … I’m not so sure.

Tiger Woods openly admitted last week that pace of play on the PGA Tour has gotten worse, and that rounds take 5:45 to six-plus hours. Most recently, Kevin Na was under the microscope for pre-shot waggles and was put on the clock at The Players Championship. But he was never assessed a fine – the first strike on the PGA Tour – or any penalty strokes. Pressel was put on the clock at the 12th and assessed a penalty on the very next tee box.

Again, I don’t have all the facts, but with all the recent hubbub about slow play and penalties, one thing became clear Sunday. The LPGA knows the rules and isn’t afraid to enforce them while the PGA Tour prefers to keep its players happy, even if it has to turn a blind eye to do so. – Bailey Mosier

You can argue that officiating – and not the participants – determined the outcome of the Morgan Pressel-Azahara Munoz match. You cannot, however, argue that LPGA officials made the proper decision in penalizing Pressel. The group had been twice warned for slow play, and regardless of who was the original culprit, both players were well aware of their situation. Pressel’s excessive time on the 12th hole was egregious.  The policy had to be enforced. I learned that the LPGA – unlike the PGA Tour – isn’t afraid to play the role of heavy. – Mercer Baggs

I learned it was a smart decision for Jason Dufner to return to work so quickly after getting married. In his second start after tying the knot with Amanda Boyd, Dufner won the HP Byron Nelson Championship with a 26-foot birdie putt at the 72nd hole.

When Dufner won for the first time in 164 PGA Tour starts in New Orleans, the Auburn product said the seven-figure check would help pay for his wedding. This latest million-plus check will help him pay to renew their vows. Dufner may want to consider doing that pretty soon, and quite often.

Dufner used his cool demeanor to take out Ernie Els in New Orleans. Perhaps like defeating the Highlander, Dufner can gain some measure of Els' immortality in the sport. How about a nickname? There's room for the Lil Easy on the PGA Tour, right? – Ryan Ballengee

I learned that Jason Dufner could win his first and second PGA Tour titles in a month and it wouldn’t even be the best thing that happened to him. That, of course, was his wedding the week after claiming his initial title in New Orleans. Or that he would become just the second two-time Tour winner this season with his walk-off birdie on Sunday at the Byron Nelson. – Rex Hoggard

I learned that you should never, ever turn a golf tournament off until the final putt drops. Jason Dufner winning with that bomb on 18 instantly transformed the Byron Nelson from snoozer to stunner. Nationwide Tour player Nick Flanagan’s 72nd-hole approach that he banked off a cameraman and onto the green, setting up a birdie putt that forced a playoff that he ultimately won, well, you don’t see that every day. And something you shouldn’t see every day, or ever, is a third-place match in a match-play tournament. Was there any interest in the Morgan Pressel-Vicky Hurst consolation match in the Sybase Match Play Championship? Just pay each semifinal loser the same amount and concentrate all interest in the final. – Al Tays

John Hancock Pivotal Moments

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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.