Sharp Now Canadas Best on LPGA
It's this expectation of instant gratification that makes it necessary for those still reaching for the first significant benchmark of their LPGA Tour careers to tune out the outside noise and concentrate on the task at hand.
'Everyone has their own learning curve out there,' said Hamilton's Alena Sharp, 26, admitting her development has been less than meteoric.
'I've always done better every year, so I've just got to keep working hard on my game and I know it will happen. Some people come out there and have success right away. I know I'm not that type of person. Not to say that I won't win next year, but I needed to have a good year like this past year to move on.'
Sharp can take strength in the fact that she accomplished what she calls some 'cool things' this year and that's the reason she will begin '08 as half of the Canadian team at the Women's World Cup of Golf on Jan. 19-21 in Sun City, South Africa.
Sharp not only is playing in her first World Cup, but after finishing 57th on the money list, she got to pick her partner and went with veteran Lorie Kane, who was 74th on the money list. Unless Kane, 42, can do a U-turn in her fortunes this year, Sharp now is the great Canadian hope on the women's tour.
'If we're both playing well, we're going to do well in South Africa. I feel like we're going to have a good shot at winning it,' said Sharp, who enters this season in a considerably better position than she did a year ago when she narrowly missed getting her full-time card by one position on the money list.
One would assume that would mean a return to qualifying school, but after asking around, the 1999 Canadian junior champ decided against it.
'There weren't a lot of cards at Q-school. Not to say that I wouldn't have been able to get through, but I played in everything this year that I would have played in if I was an exempt member, so there was really no point in going down there and getting stressed out,' she said.
The stress eased in February when Sharp started the season with a tie for 11th at the SBS Open at Turtle Bay. 'That good start in Hawaii, putting some money in the bank, it was assurance that I was going to play well this year. It was nice to start the year like that,' she said.
More highlights were to come, but according to Sharp, a turning point in her career came off the golf course in March when she was in Phoenix and hooked up with respected teachers Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott, co-founders of Vision54, which still fascinates Sharp.
'I just learned a lot about myself at their golf school and applied it to my game,' she said. 'I played a lot better starting in April. I didn't miss a lot of cuts after that. I wasn't thinking about cuts. I was focusing on the little things that I can control.
'I became more aware of how I was acting on the golf course and how it was holding me back (by) getting down on myself. Ever since that camp, my attitude was a lot better. If I had a bad hole, I would shake it off.
'It resulted in turning rounds that weren't so good around to average rounds and rounds that were average rounds into great rounds.'
Her baby steps seem to be getting larger and that marathon to success that she started at the beginning of her career seems to be picking up the pace these days.
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Editor's Note: Ian Hutchinson is golf columnist for the Toronto Sun and senior writer for Pro Shop Magazine, a Canadian golf trade publication, and Canadian Golfer Magazine. He is also a frequent contributor to Golf Scene and Golf Canada Magazine, the official magazine of the Royal Canadian Golf Association.
Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings
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.
Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut
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
Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements
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.”
Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back
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.