Weir Ames or Nobody for Canada

By Ian HutchinsonAugust 11, 2007, 4:00 pm
Over breakfast at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., a few years ago, Gary Player entertained a Canadian writer with tales of his frequent trips north of the border, recalling with fondness the people, places and golf courses that made his travels so memorable there.
 
Whether a trip to Canada next month is as special as those in the past for Player remains to be seen. A win by his International team against the United States in the Presidents Cup is the clincher and Player commences the journey towards that objective on Monday when he announces his two captain's picks.
 
The Black Knight already has a tough decision, one that is becoming more complex as the PGA Championship continues this weekend at Southern Hills in Tulsa.
 
If Player didn't already know from his own experiences that the host country would want a home boy on the International team, he has figured it out through incessant questions from the Canadian media as decision day approaches.
 
As he did two years ago, Player insisted that he will go with hot hands when making his captain's picks, but the flip side of that is will he risk losing home team advantage by not having a Canadian on the International team at Royal Montreal?
 
With Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh playing, it isn't likely the Presidents Cup will be hurting for attendance, but without a Canadian in the lineup, the International team doesn't have an identity with the home fans, who are just as likely to adopt the American team with all of its marquee names.
 
Mike Weir isn't helping Player out in this matter as he did two years ago when he surged into the top 10 and earned an automatic spot on points. This year, Weir was 20th going into the PGA Championship, where he missed the cut with a disastrous 9-over score.
 
That crash-and-burn came after Weir withdrew from the Bridgestone Invitational the previous week and tied for 37th at his own national Open the week before that.
 
The 2003 Masters champ hasn't won a tournament in over three years and about the only positive he has going for him is an 8-6 overall Presidents Cup record and some top-10 finishes in other majors.
 
The selection of Weir after that meltdown in the heat of Tulsa yesterday would appear to be a pity pick by Player just to keep Canadians happy.
 
Wait a minute. Does a Canadian pick necessarily have to be Weir? This is where it really gets complicated for Player.
 
Check out Stephen Ames tied for third after the second round at Southern Hills where he arrived one place ahead of Weir in Presidents Cup standings.
 
It is conceivable that Ames could still make the team on an automatic pick, which would take Player out of the equation, but he is also making a case for being a captain's pick from Canada should that be required. Ames would be a Presidents Cup rookie if Player chose him, but he has displayed an ability to hold it together in the heat of the moment, the most prominent instance being his convincing win at THE PLAYERS Championship last year.
 
Although he stated in 2004 that he wouldn't play in the Presidents Cup the following year because he didn't go in for team golf, Ames has said that being part of the 2007 event would be special with it being played in Canada, his adopted homeland.
 
Canadian fans, however, haven't taken to Ames with the same warmth as they have for Weir, who was born and raised in southwestern Ontario, just a good tee shot from the Michigan border, played through that province's amateur ranks and went on the Canadian Tour. Then, there's that memorable Masters win.
 
Ames, on the other hand, chose to live in Canada after meeting his wife Jodi on a flight. Not only does his family reside in Calgary, but Ames also has a couple of restaurants there and is actively involved in junior golf with an annual competition between Canada and Trinidad bearing his name.
 
While he isn't a native son, he chose to take out his citizenship and has definitely been a positive addition, but some fans in his adopted country still don't consider him a true Canadian in a land that prides itself on welcoming immigrants. Many also aren't sure how to take his controversial statements over the years.
 
In the eyes of Canadians, and most golf fans for that matter, Weir is Richie Cunningham, Ames is Bart Simpson. Do we have to bring up the whole Tiger Woods '9-and-8' affair last year?
 
Many of Ames' statements come with a smirk and a rolling of the eyes, but most have merit, even when they're ticking off people as it did last year when he hinted at THE PLAYERS Championship that he might not play in the Masters. What he meant was he would have to check with his family before committing.
 
That's Ames, but his unique personality aside, his performance to this point has illustrated that he should be the Canadian who plays in the Presidents Cup -- if any Canadian plays in the Presidents Cup. Player has several options to ponder as he watches the PGA Championship wind down this weekend.
 
Does he stick to his original plan and go with the hot hands, with no consideration given to each player's country?
 
Does he play politics and go with Canadian home boy Weir, who had a hand in getting the Presidents Cup to Canada, but hasn't proven he belongs this year?
If he does go with a Canadian, does he go with his hot hand plan and choose Ames?
 
Would Player go with both Canadians? Forget about it.
 
One thing is certain. You can bet that Player's breakfast isn't going down as easily this weekend as it was when he talked about Canada at the World Golf Village years ago.
 
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    Toronto Sun 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.
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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.