Plenty of pressure looms in Tour finale

By Jason CrookSeptember 20, 2014, 11:44 pm

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – It’s rare to find a sporting event that’s equally captivating at both ends of the leaderboard, yet that’s exactly what Sunday at TPC Sawgrass promises. The winner gets a trophy, but so do the losers, metaphorically speaking. Forty-nine of them, to be exact.

Sunday will be all about establishing position on the priority list for the 2014-15 PGA Tour season. Who’s in? Who’s out? Where does everyone fall on the list? If you can keep up with that, then you deserve a cookie. Everyone else … sit back, relax and enjoy the drama as it unfolds.

While technically 50 cards are up for grabs, 25 of them are already spoken for. The top 25 regular-season money earners from the Tour are all heading to the PGA Tour next season, with their priority ranking determined by their finish here on Sunday.

Numbers game: How the priority rankings work

The remaining 25 cards will go to the top earners from the month-long Finals series, where Bud Cauley, Adam Hadwin and Justin Thomas won the first three events.

“It’s tough. It’s what it is, you’ve got to grind it out, it’s the last tournament of the year, a lot of things can happen and we’re doing the best we can,” Chad Collins machine-gunned a volley of clichéed yet accurate observations. Collins, after an even-par 70 on Day 3, sits 52nd in the projected priority rankings, two spots out of a PGA Tour card.

Never mind the lack of names you’re used to pulling for (or against) in final rounds. Sunday is arguably the most pressure-packed day in golf.

When Rory or Phil or Tiger have a less-than-stellar final round, they are consoled with a private jet ride home. If Tag Ridings (No. 51) or Vaughn Taylor (No. 53) or Roberto Castro (No. 50) don’t bring their best stuff on Sunday, it means another year of not reaching their ultimate goal. Another year of – another cliché alert – “every shot counts.”

Those guys that go by one name, they get as many shots as they want. These guys tomorrow are playing for their livelihood.

“It turns your hair gray, you lose some hair,” said Ridings, who is just one spot out of the final Tour card through 54 holes.

At the other end of the spectrum – you know, at the top of the leaderboard, where you’re used to looking – we have players playing for more than a Tour card. Derek Fathauer, who leads by one shot through 54 holes, and some others are playing for a real chance to excel on the PGA Tour next year.

The higher you can climb on the priority list, the more events you can ultimately play. Thanks to Carlos Ortiz’s missed cut, Hadwin has a chance to finish first in the priority rankings, guaranteeing a fully exempt Tour card next season and a spot in the 2015 Players Championship.

“I really haven’t worried about it, these playoffs. I’ve just tried to go out and have some fun and tried to enjoy myself and just pick targets and fire at pins when I feel the need to,” said Hadwin, who’s four off the lead after a 3-under 67 and projected to finish No. 1 in the priority rankings.

Whether you’re watching the top or the bottom of the leaderboard Sunday, at the end of the day, there will be 50 men leaving TPC Sawgrass with their 2014-15 PGA Tour cards, a harsh reality that some will take better than others.

“Hopefully I can play well tomorrow and slip in there in [the] top 50 and get my card back, but if not, I’m looking forward to deer season the rest of the year and hanging the clubs up until January and then start back up again,” said Collins.

Let’s hope there are some other hunters playing Sunday, or at least some guys with hobbies besides golf. Because there’s a good chance one shot will be the difference between someone realizing their dream, and someone taking solace in “there’s always next year.”

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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.