Garcia trying to avenge Spain's World Cup struggles

By Jason SobelJune 21, 2014, 10:35 pm

CROMWELL, Conn – It’s been a rough week for Sergio Garcia.

No, not his return to the Travelers Championship after a five-year hiatus. Not his 16 birdies in three rounds so far, nor his scores of 65-69-65. And certainly not his opportunity for a first PGA Tour title in nearly two full years.

But for a superfan of Spain’s national soccer – er, fútbol - team, yes, it’s been a rough one.

And yes, he is a superfan. Just listen to him break down his country’s ousting from the World Cup.

“We've had such great six years with two European Cups and one World Cup,” Garcia said after Saturday’s third round. “I wasn't expecting for the team to not get through the group stages, but I thought the season was getting very long - maybe they get to the quarterfinals, semifinals, they would play very well. But it's different out there in South America for the European teams, so it was a little disappointing on that aspect. But there's nothing that I can do.”

It would be careless to suggest that he is using his frustration as fuel for his own performance. Or that he’s trying to vindicate national pride with a victory here in the heart of southern New England.

As Garcia and everyone in fútbol-mad Spain understands, for the defending champion to lose its first two matches is a special kind of hurt that won’t be soothed by any other individual athletic achievements anytime soon.

For him personally, though, earning his first victory in the United States since the 2012 Wyndham Championship would help ease what’s been a rough week.

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“I would love for me to win and Spain does great,” he said when asked if he’d choose personal glory over national fandom. “You don’t want to be selfish or anything like that. Of course I want to do well for myself, though. That’s what I’m here for.”

So far, it’s working.

Playing here for the first time since a T-43 result in 2009, Garcia will enter the final round in a share of third place, just two strokes behind leader Ryan Moore.

“If I shoot 62, I'll probably win, but I don't know. It's just difficult to say,” he explained. “The way the course is playing every day, it's playing harder and harder.

“If it comes up with a little bit of wind and the greens start getting crusty - like they are at the moment - you know, it's not going to be easy tomorrow. So I don't know, maybe 3 under might be enough; maybe you need 6. You never know what the rest of the people are going to do. The only thing I can do is go out there, try to play the best I can and hope that that is good and see where that puts me.”

In the past few years, his best has often been annoyingly shy of being good enough.

Garcia owns a dozen top-10 finishes since that last PGA Tour win, including five already this season. Two of those – third-place results at the Shell Houston Open and Players Championship – have been serious title contentions, but despite wins in Thailand and Qatar already this year, he has yet to add to his ledger of eight career victories on U.S. soil.

“Winning is not easy,” he admitted. “And every week there's pressure to do well and give yourself a chance at winning. … It's just a matter of keep putting yourself in that situation and wait for that day where you feel great, where everything goes your way, and you know, there's no one that can catch you.”

Those are profound words from a player who too often receives grief for a lack of wins – he would top most cringe-inducing Best Player To Have Never Won A Major lists – but in reality is searching for the 30th worldwide title of his career at the age of 34.

If he’s able to add to that total on Sunday, if he’s able to climb the Travelers leaderboard and secure his name on another trophy, it will be more than just a silver lining in what’s been a rough week for the fan of Spain’s national team.

Well, for him, at least – if not for the rest of his native country.

“No, I wouldn't say so,” he laughed. “Fútbol in Spain is everything. If I would manage to, it would be great to go and win tomorrow. [But] it wouldn't make up for it, not for the fútbol fans.”

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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.