A McIlroy win at East Lake the only fitting end

By Jason SobelSeptember 13, 2014, 11:56 pm

ATLANTA – Call it collective ignorance or exhausted indifference or an inadequate marketing campaign or some combination of each, but there remains a common misconception about the FedEx Cup playoffs.

The format was never supposed to crown a season-long champion. It was never supposed to undeniably prove which player enjoyed the best year.

But it sure would be one big, happy coincidence if it that exact scenario was the end result.

On Sunday evening, the PGA Tour will send Player of the Year ballots to its membership, but really, only one name needs to be included. Rory McIlroy has won three titles – two major championships and a WGC. He leads the money list, is ranked No. 1 in the world and has inarguably been the best player.

None of that guarantees he will also win the FedEx Cup, of course, but it would be a lot more fitting if he did.

We could even call it poetic justice should McIlroy cap off his brilliant season by hoisting two trophies on Sunday afternoon.

“In my mind it would be, yes,” he concurred with a laugh.

A third-round 3-under 67 has McIlroy in position to do exactly that at East Lake Golf Club, as he shares the Tour Championship lead with Billy Horschel entering the season’s final day.

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The reality is, a victory would alleviate this year of any ifs, ands or buts.

McIlroy would have enjoyed a dominant season … IF he won the FedEx Cup. He won three times … AND almost a fourth. He would have added another line to his resume … BUT he couldn’t claim the season finale.

A win would also keep us from relying on projections. No touchscreens. No whiteboards. No (gulp) math.

As one of the top five on the points list entering this week, McIlroy will claim the playoff series title with a tournament win – but he’s the only one for whom it would feel entirely appropriate.

“I feel like I've had my best year to date,” he proclaimed. “I feel like I've had the best year out of anyone on Tour and I've come here with the ultimate goal of trying to cap it off and trying to put an exclamation point on it or the icing on the cake or whatever you want to call it.”

What you would call it is another impressive line on his ever-growing resume – one of very few which has yet to be added.

Sure, there’s the small matter of a green jacket which is still nagging McIlroy. But that’s the only major title he hasn’t yet captured. He’s won a WGC and the European Tour’s season-long race and played on a pair of winning Ryder Cup teams.

The FedEx Cup might not be a gaping hole on that resume, but it’s one of very few that still exists.

“I just want to win,” he explained. “I just want to get myself back in the winner's circle again, even though it hasn't been that long. It's been three events, but I've got a very good opportunity to do it tomorrow.”

Here’s when you know things are going well for a player: McIlroy sounded genuinely upset that he’s played three straight events without winning. He also wasn’t exactly enamored with his own performance on Saturday – “it really wasn't much to look at out there,” he muttered – but still managed to post an eagle and three birdies against just two bogeys.

He also believes the FedEx Cup might owe him a little something.

Two years ago, McIlroy won two of the first three playoff events, but got passed on the points list by Brandt Snedeker, who won the Tour Championship.

“I'd feel really good about it just because of what happened in 2012, feeling as if I was a little bit hard done by,” he said. “Yeah, it would definitely make up for a couple of years ago.”

Anyone who’s studied the FedEx Cup understands that it’s about rewarding the best player during these four events, not the best player for the entire season.

That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be completely appropriate for this year’s champion to fill each of those roles.

“Would it be poetic justice?” McIlroy asked. “I mean, it would be.”

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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.