Tiger's Sunday 66 is too little, too late

By Jason SobelAugust 5, 2012, 10:25 pm

AKRON, Ohio – Perhaps it's only fitting that here in the part of the Great Lakes region in Northeast Ohio nicknamed Rubber City, that Tiger Woods bounced back on the weekend, posting scores of 68-66 to claim a back-door top-10 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

And maybe it's apropos that his performance should spawn good feelings when the rubber meets the road, as Woods left Firestone Country Club following his final round on Sunday afternoon and was likely wheels up in no time, jetting off to Kiawah Island for this week's PGA Championship.

Really, though, this is nothing new. Any of it.

Woods has won this tournament on seven previous occasions, seven times leaving Rubber City bursting with optimism and buoyed by momentum.

While he may not own the same vibes this time around, Woods is undoubtedly brimming with confidence following a final round during which he hit 15 greens in regulation - and two of those misses were still close enough to putt.

'My tee to green game today was, I thought, pretty dialed in,' he said after a four-birdie final round. 'I was hitting it long, I was hitting it straight and my irons I was shaping both ways in all different trajectories with the wind blowing.'

Each of those will be key components at the Ocean Course, which will play 7,676 yards and can feature some ferocious crosswinds.

Of course, bringing his 'A' game - or some semblance thereof - from a regular PGA Tour event to a major championship is easier said than done.

Woods won two weeks before the Masters, but never seriously contended for his fifth green jacket. He won two weeks before the U.S. Open, but ran out of steam on the weekend at The Olympic Club. And while his win three weeks before the Open Championship was followed by a missed cut two weeks prior, he couldn't claim his 15th major title at Royal Lytham, either.

It's not quite 2009, when Tiger won the so-called Bland Slam, prevailing in his final start before every major, but it's close.

Then again, maybe there's some warped sense of logic that states it's better to head to a major without any recent hardware, sort of a powerhouse college basketball team getting a loss out of the way in a conference tournament before getting to the Big Dance.

Whatever the case, his ball-striking is obviously where it needs to be and his putting isn't nearly as flawed as the stats may contend. After making four birdies on the front nine, Woods missed mid-range putt after mid-range putt on the back.

As he explained earlier in the week, though, there's a severe difference between bad putts and good putts that don't happen to drop.

'I putted well the last two days, which was good,' Woods said. 'More importantly, I hit the ball on my start lines and that's something I did not do the first couple of days. I misread a couple, but that's just the way it goes. But at least every putt was starting on the right line and that's something I'm very excited about going into next week.'

He's learned the hard way that great ball-striking and average putting usually doesn't equate to a victory.

'He knows it's going to take good ball-striking,' said caddie Joe LaCava. 'But he also knows you've got to make some putts. Eventually if you want to win a tournament, everyone makes some putts.'

Driving? Check. Ball-striking? Check. Putting? Check.

Woods may not be entering another major coming off a victory like he has so many times, but that may not be the worst thing, either. Asked about his confidence level going into the PGA, he said, 'I'm excited about it.'

And then he smiled.

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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.