Behind the Story Torrey Pines
Driving up North Torrey Pines Road for our 8 a .m. call time, one can’t help but notice the breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean. Pulling into Torrey Pines, I immediately think of Tiger Woods’ putt on the 18th green Sunday of the 2008 U.S. Open and being glued to the television watching his magical run on Saturday.
Our points of interest on this day, Jan. 21, is how Torrey Pines acquired the '08 Open, the effect it had on the course and the area, and whether the National Championship will ever return. The first thing on our agenda was finding a location for all of the interviews that afternoon. The first holes for both the North and South courses provided the beautiful backdrop, allowing the interviewees to look like they were sitting in front of a green screen.
Once we secured the location, we set out to capture some of the stunning holes and scenery that is Torrey Pines. Our first stop was the third hole on the North Course, a 121-yard par 3. My first thought: I would take my 5-hybrid – yes, hybrid not 5-iron – and take a rip. If only I had my clubs with me. My second thought: Watch out for rattlesnakes, which is so nicely posted on a sign near the cart path.
Driving around the course, every so often you can hear a buzz in the distance. What type of buzz? It is hard to pinpoint until you see the helicopters and fighter jets fly over head. It truly is a sight to see.
After capturing video of various holes around Torrey Pines South, we headed to the 18th. As we drove up I envisioned the scene from June 2008, crowds cheering louder than ever as Tiger forced a playoff against Rocco Mediate.
There are grandstands there now, set up for the PGA Tour's Farmer’s Insurance Open. They are a bit smaller, and empty, but as we stand on the green you notice how downhill the putt was that Tiger made to force the extra 18 (turned 19). We recreated that putt with Scott Walker and it is amazing to think that anyone who plays Torrey Pines South has the opportunity to do the same. Both courses are open to the public, which is a huge draw for visitors to Southern California. Local San Diegans still frequent the 36-hole track, but surprisingly more people frequent the North Course, not the tougher South Course layout which was redesigned by Rees Jones.
“It's a trade off,' said Paul Spiegelman, co-founder of the San Diego Municipal Golfers Alliance. 'I remember Rees Jones saying, 'Oh, we made it so anybody can play.' I play the gold tees; I'm a senior now so and I can manage it, but I was a relatively low handicap. I played college golf, but it's a rather intimidating course for a lot of people so they just don't play it.'
As we interviewed a few others, there are many different opinions surrounding the debate on whether it was a good thing the U.S. Open came to Torrey Pines and whether it should return.
Mark Marney, deputy director of golf operations for San Diego, had this to say: “I think that looking at the overall city, I think it's beneficial to the city. I think it's good for San Diego. I think it's good for San Diego to be a major destination for large events just like Comic Con and Super Bowls and other big venues. The U.S. Open is another great feather to have in our cap, so I think from our perspective ... definitely (it was a good thing).”
After wrapping for the day, it’s unclear whether the Open will return to this SoCal location, but as we strike and pack up the gear one thing is for sure: Torrey Pines is, beautifully speaking, a major venue.
Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings
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.
Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut
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
Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements
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.”
Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back
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.