Thats a Wrap - BuyCom Season Complete
And so, after a week of brutal conditions and immense pressure in Prattville, Ala., on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, 15 of the best players you might not know about have donned the cap and gown and are headed to the PGA Tour. Some appear to be 'locks' for success, while others still have some things to prove.
It was a year for the rookies, as three parlayed their maiden voyage on the Buy.Com Tour into a promotion to the big tour. Chad Campbell, Brenden Pappas and Jason Hill all graduated with honors.
It was also a year for the veteran. Canadian Richard Zokol earned a victory in his native Canada and returns to the PGA Tour full-time as a man in his 40s.
It was a year for perseverance as Matt Peterson turned nine years of hard work on this circuit into a promotion to the PGA Tour for the first time.
And don't dismiss the 'comeback kids.' Pat Bates returns to the big leagues after a near career-ending neck injury and Heath Slocum, who like Bates and Campbell, won three times to rebound from an illness that kept him off the course for months. Like Bates, the thought of the PGA Tour was a distant second to health and happiness when the year began.
All that said, here are my thoughts on the graduates and their chances for success at the next level:
1)Chad Campbell - Three-time winner and leading money winner on the Buy.Com tour. His $394,552 came because of 21 of 23 cuts made and eight top-10 finishes. The Texas native arrived on this tour after making some $800,000 in four years on the Hooters Tour. He's won at every level and in my opinion is the best player on this tour. A 'certainty' at the next level and possible rookie winner on the PGA Tour. You won't see him back in the minors.
2)Pat Bates - Three-time winner including the Buy.Com Tour Championship. He made 18 of 24 cuts and a victory in his last two starts. $352,261 in earnings because he's solved his bad habit of wildness off the tee. Not as long as he used to be, but he's accurate and man, can he putt! Back on the PGA Tour for first time since '95. Winning at the next level might take a while, but he may now have what it takes to keep pace with the very best.
3)Heath Slocum - Three-time winner and the first to earn the 'Battlefield Promotion' this year. $339,670 in just 18 starts. Straight as an arrow off the tee and a very smart player. He went 106 holes without a bogey during a stretch this summer. Played a handful of PGA Tour events after his mid-season 'promotion,' but didn't make much of the green stuff. Chances of keeping the card next year are about 50-50.
4)Rod Pampling - The Australian is about as consistent as they come. He didn't win in 2001 but with $306,573, he was right there just about every week. 21 of 26 cuts made, nine top-10s including three seconds. I like his chances of playing well next year. He reminds me of fellow Aussie Paul Gow, who lost a playoff at this year's B.C. Open.
5)Deane Pappas - The South African is about as good a putter as you'll see. Winner on the Buy.Com Tour in 2001 and had eight top-10s. 19 of 24 cuts made and $271,169. He played the PGA Tour in 1999, but like Bates has struggled at times with accuracy. A seasoned veteran who doesn't get rattled easily. I like his odds if he rolls it with the same consistency. My only question is the swing, which is still a work in progress.
6)John Rollins - Winner at the Buy.Com Hershey Open. He won at one of the toughest courses on tour. The native Virginian earned his PGA Tour card at Q-school in '99 but couldn't keep it. Now he's back after making 17 of 25 cuts and posting six top-10s. Earned $242,841 and is a tough customer. Very focused and businesslike on the course. Certainly has the ability, but not a lock. Still, I think he'll have some big weeks.
7)Tim Petrovic - Like Pampling, he didn't win, but what a start to the year. He began 2001 without fully exempt status but posted seven top-10s. Qualified for the U.S. Open and played well at Southern Hills. The Massachusetts native collected $239,010 and led the tour in scoring average at 69.68. He's easygoing, easy to get along with and just loose enough to surprise some people.
8)Jonathan Byrd - Rookie winner who earned $222,244. The South Carolina native made 16 of 20 cuts and posted five top-10s. He is long. Very long. But also very talented. Very talented! Not many players have his practice habits and dedication. Like Campbell, Byrd has a long list of supporters who think he's a sure-hit. I'm one of them.
9)Jeff Gove - The Seattle native is among the best at the Buy.Com level. 18 of 25 cuts and six top-10s. He's a streaky player who can get hot for a couple months. And isn't that what it takes at any level? Gove had his card last year and couldn't keep it. No guarantees this time either, but along with his $198,812, he proved that he's mentally tough. That should serve him well in 2002.
10)Brenden Pappas - Deane's younger brother finished second at the Buy.Com Tour Championship. Huge week as he was the only player to climb into the Top-15. Earned $188,152 with two runner-up finishes. A rookie on the Buy.Com Tour, he's a smart player whose seasoning comes from the South African Tour where he played dating back to 1994. He was also the leading money-winner on the 2000 Teardrop Tour. The Tour Championship proved a lot to me; next year he needs to prove some more.
11) Bo Van Pelt - Back to the big tour for the big hitter from Indiana and Oklahoma State. It was just a couple years ago that Van Pelt earned his big tour card in his first try at the Qualifying School. He couldn't keep it, but did have some nice weeks. 17 of 24 cuts made and $175,947 with five top-10s, including two runner-up finishes. I like Van Pelt's game and his maturity. A young player with a wife and baby, has plenty to play for.
12)Matt Peterson - The Chicago area native spent nine seasons on the Buy.Com Tour and has finally made it! Earned $169,947 after making 19 of 21 cuts and posting six top-10s. The feel-good story in 2001, the 34-year old is smart and straight, having led the tour in accuracy in 1999 and 2001. What a story if he could keep his PGA Tour card. We'll see how much nine years and just one win helps.
13)Richard Zokol - A Canadian veteran who's been a professional since 1984. Zokol's won on the PGA Tour and this year proved he still has it in him. Won in his native Canada at the CPGA Championship. Earned $167,192 after making 18 of 21 cuts. First full year back on the PGA Tour since 1994. A true 'professional' and tactician on the course. He's smart, he's dedicated and after talking with him a lot, I think he's determined to make the most of his mid-40s.
14)Jason Hill - The Texas rookie starred on the Lone Star Tour before joining the Buy.Com. Won the Steamtown Classic this year on a very tough track. Made 17 of 26 cuts to the tune of $166,899. This guy played nine weeks in a row, including the season-ending Tour Championship. He's a lot like John Rollins in that he's tough and focused. Hill's not a guarantee at the next level. Not yet anyway. Just don't tell him that.
15)Michael Long - The New Zealander won the Boise Open, which made up a large chunk of his $161,665. Made 15 of 23 cuts with three top-10s. Doesn't appear to be a lock, but he's played on World Cup and Dunhill Cup teams for his country. Won in New Zealand and played the European Tour. Quietly could come up with big year on the PGA Tour. He's seasoned.
It was a great year. We saw three 'Battlefield Promotions,' a few rookie surprises and a record number of men earning $300,000-plus. This tour is as strong as ever and just as Garrett Willis proved this year in Tucson, just because someone didn't finish in the top-15, don't count them out at Q-school where they'll get another chance at the PGA Tour and winning as well.
One thing that is a lock - it won't be called the Buy.Com Tour next year. That agreement has come to an early end. Whatever it's called, there are many who'd love the chance to play it next year!
See the final Buy.Com money list
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.