Upsets All FineUntil
As Ive said on more than one occasion, I really like the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. To me, its the one WGC event with wide-ranging appeal and exciting unpredictability. Every country has a rooting interest. Every player has a chance.
And before you think Im wrong about each man having hope, look at the Jeff Maggert vs. Andrew Magee final in 1999, the Steve Stricker vs. Pierre Fulke final in 2001 and the Kevin Sutherland vs. Scott McCarron title match in 2002.
By the way, Maggert, Magee, Stricker, Fulke, Sutherland and McCarron have exactly zero PGA Tour wins since their finals appearances.
The flip side of that tune is that we also get Darren Clarke vs. Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods vs. David Toms and Chris DiMarco vs. David Toms.
So its my opinion that the potential of a Tiger Woods ousting in Round 1 at the hands of a Nick OHern is a good thing for the event. I think the chance that an aging Bernhard Langer can wave bye-bye to Ernie Els is good medicine.
Its what keeps us watching. And for weeks it will keep us talking.
But thats where I draw the line. While I like upsets early, I dont like too many, and when it comes to the weekend, I still want my stars. And if I cant get my true stars then I demand some great golf. not two guys who run out of gas.
Television ratings dont lie. A weekend without Tiger Woods isnt a huge watch. But I would also argue that last years weekend watching David Toms demolish every player in his path was very watchable.
Actually, last years Match Play and this years edition are very similar through two days of play. The higher seed (or underdog) won 13 of 32 first round matches in 2005 and also in 2006. Last year in Round 2, the higher seed won 7 of 16 matches, while this year the number was 6.
As I see it, thats really good for the event. And it gives us a chance to root on Tom Lehman (11) who has dispatched of Mercedes Championships winner Stuart Appleby (6) and Adam Scott (3).
Lehmans ability to potentially knock off a David Toms (who he draws on Friday) and Tiger Woods (who he could draw in Saturdays Quarter-Finals is terrific theater.
But there comes a point when we still need our biggest names. The fact is that the majority of fans would love to see just what the networks would like ' a Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson match-up in the Semi-Finals and a possible Tiger Woods vs. Vijay Singh dual in the finals.
We dont get that often enough in our sport. And that would be a dream final.
Ill never scream underdogs be damned. To me, the upsets are great, and they are what makes this almost as fun as the NCAA Basketball Tournament. But when it comes to the end, please leave me with a couple of superstars left standing to take them on.
Remember the great Georgetown? They needed Villanova to make it a great story. Remember Jim Valvanos N.C. State team? Huge favorite Houston was there for the fall.
At this stage, Id love a Mickelson vs. Singh final. Or a Woods vs. Mickelson rematch the week before the Ford Championship at Doral where they went head to head on Sunday a year ago.
But if I cant have it, then Ill gladly take Woods and Lehman.
In the end, please just dont leave me lost without the great story. Agreed?
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
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.
Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026
SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.
“Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.
“We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.
In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010.