Gustafson Defends at Fourth Major of the Season

By Martha BrendleJuly 31, 2001, 4:00 pm
The Weetabix Womens British Open, featuring a $1.5 million purse and co-sanctioned by the LPGA Tour as well as the Evian Tour (LET), takes on major status this week as the event returns to Sunningdale Golf Club for the first time in three years.
I think most Europeans consider this tournament as a major, defending champion Sophie Gustafson said shortly after her win last year.
Her sentiments were echoed less than a month later when LPGA Tour commissioner Ty Votaw officially declared the 25-year-old event a major championship on the LPGA Tour schedule.
Its the biggest event in Europe. It may not have the biggest prize fund, but status-wise it is the biggest, Gustafson said.
Gustafson, who won the Open last year as a non-major, will face a stiff field this year. 'I'm obviously happy to come back and defend my title<' Gustafson said.
Gustafson won last year at Birkdale - a windy course with a traditional links layout. 'It(the course)probably doesn't suite me as well as Birkdale did. It's a chipper and putter's golf course. But I'm looking forward to Thursday.'
All of the top-10 players on the LPGA's 2001 money list are lined up to participate in the newly named major.
Number two on the list, Karrie Webb, will be of particular concern to Gustafson who took home the event in 2000 with scores of 70-66-71-75=282. Webb captured the trophy in 1997 ' the last time the event was held at Sunningdale ' with a four-day total of 19-under-par 269. In the process Webb set a new tournament record of 9-under 63 during the third round.
Those scheduled to play at Sunningdale include last weeks winner of the WPGA Championship of Europe ' Helen Alfredsson, as well as Battle at Bighorn participant Annika Sorenstam, and Hall of Fame members Beth Daniel and Juli Inkster.
Rounding out the field are some of the LETs and LPGA Tours up-in-coming superstars. They include Sara Sanders, Smriti Mehra, Silvia Cavalleri, Mhairi McKay, last week's LPGA winner Dorothy Delasin, Se Ri Pak and Grace Park.
Also joining the field are Natasha Fink, Suzanne Strudwick, MJ Rouleau, LaRee Pearl Sugg and Shani Waugh - all qualified at the Michelob Light Classic.
Jean Bartholomew, Donna Andrews, Heather Daly-Donofrio, Penny Hammel, Leta Lindley and Marnie McGuire have all withdrawn from competition allowing Arizona States Jen Hanna in the field along with Laurel Kean, Smriti Mehra and Mardi Lunn.
Amateurs Rebecca Hudson and Marta Prieto are in the field.
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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.

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Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

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.

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“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. 

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Woods impresses DeChambeau, Day on Tuesday

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 11:27 pm

SAN DIEGO – Bryson DeChambeau played with Tiger Woods for the first time Tuesday morning, and the biggest surprise was that he wasn’t overcome by nerves.

“That’s what I was concerned about,” DeChambeau said. “Am I just gonna be slapping it around off the tee? But I was able to play pretty well.”

So was Woods.

DeChambeau said that Woods looked “fantastic” as he prepares to make his first PGA Tour start in a year.

“His game looks solid. His body doesn’t hurt. He’s just like, yeah, I’m playing golf again,” DeChambeau said. “And he’s having fun, too, which is a good thing.”

Woods arrived at Torrey Pines before 7 a.m. local time Tuesday, when the temperature hadn’t yet crept above 50 degrees. He warmed up and played the back nine of Torrey Pines’ South Course with DeChambeau and Jason Day.

“He looks impressive; it was good to see,” Day told afterward. “You take (Farmers) last year and the Dubai tournament out, and he hasn’t really played in two years. I think the biggest thing is to not get too far ahead, or think he’s going to come back and win straight away.

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“The other time he came back, I don’t think he was ready and he probably came back too soon. This time he definitely looks ready. I think his swing is really nice, he’s hitting the driver a long way and he looks like he’s got some speed, which is great.”

Woods said that his caddie, Joe LaCava, spent four days with him in South Florida last week and that he’s ready to go.

“Before the Hero I was basically given the OK probably about three or four weeks prior to the tournament, and I thought I did pretty good in that prep time,” Woods told, referring to his tie for ninth in the 18-man event.

“Now I’ve had a little more time to get ready for this event. I’ve played a lot more golf, and overall I feel like I’ve made some nice changes. I feel good.”

Woods is first off Torrey Pines’ North Course in Wednesday’s pro-am, scheduled for 6:40 a.m. local time.