Look Whos Leading at Pebble Beach

By Mercer BaggsFebruary 1, 2001, 5:00 pm
A professional beer-truck driver and guy who can't legally drive lead the way through the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
 

David Berganio, Jr., tied the Spyglass course record by firing a flawless eight-under-par 64 to grab the 18-hole lead, while Mark Johnson, a conditional player on the Buy.Com Tour, and Tommy Armour III share second place after shooting a pair of 65s at Poppy Hills.
 
Tiger Woods, who battled through a knee injury, is in a group at six-under. Woods, who shot 66 at Spyglass, is tied with Brad Elder (Spyglass), Edward Fryatt (Poppy Hills) and last year's runner-up, Vijay Singh (Pebble Beach).
 
Tiger talks about his knee and its effect on his first round.
 
Berganio's Pebble Beach adventures began Tuesday when he was informed at a rental-car agency that his driver's license had expired.
 
'I called my mom, she checks my mail. I said, `Did I get any notice,' and she said, `Yeah, I told you,'' Berganio said. 'Then I recalled that she'd told me two months ago, and it's a coincidence because last year I qualified for the U.S. Open and my caddy came up to rent a car and his driver's license was expired.'
 
Berganio, who turned 32 on January 14th, had to get a ride to the course from his caddie. He said he only played 27 holes before teeing it up on Thursday.
 
It didn't seem to affect him. On a glorious day on the Monterey Peninsula, the eight-year professional carded eight birdies and no bogeys to tie Dan Forsman (1993) and Steve Lowery ('95) for the Spyglass course record.
 
'Today was the day if you're going to shoot low at Spyglass. To me that's the toughest course,' Berganio said.
 
It's been a well-traveled road for the California native en route to leading this prestigious event. Berganio grew up on a par-62 public golf course in Sylmar, Calif. A two-time U.S. Public Links champion, he played alongside Jim Furyk at the University of Arizona.
 
In 1997, Berganio made his way to the PGA Tour, where he finished 155th on the money list to drop back down to the Buy.Com Tour, which he played in 1998-2000. Last year, he collected four top-10s, including a victory at the Omaha Classic, to regain his PGA Tour card.
 
'I've had a lot of success at every level and I think I can do well out here,' said Berganio, whose best PGA Tour finish came in a tie for ninth at the `97 Buick Challenge. 'One thing I did do that I'd never done in the past was I sought some help from a sports psychologist this year.'
 
Thanks to a long conversation with his teacher, Berganio went to see Allen Jaeger, who primarily works with baseball pitchers.
 
'Allen told me, `David, how can you go to fight with not the complete ammunition?' He was right. You work and work on your physical game, but not the mental side.'
 
Berganio, who admits to having a short attention span, said Jaeger worked with him to 'stay in the present.'
 
It seems to have worked. At least for one round.
 
While Berganio is enjoying the present, so too is Johnson, who is competing in his first PGA Tour event.
 
Johnson has a unique story. He's a 46-year-old beer-truck driver, who's worked for Anheuser-Busch in Barstow, Calif., for 20 years. He's also an accomplished golfer. In fact, Johnson won the California State Amateur championship in 1996 on this very venue.
 
The Monday qualifier showed his preference for the layout by sporting a nifty opening-round of 65. His 'awesome day' included seven birdies and no bogeys on the Poppy Hills course.
 
Of course, if Johnson's playing then he's not working. That means his fellow drivers are doubling up to cover his absence.
 
'The drivers always take the extra load and take the extra routes and stuff for me and made it possible for me to be here today,' said a grateful Johnson.
 
'The reason I'm doing all this, I'm trying to gear myself towards the seniors.'
 
For now, however, he'll have to fend off a host of players much younger than himself, as well as a couple of other Johnsons - Richard and Kevin - who each shot rounds of 67 at Spyglass to earn a tie for eighth after Round One.
 
News, Notes and Numbers
*David Berganio, Jr., a big-time Los Angeles Lakers fan, is paired with former Boston Celtics great Bill Russell in the Pro-Am. Said Berganio: 'We didn't talk much about the Lakers. He was awesome, a nice guy.'
 
*Last week, Brad Elder carded five straight birdies to grab a share of the first-round lead at the Phoenix Open. Thursday, he recorded six in a row at Spyglass to earn a share of fourth place.
 
*Spike McRoy also strung together six straight birdies at Pebble Beach. After starting the day with four bogeys and a triple bogey over his first seven holes, he finished the day at one-under-par.
 
*Three of the top seven players on the leaderboard are recent graduates of the Buy.Com Tour - Berganio (11th, 2000), Elder (11th, 1999) and Edward Fryatt (5th, 1999). Two other players, Richard and Kevin Johnson (no relation), are tied for eighth.
 
*David Duval used his old Titleist irons in shooting a three-over-par 75 at Spyglass. Duval played Nike irons for the first time at last week's Phoenix Open, where he missed the cut.
 
*89 players broke par in the first round. With all courses playing at a par of 72, Spyglass ranked as the hardest in Round One with an overall scoring average of 71.983. Pebble Beach came in second at 71.683, while Poppy Hills played the easiest at 71.300.
 
Full-Field scores here
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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.