Nothing Leads to Something for Curtis

By Mercer BaggsAugust 11, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PGA ChampionshipSPRINGFIELD, N.J. ' Never underestimate the power of doing nothing. It can lead to something.
That seems to be the case for Ben Curtis, who, fresh off a three-week hiatus from the PGA Tour, shot 3-under 67 Thursday to earn a share of the first-round lead in the 87th PGA Championship.
Ben Curtis
Decked out in his New York Giants gear, Ben Curtis delighted many -- but not all -- of the fans Thursday.
What did he do during his break?
I stayed home, he said. Didnt move.
Well, he moved a little bit. After completely abandoning the game over the first two weeks, Curtis played every day on week 3.
Thats all I did, he said. I didnt really practice. Just for me, I feel like I got in the habit of practicing too much instead of playing. So on my way home I just went out and played and had a good time, and that just seems to help me.
It was nice and relaxing.
Curtis was in dire need of a break ' even though he has had plenty of weekends off this year. Prior to the PGA, he had competed in 16 events and had missed 13 cuts. One of those missed cuts came in his most recent start, at the Open Championship.
It was just two years ago that Curtis shocked all of golf with an Open victory at Royal St. George's. He came from behind to defeat the likes of Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Davis Love III and Thomas Bjorn. More remarkable, he did so in his rookie season on tour. Even more remarkable than that, he did so in his first-ever major championship.
It was a dream-come-true for Curtis. But it was also heavy weight to shoulder.
I dont know if it was overwhelming, but I think its always difficult to deal with (winning for) the first time, he said. I was a rookie on tour. And you can win all the tournaments in the world, but if you win a major, it can be totally different.
Obviously it had an effect on me, but at the time it didnt feel like it. Its a great experience; you never take it back. And you just try to deal with it with the most positive attitude as you can.
Try as he has, its been tough to stay cheery considering his results. In 43 tour events since his Open triumph, he has two top-10s compared to 26 missed cuts.
One of those good finishes, however, came at the Cialis Western Open, just two starts ago.
Prior to the event, Curtis was lamenting about his game. Afterwards, despite not winning, he had reason for optimism.
Curtis held a share of the 54-hole lead at Cog Hill with eventual champion Jim Furyk. His closing 74 placed him third.
I played well at Chicago, he said, so the game is starting to come around. Other than a few holes at the British, I played pretty well, as well. Golf is a funny game. It can come and go at any time.
It was with him Thursday, as he made three birdies and no bogeys on the 7,392-yard Lower Course at Baltusrol Golf Club.
Curtis hit a 6-iron out of a fairway bunker to 4 feet to birdie the 423-yard, par-4 fifth. He made a 12-footer for birdie at the 430-yard, par-4 14th, and he knocked a 3-iron to a foot to birdie the 230-yard, par-3 16th.
Everything went well today, said Curtis, who hit eight of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens in regulation, and needed only 30 putts.
The only rough times Curtis experienced in the first round were from a few New York Jets fans heckling his New York Giants outfit. But he was playing so well and was so locked in that he didnt pay them much attention.
When youre out there, you dont hear a lot of that stuff. You kind of focus on what youre doing, he said. If you play bad you might hear some of that stuff, but like today, I didnt hear too much of it.
Curtis is still stuck on one win; though, its not a bad win to have on your resume. Two years ago, he swooped in under the radar and snatched the claret jug out of the hands of some of the best players in the game.
And while hes technically playing from behind once again, hes not going unnoticed this time around. Not that its worrying him.
Im not going to lose any sleep over it tonight, he said. Theres a lot of golf; Im just going to take it one day, one shot at a time and just try to get myself in the best position for myself and try to do the best I can. If it means shooting 72 or 73, then it is. But Im going to go out there and try to do the same thing tomorrow.
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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.