Open Slammed Shut
He won at Augusta by 12. He won at Pebble Beach by 15. Now he's won at St. Andrews by eight. Kind of makes you wonder what happened at Medinah when he only won by one.
Tiger Woods' name was etched onto the Claret Jug late Sunday afternoon. A simple formality. The trophy was his before the event began. Odds makers, fans, media and even many of his peers conceded the 129th Open Championship to Woods before his lips left the U.S. Open trophy.
Tiger made it official on Sunday. He shot rounds of 67-66-67-69 to finish the tournament at 19-under-par, eight shots clear of Thomas Bjorn and Ernie Els. You have to feel for Els. If not for Tiger, the South African would be the world's best. We might be speaking of a three-time U.S. Open and current British Open champion. Instead, he's a three-time major runner-up in 2000.
There was a slight threat to Tiger's coronation on Sunday. David Duval birdied four of his first seven holes in the final round to cut Woods' overnight lead of six in half. But five holes later, the deficit was back to six. Woods birdied the 10th to go four up, then picked up two shots with another birdie at the short par-4 12th combined with a Duval bogey.
Duval was once again relegated to playing for second. Surprisingly, he finished tied for 11th. Still seeking his first major, Duval bogeyed the 16th and quadrupled the 17th to finish the tournament at 7-under-par, 12 strokes back of Woods.
Woods' day was eerily reminiscent to that of his final round at Pebble. He carded eight pars and one birdie on the front, then collected three birdies in his first five holes on the back. Through 70 holes, Woods was 20-under-par. Unfathomable for anyone but Tiger. He did drop a shot coming home, but you can hardly blame him if he lost a bit of focus. It was torturous watching Duval take four shots to get out of the 'Road Hole' bunker at 17. Fans were clamoring about, yelling in his backswing. Still, Tiger made a six-footer for par at the 18th to finish the event at 19-under. It's a summit never before flagged in major championship history, let alone the 128 previous British Opens.
At 24, Woods becomes the youngest to ever win the career Grand Slam. By winning the 1997 Masters, 1999 PGA Championship, 2000 U.S. Open and 2000 Open Championship he joins the foursome of Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus as the only men to accomplish that feat.
'It's pretty special to be in such elite company,' Woods said. 'I am very fortunate to have had the success I have had. This is the home of golf and where you always want to win. I said before the U.S. Open that if you wanted to win championships on two ultimate courses it would be Pebble Beach and St. Andrews. I am fortunate to have won both in the same year.'
Just as Jack did, Tiger won his fourth different major in Scotland. But Woods isn't just following in Jack's footsteps, he's leaving a bigger impression.
Tiger will take his next major step at Valhalla in Louisville, Kentucky -- site of the 2000 PGA Championship. It doesn't have the lore of Augusta, Pebble or St. Andrews, but it does provide a challenge. Tiger's demolished scoring records at the three most prominent majors. Now, it's time for the defending champion to do it the right way, the Tiger way, at the PGA Championship.
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.