Singh contends, speaks at Open

By Mercer BaggsOctober 13, 2013, 12:53 am

SAN MARTIN, Calif. – Vijay Singh spoke. That’s the biggest revelation through three rounds of the Open.

He’s not leading the tournament entering the final round, but he’s close. Following a Saturday 65, he’s three shots behind leader Brooks Koepka, who shot 67 in Round 3 to reach 15 under.

“The goal was to get to 12 under. Had a shaky start there, but played well in the middle,” Singh said. “If I putt well, I’m going to score well.”

Singh had one eagle, five birdies and one bogey in the third round at CordeValle Golf Club. His eagle came at the par-4 17th, when he nearly made a hole-in-one. Singh’s drive came to rest 1 foot 4 inches from the cup. Open: Articles, videos and photos

That got him within one of the lead at the time and had media folk wondering: Will he talk?

And so it was, at 5:08 p.m. PT, Singh spoke on the record to a small group of reporters. For the first time since Oct. 13, 2012, at this event, there was a Tour transcript of a Singh conversation.

A quick timeline of events:

• 4:51 p.m.: Singh walks up the par-4 18th hole. No one announces the group so there is no crowd reaction.

• 5 p.m.: After he just misses a 27-foot birdie putt, fans give him an enthusiastic applause.

• 5:04 p.m.: Singh enters the scoring trailer. PGA Tour media official John Bush hopes to get Singh to do a live Golf Channel sit-down with Todd Lewis, an XM Radio interview and a media scrum. Singh agrees to the scrum and Lewis.

• 5:08 p.m.: Singh speaks to two writers, one Golf Channel producer and one radio reporter for two minutes and 13 seconds. No one brings up his lawsuit against the PGA Tour. No one wants to send him scurrying. Or get pummeled.

• 5:11 p.m.: Singh sits down with Lewis. “How many questions,” he asks. “I’m going to ignore any question I don’t want to answer.”

• 5:14 p.m.: Singh leaves Lewis and goes to sign autographs. He doesn’t engage much with fans, just saying “thank you” when they complement and encourage him. But he signs for most everyone and even poses for a few photos.

• 5:17 p.m.: He’s gone like Keyser Soze.

He was almost … pleasant. It certainly helps when you’ve just put yourself in contention to win your first Tour title since 2008, and the 35th in your Hall of Fame career.

“I’m not in the lead, so coming from behind is much easier than being in the lead,” he said. “(I) haven’t won for a long time, but I feel good. If I keep playing well, there is not much nerves. (I'm) striking the ball good and driving the ball really well and the putts have gone in, so it’s a good feeling.”

Asking Singh a question is like talking to a unicorn. You knew they existed but you didn’t know they could speak.

The reason such a minor thing is news-making –  if you missed the entire 2013 season – is because of Singh’s lawsuit. He is suing the PGA Tour for “violating its duty of care and good faith.” In January of this year, Singh was quoted in a Sports Illustrated article as using deer-antler spray, which contains IGF-1. The chemical was banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, by which the Tour models its anti-doping policy.

The Tour treated Singh’s quotes as an admission of guilt and suspended him for 90 days. Singh appealed. WADA later reviewed IGF-1 and took it off its list of banned substance. The Tour dropped its case against Singh on April 30. Singh filed suit nine days later for defamation.

And here we are, suit still lingering, Singh back contending. It’s been awhile since he was in this position. His last top 10 on Tour came last year at CordeValle; though, he did tie for sixth in his Champions Tour debut last month.

Lewis, who has a good working relationship with Singh, asked him if all the hubbub had been a distraction to him. Singh did not ignore the question.

“Personally, yes. Professionally, bigger yes. It kind of messed up my whole season,” he said. “I’m re-energizing. Still not over it yet, but focused on my game.”

Will Singh win again? Will he speak again? The answers may be one day away.

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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.