Swinging into Action

By Mercer BaggsFebruary 27, 2007, 5:00 pm
The streak is over and so is the West Coast Swing.
 
As it does each and every year after the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, the PGA TOUR packs its bags and heads east of the Mississippi River, where four of the next five events will be contested leading up to the Masters Tournament.
 
This year, however, there has been a change in the Southern Swing line-up. The rotation used to be as follows: Doral; Honda; Bay Hill; Players Championship; BellSouth; Masters.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods will defend his title at Doral, now a WGC event. (WireImage).
The Players and BellSouth are now out; Tampa and Houston are in.
 
The Honda Classic will hit leadoff as players begin the final stretch to Augusta. It will be followed by the Pods Championship, formerly the Chrysler Championship, which had been contested in previous years in the fall.
 
Bay Hill will go third, but will do so under a new identity: the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard.
 
Doral not only has a new name, but a new position in the order ' as well as an increased significance. Now the WGC-CA Championship, the old Ford Championship will bat clean-up. It will fill in for The Players as a dress rehearsal of sorts for the Masters. The Players has been moved to May, between Augusta and the U.S. Open ' to take on more of a starring role.
 
Due up fifth is the Shell Houston Open. It will take the place of the BellSouth as the final tune-up before the seasons first major.
 
The dance card has changed, the contents jumbled. It might appear just a matter of cosmetics, but the alterations could be significant for all tournaments involved.
 
Obviously, The Players absence creates a bit of a void during this run, but that will only add a little more excitement later in the year when there is a two-month gap between majors.
 
The Honda, which had only one top-10 player a year ago, has two this year, as well as a host of other notable names like Love and Toms. The event will also be contested on the Champion Course at PGA National, which hosted the 1983 Ryder Cup matches and the 87 PGA Championship. After years of bouncing around from one non-descript course to another, this can only be of benefit for the future.
 
Despite being the final full-field event last season, the Pods Championship had one of the strongest fields among non-major tournaments. It should still draw well with its earlier time slot, and, if anything, it should attract a greater amount of interest since it no longer has to battle college and professional football for attention.
 
Bay Hill might not see much a change in relation to the quality of players in the field either, as it always draws top names, but with host Palmers name in the tournament title that will make the event feel all-the-more special. One notable addition this year is Phil Mickelson, who is expected to make his first appearance at Arnies event since 2002.
 
Doral had nine of the top 10 players in the world in its field last year. This year, it will only get stronger with its WGC affiliation. That, in turn, can only help the Shell Houston, as some of the foreign players might want to stick around for an extra week instead of heading back home before the Masters.
 
Even the BellSouth, which is now being contested the week after The Players in mid-May, probably wont suffer too much. It should still draw headliners like Mickelson and Retief Goosen, who are past champions of the event.
 
One thing that hasnt changed this time of year is the reshuffle.
 
As the TOUR heads to Florida, all of the Nationwide Tour and Q-school graduates are re-ordered based on their position on the money list. At the beginning of the year, all of these players are lumped into one category in relation to where they finished on the previous years Nationwide money list and at the Qualifying Tournament. The higher a player is positioned, the better chance he has to get into a tournament, as players in this category are usually the last to round out a field.
 
For instance, George McNeil, the Q-school medalist, was first in this priority category at the start of the season. That helped get him into six tournaments, but he only earned $162,367 and was reshuffled to the 16th position.
 
Meanwhile, Jeff Quinney is now at the top of the list. He made $941,300 in five starts and stands in 12th place on the overall money list.
 
The biggest moves in a positive direction were made by John Mallinger and Mark Wilson. Both players jumped up 24 spots in the priority ranking. Mallinger is now third on the list; Wilson 25th.
 
The biggest tumbles went to Rich Barcelo and Craig Bowden. The two started the season in the fifth and sixth positions, respectively. They now stand 37th and 44th, respectively.
 
Six players failed to make a cut while making at least three starts, including Chris Stroud, who used to be 31st on the ranking. Three others, for various reasons, failed to make a single start.
 
The next reshuffle is after the Masters. The best chances for players in this group to see action, and improve their standing, before then are at the two new stops on this swing: Tampa and Houston ' as well as this week at The Honda.
 
Just one more thing to keep an eye on as we begin the final leg of our trip to Magnolia Lane.
 
Email your thoughts to Mercer Baggs
 
Related Links:
  • 2007 PGA TOUR Schedule
  • Full Coverage - The Honda Classic
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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.