Woods Garcia Set For Possible Sunday Showdown

By Mercer BaggsMarch 17, 2001, 5:00 pm
Though he played in the final pairing, Chris Perry described his third round at the Bay Hill Invitational, like playing a practice round.
 
Not that he was carefree, it was just that vast majority of the fans in Orlando, Fla., were following Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia.
 
Sunday will be a totally different experience. Perry wont be playing alongside Paul Goydos. Rather, hell be in the final threesome with both of the tournaments top-draws.
 
Tiger shot a third-round 6-under-par 66 to take the 54-hole lead at 12-under-par, while Sergio carded a 4-under 68 to get within one of his American counterpart. Perry shot 69 to move to 10-under ' not that anyone was really paying attention.
 
Perry birdied holes 14 through 16 to creep up the leaderboard and into contention. He hopes to do the same on Sunday.
 
Hopefully, I can just kind of sneak up on them tomorrow and shoot a good round, said Perry, who is sporting a hat signed by tournament host Arnold Palmer, with whom he was paired over the first two rounds.
 
The Woods-Garcia match-up is much anticipated. Hopefully for all involved, Mother Nature will cooperate. Thunderstorms are expected to strike the Central Florida area. In lieu of the rain, PGA Tour officials decided to move the first tee times to 8:00am ET. They also instituted threesomes and split tees. The final group is expected to tee off at 9:48am.
 
This isnt the first time the 25-year-old Woods and the 21-year-old Garcia have dueled for a title. Garcia first made an international name for himself by nearly foiling Tigers 1999 PGA Championship victory at Medinah.
 
The two also went head-to-head in the made-for-television Battle of Bighorn; where Garcia defeated Woods 1-up. The Spaniard also teamed with Jesper Parnevik to defeat Woods and Tom Lehman in foursomes play at the 99 Ryder Cup.
 
However, this will be the first time that the two will spar in the final group in the final round of a PGA Tour event.
 
Woods entered the third round trailing overnight leader Goydos by two shots. The 1996 Bay Hill champion is now in a tie for 11th after a Day-Three 1-over-par 73.
 
Tiger started his day with a trio of lip-outs over his first four holes. Still, he managed to record two birdies over that span by sticking his approach shot to the par-4 3rd to eight feet, and then two-putting from 25 feet on the par-5 4th.
 
Woods added three more birdies to his card on Nos. 6-8, dropping in a couple of 15-footers along the way. Thursday, Woods triple bogeyed the par-4 8th.
 
Tiger moved to 12-under with a 30-foot birdie putt on the 11th. He remained on that number over his next four holes, before an errant tee shot on the par-5 16th led to his lone bogey of the day.
 
Woods then responded by birdying the par-3 17th.
 
I really played solid, I thought today, said Woods, who missed only three greens in the benign conditions. I just kept plugging away.
 
Garcias day began with a 25-foot birdie putt at the first, but he dropped that shot with a bogey on the second. He again traded a birdie at the fourth with a bogey at the fifth, before birdying the par-5 6th ' which he doubled in the first round ' to make the turn in 2-under-par 34.
 
After six straight pars to start the back nine, Garcia moved into double digits by sticking an 8-iron from 174 yards to eight feet on the par-5 16th. He missed the eagle putt but tapped in for birdie to go to 10-under.
 
Garcia salvaged an opportunity to play with Tiger on Sunday by sinking a 15-foot par save at the 17th; and then secured his spot by placing a 9-iron to five feet on the 18th and converting the birdie putt.
 
More than going head-to-head with Tiger, Im really happy to have a chance of winning the tournament, said Garcia, who has won twice on the European Tour. If Im able to win the tournament, Im able to beat Tiger. So it all comes together.
 
Garcia is in search of his first stateside victory; and his first official win anywhere since 1999.
 
On the other hand, Tiger is stalking his 25th PGA Tour title, but his first since the 2000 Bell Canadian Open ' a span of eight starts. Without a victory this season, the words drought and slump have abounded when describing Woods performaces.
 
One thing Ive come to realize since Ive been on Tour is the media does a wonderful job of exaggerating when Im playing well and exaggerating when Im playing not so well, said Woods.
 
But if you really do understand the game of golf, you would understand that Im not really playing that bad.
 
Woods is a remarkable 23 for 27 when it comes to converting 54-hole leads. However, one of his defeats came in his last start. Tiger took a one-shot lead into the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic two weeks ago, but double bogeyed the 72nd hole to lose to Thomas Bjorn.
 
Not to be overlooked is Perry. The 39-year-old Ohio State Buckeye has only won once on Tour ' the 1998 B.C. Open ' but hes recorded 22 top-10s over the past three seasons.
 
Ive been out here a long time. It will be a good experience for me to play with these guys, Perry said.
 
In January, Garcia played in the final group with Woods in Tigers unofficial Williams World Challenge. Davis Love III came from behind to win the event, and the memory still lingers in Garcias mind.
 
I was so focused on trying to be ahead of (Woods) that I forgot about Davis Love, and then he came back and he shot 64 and won.
 
Three past major winners are also within striking distance. Reigning Master champion Vijay Singh is in fourth place at 9-under after a 66. Two-time British Open winner Greg Norman (68) and two-time U.S. Open winner Lee Janzen (69) are in a group tied at 8-under. That group also includes Phil Mickelson, who experienced another roller-coaster round.
 
Friday, the lefty carded one eagle, five birdies and seven bogeys en route to an even-par 72. Saturday, Mickelson hit his tee shot at the first out of bounds and made a double-bogey 6. He went on to notch one more double to go along with one eagle, five birdies and one bogey for a 70.
 
News, Notes and Numbers
*Scott McCarron was one off the lead at 11-under entering the 18th hole. He then hit his approach shot into the water. After taking a penalty drop, McCarron hit his fourth shot into the greenside bunker. With a fried-egg lie, McCarron had to play his fifth shot away from the hole. He eventually carded a triple-bogey 7 and finished at 8-under-par with a 71.
 
*Grant Waite, who lost to Tiger Woods in the 2000 Bell Canadian Open, started the day one off the lead, but recorded two double bogeys and two bogeys to offset six birdies. His 72 has him at 7-under.
 
Click here for full-field scores from the Bay Hill Invitational
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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.