Worth watching at The Open

By Mercer BaggsJuly 15, 2008, 4:00 pm
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Open ChampionshipThe 137th Open Championship will begin Thursday at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England. Here are some groups worth keeping an eye on come Round 1.
 
*Starting on 10th tee
A=Amateur
 
1:30 a.m. ET: Craig Parry, Lucas Glover, Simon Dyson
The first group out off the first tee. Sure its 1:30 in the morning East Coast time, but cmon ' its the Open Championship! Log on to GolfChannel.com and follow the scores online. OK, now that Ive met my professional obligation to pump our scoring, heres a better idea: Sleep in a little, wake up at 7 a.m. ET, log on to GC.com, and follow along with the Golf Guys running blog. Hes not in England. But he will be in an English pub in Orlando. Thats gotta count for something.
 
2:36 a.m. ET: Justin Rose, Tom Watson, Aaron Baddeley
Watson won at Royal Birkdale in 1983 for his fifth and final Open Championship title. At the time, Justin and Aaron were a combined 5 years old.
 
2:58 a.m. ET: Padraig Harrington, Retief Goosen, Justin Leonard
Bad news for Paddy: Players dont repeat at The Open unless their name is Woods or Watson. Those are the only two players to win back-to-back claret jugs over the last 35 years. On another note, its nice Goosen was released from Witness Protection for a week.
 
3:20 a.m. ET: Martin Kaymer, Scott Verplank, Ernie Els
Is Els happy Tiger isn't playing and confident he can win? Is he nervous because now people expect him to contend? One can only imagine Ernie's state of mind right now. Nobody in golf has ever needed a sports pyschologist more than has he.
 
4:20 a.m. ET: Phil Mickelson, Hideto Tanihara, Paul Casey
Mickelsons confidence cant be too high this week. Not after his tune-up in Scotland blew up in a cloud of smoke. But you never know, maybe hell be able to light it up, steer clear of Birkdales bad grass, and, if he gets in position to win, maybe he wont cough up another major.
 
4:31 a.m. ET: Colin Montgomerie, Boo Weekley, Mike Weir
In February, at the WGC-Match Play, Monty joked with the media, I can't call him Boo. What's his name? It can't be Boo, can it? What's his birth certificate say?' It says: Thomas Brent Weekley. They couldn't bring these two in the press center at the same time because it would be so good that the rest of the event would be a huge letdown.
 
4:53 a.m. ET: Simon Kahn, David Duval, David Frost
You have to give credit to Duval for just showing up. Even with a brief layover its still about a 15-hour trip from Denver to Manchester, which is where most players were flying into to reach Birkdale. Unfortunately, he has a late tee time on Friday, which means, if he misses the cut, hell have to wait until Saturday morning to catch a flight back.
 
5:48 a.m. ET: Jamie Elson, Rohan Blizard (A), John Bevan
There must be 20 threesomes like this one, where you couldnt pick out whos who if the players stood next to different caddies.
 
6:41 a.m. ET: Steve Webster, Jean Van de Velde, Andrew Tampion
Is there anyone in the field happier than Van de Velde that theyre not playing at Carnoustie this year? Maybe Sergio.
 
7:14 a.m. ET: Rocco Mediate, Paul Lawrie, Angel Cabrera
As one of the good guys in the game, heres to hoping Rocco gets another chance to win a major. But as Lawrie ' and maybe even Cabrera in the future ' can tell you, sometimes you dont get a second chance; you better take advantage of the first one.
 
7:25 a.m. ET: Niclas Fasth, Mark OMeara, Michael Campbell
OMeara won the last time The Open was contested at Royal Birkdale, in 1998. The thing is: I cant remember one thing he did. But I can remember the bunker shot Brian Watts hit on the 72nd hole in regulation which came 6 inches from being the greatest shot in major championship history. Small consolation for Watts, though, who is at home in Texas recovering from myriad injuries.
 
7:58 a.m. ET: Robert Karlsson, Greg Norman, Woody Austin
Normans competitive fire has been stoked recently as hes been seen quite a bit more on the golf course lately. Guess thats what happens when you marry someone who has 16 more individual major titles than you.
 
9:31 a.m. ET: Sergio Garcia, Ryuji Imada, Sean OHair
Sergio is the odd-on favorite to win this week, listed by one source at 8-to-5. Doesnt that seem strange? Like it might start raining frogs in Lancashire?
 
11:21 a.m. ET: Jonathan Lomas, Yoshinobu Tsukada, Peter Appleyard
Seriously, there must be 20 threesomes like this. Peter Appleyard? Cmon, the R&A just made that name up. I could just type a trio of aslkfjpaojdngldua, opuadjfalodpau and ywwoeundapulad and it would be just as recognizable.
 
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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.