Am Tour: San Diego's Jason Meijers working overtime to perfect his game

By Mike BaileySeptember 11, 2014, 6:08 am

So you've thought about playing golf for a living? How much do you think you'll need to practice?

Every day after work?

Twenty hours a week?

Not even close.

Try quitting your job and making golf practice your fulltime occupation. And that'll only work if you have talent.

That's what 24-year-old Jason Meijers has going on right now. Meijers, who lives in San Diego and recently earned a business degree from the University of Southern California, is taking his shot, and he's in full pursuit. What's amazing, though, is that Meijers, who is playing in the Championship flight this week at the Golf Channel Am Tour National Championship, didn't play college golf and 18 months ago was a 10-handicap. Now he plays to a plus 2. He'll be the first to tell you that making that kind of improvement doesn't come easy.

"My head pro told me that I can't take days off," Meijers said. "He told me, 'You need to be playing every day, every tournament you can get into. Even if you're sick, you need to be putting."

So for the past year, Meijers has done exactly that. He practices and plays pretty much seven days a week, seven to nine hours a day and works with a Titleist Performance Institute trainer.

This year, he's played in around 20 events on the Golf Channel Am Tour. Over the summer, he fired several rounds around or better than par to finish near the top of the leaderboard.

"Because I didn't play college golf, I'm looking to gain that tournament experience that I didn't get in college," said Meijers, who also plays in every USGA and Southern California Golf Association event he can get into.

This journey really began a little over a year ago when his father, Neville Meijers, a senior VP at Qualcomm, made a generous offer. Seeing the potential in his son's game (he had already started to improve from the 10-handicap and played high school golf), the elder Meijers asked his son how good could he get. If he heard the right answer, he would offer to sponsor his quest to become a professional player.

"I thought he was joking at the time," said Meijers, who was born in South Africa, but has lived all over the world because of his father's career. "I just kind of laughed it off."

But a couple of months later, the father repeated the question. Jason thought about it for a minute and told him, "If I did this (practice) every day, I could probably get pretty far with it."

And so here we are.

For the past year, Meijers has worked with teaching pro Derek Uyeda at Grand del Mar Resort in San Diego. They work on everything, of course, but if you were thinking the short game is what separates handicap players from elite players, think again.

Truth is it really is about ball-striking. Once you become a plus handicap, great putting or pitching separates the elite, but to get there, forget about the "drive for show, putt for dough" adage. If you can't drive the ball well, you won't make it to scratch, much less a plus handicap.

"I went from a 10 to a 3 in one or two months, just straightening out that driver," Meijers said. "Because once you start avoiding O.B. or the hazards, you start shaving off those strokes."

And you'll also avoid the big numbers, which is critical. Players just can't make enough birdies to negate two or three double bogeys.

Meijers knows that firsthand. After a 71 on Tuesday on the North Course at Talking Stick, he followed with a 76 on the South Course, a round that included two doubles. He's now tied for 15th. 

"Those are the big numbers you have to avoid," said Meijers, who averages about three or four birdies a round. "It's just getting rid of those mistakes."


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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.