The Week That Was

By Mike RitzOctober 15, 2001, 4:00 pm
On the road again. I had not traveled since that horrific day. Covering the PGA Tour in Las Vegas was my first out-of-town assignment since September 11.
 
Like most of us, I was eager to see what security changes had taken place during the interim. I was not overly impressed. The taxi dropped me at the airports curb and I was shocked to see curbside check-in was available. I took advantage of the convenience and avoided that dreadfully long line inside which had awaited me.
 
I was informed a new regulation had just gone into effect and carry-on baggage would now be limited to just one piece, plus a purse or a laptop computer. I gave up the purse and kept the Toshiba. The line at the security checkpoint moved quickly enough perhaps, too quickly. As I approached the metal detectors and x-ray machines, we travelers were told to take our computers out of their bags; but we were not told to turn them on why not? How could that civilian looking at the scanner possibly know that it really was a harmless computer?
 
I took off my watch with its metal band and emptied my pockets of a complete handful of coins, with the full intention of putting them in one of those trays, to be passed around the detector. But the civilian employee refused my offering and said No, dont worry, go on through. I passed through without any alarm sounding. I wondered what else people were carrying through. No secondary search, either. Was this really safer than before?
 
Once on the plane, more questions. If youre going to take away metal knives, why allow metal forks? And how about wine bottles and real glass glasses. Weve all seen those movies where bottles and glasses were quickly transformed into weapons. Is there a problem giving everybody plastic cups?
 
The travel experience was more than just noteworthy; and not just for me. Many of the players in the Vegas field had not been on tour since before September 11. Kenny Perry had been home for the past seven weeks, proudly helping to coach his sons high school golf team. It felt funny to travel again, he said. To see those M.P.s with those M-16s over their shoulders was quite an eye-opening experience. Kenny was shaking his head. Ive seen them over in Europe and to see them in my own country was quite shocking.
 
The air raids on Afghanistan and the Taliban began last Sunday and continued every day as this golf tournament was played. The one-month anniversary of the September 11 attacks came on the day of the second round of play. Memorial services and funerals for the victims of terrorism ' our fellow Americans ' continued on a daily basis. Then came more anthrax and the warning from the F.B.I.
 
Golf continued.
 
With all that is going on in our world with all of the angst how is it possible for these PGA Tour players to continue to play their game? How difficult is it to do their jobs? To focus on the task at hand?
 
Tom Lehman: Im completely committed, and believe in the fact that we should be doing exactly what we always have done. I dont want to be dictated to how Im going to live my life. Hey, were golfers and lets go play golf. Toms comments came after shooting 63, 62 in the first two rounds to lead the tournament. Do what you always do, he added. Dont let somebody else tell you how to live. I think thats really what courage is about ' over-coming your fears and getting out and doing it.
 
Like all of us, Kenny Perry has spent much of the last month glued to the news. When I get out here, thats kind of four hours away from the world and I really dont think that much about it until I get off the golf course and watch the news. Then I focus on the country. Perry says golfs fans and players have a great deal in common these days. This is my escape, right here. My four hours away.
 
John Cook has a 15-year-old son and hes worried what a war will mean for him in a few years. But like his peers on tour, Cook plays on. This is what we do. This is our livelihood. John echoes President Bushs wish for all Americans to live their normal lives. Obviously there are way more important things in the world than our golf, Cook says. But thats what we do and thats why our families are able to live the way they do, and thats how we take care of our families. With a look of determination, Cook adds, Thats the best thing that we can do. Keep that attitude, understand whats going on and give the President our support, give our troops our support, give our agencies all of our support. But go along and do our business that were supposed to do it.
 
During these times that try mens souls, is golf just a silly little game that has little purpose or meaning? Perhaps. To paraphrase our Declaration of Independence: All men are endowed with certain unalienable rights, among those, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
 
Play away please.
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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.