Garcia leading BMW, peaking ahead of Ryder Cup

By Randall MellSeptember 6, 2014, 12:34 am

CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. – The winds came up Friday, cold and blustery over the BMW Championship.

It didn’t matter, because there is nothing that makes Sergio Garcia’s blood warm like the calendar turning to September in a Ryder Cup year.

Garcia burns for the Ryder Cup, and he appears ready to begin taking his game up another gear with the matches at Gleneagles in Scotland just three weeks away.

Garcia blitzed Cherry Hills with a 6-under-par 64, taking the second-round lead in the third leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs. At 8-under 132, he is a shot ahead of Ryan Palmer (64) and two ahead of world No. 1 Rory McIlroy (67) and Billy Horschel (66).

It’s a strong leaderboard heading into the weekend, with Bubba Watson (66) among the group of players just four back and with Adam Scott (66), Rickie Fowler (66), Jordan Spieth (70) and Henrik Stenson (69) five back.

Garcia won the Qatar Masters earlier this year, his 11th European Tour title. He’s looking for his ninth PGA Tour title, his first since winning the Wyndham Championship two years ago.

You don’t usually see Garcia get overly excited about taking the lead midway through a tournament. It might have something to do with the fact that he has seized 36-hole leads nine times in his PGA Tour career but closed the door just once. He’s 0 for his last eight.

Still, Garcia is looking to build momentum for Gleneagles, and he isn’t about to get ahead of himself.

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“After a couple weeks where I didn't play my best, and I didn't feel quite that comfortable, it's nice to at least put two solid rounds together here,” Garcia said. “I'm looking forward to playing well on the weekend, too. And then, obviously, get ready for the Ryder Cup.”

Garcia is 16-8-4 in Ryder Cup play, helping the Euros win the cup four of the six times he has played in the matches.

Wearing Euro blue on Friday, Garcia stirred up the crowd early with some front-nine fireworks. He holed a bunker shot at the second hole for birdie. He holed a 126-yard lob wedge for eagle at the seventh hole.

Even an earache didn’t slow him. Garcia said his left ear began bothering him just before he holed that lob wedge for eagle.

“It was a little bit uncomfortable,” Garcia said. “At first it was like a beeping sound in my ear, and then it kind of popped. I mean it's happened before, but usually I kind of blow it, and it gets back."

But, for some reason, it just didn't feel quite the same.

“It’s definitely better. It was uncomfortable probably for five or six holes, and then it got a little bit better . . . But it shouldn't be too big of a deal.”

Cherry Hills, playing firm and fast on Thursday, was softened by a little more than a half inch of rain over night. While more receptive greens helped scoring, blustery winds were a factor, making approach shots tricky to the smallish greens here.

Garcia hit just five fairways and only 10 greens in regulation, but his short game made up for most of his mistakes. He needed just 21 putts Friday. He scrambled, holding together his round in the end. He pulled his approach at the 17th into the water, but he made a nice up-and-down to save par. He rolled in a 13-foot birdie at the last to take sole possession of the lead.

“It's nice to be able to put yourself up there as often as possible, but we still have two days to go,” Garcia said. “I need to feel like I played better than I did the last two days. I didn't play badly, don't get me wrong, but I feel like I was playing better at the British Open and at Bridgestone. So hopefully I'll be able to do that.”

All of Europe will take notice if he does.

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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.

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Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

“Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

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“We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010.