Korda's performance cheers ailing swing coach

By Randall MellJanuary 24, 2014, 10:09 pm

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – Jessica Korda delivered good medicine to her ailing swing coach.

Every well struck shot was a soothing tonic Friday with Korda fighting her way to the top of the leaderboard through stiff winds at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic. A 7-under-par 66 put her a shot ahead of Paula Creamer (65) in the second round of the season-opening event.

Back in Bradenton, Fla., where the IMG Academy’s Grant Price is waging a more serious fight of his own, there was delight watching Korda’s performance in the Golf Channel telecast.

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Korda and Price have been working together the last two weeks overhauling Korda’s swing under challenging circumstances.

Price (right), who is a nephew of Hall of Famer Nick Price, was diagnosed with stage 3 testicular cancer nine months ago. He endured 4 1/2 months of chemotherapy last summer, then major surgery last month, a retroperitoneal lymph dissection that left him with a scar from his sternum to his groin.

When Korda contacted Price a few weeks ago, he didn’t hesitate to offer his help. Korda, 20, struggled with her swing last year, and she believed odd habits led to a nagging left wrist injury and shoulder problem. She thought it was time to find a new swing coach, to rebuild a swing, and she turned to Price. They knew each other from Korda’s days as a student at the IMG Academy.

“Grant saved me back then,” Korda said. “He saved me from quitting the game.”

Back when Korda was 15, she said she struggled wondering if the golf life and all it entailed was really for her.

“At that age, you’re trying to figure things out,” Korda said.

Price, 36, helped her figure it out. His love of the game was infectious.

“He’s just so super positive, such a happy guy,” Korda said. “I think it’s what I’m really feeding off in our work together.”

Price is on leave from the IMG Academy, and he says he terribly misses his work there. So, the time with Korda has been good for Price, too, even though their first session at the Ritz-Carlton range in Bradenton was trying earlier this month. Price was mostly limited to sitting in a golf cart. He’s still healing, still recovering, still fighting.

“I went into this openly,” Price told GolfChannel.com in a telephone interview. “My health’s going the right way, but day to day, I don’t know my limits. There’s only a certain amount I can manage.”

Price says he’s getting stronger, and the work is good therapy.



“The thing I loved watching her play today was how much she was smiling, how much she was enjoying playing,” Price said. “That is so underrated. The fact that she was enjoying herself told me she’s comfortable with what we’re doing.”

Korda says she has changed her grip, setup and swing plane under Price.

“I’m so proud of Jessica,” Price said. “It was very brave of her to step out with this new concept and go with it.”

When Price first met with Korda this month, he saw she had lost clubhead speed with the evolution of her swing. He also saw problems with her feet and balance. Those issues were leading to a “hand track” that was too vertical, and then too steep, causing her to take some jarring divots that may have contributed to her wrist and shoulder issues.

“We’re just working on keeping everything on plane, keeping it really simple, to where if something goes wrong on the golf course, I can fix it myself,” Korda said. “Just keeping everything on plane, so I don’t have to use my hands as much as I did, which is taking a lot of pressure off my shoulder and wrist.”

Korda, who broke through to win the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open at the start of the 2012 season, is in position to make a weekend run at her second title. She has made 15 birdies over two days on the Ocean Club Golf Course.

“The fact that she’s been able to comprehend and implement the adjustments so quickly is a testament to how savvy she is with the golf swing,” Price said.

There’s more than knowledge exchanged when Price and Korda work. There’s perspective. Price is married with two children, a 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.

“I just love his kids,” Korda said. “They’re the sweetest kids ever.”

Korda’s swing changes may be a work in progress, but it’s proving therapeutic for both Price and Korda.

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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.