Ko, Park battle for millions, awards at LPGA finale

By Randall MellNovember 16, 2015, 4:35 pm

Lydia Ko vs. Inbee Park. 

They just might win all the big prizes at the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla.

It seems right that so many of the important awards and honors that will be handed out this week come down to these two, because their shadows have fallen hard over the season.

With her victory Sunday at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, Park claimed her fifth LPGA title of the year, equaling Ko for most on tour. Park’s victories include two majors, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and the Ricoh Women’s British Open. Ko’s includes her first major victory, the Evian Championship, where she closed with a final-round 63, maybe the greatest round ever played in a women’s major.

Ko and Park aren’t just 1-2 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings. They’re 1-2 in every statistical category or competition that really matters to LPGA pros with Ko in front of Park in all of those except scoring.

With everything that’s at stake for these two this week, including the $1 million Race to the CME Globe jackpot, you could argue there’s more pressure on them than there was in any major this year.

There are also significant LPGA Hall of Fame ramifications in play.

While Park brings winning momentum to Tiburon Golf Club, Ko brings her own good vibes after taking off last week to gain some extra rest for the season finale. Ko won the CME Group Tour Championship last year and also claimed the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot.

Here’s an overview of what’s at stake in Naples:

Rolex Player of the Year Award – The LPGA doesn’t decide its Player of the Year by a vote among tour membership the way the PGA Tour does. The LPGA’s award is decided in a points-based competition.

Ko, 18, will be looking to make more history this week as she bids to become the youngest LPGA Player of the Year. She became the youngest Rolex world No. 1 back in February and the youngest woman to win a major in September at Evian.

Ko will be in the driver’s seat at Tiburon as she leads Park by three points in the Rolex Player of the Year race. A victory is worth 30 points with second place worth 12 points, third worth nine and points awarded down to a single point for 10th place.

Park, 27, is seeking to win her second POY award. She also claimed it in 2013, when she won the first three majors of the year. Park has to finish at least eighth this week to have a shot at the award. If she finishes eighth and Ko doesn’t record a top-10 finish, they’ll tie for the POY award.

Vare Trophy – With back-to-back birdies to close out a 64 in her victory Sunday in Mexico City, Park moved ahead of Ko with the LPGA’s best scoring average. With a 69.43 scoring average, Park is .016 points ahead of Ko.

Ko is seeking to become the youngest winner of the Vare Trophy while Park is seeking to win the award for the second time in her career. Park won her first in 2012.

Money title – Ko tops the money list with $2,758,417 in earnings. Park is second with $2,570,096. The first-place check Sunday is $500,000. Park won the money title in 2012 and ’13.

Race to the CME Globe – The $1 million jackpot goes to the winner of the season-long points race.

Ko won the CME Group Tour Championship last year and also claimed the CME Globe jackpot, walking away with $1.5 million, the biggest single payday in the history of women’s golf.

Only the top nine point earners coming into the CME Group Tour Championship have a shot at the $1 million jackpot. The points are being re-set for this week.

Here’s the top nine in points in the re-set:

1. Lydia Ko: 5,000
2. Inbee Park: 4,500
3. Stacy Lewis: 4,000
4. Sei Young Kim: 3,600
5. Lexi Thompson: 3,200
6. So Yeon Ryu: 2,800
7. Amy Yang: 2,400
8. Anna Nordqvist: 2,000
9. Shanshan Feng: 1,600

By virtue of ranking among the top three in points, Ko, Park and Lewis have guaranteed that they will win the $1 million jackpot if they win the CME Group Tour Championship.

A victory in Naples is worth 3,500 CME points, second place is worth 2,400 points, third is worth 2,200 points, fourth is worth 1,800 points ... with points awarded down to 10 for finishing 72nd.

Yang, Nordqvist and Feng must win the CME Group Tour Championship to have a shot at the jackpot. If Feng wins the tournament, she needs Ko to finish 55th or worse to claim the jackpot, Park to finish 10th or worse, Lewis to finish 7th or worse and on like that for the eight players ahead of her in the points standings.

Hall of Fame – Park’s victory Sunday earned her another LPGA Hall of Fame point, moving her to 26 HOF points, one short of qualifying for induction.

Park doesn’t even have to win this week to reach the 27-point requirement. She has three ways to get the point she needs. A victory is worth one point, the Rolex Player of the Year Award is worth one point and the Vare Trophy is worth one point.

If Park reaches 27 this week, she will still have some work to do to meet all the LPGA Hall of Fame criteria. She needs to be an active member of the LPGA for 10 full seasons to be eligible for induction. This is her ninth full season.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.”

Getty Images

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.