Woods shows patience, but time grows short

By Randall MellJanuary 28, 2017, 1:18 am

SAN DIEGO – There was a fairly large upset Friday at Torrey Pines.

Tiger Woods missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open and wasn’t all that miffed about it.

In fact, this may have been the best he has ever felt about missing a cut. It wasn’t just the words he used after. We’ve heard him sound as if he’s in denial after failure, dismissing issues plaguing his game, but there was something about his body language Friday as he made his way around Torrey Pines’ North Course. Yes, he wasn’t happy with all his shots, but you could sense his hopefulness in what we didn’t see from him.

We didn’t see a lot of thumped clubs or muttering under his breath. We didn’t see the untempered frustration we’ve seen in the past.

“I just feel like I’ve really made some nice strides with my game, but I haven’t tested it yet,” Woods said.

Woods failed here in a large way, missing the cut by a whopping four shots. That’s four missed cuts in his last seven PGA Tour starts (Yeah, OK, that dates back to 2015’s woes). It’s the first time he has ever missed the cut at Torrey Pines, where he has won eight times.

But afterward, Woods sounded like an NFL coach evaluating a preseason game.

There’s a bigger picture he’s focused upon. There’s a real major championship season looming.

“I’m trying to get ready for the first full week in April,” Woods said of the Masters. “That’s where eventually I want to have everything together. That’s the plan. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to win this golf tournament on the weekend, but I have next week.”

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Woods' efforts here can best be described as patient, and that’s the real upset. Even he seems to be surprised by the patience he is showing as he gets himself ready for the Masters.

“I’m not [normally] that kind of guy,” Woods said after following Thursday’s 76 on the South Course with a 72 on the North Course. “But having my two little ones definitely taught me how to be more patient. But, still, I would lean on the side of impatience.”

While Woods is cutting himself some slack making his first PGA Tour start in 17 months, understanding all the rust he needs to work off, the Masters is only 10 weeks away.

That puts Woods on a cram course of preparation.

It’s why this is the first of four starts in five weeks.

“The only concern is that I have a long flight ahead of me,” Woods said.

It’s 8,399 miles from San Diego to Dubai, where Woods will play the Omega Dubai Desert Classic next week. The best news for Woods is that his back, his knees, his neck, they all held up nicely playing a tough test at Torrey with all the thick, gnarly rough.

Woods leaves for Dubai encouraged by Friday’s play.

In that 76 Thursday on the more brutish South Course, Woods hit just four fairways and just nine greens in regulation. In his 72 on the North Course, which is shorter and less penal, he hit 10 fairways and 11 greens in regulation.

If Woods is going to compete at Augusta National, he needs to corral his driver. He needs it to beat today’s long-hitting young stars.

“Some of the things I fixed, everything was flowing nicely,” Woods said about Thursday’s sluggish start where he made three bogeys in a row and then a double bogey on the back nine.

Woods gave himself more chances on the North Course, but he could convert only two birdie putts.

“I hit it much better today,” Woods said. “I made a couple little tweaks and changes in my swing and my setup, which was good.”

With the Masters bearing down, we’ll see how long Woods can remain patient, because he’s got a long way to go to contend for his 15th major championship victory.

“It’s tough physically, it’s tough mentally,” Woods said. “For us to get major championships and get rolling and to win those and peak at the right time, it’s tough. Trying to piece everything together and get ready for that week in April is the goal.”

Time’s ticking on Woods' preparation and his patience.

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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.