All over the map

By Rex HoggardSeptember 7, 2011, 7:39 pm

If ever there was a reason to embrace contraction golf’s dizzying late-season line-up certainly deserves consideration. For all those who view this month’s Tour Championship in Atlanta the end of the 2011 road for golf we give you Andres Romero.

Angel Cabrera was the top-ranked Argentine when the teams for this year’s World Cup were set, but he declined the invitation, forcing Romero to attempt qualifying, but the qualifier will be held the same week as the Tour Championship in Venezuela. Currently the affable Argentine is 59th in FedEx Cup points and will be forced into a difficult decision if he plays his way into East Lake.

It’s a scheduling tale of woe that’s become familiar for international types in recent years, but at least Romero has a choice. Jason Day and Adam Scott were never even asked to play the team event Nov. 24-27 in China despite being the top-ranked Australians – Nos. 9 and 17, respectively – on July 18 when the teams were set. There was no reason to ask considering the World Cup conflicts with the Australian PGA, an event both players were sure to play.

“Honestly it’s a tough date for us,” Scott said. “I would love to play (the World Cup) but if we do we would get crucified at home.”

And it’s not just the Australians who have been crossed up by the game’s version of scheduling sudoku. The South Africans also were faced with a difficult decision to either play the Presidents Cup or the South African Open the same week in November.

“The European Tour wants to end their season at the Race to Dubai. The South African Tour, we used to start the next season in December. And now they have got all those tournaments that they need to move to before the Race to Dubai, and so they have run out of weeks,” Els said earlier this year at Doral when asked about the Presidents Cup-South African Open conflict.

“Obviously (Tour commissioner) Tim Finchem put his slot in there first, but you know, with all of these tournaments that they need to shuffle around, they were going to overlap some tournament over the Presidents Cup and it happened that the South African Open is the one. So it's a bit of a problem.”

The powers that be scrambled and the South African Open date was pushed back a week, but the likes of Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel still had to choose between playing the World Cup or their national championship. They picked the World Cup.

When is more less? When players are forced to make decisions based on perceptions rather than pure competitive considerations.

The last two months of the year have become a competitive chess game for global players. Players like Graeme McDowell, who will skip this year’s Chevron World Challenge, which he won in a playoff last year over Tiger Woods, because he will  be in China playing the World Cup the week before and is scheduled to play the European Tour’s season-ending event in Dubai the week after the Chevron.

The world may be shrinking, but three weeks on three different continents (Asia, Middle East and North America) is more than even the most well-traveled player can stomach.

The victims, of course, are not the players. Scott, Day and McDowell will all survive the free-for-all that has become the game’s “off-season.” We’re not so sure, however, about events like the World Cup, which has been played since 1953 when it was called the Canada Cup.

Instead of a Day-Scott two-ball, a tandem that would likely be a prohibitive favorite considering both players’ current form, World Cup officials get Richard Green and Brendan Jones, your Nos. 69 and 86 in world, respectively.

It’s a similar conflict that will keep young star Ryo Ishikawa out of the World Cup, which is played opposite the Casio World Open on the Japan Golf Tour. Yuta Ikeda and Tetsuji Hiratsuka will represent Japan, both fine players but neither can match the marquee of the Bashful Prince.

In this case, too much of a good thing is anything but good, and the situation only promises to get worse as tournaments vie for better spots on the calendar to attract stronger fields.

The solutions are simple enough but not likely because it would require that the PGA Tour and European Tour condense there seasons to leave room for the world’s lesser circuits. That would require the globe’s top dogs to give ground, and, as we’ve learned, they just don’t do that.

Which brings the conversation back to the prospect of a global tour to cure the late-season mishmash and put some order into the world of chaos that currently rules the year’s final months.

Perhaps Greg Norman was right, maybe a world tour is inevitable, but at this juncture it doesn’t seem imminent. Until then the likes of Romero, Day and Scott will have to make tough choices, and tournaments like the World Cup and South African Open will inevitably suffer.

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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.