Chaos theory: The final FedEx Cup projections

By Rex HoggardSeptember 13, 2014, 11:12 pm

ATLANTA – Cameron Tringale is on the Mensa side of the PGA Tour intelligence curve.

He graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in management and his favorite book is “Pillars of the Earth,” all of which means he can tell you the difference between GIR and GNP.

If anyone in the field of 29 players assembled this week for the Tour Championship could explain the various FedEx Cup scenarios that could make the last Sunday of the 2013-14 season an exercise in long division, it would be Tringale.

“I think I had to win and, uh . . . Chris Kirk had to finish 12th or worse, and Billy (Horschel) needed to finish sixth or worse,” he explained. “I just knew that because my caddie told me.”

In Tringale’s defense, the national tax code would make an easier sound bite, and he’s hardly alone when it comes to blissful ignorance in regards to the litany of FedEx Cup scenarios.

“I knew Chris Kirk needed to have a really bad week,” Justin Rose said with a smile, when asked about his formula for FedEx Cup success at East Lake.

Few celebrations in golf require a slide rule, which is why the vast majority of players who make it to the Tour Championship decide that’s it better to not know how the sausage - eh, FedEx Cup champion - is made.

“I did well in 2010, because I really kind of kept my head down and didn't look at the projections and the leaderboard and I was just trying to win the golf tournament and let everything else fall as it may. Tomorrow I’m just going out there and do the same things,” said Jim Furyk, the 2010 FedEx Cup champion.

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A year later, when Bill Haas hoisted the silver chalice filled with $10 million, he didn’t even realize he’d won the FedEx Cup until well after the last putt had fallen.

For players, the dizzying number of possibilities is a competitive liability, and for the better part of three days, the science and scenarios have been rather straightforward. If Horschel or Rory McIlroy win the finale, the duo ended Day 3 tied atop the leaderboard at 9 under, they will cash the golden lottery ticket.

But other than in the case of the 2008 Tour Championship - when eventual champion Vijay Singh only had to remain upright for four days to claim the season-long award, a statistical anomaly that has since been remedied - Sunday at the finale has at least provided a measure of intrigue, and this year still has a measure of possibility.

If Horschel stumbles - remember, this is the same player that had a total of two top-10 finishes this season before pulling himself out of his slumber at TPC Boston - Furyk (T-4), Rickie Fowler (T-4), Rose (T-4) and Jason Day (T-4) could all send the Tour’s accounts into a frenzy.

For more than a month, your scribe has avoided the Tour’s master mathematician when it comes to the season-long arithmetic. You don’t talk pennant races in June and you don’t study FedEx Cup scenarios in August. But each Tour Championship Sunday, we reconnect.

At the risk of breaking the internet, Day can win the pot of gold if he wins the finale and Horschel finishes no better than in a six-way tie for second place; Fowler cashes in with a victory and no better than a solo third-place finish for Horschel; Furyk needs the win and Horschel to finish no better than a two-way tie for second; and if Dustin Johnson were to show up on Sunday at East Lake and win, the Tour would decline to comment.

None of those scenarios include your points leader Kirk, who stumbled on Day 3 with a 1-over 71 but could rally and make things even more interesting on Sunday.

Of course, the cleanest and most logical outcome would be if McIlroy closed out his Hall of Fame year with his fourth victory and first FedEx Cup title. Two years ago the world No. 1 fell victim to one of those complicated scenarios, when he finished tied for 10th place at East Lake after winning two playoff events but still lost the FedEx Cup to Brandt Snedeker.

“Would it be poetic justice? I mean, it would be a little,” said McIlroy following his third-round 67. “I'd feel really good about it just because of what happened in 2012, feeling as if I was a little bit hard done by.

“But at the same time, you have to accept that this is what the FedEx Cup playoffs are, this is what they're all about, about creating excitement, giving guys like Billy Horschel a chance to win that jackpot at the end of the year.”

Just twice in the FedEx Cup era, in 2008 when Singh won and 2009 when Tiger Woods claimed the cup, has the East Lake champion not hoisted both trophies late Sunday. And despite pages filled with endless projections, that’s the only scenario that matters to a player.

As for the rest of us, Sunday is finally the day to embrace the small print.

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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.