Cut Line: New Day, old court case, new media

By Rex HoggardNovember 13, 2015, 3:38 pm

Jason Day’s year keeps getting better, 2 1/2 years of litigation has done little to clarify Vijay Singh’s lawsuit against the PGA Tour, and the new golf year has brought with it new rules for video streaming.

Made Cut

Good year. Jason Day in 2015 won his first major, a three-stroke masterpiece at Whistling Straits over Jordan Spieth, moved to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, and on Wednesday welcomed baby No. 2 to the family, Lucy Adenil.

Day, who turned 28 years old a day after Lucy was born, also won multiple Tour events (five) for the first time in his career and came up just short in the FedEx Cup race to Spieth.

And if all that wasn’t enough, the year’s not over for the Australian, who plans to play next month’s Hero World Challenge.

Not your average bridesmaid. Some would consider Kevin Kisner’s four runner-up finishes in 2015 missed opportunities, but the 31-year old figures his four also-rans are a sign of improvement.

“He has taken all the positives from playing that great,” said Kisner’s swing coach John Tillery. “He wants to win, but validation for him as a player is complete. He’s frustrated, but it’s been nothing but a confidence boost for him.”

Tillery also points out that Kisner has run into some “buzzsaws” this year, including a determined Jim Furyk at the RBC Heritage and red-hot Rickie Fowler at the Players.

It was a similar scenario last week at the WGC-HSBC Champions, when Kisner finished two strokes behind Russell Knox following a final-round 68.

It’s a matter of perspective - where some see a bridesmaid, Kisner chooses to focus on the opportunities that bring him one step closer to a breakthrough.

Tweet of the week.

His next haircut might be his last. The good news is that his first trip to the winner's circle, which came earlier this month at the CIMB Classic, won't be his last either.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Anti-doping dilemmas. As Vijay Singh’s lawsuit against the Tour slowly inches into its third year, it became clear last week via a litany of filings in the case just how nuanced the world of performance-enhancing drugs can be.

Singh was initially sanctioned to serve a 90-day suspension after admitting he used a banned substance (IGF-1), but the Tour later rescinded that suspension, with commissioner Tim Finchem explaining, “[the World Anti-Doping Agency] clarified that it no longer considers the use of deer antler spray to be prohibited unless a positive test results.”

Court documents paint a different picture. Just three days after the Sports Illustrated story was published that linked Singh to the use of the Ultimate Spray – and nearly three months before Finchem announced the Tour was dropping the case – WADA responded to a request for clarification on deer antler spray in an e-mail to Drug Free Sport New Zealand: “WADA takes a very similar approach for deer antler as we do for colostrum or some other dietary supplements . . . Deer Antler Spray is not prohibited per se, but WADA recommends athletes be extremely vigilant with this supplement because it may contain IGF-1.”

That “clarification” is just one of many examples of how Singh’s lawsuit, as well as the Tour’s anti-doping program, is far more complicated than some may think.

Caddie carousel. With few exceptions, nothing lasts forever, but some changes are more surprising than others.

While changing caddies is a part of life on the Tour, news this week that Matt Kuchar had split with longtime looper Lance Bennett qualified as a bona fide surprise.

“It’s a hard decision,” Kuchar told this week. “It’s hard to say, it was just one of those times where it was time to try something different.”

The move seems to have had a domino effect in the caddyshack, with Kuchar hiring John Wood, Hunter Mahan’s caddie, to replace Bennett.

There’s no word on where Bennett will land, or who will take Wood’s place on Mahan’s bag, but it will likely lead to more surprises in the caddie ranks.

Missed Cut

Up-stream moves. The Tour unveiled a new policy for streaming applications for this season, giving players guidelines for using applications like Periscope and Meerkat at tournament sites.

Players are allowed to stream video from practice areas and golf courses, but not during tournament or pro-am rounds. Stream any video for “commercial purposes" is also prohibited.

The Tour also added a final, heavy-handed clause to the new policy: “all media captured at, and/or emanating from, the site of a tournament, PGA Tour shall own all video streamed.”

Nothing like taking the “social” out of social media.

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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.