Davies misses Hall of Fame ceremony at St. Andrews

By Rex HoggardJuly 13, 2015, 9:32 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Dressed up in a drastically revamped selection process and a historic new venue, Monday’s induction ceremony for the World Golf Hall of Fame class of 2015 was almost perfect.

Almost.

Of all the legends assembled at iconic Younger Hall in St. Andrews the only missing element was probably the most important.

Laura Davies – who along with Mark O’Meara, David Graham and the late A.W. Tillinghast comprised the class of 2015 – was unable to attend the ceremony because her flight was delayed from London after she tied for 47th on Sunday at the U.S. Women’s Open.

Davies watched the induction from her car on the way to St. Andrews and arrived in time to attend the reception, a wildly curious and unfortunate turn of events considering that both LPGA commissioner Mike Whan and USGA executive director Mike Davis somehow managed to find their way from Lancaster, Pa., site of last week’s Women’s Open, to the Home of Golf.

“Today I'm deeply embarrassed to be a member [of the Hall of Fame]. More effort should have been made to ensure [Davies] made it to her own induction,” Karrie Webb tweeted.

But in a pre-taped acceptance speech, Davies seemed to set the tone for the moment, “I liked to be the center of attention on the course, not off it,” she said.



Former LPGA commissioner Charlie Meacham introduced Davies and also accepted her Hall of Fame trophy, adding a measure of levity to what was otherwise an awkward situation.

“I’ve had a recurring dream that one day I’d be in the Hall of Fame and I’d wake up and think, ‘Good God, Charlie. The only way you’ll ever get in is if you steal the trophy,” said Meacham, who then proceeded to collect Davies’ trophy and exit the stage.

Yet while Davies’ absence was certainly noticed, it didn’t sour what was otherwise a solid re-opening for the World Golf Hall of Fame after the organization’s most dramatic overhaul since moving to St. Augustine, Fla.

In 2014, officials announced a revamped selection process with the creation of a 16-member committee and moved to a biennial induction schedule.

The Hall also announced it was taking its show on the road, rotating the induction ceremonies around the globe, starting with this week’s event in St. Andrews to correspond with the Open Championship.

“Having the induction here is an indication of the evolution of the Hall of Fame,” said Jack Peter, the Hall’s chief operating officer.

The Home of Golf proved to be the perfect venue for this year’s induction, with a lengthy list of current Hall of Famers in attendance including Annika Sorenstam, Bernhard Langer and Arnold Palmer.

“The fact that the induction is being held here at St. Andrews means so much to me,” O’Meara said.

The 2015 class is also an indication that the new selection process, however streamlined, is in tune with the standards held by previous classes.

O’Meara is a 16-time winner on the PGA Tour and became the first player to collect two majors in a single season in his 40s when he won the 1998 Masters and Open Championship.

Graham’s career was just as impressive, 36 international victories and two majors (1981 U.S. Open and 1979 PGA Championship), and his acceptance speech was a rare blend of class, humility and emotion that was highlighted with an anecdote involving a round of golf with president George H.W. Bush shortly after learning he’d been selected to join the Hall.

“I told Bush of my selection and after my first shot he said, ‘Nice shot, Hall of Famer,’” Graham said. “That was the first time I heard that and from the president, which was pretty special.”

Tillinghast died in 1942 after designing some of the United States’ best golf courses including Bethpage Black, Baltusrol and Winged Foot. Long-time English golf writer John Hopkins introduced Tillinghast simply as the “forgotten genius of American golf course architecture.”

Overall, the new process and new place seemed to be a step forward for the Hall, which has been in search of an identity for some time. Even Davies’ awkward absence couldn’t change that.

“The Hall of Fame is exactly where she belongs,” Meacham said.

And it was just as noteworthy on Monday at St. Andrews that the Hall of Fame seems to have arrived at a better place as well.

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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.