Wyndham winner Love refuses to give in to age

By Rex HoggardAugust 24, 2015, 12:49 am

GREENSBORO, N.C. – As if the Wyndham Championship were his first PGA Tour victory, Davis Love III panicked when he reached the microphone on Sunday and started thanking everyone in the St. Simons Island, Ga., phone book.

There was his swing coach, his sports psychologist, his manager, his brother and his physical trainer, along with a physical therapist.

“We could sit here until midnight and I could thank people, therapists, doctors, trainers, sports psychologists,” Love said Sunday at Sedgefield Country Club.

Even his son, Dru, received an assist from Love, who at 51 years young became the third-oldest winner in PGA Tour history.

“My son broke his putter; we haven’t gotten the whole story on that, so I shipped him some,” Love laughed. “After [foot] surgery, I went looking for a putter to use and the only one I could find was one of his old ones.”

Getting Love to his 21st Tour victory truly took a village.

Love used that hand-me-down putter to charge from four strokes back to start the final round and win the Wyndham Championship for the third time much like, as fate would have it, he did in 1992 when he closed with a 62 in brutal conditions to win by six strokes.

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The grandfather went out in 31, a nine that included two bogeys and an eagle, to move into the hunt and added a second eagle on the back nine to finish with a 64 and a 17-under total.

After that he waited more than an hour as each contender came up short, much like he’d waited seven years since his last Tour victory at the 2008 Children’s Miracle Network Classic – impatiently.

By his own admission, Love is the ultimate “type A,” driven by the task at hand and haunted by inactivity. If idle hands are truly the devil’s workshop, then Love has been cleansed by activity.

It’s why at 51 when most of his friends are off enjoying the golden parachute that is the Champions Tour he has remained focused on the Big Leagues. Even after a career that seems destined for the Hall of Fame, Love clung to the notion that if his body would cooperate there was still work to be done.

There were times when his resolve drifted, like after neck surgery in 2013 and foot surgery earlier this year.

“I had some doubts,” he conceded. “The neck surgery went pretty smoothly, this one [foot surgery] went smoothly but the rehab didn't come around as fast as I wanted.

“You just wonder, is the body going to wear out. I've seen it with a lot of great players in my day, the only thing that stopped them was their body wearing out.”

Love knew that if his body was willing his mind and game were still up to the task, as evidenced by his play this week at Sedgefield Country Club where he averaged 303 yards off the tee and hit 56 of 72 greens in regulation.

He was also driven by the reality that next season will be his 30th on Tour, a benchmark that deserved his best.

“It kills me the last couple of years not to play in The Players,” said Love, who is a two-time winner of the Tour’s marquee event but last played TPC Sawgrass in 2013. “I did not want to end not playing The Players again or playing the Masters again.”

Getting there, however, had started to look like a long shot.

Love began this week 186th on the FedEx Cup points list and hadn’t had a top-3 finish on Tour since 2009. The foot surgery that sidelined him for almost three months was more extensive than he’d expected and until the Wyndham Championship he’d struggled to walk 72 holes in a single week.

His attention had also been pulled in other directions. Last year’s U.S. Ryder Cup task force thrust him back into the role of captain for next year’s matches and he was appointed for another term on the Tour’s policy board earlier this year.

But the call of competition kept bringing him back to the range. It wasn’t that he had something to prove as much as it was a desire to exit the game, whenever that moment occurs, on his own terms.

It’s why his one-stroke victory on Sunday at the Wyndham Championship was much more than just another trophy on an already crowded mantelpiece.

“It means everything, to have neck surgery and then foot surgery. I mean, up until two weeks ago his foot was still bothering him and we were talking to the surgeon,” said Mac Barnhardt, Love’s manager with Lagardere Unlimited. “A week before the PGA we’re out practicing and it was still hurting but he just kept going.”

The reluctant senior, he’s played just four times on the Champions Tour since turning 50 in April 2014, now has the freedom to dictate his own exit strategy thanks to another Sunday charge.

And why wouldn’t he keep playing?

“I love the fact that he’s playing out here. It’s brilliant,” said Paul Casey, who at 13 years Love’s junior finished two strokes back at Sedgefield. “Why wouldn’t you?”

Love answered that question on Sunday in a blur of birdies and eagles. In simplest terms, he continues to press ahead in a young man’s game because it’s what he does best.

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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.