Newsmaker of the Year: No. 6, Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardDecember 12, 2016, 5:00 pm

(Editor's note: is counting down the top 10 newsmakers of 2016. Take a look at why each item made our list, along with a collection of their top stories from the year. Click here for the full list and release dates.)

Within three hours of having surgery in July to repair a torn labrum in his left hip Davis Love III was already back at work. Instead of perfecting a swing that has won 21 PGA Tour titles he was texting, talking, planning.

The two-time Ryder Cup captain spoke with Dr. Ara Suppiah, who would assist the U.S. team at this year’s matches, and went over details of an upcoming meeting. Love’s attention to detail and obsessiveness was unaffected by the procedure which would keep him off the golf course for nearly half the year.

Love would take a cup-half-full view of his surgery and the impending rehabilitation, using the extra free time to focus on the endless details that culminated at September’s matches.

“I think guys are tired of losing. They understand the commitment that Tiger [Woods], Phil [Mickelson], [Jordan] Spieth, Tom Lehman have made to this program, and they are ready to be a part of it,” Love said in January.

If America’s Ryder Cup fortunes had swung on the individual performances of its stars in recent years, this time it would take a village to end a winless streak in the matches that had stretched to three consecutive losses.

In 2015, Love estimated he spent as much time talking with his vice captains as he did his family. From the 2015 Ryder Cup task force was born a committee that includes three PGA of America officials, Love, Woods and Mickelson, but it turned into a much bigger job than even that group had anticipated.

Love and the other members of the committee tried to temper expectations, telling anyone who would listen that the changes made to the U.S. team process were focused on the future, not necessarily this year’s matches.

But if Love and his lieutenants clung to the company line, those outside the process were largely skeptical of the changes. Even those on the other side of the tee box found the entire situation curious.

“Definitely assembled the best task force ever, that's for sure,” Rory McIlroy cracked on the eve of the matches.

But this U.S. team was different, even the 11th-hour selection of Ryan Moore, who hadn’t even been fitted for his uniform prior to arriving at Hazeltine National, but embraced Love’s plan and the new process.

Hanging in the U.S. team room was a sign that read, “When you leave here: Don’t believe or fuel the hype. Support your teammates. Ignore the noise.”

The former directives were easy enough, with the U.S. team sweeping the Friday morning foursomes session on their way to a 5-3 Day 1 lead. Unlike in 2012 when the Europeans turned the tide with a late Saturday rally, the U.S. began Sunday’s singles with a 9 ½-to-6 ½ lead and all the momentum.

The latter, ignoring the noise, turned out to be difficult for everyone involved with crowds filling Hazeltine before dawn. The masses were treated to one of the most compelling matches in Ryder Cup history between Patrick Reed and McIlroy. The exchanges were epic and the leadoff singles match played holes 5-8 in a combined 9 under par.

After two years of change and plenty of attention to detail for Love, the noise following the U.S. team’s 17-11 victory was impossible to ignore.

Sept. 30: U.S. fan heckles Rose, makes putt for $100

Drama Off the Course

Willett apologizes for brother's rant

Mickelson apologizes to Sutton

U.S. Wins Back Ryder Cup

Oct. 2: U.S. completes the task, wins emotional Ryder Cup

Rory vs. Reed: As Good As It Gets

Phil, Sergio Halve Epic Match

Oct. 2: Euros gracious - and hilarious - in Ryder Cup defeat

The Aftermath

Oct. 5: Ryder Cup victory not the end, just the beginning

Oct. 6: Phil the big winner in Ryder Cup triumph

Nov. 1: McIlroy calls for change to Ryder Cup qualification

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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.