Plan of attack

By Rex HoggardAugust 17, 2011, 5:46 pm

For 13 years it was hard, if not impossible, to question the means to Tiger Woods’ historic ends. His yearly schedule throughout his march to Jack Nicklaus’ major championship benchmark has been as productive as it has been virtually unchanged.

Since 1997, Woods’ first full year on the PGA Tour, he’s played more than 20 events just three times and hasn’t exceeded 17 events in a single calendar since 2006. It adds up to a 16.7-event average (nearly identical, interestingly enough, to Nicklaus’ career average of 16.8 events from 1962-1986). Although Woods’ yearly average was low by Tour standards, considering his career scorecard it’s a reality that has defied debate.

But that was before he signed for a front-nine 42 at May’s Players Championship, before he went on the “DL” for three months, before he finished tied for 37th at the WGC- Bridgestone Invitational and missed the cut at the PGA Championship with rounds of 77-73.

Since 2007 Woods has played a “full” dance card just once (2009) as a result of an assortment of injuries, both physical and personal. That his last major victory was in ’08 and he’s likely bound for his second consecutive season without a Tour title may simply be another symptom of the larger malaise. Or maybe it is the ailment.

“I need to get out there and get the reps in,” Woods said last Wednesday at Atlanta Athletic Club.

It is here where Woods’ actions and his anecdotal comments seem to diverge.

Woods’ tattered left Achilles’ tendon has relegated him to the bench for much of the season, but by all accounts the game’s most mysterious left leg is officially off the shelf and ready for prime time. Yet Woods remains on hiatus in south Florida.

He didn’t qualify for the upcoming FedEx Cup playoffs, which means his next possible Tour start would be in Las Vegas in late September. Asked on Friday at the PGA Championship Woods said he “might” play a Fall Series or European Tour event, but stressed that his next “scheduled” start is currently November’s Australian Open, the week before the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne.

Woods’ retooled action may work in the south Florida lab with swing coach Sean Foley close by, but until it is tested on a Tour Sunday it remains a work in progress. So why not add a Fall Series start? He’s a two-time champion at Disney, is close enough to Sea Island (Ga.) Resort to commute to the McGladrey Classic via “Air Tiger” and, as we all know by now, he knows his way around Vegas.

Better yet, why not play an event on the European Tour?

For the first time in his career he can play the European circuit without having to request a “competing-event release” from the Tour because he’s not qualified for the playoffs, would likely be able to negotiate a healthy appearance fee and Colin Montgomerie recently said he has extended an invitation to Woods to play next week’s Johnnie Walker Championship in Scotland.

“It would be superb if he accepted,” Monty said. “I know he has his children to think about, and all that sort of stuff that goes with family commitments, but wouldn’t it be great if he did say yes to any of our European Tour events? If you don’t ask, you don’t get, so it’s worth a go.”

But this goes beyond “reps” or a perceived rehab start. Woods is on pace to fall outside of the top 50 in the World Golf Ranking by the end of the year, although he could stem that slide at the Australian Open and his own Chevron World Challenge, a silly-season event played in December that doles out ranking points.

At his current rate he could in theory drop outside the top 64, which would keep him out of the 2012 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, likely his second scheduled start next season after Torrey Pines.

Nor is he currently qualified for the WGC-HSBC Champions event in China at the end of October. Woods must crack the top 25 in the World Ranking by Oct. 17, the Monday after the McGladrey event, to qualify for the limited-field tournament which he has played the last two years. Currently, he would be the 14th alternate for the HSBC, just behind Brendan Steele.

Adding a stray event or two to his schedule could also help U.S. Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples, who has made it clear Woods will be one of his two captain’s picks, a decision that has everything to do with Woods’ stellar record in the matches (18-11-1) and not his pedestrian play this season.

Woods’ former swing coach Hank Haney recently tweeted a familiar line that seems to apply to the current schedule conundrum. “Golf doesn’t lend itself to instant analysis.” For 13 years that has certainly been the golden rule when it came to all things Woods.

But that reality has changed, and maybe it’s time Woods changed the way he looks at his schedule.

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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.