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Rose still beaming from Olympic gold

By Rex HoggardNovember 1, 2017, 1:07 pm

ANTALYA, Turkey – He won’t produce the gold medal like he once did, always smiling and eager to share his moment of Olympic glory with friends and fans, but Justin Rose is still quick to remember Rio.

Wednesday, which marks the 100-day countdown to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, was no different.

“For me it was just an absolutely incredible experience that far exceeded my expectations,” Rose said on the eve of the Turkish Airlines Open, the first of three Race to Dubai finals series events. “I was one of the golfers that was very positive about golf being back in the Olympics. I thought it would be a fun opportunity to go and compete in something completely different.”

That it was Rose, who was among the game’s most outspoken supporters of golf’s return to the Games amid a cloud of uncertainty in the months leading up to Rio, who won the gold medal in the men’s competition was only apropos, and his affinity toward the competition has only grown in the year since he held off a late charge from Henrik Stenson to claim the top spot on the podium.

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Even Stenson, who found little solace in the silver medal he was awarded immediately following the final round, can now fondly recall his week in Brazil.

“To be part of the Olympics, you were part of something bigger than just your sport,” Stenson said. “You were part of the world of sport and coming from a sporting nation – I've grown up watching the Summer and Winter Olympics as a kid – and to be part of that was great and something I would do again if I get the opportunity. I would be there to try and get that gold medal in 2020.”

Rose birdied two of his final four holes at the Olympic Golf Course to beat Stenson by two strokes, while American Matt Kuchar won the bronze medal and was three strokes off the Englishman’s pace. For those who took a medal home from Rio, it was always going to be a special week. But for Rose it’s how the Games impacted those who didn’t have a reason to celebrate that is most meaningful.

The fans, media and his fellow competitors are the real measure of success of golf’s return to the Olympics for the first time in over 100 years, Rose said.

“It captured the golfing world's attention,” Rose said. “I don't play a round on Tour now that I don't hear something about the gold medal. When I won the U.S. Open, that was fantastic and I heard something maybe for a couple of months. But then someone wins The Open Championship and then someone wins the PGA Championship and things go on and on.”

Much of that notoriety stems from the unique nature of the Olympics. Each year golf crowns four major champions and even now, with many of the game’s best still looking to finish 2017 on a high note, the golf world’s attention has already been drawn to next April and the Masters.

But the gold medal endures for four years and beyond. Think of it as the most exclusive form of bragging rights.

For Rose, golf’s return to the Games extends beyond the hardware a player may or may not have taken home. Despite the much-publicized decision by some of golf’s best players to skip the Games, hindsight has proven to be the most telling testament to the 2016 Games.

“Obviously Henrik and I are always going to have a positive experience of the Olympics and where we finished and both medaled; and it was amazing,” Rose said. “[But] there were great stories from guys like Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson, guys who came away from the week with absolutely nothing other than memories and they loved the week. It's one of their favorite that they ever had in a golf tournament.”

Most of all, Rose can now relish the idea that the Olympics mattered, not just to the competitors or those who pushed for years to return the game to the podium, but to those who largely dismissed golf’s place in the Games.

“The golf world actually did pay attention and I think that that's maybe now what the players are realizing; that it is actually an important event,” he said.

With the Olympics moving back into the spotlight as the Winter Games approach golf’s golden moment is worth remembering, not that Rose ever needs a reason to revisit Rio.

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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.