Ryder Cup could learn from Presidents Cup

By Rex HoggardSeptember 26, 2012, 9:41 pm

MEDINAH, Ill. – The Ryder Cup has history, the Presidents Cup has pizzazz. Samuel Ryder’s member-member has been referred to as a “war,” while PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem’s meet-and-greet has at times felt more like an inter-club skins game between Orlando’s Lake Nona and Isleworth.

The Ryder Cup is Sutton Coldfield, England; the Presidents Cup is Las Vegas.

Pick your poison.

For the most part the Ryder Cup has staked out higher, albeit stuffier, ground, but when it comes to giving the fans what they want the elder statesman could learn a little from its youthful sibling.

The Presidents Cup has made a show out of each day’s pairings, with captains matching each team pairing and Sunday singles tee times in real time for all the world to see.

When International Presidents Cup captain Greg Norman, for example, sent K.J. Choi and Adam Scott out in the last group on Day 1 last year at Royal Melbourne, U.S. skipper Fred Couples countered with Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, giving the crowds – and maybe even Scott and Woods – what they wanted amid the circus caused by Scott’s caddie Steve Williams’ split with Woods.

At the Ryder Cup, however, each day’s pairings are a blind draw, with captain’s listing their teams in order with no clue as to what their counterpart will do, which means the odds of a much-anticipated Woods vs. Rory McIlroy title bout on Sunday in Chicago-land are 1-in-12.

Opponents of the Presidents Cup formula say tradition supersedes drama, however contrived, but that “competitive integrity” bridge was dusted last year when the PGA Tour introduced “marquee pairings.”

Anyone who watched Woods and Ernie Els go head-to-head on Sunday at the 2003 Presidents Cup in South Africa can attest to how compelling a little faux drama can be. It’s Entertainment 101 – give the people what they want.

“It would be neat to sit up here and match them up,” Love admitted this week at Medinah. “It would be pretty good theater to match groups and it would be fun.”

Yet when it was suggested that there is nothing in the captain’s agreement that would preclude Love and European captain Jose Maria Olazabal from working out some sort of arrangement the U.S. skipper balked.

“I definitely don’t want to be the first one to go cross over into their room and start rigging pairings,” Captain America declared.

Olazabal was even more vague, rightfully dismissing the media’s interest in contrived theater over the higher needs of the team. “I know you’re eager to see that match, but I think the Ryder Cup is more important than that single match,” he said.

Perhaps, but that assumes that competitive integrity and a good show are mutually exclusive.

Imagine the spectacle of the world Nos. 1 and 2 dueling late into Sunday with the cup on the line. Imagine the leap a budding rivalry would make on a pressure-packed international stage and the boon it would be for golf, regardless of outcome.

Some have further suggested that perhaps Woods and McIlroy wouldn’t, for whatever reason, want that uber-pairing. Hogwash.

In his prime Michael Jordan didn’t ask to guard the sixth man. He wanted the other team’s alpha male and Woods and McIlroy are no different. It’s in their DNA and history suggests both players relish the opportunity. The duo has been paired together 10 times this season on Tour and combined to shoot 34 under with just one over-par round between them.

“I’d love to go out there. I’d love Tiger to go out first and kick his ass,” McIlroy laughed when he was recently asked about playing Woods on Sunday at Medinah.

The Ryder Cup clings to its traditions and, as Love pointed out, “everything seems to be working pretty well,” with the matches enjoying unparalleled popularity on both sides of the pond. Besides, given the historical distinctions between the Tour and PGA of America it doesn’t seem likely the Ryder Cup would be keen to play follow-the-leader, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t.

In this, imitation is the best form of flattery. It’s time for the Ryder Cup to steal a page from the Presidents Cup playbook and add a new level of intrigue to the matches. It’s what the fans and media want. It’s what the players want.

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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.