The Sweet-and-Sour Edition

By Rex HoggardFebruary 13, 2009, 5:00 pm
Pro-Am week is one of the more curious cuts of the year. Pebble Beach is the ultimate love/hate deal for those whose professional fortunes ebb and flow to the tune of serenading sea lions and the pounding panorama of the Pacific Ocean.
 
On one hand, a wanting scorecard, Crosby weather, and glacial rounds can weigh on even the best attitudes, but if one needs a reason to bust out of their mental prison the most-mesmerizing views in all golf are normally little more than a head turn away.
 
Missing, or making, the cut at the Clambake is relative.
 

MADE CUT
 
  • Democracy: Two names emerged from last weeks initial meeting of the Players Advisory Council as possible heirs to the PACs chairmanship, and the Tour wont go wrong with either option.
     
    Word is PAC and Policy Board staple Davis Love III has been listed as a candidate for this years PAC chairmanship alongside modern sophist Paul Goydos. This years PAC chair ascends to the Policy Board in 2010.
     
    The Cut Line will stay clear of any endorsements, but will objectively point out that DLIII has done his time on the Policy Board. Its also worth noting that the nine-member board could use an independent, and alternative voice like Goydos as the Tour begins to struggle with economic headwinds.
     
    Any Tour player who sports a Dirtbags hat and maintains his mens club membership at his local muni must know how to stretch a dollar.
     
  • LPGA: No, were not referring to the new 10-year deal the circuit penned with Golf Channel, but the wave of potential that has engulfed the season opener in Hawaii.
     
    Michelle Wie putted like a 13-year-old (24 putts), hit the ball like a 23-year-old (nine fairways and 12 greens in regulation) and managed her game like a 33-year-old. It all added up to a 6-under 66 and the best opening act any Hollywood screen writer would be proud of.
     
  • Arnold Palmer: If anyone would have an inside track on when Tiger Woods will emerge from his surgery-induced slumber it would be The King, right?
     
    We spotted a billboard on Interstate 4 in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday advertising next months Arnold Palmer Invitational adorned with a larger-than-life picture of the defending champion.
     
    Now, putting the defending champ on tournament marketing is SOP, and it could just be wishful thinking. But with 62 Tour victories its impossible to bet against The King.
     

    MADE CUT ' DID NOT FINISH (MDF)
     
  • Dustin Johnson: Little surprise one of the circuits longest hitters swung for the fences on one the circuits shortest layouts (Pebble Beach, 6,874 yards). What may surprise some is how the athletic swingman prepared for 2009.
     
    The world may dig the long ball, but its Johnsons iron and bunker play that has separated him from the sophomore pack this season.
     
    On Tuesday, Johnsons swing coach Allen Terrell texted his star student, Look at the good job youre doing (on ShotLink).
     
    Specifically, Johnson has jumped almost 100 spots in greens in regulation (from 129th last year to 39th) and 150 spots in sand saves (178th in 2008 to 28th). His share of the first-round lead at Pebble Beach was a testament to Johnsons improvement, but it also cast a glaring light on the World Golf Ranking.
     
    Because the second-year player only has played 36 sanctioned events and the ranking requires a 40-tournament minimum there is no way for him to qualify for the WGC-Match Play or the WGC-CA Championship. College football has the BCS, presidential elections have the electoral college, and the Tour has the World Ranking.
     
  • Spyglass Hill Golf Club: The wallflower dwarfed by Pebble Beachs lengthy shadow never gets its due.
     
    Sure, Pebble Beach is the pride of the Pacific and has more history than a seventh-grade text book, but its cross-peninsula stepbrother isnt too shabby. Quiz ten off-the-shelf Tour players, who dont get taken in by sweeping vistas or $450 tee times, and chances are half would rather play Spyglass.
     
  • Tim Finchem: For the first time in 15 years the commish put a peg in the ground and joined his constituents inside the ropes for this weeks Pro-Am.
     
    David Toms joked that after a few days of Crosby weather it could help move the Pro-Am to a dryer spot on the calendar, say ... October. After a few five-hour-plus rounds were also hoping Finchem will be moved to put some teeth into the Tours pace-of-play policy.
     
    Finchem, a 5 handicap, admitted to being nervous but played solid on Day 1. Hes like most players who come to play in the AT&T, said Finchems pro Davis Love III, he doesnt get enough strokes.
     
    The Cut Line has never felt closer to the commish.
     

    MISSED CUT
     
  • Major League Baseball: With apologies to those who tune in for golf topics, and with kudos to Tour decision makers whose preemptive action has spared the circuit a similar fate, Cut Line laments more sordid steroids news from the boys of summer.
     
    Were no fan of Alex Rodriguez, but in fairness to the tarnished slugger, and for the sake of expediency, the ML B powers that be should publish the 103 other names that reported positive during the 2003 testing for performance enhancing drugs.
     
    Ask any 8-year-old, the Band Aid is best removed in one, quick motion.
     
  • Bill Murray: Its impossible not to love Murrays on-course shtick, but after watching some file footage from the bygone days of the Clambake one realizes the funnyman is a poor replacement for the tournaments former crooning namesake.
     
    Bing Crosby was cool, think Tommy Armour III without the goth wardrobe, and the truth is Murray & Co. just cant bring the same heat. Exploding golf balls are wanting stand-ins for a stirring rendition of Danny Boy.
     
    Email your thoughts to Rex Hoggard
     
    Related Links:
  • Leaderboard ' AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
  • Full Coverage ' AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
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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.