The Tiger (trunk) slam

By Rex HoggardAugust 13, 2011, 12:36 am

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – The PGA Championship is not the end of the season, not by a long shot, but it certainly felt like it for Tiger Woods on a hot and humid Friday at Atlanta Athletic Club.

Although not the end of the world, rounds of 77 and 73 – which left him six shots on the business end of the cut line – may end up being the end of the 2011 road for a player that began the year ranked second in the world and is on pace to ring in the New Year outside the top 50.

Woods’ early exit from the PGA Championship guaranteed that he will miss the FedEx Cup playoffs. His next “scheduled” start is the Australian Open in November, confirming that he will not play next week’s regular-season ending Wyndham Championship and leaving only the slimmest of possibilities that he will participate in any of the Fall Series fun.

His tie for 116th was, for all practical purposes, his competitive swansong for 2011, leaving just a single item to be addressed: What’s next?

Woods’ clipped answer was predictable if not particularly enlightening, head back to his south Florida lab to debug a swing that had multiple personalities at AAC.

He played his first five holes in 3 under, his last six in 1 under and everything in between was not for public consumption. For the week Woods dunked four balls into the warm Georgia waters, posted five double bogeys and played out of 23 bunkers.

It was almost enough to give stand-in caddie Bryon Bell raker’s elbow.

The only highlight may have been that Bell did not break silence and announce, “This was not my most memorable tournament.”

There were signs of life, like his birdie-birdie turn that pulled him to within three shots of a weekend tee time. But he went bunker-bunker-billabong at the 11th and followed with two trips to the woods at the 12th for back-to-back double bogeys.

Adrift between swings, to say nothing of a battered psyche, Woods was less angry late Friday than he was resolved to his plot.

“I’ve got some time off to work on my game and now I’m healthy enough to work on my game,” he said. “It’s a great leap forward that I was able to play two straight weeks healthy.”

And yet somehow it all felt like two giant hops back for golf.

Even if Woods were to play the Fall Series, a victory at Disney isn’t going to change the fact that 2011 may be his worst season as a professional. In order, he had eight starts, posted two top 10s, missed one cut and withdrew with injury from The Players. Maybe 2010 was statistically worse – 12 starts, two top 10s, a missed cut and a withdrawal with injury from The Players – but it doesn’t feel like it.

Maybe it’s because this calendar brought hope following the turmoil of 2010. Maybe it’s because we didn’t think it could get any worse. Maybe it’s because he’s made unrealistic expectations the status quo.

Whatever the reason, the result is an empty feeling that likely won’t get a fix until next year at Torrey Pines. Another hiatus, another round of endless speculation.

The only thing that is certain is that three months on the “DL,” a wet-behind-the-ears swing and what will likely be the year’s most demanding major layout proved to be the imperfect storm for Woods.

“I don’t think he’s that far off, but he’s rusty, that’s what people don’t get,” said Davis Love III, who walked all 36 holes alongside Woods at AAC. “He’s trying to figure it out in a big event and that doesn’t work. I’ve tried to do that. It’s hard to do at a big tournament. It would be easier at the John Deere (Classic) where there’s some fairway.”

But at this point there are no John Deeres in Woods’ future. No soft openings or rehab starts to build confidence. Just the Australian Open likely followed by the Presidents Cup, another intense gathering that provides precious little cover for a work in progress.

U.S. captain Fred Couples will make his wild card pick on Sept. 26 (the Monday after the Tour Championship), singular because he’s already made it clear to anyone who would listen that Woods was on the team. After 36 in Hotlanta, Michael Jordan may be more deserving of a captain’s nod.

Already blog-dom has erupted with reports of Woods’ demise, as one particularly critical observer reasoned on Thursday, “Hello Eldrick Baker-Finch.” And perhaps instant analysis was inevitable considering the finality of it all at Atlanta Athletic Club, but Woods’ contemporaries – those who have seen the best, and now perhaps the worst of him – were reluctant to write the obituary just yet.

“Tiger is a bit like myself,” said Padraig Harrington, who was paired with Woods for Rounds 1 and 2. “If you don’t like what you’re doing you lose confidence, but anyone else would think it was a great swing.”

As he rolled out of town it’s not likely Woods thought anything about the 93rd PGA Championship was “great,” and another exile, self-imposed or otherwise, only promised to bring more uncertainty, more questions for Woods and the game.

There is life after Tiger, it just didn’t seem like it on Friday.

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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.

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Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

“Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

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“We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010.