Hooks Cuts from Doral

By Rich LernerMarch 12, 2009, 4:00 pm
  • Ran into Rory McIlroy in the lobby at Doral. I asked him if he'd played much with countryman Darren Clarke. 'Matter of fact I just played a practice round with him,' he said. 'He took a little money off me. Clarkey's a pretty good player on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.' We knew this kid can hit some shots, but I didn't know he was this good!
  • Robert Karlsson's paired with Tiger the first two days along with Mike Weir. Karlsson played with Tiger Saturday at The U.S. Open. 'Freaky,' explained Karlsson. 'I just knew he was going to make the putt at 13, and at 18 as that putt reached the crest I turned to my caddie and said, 'get ready for the roar because this one's going too.''
  • Last year K.J. Choi told Y.E. Yang that he'd never win in America with his radically strong grip. Choi told Yang that it might continue to work in Asia with slower greens, but that on the PGA Tour you need to hit high, soft long irons into firmer greens. Yang went cold turkey to an orthodox grip in August, moving his right hand about 30% and left hand15% towards a more neutral position. After hitting rock bottom Yang went to Orlando swing coach Brian Mogg and began putting his game back together with the new grip. You know what happened last week.
  • Spent Wednesday with Greg Norman and Chris Evert for a future story. Norman's taken up tennis in the last two years and is already very good, holding his own with the 18-time Grand Slam champion on the other side of the net. When they were finished, I said to Greg, 'Hey you're pretty good and you have a fairly good teacher as well.' With his arm around Chrissy he cracked, 'Not only do I have a great instructor, but I get to sleep with her when the lesson's over!'
  • These numbers just blow me away. Tiger's won 27 percent of the starts in his career. Vijay's won eight percent, Phil nine and if you win five percent for your career you're likely in the Hall of Fame. John Hawkins and I were trying to put perspective to it on Tuesday. 'That's like hitting what in baseball, Hawk, and I'm talking lifetime?' Hawk's unscientific reply, 'I don't know it's close to .500, it's ridiculous.'
  • McIlroy's not only loose, but grounded as well. He told me he's not going to over-reach with sponsors even though he's red hot. 'There'll be plenty of time for all that,' he said. 'Right now I just want to concentrate on golf. I have a house, a car and enough money.'
  • Steve Bann, the Aussie coach who works with KJ and Stuart Appelby, gave Geoff Ogilvy his first lesson when Geoff was 13. Of Ogilvy's famously placid demeanor, Bann explained that Ogilvy's worked hard to quell the rage which used to throw him off. 'I'm not saying it's manufactured, but Geoff knows he has to stay in that calm space with the slow walk or the beast will come out.'
  • Greg and Chris are trying hard to go to Augusta with very reasonable expectations. Making the cut, not making Hollywood fantasy, seems to be the goal for now.
  • Karlsson says he tries not to watch Tiger swing when they're paired. 'It can affect my own rhtyhym and tempo,' he said.
  • Bann believes Ogivly will win four to five majors, believing his game is especially well suited for the Masters. 'Hits high, long irons and is a silky putter, perfect for fast, slopy greens. He grew up at Victoria Golf Club in Australia right across the street from Royal Melbourne, so he's comfortable on greens running 13 on the stimp(meter).'
  • No one's really buying Sergio as number one, though he'll be just that should he win and Tiger finish 27th or worse. That said, Sergio could make a compelling case that he's ready to challenge by beating Tiger in a stretch-run duel similar to the one we saw between Tiger and Phil here in 2005.
  • Karlsson on why Tiger's the best: 'His short game plus his speed and power.' On the second point, Karlsson offered an anecdote from his 2006 singles match at The Ryder Cup against Tiger, won by Tiger. 'He was on the other side of the hole in some deep rough more than 200 yards from the green. I looked up and saw he had a high iron. I told my caddie he must be laying up. And then I saw him take this incredible swing ' hard and fast. He knocked it on. Those are the shots that really only he can play.'

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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.