Hooks & Cuts: A lot going on besides Super Bowl

By Rich LernerJanuary 30, 2014, 5:30 pm

It’s almost February so it’s time for another installment of Hooks and Cuts:

• Peyton Manning is not unlike Tiger Woods. He’ll play Sunday, not just for a Super Bowl win, but for a stronger position in the greatest-ever debate.

• We see them every year at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, low scores and high heels.

• Life on the road: trudging on the treadmill before daybreak, listening to Tupac, watching Golf Channel from Dubai. Barry Lane for par to stay at plus 7, and no, another dropped shot for the veteran Englishman.

• Is Phil like Steve Young: an exciting left-hander with an uncanny ability to scramble?

• Suddenly, Bubba, Rickie and Hunter feel like long shots to make the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

• Luke, Kenny and now Jimmy.  All “sky Walkers.”

• I watched the U.S. Figure Skating Championships recently, prepping for the Olympics when I’ll turn to my wife and say, “Wow, she stuck that triple Salchow.”

• I visited Roberto De Vicenzo last week outside Buenos Aires. At nearly 91, still lucid, funny and deep. Of his scorecard gaffe that cost him an opportunity for a playoff spot in the 1968 Masters, he said, “It was the best mistake I ever made.” De Vicenzo never complained, earning universal respect. “Money is easy to get. I could rob a bank. But prestige, a good name, that’s not so easily won.”

• Rickie Fowler is a slot receiver, Bo Van Pelt a tight end, Gary Woodland a quarterback and Tiger Woods a big-hitting free safety. Who are some other golfers with gridiron game?

• Johnson’s a Zach-tician.

• Switching to baseball, Phil lopes like a power-hitting first baseman, like Jim Thome or old school Boog Powell. Harris English ambles like a Cy Young winner taking the hill for Game 7.

• In Argentina Angel Cabrera told me Seve taught him how to play Augusta National. “What did he tell you about putting those greens?” I asked.   Angel held up his hands and wriggled his fingers. “It’s right here,” Angel said with a smile. “Right here, in the hands and fingers.”

• Make it two in a row for the big fellas’. Patrick Reed and Scott Stallings start at left guard and right tackle on the PGA Tour’s agile offensive line. I like Brendan de Jonge and Angel Cabrera to win the next two.

• I think about it every time he travels to places like Dubai. What’s the most money Tiger’s ever been offered to play a single round of golf?  Do you think some crazy rich dude’s ever waved 10 figures his way?

• Scott Stallings is part of the Tiger effect. He says that when he was 12 he watched Woods win the 1997 Masters. Inspired, he quit every other sport he’d been playing and dove into golf.  His friends thought he was crazy. Wonder what they think now?

• Terry Bradshaw threw 46 interceptions his first two seasons in the NFL, then went on to win four Super Bowl titles. Is he football’s Tom Watson?

• Rory’s revival began in Australia. Now he’s firing in Dubai. We’re early in the alphabet and far from America, but the Masters beckons.

• From the low, low summer swoon last year, Sergio’s rising with wins in Thailand and Abu Dhabi. On talent alone, he lives in the same exclusive neighborhood as Adam Scott and McIlroy. The head and heart were the issue. They seem settled.

• Kevin Durant is on an absolutely insane scoring jag right now, as if he’s gone three straight weeks shooting nothing higher than 66. I saw him last year from the floor and it blew me away. He’s almost 7 feet tall with two-guard skills. Freaky.

• Self-loathing fights self-love on Tour. A multiple major champion laughed when I asked if there are times when he hates himself on the golf course. “Are you kidding me?” he shot back. “When it’s going south I’m not just a bad player, I’m a bad human being.”

• British sports book Ladbrokes puts Adam Scott at 16-1 to win the Masters, Sergio and Matt Kuchar at 40-1. I believe that’s what they call value. Marc Leishman and Harris English at 100-1 look like worthwhile long shots. And I’m not condoning, just reporting.

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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.