Long Drives and Tomsmanship
In a sport which prefers a soft strain of piano, John Dalys a Merle Haggard song. Hes straight country, with a Marlboro hanging from his lips, and a truckfull of busted nights, busted marriages and busted tee balls. The victory at the BMW International puts an exclamation point on the comeback that should be a made-for-TV movie with a Nashville soundtrack. It restores his marketability overseas and allows him to improve his financial situation. Amazing, because this wasnt believed possible a year ago. There was still the specter of sevens and eights on any given hole and the occasional WD. That Daly had the mental and physical stamina to stay focused for four straight days at a high, high level is most gratifying of all. What now? Its always perilous to try to predict the future with John. But its sure rosier than its been in some time. And if the more-likely and consistent challengers to Tiger over the next few years figure to be Duval and Mickelson, the one who would bring the house down is John Daly tangling with Tiger on the backside at a longer and harder Augusta National.
Where Did She Come From?
Donna Caponi confided to me while I was in the booth for the First Union Betsy King Classic that Kate Golden had much more talent than her performance indicated. A week later Caponi looks like a prophet when Golden fired a final-round 63 to come from six back to beat Annika Sorenstam - of all players - at the Rail Classic. It was Goldens first win and it was as improbable as any on the women's tour all season. Her final-round scoring average coming in was 73, and Sorenstam was so firmly in control through three rounds that no one stopped to consider for a moment any scenario but Annika collecting her seventh win of the year and sewing up the Rolex Player of the Year race.
Mastery is within reach of more than a few in golf. Kate Golden mastered it for a Sunday. Joel Edwards mastered it for a week and hed been at it for 25 years and had never before won a PGA Tour Event, in a runaway no less.
Mike Weir missed the cut at Vancouver last week. That qualifies as a huge disappointment since Weir gets only two chances a year to perform in his home country in PGA Tour events, and also because Vancouver was the site of his PGA breakthrough. It would be nice to see him bounce back this week at The Canadian Open at Royal Montreal. Tigers defending and international French-speaking and lovely Montreal in early September for a national title defense qualifies as a good place to be.
The Tom Lehman debate is interesting. Does Lehman deserve some respect for having taken the U.S. first out of the gates on the happiest Sunday in American golf history when he routed Lee Westwood in the opening singles at Brookline? For being a flag-loving, all-American, God-fearing man perfectly cut out to play in matches like these? Should Curtis have trusted that a player of the stature of Lehman could put his house and game in order in three- or four-weeks' time? Rhetorical questions. Its possible but unlikely that Captain Curtis opted for the bland but effective Verplank and in the process removed a major agent of European agitation in Lehman. Captain Sam Torrance, in the aftermath of the 17th hole controversy at Brookline, seethed at the time and said of Lehman, And he calls himself a man of God. Lehman is not widely liked by the Euros, who see him as perhaps a phony. Get past the Jimmy Stewart modesty and Lehman couldnt give a hoot what they think of him. Lehmans a streetfighter. But whats interesting here is that Curtis in his day was thought to be a streetfighter, a veteran guy you wanted in the foxhole, you couldnt be without. Turned out that Curtis - at least in 1995 when HE was the captains choice of Lanny Wadkins - was the wrong guy. There will be some added pressure on Verplank to deliver on Curtis belief in him. But Ill bet therell come a time when we say, itd be nice to have Tom Lehman right about now.
Olazabal wont be there either, and thats a gaping absence just in terms of what Ollies done for the Euro Ryder Cuppers through the years. He was always a dynamite foursomes and four-ball partner, particularly with Seve. Beginning in 87 at Jacks House - Muirfield in Ohio - the two teamed very successfully. Ollie was 21 back in 87. And though hes weathered, battered by the years, it would have been nice if he had the chance to redeem the collapse against Justin Leonard in 99. But it wont happen. The Euros need to sort out their selection process, find a way to get the best 12. With due respect, Pierre Fulke doesnt belong. Jose does.
I played golf last week with a bunch of friends and brothers, one of whom showed up in a Shingo hat. Naturally, we called him Shingo for the next three days. Shingo became an essence. A mantra. Shingo smiles. Shingo bounces. Shingo enjoys. Shingo plays. Katayama in Atlanta gave us a new golfing fundamental called Shingoism. Next time youre tight on the course, think Shingo. Also, henceforth any play involving smarts and course management is to be known as Tomsmanship. An example would be, He displayed excellent Tomsmanship layin up to the right here, Jimmy!
Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings
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.
Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut
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
Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements
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.”
Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back
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.