Wie Refreshed and Ready

By Rich LernerJanuary 10, 2007, 5:00 pm
HONOLULU -- What do you call the hat youre wearing? I asked Michelle Wie as she strode out of her first press gathering of the New Year.

Its sort of the newsboy, golfer, chick hat, she said with a laugh.

Wie designed the hat, and though clearly not for 46-year-old male reporters, the fresh fashion splash does match her outlook as she preps for the Sony Open in Hawaii.

I feel very refreshed, she said.

Obviously, I was a little tired the last couple events and it showed, she said, referring to her late-season, critic-rousing flameout in mens events that read 78-79 at the European Masters in September, 77-81 at the 84 Lumber Classic later that month, then 81-80 at the Casio World Open in Japan over Thanksgiving..

The family learned and there were some growing pains, she added. Hopefully, well put together a better schedule in 07, Though the plans not been finalized, indications are the primary focus will be the LPGA, where she contended in three of four majors in 2006.

December brought better fortunes when she was admitted to Stanford. Im definitely going to graduate, she declared. Whether it takes four years, five years, six years or 100 years, Im going to graduate.

How shell mix professional golf and the rigors of high-level academia remains to be seen. Im just going to wing it, she said.

She also spent two weeks around Christmas in Florida working with swing coach David Leadbetter. I basically had a flat tire in my swing, she conceded. My swing feels better. I didnt think about school, I didnt think about anything. It was good.

Tuesday morning she joined up with David Toms and Joe Durant for nine holes with maybe 100 people in the gallery.

She just showed up and brought the fans with her, said Toms, whod just played a quiet nine with Durant.

She said she always wanted to play golf with me and that was nice.

I got some fairway karma from Joe D. and David Toms, said Wie. She got more than karma. She got advice after hitting several tee shots left into the rough.

I know where shes coming from with the draw, said Toms. Shes trying to hit it far to compete with the men.

Then she hit a left-to-right slider and I said, Thats what you need to be doing.

She needs to have it in the fairway because shes not going to overpower the course. I face it every week because Im not one of the longer hitters out here.
Wies long enough.'

'She actually out drove me on number nine, Toms added. 'She plays like a guy. She moves the ball, gets the ball in the air and creates speed around the greens.

Obviously she has a tremendous amount of talent, said Durant.

Not everyones been as understanding as the good natured Toms and Durant. Some believe Wies forays into mens golf are little more than publicity-seeking, marketing exercises. In response, Michelle says simply, This is what I want to do.

But is it in her best interest long term?

It obviously helps the tournament and as long as she enjoys it and it doesnt carry over negatively to what shes trying to do on the LPGA then I think its just fine, reasoned Toms. If she does well, then that could really help her confidence.

Durant has a 15-year-old daughter. Asked what hed do if his daughter had a special talent like Wies, he said, Id explore ways to develop that talent.

Added Toms, I cant imagine what I wouldve been like as a senior in high school and a tournament calling me asking to play beside the best players in the world. If someones offering a spot, why would you not do it?

Now making her fourth straight Sony Open appearance, the buzz is noticeably cooler and expectations actually lower given her play of late.

Before there was only pressure to succeed, theorized commentator Mark Rolfing. Now she just needs to not fail.

Would a pair of 72s to miss the cut be OK? I asked Rolfing.

Probably, he said.

What about 75-76?

Probably not.

Michelle will play with father B.J. on the bag, and viewers may be struck with just how tall shes gotten, with long arms and legs. Tuesday she wore vanilla pants with a turquoise top, her pigtails dangling from her cream colored hat. Her right wrist, tweaked when she hit a shot heavy off a cart path at the Samsung World Championship late last year, was heavily taped, but she said it was not a major hinderance. Practicing between Stuart Appelby and Luke Donald on the putting green, she appeared business-like, just another professional doing the necessary work.

A short time later, before the media, she recounted her recent experience as a teachers assistant for a Head Start pre-school with 3- and 4-year-olds. Her beautiful face softened. With a smile she said, It made me realize the joy of being young, of finding joy in the smaller things.

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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.