Hey, PGA Tour, not so fast

By Ryan LavnerApril 28, 2017, 8:29 pm

AVONDALE, La. – “All Day” Glen Day is no longer the answer to the trivia question – the last player to receive a slow-play penalty on the PGA Tour.

Two more obscure names were added Thursday to the infamous list of punished dawdlers, after the team of rookie Brian Campbell, making his 13th career Tour start, and 38-year-old Argentine Miguel Angel Carballo received a one-shot penalty for two bad times during the first round of the Zurich Classic.

Their combined world ranking: 910.

Yeah, the Tour sure showed how tough it is on slow play.

Predictably, news of the penalty was met mostly with laughter Friday.

Did the Tour really pick the first round of alternate shot – a format unfamiliar to at least half of the participants – in the first team event since 1981 to dole out its first penalty in 22 years?

“I kinda felt like it was a little unfair,” said Campbell, and he was far from the only one.

Since it’s been so long, let’s blow the cobwebs off the Tour’s pace-of-play policy, which spans three pages in the player handbook:

Once a group is out of position, the players in the group are put on the clock and timed. They are allowed between 40 and 60 seconds to play their shots, depending on the order of when they hit. Exceeding that time limit twice will result in a one-shot penalty.

Since Day got slapped with a shot in the third round of the ’95 Honda Classic, five players have been penalized in a major championship – none as comical as Guan Tianlang at the 2013 Masters. Slow play has been a problem for decades, but officials decided to make an example of a 14-year-old from China. It was embarrassing.

Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Articles, photos and videos

That first and second rounds on Tour typically take five hours for a three-ball suggests the current policy doesn’t work. The fine for 10 bad times – $10,000 – is .005 percent of the first-place check at The Players Championship. A deterrent, it is not.

Nor is it a crisis, at least not according to PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan. He raised eyebrows earlier this year when he said that he wasn’t interested in speeding up the game, and that the criticism is merely the “impulse in the modern world to do everything faster than we did it last year.”

Yes, players each week are competing for silly amounts of cash, and yes, they deserve the proper time to try to execute their shots. But the penalty Thursday shows the arbitrariness of the Tour’s policy.

Alternates into the Zurich event, Campbell and Carballo were paired with two PGA section pros – they’re 15th on the Tour’s eligibility ranking – who helped fill out the open field. Campbell said those two players, Kyle Ramey and Phil Schmitt, were understandably nervous early and went out in 38 to drop the group out of touch with the group in front of them.

Campbell said the group was “sprinting” around TPC Louisiana, and yet they still were on the clock as they headed to the back nine. Carballo took too long and received a bad time on 12. Campbell, who already had his caddie waiting for him on the par-3 14th tee in an attempt to speed up play, needed more than 40 seconds to hit his shot and got the second bad time.

One-shot penalty.

Campbell vehemently protested the penalty, and he had a point: They got behind early because they were playing with, ahem, two section pros.

But the Tour didn’t budge. “The policy is the policy,” they said … never mind that that policy hasn’t been enforced over the past two decades.

And so now little-known Brian Campbell has one more slow-play penalty on Tour than GOAT slowpoke Ben Crane or the legendary Kevin Na or even former world No. 1 Jason Day, who has brazenly shrugged off his slow play, saying that he’ll back off five times before a shot if it’ll help him hit the shot.

Somehow, the Tour’s pace-of-play policy just became an even bigger joke.

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.”

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.

Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

“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.