Perez gets tip from Tiger, goes low on South Course

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 24, 2014, 2:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Already this week there has been much ink spilt on Tiger Woods’ chase for a record-setting nine wins at Torrey Pines, even though, if you ask him, he already thinks he's locked up No. 9 – at the 1992 Junior Worlds here.

Really, though, Woods could have already reached double-digit Ws at this municipal course along the Pacific Bluffs.

The guy who denied him? Pat Perez, who blew away Woods by eight shots on his way to winning the Junior Worlds in ’93.

And, make no mistake, Tiger has been hearing about it ever since.

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“Best day of my life,” Perez said, smiling.

Thursday must have been another banner day, because the San Diego native opened with a bogey-free 67 to top Woods by five and, more importantly, sit just three shots off the first-round lead in the Farmers Insurance Open.

The player least surprised by Perez’s round? None other than Woods.

“He grew up here,” he said afterward. “This was his home course – he’s played it more times than anybody.”

Indeed, this event has always been Perez’s fifth major. He is a San Diego kid, he attended Torrey Pines High School, and he used to work various, low-paying jobs at this world-class municipal course. His father, Tony, still announces players on the first tee.

Even now, Perez, 37, looks out on the practice tee and figures he has logged thousands of miles on the range picker. As a kid, he cleaned carts and shuttled players back and forth from the range in the old San Diego Opens. Each day he rose at 4 a.m. and wouldn’t return home until 11 that night. He couldn’t wait to wake up the next day and do it all over again.

Sometimes, when no one was looking, Perez would pocket the brand-new range balls, which were nicer than any beat-up balatas he was whacking around at the time.

“I’d go home and have this huge bucket of balls,” he recalled. “I never hit them. Never played them. I just, you know, stared at them. I just thought that’s got to be the greatest job in the world.”

Lately, though, it’s proven to be an arduous job for Perez. He says he’s “finally got my game in order” after a switch late last year to instructor Joe Mayo. The biggest revelation during their 2 1/2 months together has been teaching Perez how to better understand ball launch.

Perhaps that information will be the impetus he needs to fulfill what had been a very promising junior career.

In 1993, he won the Junior Worlds here over Woods – “I think that was the last time I beat him, really” – and followed up that triumph with a victory two weeks later at the Maxfli PGA Junior at Pinehurst. After receiving a college scholarship to Arizona State, he helped the Sun Devils win the NCAA title in ’96.

Though he used to “kill it all the time” on Torrey Pines’ South Course, success has proved elusive here since the course’s re-do in advance of the 2008 U.S. Open – a familiar refrain, indeed, for San Diegoans.

“Torrey Pines South is on a beautiful piece of land,” said another local boy, Charley Hoffman, “and that’s where I’m going to leave it.”

In 11 career starts at this event, Perez has finished in the top 10 only twice. His opening 67 here on the more difficult South Course was his best score since a second-round 63 in 2004.

“It feels awesome,” he said.

So does topping his good buddy Woods, whom he has known since age 8 and, like everyone else, has been on the receiving end of far too many beatdowns.

Throughout the years the two players have remained close, and Woods even sent Perez a text on Thursday morning. It was a swing thought; something borrowed from Hogan that he thought might help Perez.

“It’s just little stuff like that,” Perez said. “He’s great.”

Still, he takes immense pleasure in needling Woods about that junior event some 21 years ago.

“I’ll never let it go because everybody else doesn’t have anything on him as far as golf,” Perez said. “He’s beat everybody for so many years, I’ve got to hold onto that. It hurts him. I tell you, it hurts him.”

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.