Timberlake in sync with Rose, game at AT&T

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 12, 2017, 2:24 am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – It’s tempting to write here that Jordan Spieth stole the show Saturday, shooting a 7-under 65 to take control of this AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

But that wouldn’t be accurate. Whenever he plays here at Pebble, Justin Timberlake is always the main attraction.

For good reason this year. A near-ace, a pair of chip-ins, several clutch putts – it was all on display in the third round, much to the delight of the throng of fans that were following him.

“This guy brought his A-game today, boys,” said Justin Rose, Timberlake’s partner.

At first glance, Rose and Timberlake are an unlikely team – though the same age, 36, the Englishman wouldn’t seem to be an ’N Sync fan. But they met a few years ago on the range at Lake Nona in Orlando, Fla., when Timberlake was in town to play with a friend. They spent time together there, then met up on a few occasions in the Bahamas. Last November, they reeled in a 40-pound wahoo. “I thought he was going to have to tap out,” Rose joked, “but he eventually got him into the boat.”

They stay in frequent contact throughout the year, chitchatting about work and family, like normal friends, famous or otherwise. It was Timberlake who persuaded Rose to add Pebble to his schedule. Rose tied for sixth last year in idyllic weather.

To prepare for this tournament, Rose and Timberlake played a few rounds together in Los Angeles during an off-week last month. Timberlake, a 4 handicap, was struggling with his game, and that can be terrifying for an amateur entering a high-profile event like the Clambake.

“As fun as it is, there’s a lot of attention,” Rose said. “It’s not an easy week for the amateurs, either. There’s a lot of scrutiny on them. If you’re not comfortable with your game, it’s a tough place to be for an amateur. But when you find the right pairing, you can always make it fun.”


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The first few rounds this week weren’t much fun for anyone, with sideways rain and 40-mph gusts. Rose managed to play those two days in 2 under. “I wouldn’t even dream of playing golf in the elements we got hit with,” Timberlake said. “But to watch him really go to work and just smash it through it, it’s like, oh, yeah, these guys are really good.”

Timberlake impressed in other ways. After putting out on a hole at Spyglass, he grabbed a guitar and sang a cappella for a group of about 20. “We’re all good at our thing,” Rose said.

Turns out they were both pretty special Saturday on a postcard day at Pebble.

On the seventh tee, Rose grabbed his phone and took a selfie with Timberlake as he hit his tee shot. “It’s one of those moments you should capture,” he said. But Rose almost missed the end result – Timberlake’s wedge shot landed just past the flag and nearly sucked back into the cup for an ace. He settled for a tap-in birdie.

“That would have been something,” Timberlake said later.

“When the crowds turn up, he plays his best, or when there’s the iconic seventh hole at Pebble, he’ll stiff it,” Rose said. “You know what I mean?”

“I just close my eyes, really.”

“It’s all skill,” Rose said.

The good times continued to roll on the back nine, with Timberlake chipping in for birdie on the 16th hole. When he left his bunker shot short of the green on 17, he was unfazed.

“You know what, Willie Mac?” Timberlake said to Will MacKenzie, the other pro in the group. “This one might go in, too.”

And it did, clanking off the flagstick and into the cup. Timberlake flung his wedge to his caddie and showboated around the green, bowing to the crowd and pretending to walk straight to the next tee. Rose and MacKenzie roared with laughter.

On 18, it was Rose’s turn to contribute, and he used a fairway wood to chip in from behind the green. He celebrated with Timberlake and tenderly patted him on the left cheek.

“What a shot, dude,” Timberlake said.

The duo’s birdie-birdie-birdie finish capped a 9-under 63 and pushed them to 16 under, enough to make the 54-hole team cut.

“Today,” Rose said, “is one of the most fun days of golf I’ve ever had.”

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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.