Monday Finish Looms at Players

By Sports NetworkMarch 26, 2005, 5:00 pm
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Lee Westwood, Joe Durant and first-round leader Steve Jones share the lead during the second-round of the weather-plagued Players Championship Saturday at the TPC at Sawgrass.
Lee Westwood
Lee Westwood's only PGA Tour victory came in 1998 at New Orleans.
Westwood (69) and Durant (65) are in the clubhouse at 10-under-par 134. Jones, the 1996 U.S. Open champion, who is ranked 743rd in the world, is 2 under in his second round and played nine holes.
The second round was called for darkness as Saturday's play was hurt by a three-hour delay. Players will return to the course at 7:30 a.m. ET Sunday morning to complete the second round, then the 36-hole cut and the third round with players in threesomes off both the first and 10th tees.
Sunday's forecast calls for more storms so a Monday finish certainly looms. Unfortunately, Monday's forecast also predicts rain, so the future of this tournament remains undecided.
Zach Johnson had sole possession of the lead until a double bogey at the 18th. He shot a 2-under 70 and is tied for fourth place at 9-under-par 135. Luke Donald is 2 under on his round and is knotted in fourth through 13 holes.
Golf's 'Big Four' failed to get much going in the second round.
Vijay Singh, ranked first in the world, was moving up the leaderboard until he dumped two balls in the water at 18. He left with a quadruple-bogey eight for a 2-over 74 and a two-round total of 3-under-par 141.
Ernie Els got lucky when tournament officials decided to erase all play from Friday's attempted second round. He faced a 12-foot bogey putt on his first hole, but he could not advance up the leaderboard on Saturday. He posted his second consecutive 1-under 71 and is in at minus-2.
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are part of the group that will return Sunday morning. Woods is 1 under through 10 holes in his second round and 3 under for the tournament. Mickelson is 2 under in round two and about to make the turn at minus-4 for the championship.
All players are trying to catch the trio on top.
Westwood wasted little time in breaking into red figures on Saturday. He sank a 20-foot birdie putt at the first, then converted an 8-foot birdie try at the par-5 second.
The Englishman ran into serious trouble at the fourth when his drive landed in the rough on the left-hand side. Unfortunately all he could do was hack it down the fairway, but from there he hit a terrible sand-wedge that plugged into the back bunker. Westwood ended up with a double bogey but rebounded.
He knocked a wedge to 8 feet to set up birdie at the sixth. Westwood collected his second birdie in a row at the seventh when he drained a 22- footer after his approach spun on to the fringe.
Westwood took the lead when the horn sounded after his seventh hole. He made a great par save at the ninth when he rolled in a 20-footer, then got up and down for birdie from the front bunker at the par-5 11th.
He saved another par from 20 feet at the 14th, but did not record another birdie. The four-time Ryder Cupper had birdie tries from inside 10 feet on several holes down the stretch, but failed to convert.
'I made a couple of good par saves. I missed a few good birdie chances,' said Westwood. 'I pretty much got what I deserved today just because the course was in the condition that it was in. Other days I got some odd bounces and maybe didn't get what I deserved.'
Durant got off to a poor start at No. 1 when he failed to save par from a bunker. He mixed three birdies and a bogey over a four-hole span on the front nine to make the turn at 1-under-par 35.
Durant caught fire on the back nine. He hit a 9-iron to 10 feet to set up birdie at 10, then ran home another 10-footer, this time for eagle at the par-5 11th. He tallied another birdie at 12 when his putt from 20 feet found the bottom of the cup.
At the 14th, Durant hit a 6-iron to 18 feet where he holed yet another long birdie putt. He reached the green in two with a 3-iron at the par-5 16th and two-putted from 25 feet for birdie. In all, Durant matched the tournament's back-nine record with his 30.
'I'm pleased with how I played today,' said Durant, who hasn't won on tour since his two wins early in the 2001 season. 'I felt like I was moving in the right direction coming here this week, but you never know when you tee it up on Thursday who's going to show up, so it's better. I'm more excited.'
Jones birdied the second, then joined the leaders with a 25-foot birdie putt at seven. He bogeyed the eighth, but birdied nine to reclaim his spot atop the leaderboard.
Defending champion Adam Scott (68), Vaughn Taylor (67), Graeme McDowell (66) and Fred Funk (72) are tied for sixth place at 7-under-par 137. Padraig Harrington, who has been the runner-up the last two years, is 7 under through nine holes.
Related Links:
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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.