Three Teams Tied at World Cup
Spain and New Zealand were together in fourth place after 9-under 63s, while Ireland, South Africa and host Japan finished knotted in sixth at minus-eight. Denmark and England shared ninth place with 7-under 65s.
The dynamic American duo of Tiger Woods and David Duval, ranked first and third in the world, respectively, began the defense of their title in somewhat shaky fashion with a 6-under 66. They were alongside six other teams including Fiji, featuring 2000 Masters champion Vijay Singh, and Australia, with young guns Aaron Baddeley and Adam Scott.
Dean Robertson, who replaced the injured Volvo PGA champion Andrew Oldcorn for Scotland, collected seven birdies in the four-ball format, while teammate Andrew Coltart recorded three. The Scots had a chance to take sole possession of the lead but Robertson missed a six-foot putt for eagle at the par-5 18th.
'It would have been a lovely way to finish a lovely day, but unfortunately it wasn't,' said Robertson, who birdied all four par-5s at The Taiheiyo Club's Gotemba Course in Japan.
The towering Robert Karlsson, who was paired with British Open runner-up Niclas Fasth, eagled the sixth and 18th holes to fuel Sweden's climb to the top.
'We started out slow, but finally got rolling from the sixth hole,' Karlsson said. 'Niclas made a couple of real nice birdies and it was a lot of fun out there.'
Karlsson's eagle at the sixth was set up by a 250-yard 2-iron to three feet. He made a three at the last by rolling in a 20-footer.
Canadians Mike Weir and Ian Leggatt made a tremendous surge on the way to the clubhouse with a back-nine 29. Weir, winner of the Tour Championship in a playoff earlier this month, produced six of his team's 10 birdies on Thursday.
Read 'Weir Understands History of 'World Cup''
Sergio Garcia, who is coming off his best season after winning twice on the PGA Tour in the U.S. and adding a third career victory on the European Tour, racked up eight birdies, including four in a row to close his round with fellow Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez.
The dream pairing for the U.S. didn't click in the first round.
Woods dumped his approach to the 15th in a bunker and barely kept his next shot from the sand on the green. Although Duval birdied the hole to negate Woods' troubles, the reigning British Open champ took a practice putt on the 16th green and was assessed a two-stroke penalty.
The penalty was enforced on the 17th, wiping away Duval's birdie there and making the best score on the hole Woods' par.
'I wasn't swinging well and I definitely wasn't putting well. Add those two things together, and you're not going to get low scores,' said Woods, who won five times on the PGA Tour this season but had stretches of inconsistency. 'If I would have made a couple of more putts, we could have shot a little lower.'
The U.S. is seeking its third straight World Cup title and its 24th overall. Before successfully joining forces with Duval in Argentina last year, Woods teamed up with Mark O'Meara to win the event in Malaysia in 1999.
The 24 teams in the field will play an alternate-shot format in Friday's second round.
Click Here for Full-Field Scores From the WGC-EMC World Cup
Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings
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.
Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut
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
Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements
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.”
Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back
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.