US Bent On Major Comeback

By Sports NetworkDecember 14, 2002, 5:00 pm
PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico -- The Japanese team of Shigeki Maruyama and Toshi Izawa fired a 14-under 58 Saturday to take the lead after the third round of the WGC-EMC World Cup. Their 54-hole total of 30-under-par 186 was one better than Fiji's Vijay Singh and Dinesh Chand.
South Africa's Tim Clark and Rory Sabbatini finished alone in third at 28-under-par 188. The top-seeded American team of Phil Mickelson and David Toms were one shot further back after a sizzling 15-under 57 at Vista Vallarta Golf Club's Nicklaus Course.
'We were quite a ways back heading into today, and we needed to have a good day to make up some ground,' said Mickelson, who took advantage of Saturday's better ball format. 'I think we made up half or so of the seven shots we were after.'
Mickelson and Toms jumped out of the gate with birdies on each of the first four holes. They added back-to-back birdies starting at the seventh and reached 20-under after Mickelson drained a 25-foot eagle putt at the par-5 10th.
'We even talked about it right after he made it because there was a scoreboard right there,' said Toms. 'Kind of like, hey, we are here, hopefully those guys started trying harder to make birdies and maybe they wouldn't make so many coming in.'
That eagle started another run by the Americans and they cruised with four consecutive birdies starting at the 11th. They added a birdie at the 16th and Mickelson dropped his tee shot inside eight feet for a birdie at the par-3 17th.
At the par-4 18th, Mickelson hit his approach to 10 feet and made the putt to complete the phenomenal round.
'It was fun. It was a great day,' said Toms. 'We got off to a good start. I think that was the difference from the first couple of days. We got off to a roaring start and we just kind of maintained that throughout the day.'
Mickelson and Toms, who played together at the Ryder Cup, have put themselves in position to bring home a 24th World Cup title for the United States.
'If we can post a score tomorrow, put something up there, at least get it going where those guys know that we are going to be there in the end, I see no reason why we can't come back and win this thing,' said Toms.
Maruyama and Izawa moved into contention with six birdies on the front side to make the turn at 22-under. They birdied 11 and 12 and took the outright lead at the following hole.
With a clear view of the green at the par-four 13th, Izawa holed out from the fairway for an eagle. Izawa then hit his second shot to 12 feet for birdie at the 14th and Maruyama carried the momentum onto the following hole with a birdie of his own to move to minus-29.
'We had a very good first nine holes, with six birdies, and then the turning point was probably the 13th hole, when Izawa made eagle,' said Maruyama. 'That was the shot of the day. Afterward, my play was getting better and so overall, it was a very enjoyable round.'
Izawa hit his approach within 14 feet at the last but his partner did him one better. Maruyama knocked his second shot to four feet and ran home the putt to grant Japan the 54-hole lead.
'We are not really surprised with the score, with the conditions and everything,' said Maruyama. 'We discussed this, and maybe it's not an every day score, but to play the golf, we are aiming for a good score.'
Overnight leaders Singh and Chand birdied six of the first 10 holes and picked up back-to-back birdies starting at the 12th to move to 27-under. They birdied 16 and Chand recovered from an errant drive with a birdie at the last to put his team alone in second place.
'Tomorrow is a very difficult format,' Singh said of the final-round foursomes. 'Anything is possible tomorrow, and even guys way back, five or six shots, can come up and win. So we just have to play our own game and not worry about the rest.'
England's Justin Rose and Paul Casey had five birdies and an eagle on the front nine to make the turn at 23-under. They collected three more birdies on the back side to finish four strokes off the lead at 26-under-par 190. They were joined the Canadian tandem of Mike Weir and Ian Leggatt and Scotland's Paul Lawrie and Alastair Forsyth in a tie for fifth.
The Australian duo of Adam Scott and Craig Parry shot a 7-under 65 to finish two shots further back at 24-under-par 192 along with Korea's K.J. Choi and S.K. Ho.
More from the WGC-EMC World Cup:
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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.

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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.

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“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. 

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Woods impresses DeChambeau, Day on Tuesday

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 11:27 pm

SAN DIEGO – Bryson DeChambeau played with Tiger Woods for the first time Tuesday morning, and the biggest surprise was that he wasn’t overcome by nerves.

“That’s what I was concerned about,” DeChambeau said. “Am I just gonna be slapping it around off the tee? But I was able to play pretty well.”

So was Woods.

DeChambeau said that Woods looked “fantastic” as he prepares to make his first PGA Tour start in a year.

“His game looks solid. His body doesn’t hurt. He’s just like, yeah, I’m playing golf again,” DeChambeau said. “And he’s having fun, too, which is a good thing.”

Woods arrived at Torrey Pines before 7 a.m. local time Tuesday, when the temperature hadn’t yet crept above 50 degrees. He warmed up and played the back nine of Torrey Pines’ South Course with DeChambeau and Jason Day.

“He looks impressive; it was good to see,” Day told afterward. “You take (Farmers) last year and the Dubai tournament out, and he hasn’t really played in two years. I think the biggest thing is to not get too far ahead, or think he’s going to come back and win straight away.

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“The other time he came back, I don’t think he was ready and he probably came back too soon. This time he definitely looks ready. I think his swing is really nice, he’s hitting the driver a long way and he looks like he’s got some speed, which is great.”

Woods said that his caddie, Joe LaCava, spent four days with him in South Florida last week and that he’s ready to go.

“Before the Hero I was basically given the OK probably about three or four weeks prior to the tournament, and I thought I did pretty good in that prep time,” Woods told, referring to his tie for ninth in the 18-man event.

“Now I’ve had a little more time to get ready for this event. I’ve played a lot more golf, and overall I feel like I’ve made some nice changes. I feel good.”

Woods is first off Torrey Pines’ North Course in Wednesday’s pro-am, scheduled for 6:40 a.m. local time.