European Perspective

By Tom AbbottJune 10, 2010, 4:56 am

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – I'm writing this column from the host city of this week’s LPGA State Farm Classic, so I think it's appropriate to concentrate on the women’s game this week.

There is much to talk about as the LPGA begins a long stretch of golf, the likes of which it hasn’t seen since last summer, with seven of the next eight weeks the ladies are in action. In this stretch, the tour will play three majors, and visit three different countries. They willl visit both Oakmont and Royal Birkdale in the next two months and make the annual pilgrimage to Evian, a tournament which no one wants to miss.

From a European perspective, Suzann Pettersen, according to the world rankings, offers the best hope for dominance this summer. The Norwegian, ranked third in the world, has finished second three times this season. However, Pettersen has elected not to play this week in Springfield, instead she has wisely chosen to rest an injured hip and spend time with her family in Oslo. She will hope to be fully fit for the LPGA Championship in two weeks, which is being played for the first time in Rochester, N.Y. Pettersen is a former champion, but won her title at Bulle Rock in 2007.

I am also keeping my eye on Karen Stupples, who has been showing some good form of late, and Laura Davies. Davies is back in Springfield, a multiple runner-up at the State Farm Classic. She lost to Nancy Lopez 18 years ago and was cruely denied again in 2003 when rained washed out the final day and handed a win to Candie Kung. Davies has played well of late in Europe.

There are a couple of returning Europeans this week. The colorful Helen Alfredsson returns to action on U.S. soil for the first time since her dismissal from the Kraft Nabisco Championship in April, having missed her pro-am tee time. The incident was far from straightforward but at the end of the day the rules were followed and Alfredsson was on the wrong end of a bad set of circumstances. Alfredsson decided to spend some time in Europe notching two top-20 finishes in May.

Minea Blomqvist is also back having given birth to her first child nine weeks ago. The only Finnish player on tour, Minea is the girlfriend of Challenge Tour player Roope Kakko, and thankfully the new mum has some help with baby duties from Roope’s sister this week in Springfield.

We also have the biggest event in the women’s amateur game, with the Curtis Cup taking place just outside Boston this week.

The Curtis Cup showcases the very best in the new breed of British players. The exploits of Irish twins Lisa and Leona McGuire have been catching my attention for quite some time now. The pair from the Slieve Russell club have cleaned up the amateur scene in Ireland. Remarkably they are only 15 years of age, meaning this week’s battle with America’s Alexis Thompson could be the first of many.

Sally Watson is another with incredible potential. I first met Sally a few years ago at the IMG Academy in Bradenton when she was studying and playing there under the tutelage of the Leadbetter Academy. Now Watson is a rising sophomore at Stanford, and is making her second Curtis Cup appearance this week. The Scotswoman has bucket loads of high-level experience having already played a major championship, the Ricoh Women’s British Open, making the cut at St. Andrews in 2008. Recently she qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open which will be played at Oakmont in July. Traditionally the GB&I team have had a tough time in the Curtis Cup – they are without a win since 1996 at Killarney – but this year could be a year to surprise on foreign soil.

Golf Channel will have coverage of both the LPGA State Farm Classic and the Curtis Cup this week.

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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.

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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.