More Money More Problems for Els

By Tom AbbottOctober 17, 2007, 4:00 pm
Editors Note: Tom Abbott is the host of Golf Central UK. He will be filing a bi-weekly column on thegolfchannel.com with news, opinions and his inside knowledge of the European Tour.
 
Els a Big Winner, Volvo Masters Not:
Its funny, really, how some players always seem to do well on a certain course, but I suppose when its your home club you can see why. Ernie Els lives just off the 16th hole at Wentworth; he could probably hit a wedge from his back garden over the house and almost hit the green. He feels comfortable on the West Course, which goes someway in explaining his seven titles at the HSBC World Match Play Championship.
 
Since 1994 and his first victory, beating Colin Montgomerie in the final, Els has ruled the event. Last week he added that magical seventh win, the most of any player in the tournament, taking out Angel Cabrera in the final with a comfortable 6-and-4 margin. Els then jetted off to Paris in a private jet to watch South Africa beat Argentina in the Rugby World Cup semi-final. His Springboks will now face England in the final, where this writer hopes the South African winning trend will come to an abrupt halt. But back to golf. With his victory Els won $2.03 million, the largest first-prize cheque in our sport. However, because such a large amount would alter the European Order of Merit so drastically, he only gained about $830,000 to be applied to the money list. The paycheck still takes him to the top of the Order of Merit, ahead of second placed Padraig Harrington.
 
There are three events left on the European Tour schedule: this weeks Portugal Masters; the Mallorca Classic; and the season-ending Volvo Masters ' easily enough time for Padraig, third place Justin Rose, or even fourth placed Henrik Stenson to come through and sneak past Els. All is set for an exciting finish to the season at Valderrama, except theres one problem. Els cannot play the Volvo Masters because hes already contracted to go to the Singapore Masters on the Asian Tour, where more than likely hes receiving a hefty sum just for turning-up. How sad, and embarrassing to all parties involved. Els said after his World Match Play win Id love to (play Valderrama), its a bit of an embarrassment I think, obviously for myself, the Asian Tour and European Tour, they have those two events on the same date. I signed a deal with the sponsor over there (Singapore) and I have to honour the deal. So once again big money talks in golf. How ironic in the first year of the FedExCup, which was a Tiger Woods walk-over, we have a great finale to the European Tour Order of Merit race, but not all the players will be there to face the music during the final few events sound familiar?
 
A New Star:
Does golf need a new star to fuel some enthusiasm, Wie tried but failed. Tadd Fuijikawa doesnt seem to be going anywhere at present. And Tony Finau well, length isnt everything. How about Rory McIlroy, then. The 18-year-old from Northern Ireland has had an outstanding summer: his performance at the Open Championship; a Walker Cup cap; third place at the Dunhill Links; and fourth last week in Madrid. This young man is a player and having interviewed him at the Open Championship this year, hes a very nice chap to boot. He has, roughly, just under four months to win on the European Tour and become the youngest winner in tour history, breaking the mark set by Dale Hayes at the 1971 Spanish Open. I dont think hes going to need all that time; a win could come very soon.
 
His finish in Madrid gets him into Portugal this week and at the time of writing, McIlroy is planning to play. One difference between McIlroy and the others I mentioned at the beginning of the article is that he didnt have as much media hype. Ive kept a close eye on his amateur career, which was very impressive. Players were beginning to talk about him, but aside from a few golf publications, he went quietly about his business. At the Open Championship folks were asking, Whos this McIlroy chap? Thankfully, hes let golf do the talking.
 
Another young star well keep an eye on this week is 20-year-old Melissa Reid, who plays Stage 1 of the L.E.T. Q-school. The reigning British Amateur Stroke-Play champion and lowest amateur at the Ricoh Womens British Open is gunning for a tour card next year. Shell be a great asset to the tour and hopefully will draw some attention to a circuit which deserves some more publicity.
 
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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.