McIlroy's missed cut just a blip on the radar

By Will GrayMay 22, 2015, 5:53 pm

After his 78th swipe of the day, Rory McIlroy walked off the final green at Wentworth Golf Club, a victim of the 36-hole cut at the BMW PGA Championship.

Surprising? Certainly. Concerning? Not in the least.

McIlroy remains in the midst of a whirlwind spring tour that might be better suited for his musical friend Niall Horan: five events in five weeks across three countries, two continents and a handful of time zones.

The fatigue associated with that itinerary may have contributed to McIlroy’s early exit. After all, we saw Jordan Spieth suffer a similar fate earlier this month at The Players Championship, reduced from world-beater to also-ran in the span of 36 holes. Incidentally, he seems to have found his way once again this week at Colonial.

"I'm probably in need of a little bit of a rest," McIlroy said. "I'd rather still be here, but it's not all bad getting to go home for the weekend."

Maybe it wasn’t just the fatigue, though. Perhaps it was the layout itself, as McIlroy has never really gotten along with the West Course at Wentworth. Friday’s result meant three missed cuts in the last four years, a trend that serves to highlight just how impressive his victory a year ago was.

Or maybe this was simply a bad day at the office. McIlroy appeared out of sorts early on, hitting three consecutive shots from the sand en route to a bogey on No. 3, and he didn’t make his first birdie until No. 8. McIlroy’s round officially derailed on the easiest stretch of the course, holes 10-13. While the world No. 1 was expected to rally with a handful of birdies, he instead played the four holes in 4 over, including a double bogey on No. 11, to essentially seal his fate.

"I'm sort of back to my usual at Wentworth," McIlroy said. "It wasn't great before I won last year, and it hasn't been great after."

Great players have bad rounds – even when coming off a seven-shot romp in their most recent start. McIlroy’s score was 17 shots higher than his third-round total six days ago at Quail Hollow, a spread that indicates golf’s vagaries strike even the best in the world.

It also shows just how superhuman Tiger Woods was during his prime. Coming off two victories in three starts, a missed cut for Woods a decade ago would have been as unlikely as a five-putt. Tiger is Tiger and Rory is Rory, no matter how easy it seems to compare the two.

"It was inevitable at some point that the run was going to come to a bit of an end," McIlroy said.

We’ve been here before with McIlroy, though, and know better than to read too much into a single poor result. He missed the cut in surprising fashion last year at the Irish Open, then turned around and won everything in sight across the summer.

He missed the cut earlier this year, too, at the Honda Classic in March. Whispers swirled again: Would he be able to follow up a two-major season? Had rust gathered in the winter months?

Six consecutive top-11 results followed, including wins at both TPC Harding Park and Quail Hollow, to silence any of those doubts.

So as McIlroy heads to the Irish Open – with a couple of extra days off – it’s wise not to read too deeply into the tea leaves scattered in his wake at Wentworth. Next week, McIlroy will serve as tournament host at Royal County Down, an event that means as much if not more to him than this week’s test.

After that it will be the U.S. Open, where McIlroy admitted earlier this week the uncertainty presented by Chambers Bay will make it difficult to predict an outcome. McIlroy could show up and dust the field as he did at Congressional in 2011, or he could cancel his weekend hotel reservations.

The takeaway from McIlroy’s game is not this week, it’s this month. He will not make every cut, and when his ball-striking begins to falter, he is still prone to big numbers. That hasn’t changed.

But the last four weeks, specifically the two wins, demonstrated that McIlroy is the best player in the world. A missed cut at Wentworth showed that he is still human, but it doesn’t unseat him from golf’s pole position.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.”

Getty Images

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.