Category: Farmers Insurance Open

January 28, 2011

Truth & Rumors: Amy Mickelson walks Torrey: “This is huge for me”

Posted at 11:13 AM by Alan Bastable

Phil Mickelson’s 67 on the South Course at Torrey Pines on Thursday matched the best score of the day on the tougher of the facility’s two tracks. But the real Mickelson story was Amy, who is recovering from breast cancer but felt vigorous enough to follow her husband for 18 holes. That’s the first time she’s done that since the 2009 Masters, according The San Diego Star Tribune’s Tod Leonard, who caught up with Amy out on the course:

Looking fit and healthy, Amy Mickelson put her palm up to the bright blue sky, the Pacific Ocean glimmering in the distance, and said, “This is the most perfect, beautiful day. I don’t remember a more beautiful day out here.”

“This is huge for me,” she said. “It’s just so fun to be out here. Of course, I watched all of Phil’s rounds on TV, but it’s not the same as being here.

“I think going through cancer, you have to look at it not day by day, week to week. We have to look at how far we’ve come in a year. It’s a long road.”

Of having Amy in the gallery, Phil Mickelson said, “I forget how much I’ve missed having her out here.”

His scorecard showed it.

Grey Goose and Soda, meet Fuzzy and Tonic

FuzzyGreg Norman has his own wine. So does Jack Nicklaus. And Arnold Palmer. And Ernie Els. And Annika Sorenstam. Fuzzy Zoeller? He’s a vodka man. At the Champions Skins Game in Hawaii—sponsored in part by Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka—Zoeller told Ann Miller of The Honolulu Star Advertiser how his label came to be: 

"It all started about five years ago," he said. "I was sitting in my office in southern Indiana. A lot of people had come to me to ask me to do wines. That wine business is so competitive, so many players have their own. I had to do something a little different because I'm a different type person."

A friend suggested vodka, and Frank Urban Zoeller, who now calls his drink of choice a Fuzzy and Tonic, jumped.

He found an American distillery that would make a private label and spent four years creating the taste he wanted. He did blind tastings at his club, which confirmed his belief.

Vodka tastings with the Fuz? Now there’s a prize for your next charity golf outing.

Gov’t appointee charged with finding sponsor for PGA Tour event

Parks and Rec departments assume all kinds of responsibilities, like maintaining historical sites, administering basketball leagues, and filling unsightly pits. South Carolina’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism now has one other unusual duty: finding a sponsor for the Heritage, the beloved yet beleaguered PGA Tour event at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head. The governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, issued the mandate to new department head, Duane Parrish, a former hotel executive:

“She literally said, ‘You're the perfect person for the job, and we need a sponsor for the Heritage at Hilton Head,'” he said. “So I have my marching orders.”

Legislative proposals last year to borrow up to $10 million from the state Insurance Reserve Fund for the tournament or to allow local governments to collect a sales tax to pay for tourism-related projects failed to pass.

“The first priority we have given to Duane is we have to find a sponsor for that PGA event before June,” Gov. Haley said.

No pressure or anything.

Tweet of the Day

IMG_0686_bigger @stewartcink: Now that @Love3d has been named RC Captain, it's officially suck-up time! Tried to buy him dinner but he was too quick with the credit card.

2011 Farmers Insurance Open: Tiger Woods's Second Round

Posted at 11:01 AM by Live Blogger

Sports Illustrated Writer-Reporter Farrell Evans blogged the second round of the 2011 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

Leaderboard | Photos | Course Profile | TV Schedule

6:12 P.M. Tiger narrowly missed an eagle from 38 feet at the 18th. He finishes with a 3-under 69 today and 6 under for the tournament. With that so long. Check in at for all your scores and golf commentary.

6:09 P.M. To Reader Steve: "To Farrell, point well taken about Tiger earing our attention. I just think that golf is hurting itself by not highlighting the other players and deepening the "star power" of the tour. When Nicklaus was at his prime, we still talked a lot about Watson, Player, and Palmer. I think some of these other guys are showing some great skills and I'd love to see sportswriters highlight these guys more so that the ratings wouldn't drop so much when Tiger is not playing."

Continue reading "2011 Farmers Insurance Open: Tiger Woods's Second Round" »

January 27, 2011

2011 Farmers Insurance Open: Round 1, Tiger's Debut

Posted at 11:56 AM by Live Blogger

GOLF Magazine and Senior Editor Mike Walker live-blogged the first round of the 2011 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines from 12-5 today, with a special concentration on Tiger Woods's 2011 debut. Read about everything that happened below.

Leaderboard | Photos | Course Profile | TV Schedule

5:01 p.m. That's all for the Farmers Insurance Open Round 1 Live Blog today. The "Name Tiger's Next Bag Sponsor" contest entries were underwhelming to say the least, but if Kevin Barton sends an email to me via we'll send him a hat. Special thanks to everyone who read and commented. You guys are great. Sports Illustrated's Farrell Evans will be here tomorrow at 1 p.m. EST. See you later!

4:57 p.m. Phil Mickelson makes a shortish birdie putt on 13 to get to 4-under. I'd put Mickelson at #3 on JLinkTX's wish list. I'm not sure anyone else under 50 is even on it.

Continue reading "2011 Farmers Insurance Open: Round 1, Tiger's Debut" »

January 24, 2011

Truth & Rumors: EA Sports says no nudity in Tiger Woods video game

Posted at 2:13 PM by Mike Walker

EA Sports’ Tiger Woods PGA Tour '11 video game made headlines when the gaming giant revealed the latest version would include Augusta National Golf Club for the first time. Now, however, EA Sports is involved in controversy after a British gamer claimed her avatar in the game went topless. Wired News has the details:

... it appears that videogame giant Electronic Arts may have a similar sort of wrinkle on its hands involving Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11. Jo Eley, who hails from Britain, claims she “spent ages” creating her Tiger Woods custom avatar only to have it suddenly tee off wearing only white pants. (Yup, “she” was topless.)

The Sun has the exclusive story on this, as well as video of the purported avatar in action (large NSFW photos, as you might expect).

EA, for its part, apparently issued a statement to the paper, saying in part: We have extensively investigated and have determined that this situation is not possible through a retail copy of the game. The player model is clearly modified as a result of hacking.


Harrington calls Kaymer ‘most formidable player in world’ when leading

Here’s Padraig Harrington on Martin Kaymer, who won the Abu Dhabi Championship by eight shots with a 24-under 264, according to The Glasgow Evening Times:

“He’s probably the most formidable player in the world when he is leading. He seems to intimidate the rest of the field into believing if he gets in front, he’ll win.”

Retief Goosen was impressed too:

"I've never saw anything above 20-under around here. The course, we were lucky, we didn't have any wind really all week, a bit of rain but no real wind. So if the wind blew like it normally blows over here, I'm probably thinking 15 and under would be the winning score. But yeah, he's killing us."

This is starting to sound familiar.

Unclear if the Man from Hope will save Classic

The Bob Hope Classic was buzzing about news that the PGA Tour was in talks with former President Bill Clinton about a partnership with two Clinton-led charities that would involve the Bob Hope Classic. That Clinton would be a boost to the Hope, which is still one of the Tour’s most enjoyable tournaments despite its star-challenged field, is a no-brainer, but The Los Angeles Times' Bill Dwyer advised caution after talking with tournament director John Foster.

Still, bigger-name players and a title sponsor are needed, and Sunday brought yet another wrinkle. The Desert Sun reported that former President Bill Clinton, an avid golfer, may be interested in using his leverage and that of his foundation to get involved in getting a sponsor and players. The details are unclear, and Foster's body language on the topic pointed to caution.

But can you imagine Clinton calling Mickelson to play in the Hope, and Mickelson saying no?

That may be a work in progress, much like the Bob Hope Classic itself.

Stray Shots: Things we saw while insisting the proper spelling is “Jhonny”...

Former USGA president David Fay is joining Golf Digest as a columnist. Personally, I hate it when estimable publications go tabloid to attract readers. (Via The Austin Statesman)

Some teenagers go bonkers after hitting an unlikely shot at a miniature golf course. Surprisingly, they don’t appear to have girlfriends. (Video via The Huffington Post)

Arnold Palmer’s garage has never once seen an automobile. (Via The Orlando Sentinel)

Why Martin Kaymer’s stint at No. 2 might be short-lived. Remember, Tiger is at Torrey Pines this week. (Via

Follow Mike Walker on Twitter.

January 04, 2011

Truth & Rumors: Stanford paper wants Tiger for graduation speaker

Posted at 1:40 PM by Mike Walker

Stanford Daily columnist Jordan Carr knows that a college graduation ceremony is only as good as the star power of its commencement speaker so he wants to bring in the ultimate high-watt celebrity to Palo Alto this May: Stanford man Tiger Woods.

Let's not pretend like we're above bringing in a big name just because of the attention it will attract. Oprah Winfrey hosts a talk show that airs while people with jobs are working. Tiger Woods plays golf while people are napping–same thing, basically. There is nobody–nobody–who would bring the same amount of attention to Stanford's 2011 commencement that Tiger Woods would.

Tiger has a unique perspective on things. He came to Stanford as a golf phenom, left as a blossoming superstar, rose to the top of his field, which he dominated to an unprecedented degree, suffered a humiliating downfall and now is trying to claw his way back to the top. I don't doubt that in time, Stanford will once again welcome Tiger Woods back. But why not now, when he is at his most downtrodden? We can show the world that Stanford will stand by its man, even when things are at their worst. I'm pretty sure that's in the Fundamental Standard somewhere.

So, do what you have to do to make this happen. Write petitions. Start a Facebook group. Those things have to be good for something.

If you can read this, then the clubs fell off
If you're like me, one of the biggest hassles about playing golf is carrying your clubs on the back of your Harley. Fortunately, a new company has solved this problem. Golfweek's Jim Achenbach has the details:

...Golf inventors and promoters often have a cryptic sense of humor. I could write a book about new golf products – the good, the bad, the bodacious and the ugly – and how they are introduced to the world.

Today, though, I will focus on just one product. It is called the Go-Go Caddy, and it is something I will never own or use. Why? Because it is designed to carry golf clubs on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. I am a self-proclaimed motorcycle moron. Call me Uneasy Rider. If I ride on a motorcycle, I am worried about just one thing: That would be falling down.

I am fascinated by the Go-Go Caddy ( simply because I like the man behind it, 38-year-old Cameron James of Matthews, N.C.


Torrey Pines organizers expect to see Tiger
Some big names have already committed to the Farmers Insurance Open -- Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan, Dustin Johnson -- and organizers sound confident that Tiger Woods will play the tournament, his usual start to his PGA Tour season, according to Tod Leonard of The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Tom Wilson, tournament director and executive director of the Century Club, said six-time tournament champion Tiger Woods has not committed, but the expectation remains that Woods will be here for the first time in three years.

"I talked to Mark Steinberg (Woods' agent) last week, and he said unless something disastrous happens he feels Tiger will be here," Wilson said. "He's trying to get Tiger to commit earlier, as he did for some tournaments last year. What earlier means, I'm not sure. I hope it's sometime in the next week or two."

Stray Shots: Stuff we saw while wondering how bland, reticent Steve Stricker won the Golf Writers Association of America award for media accessibility...

An American Ryder Cup captain might get Brett Favred. (Via Deadspin)

A new drainage system at Kapalua should help the quality of play at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions this week. (Via

Tweet of the Day:

Ferguson dougferguson405: Jim Furyk makes his first PGA Tour media guide cover the year they stop publication of the media guide. Pity.

March 15, 2010

Farmers Insurance buys 4 more years at Torrey Pines

Posted at 4:36 PM by Gary Van Sickle

Despite the recession, the PGA Tour continues to have success finding sponsors. The latest came Monday with the announcement that Farmers Insurance will host the annual Tour stop at Torrey Pines through 2014.

Farmers stepped in this year at the 11th hour to host the tournament, which was formerly sponsored by Buick. Bob Woudstra, chief executive officer of the insurance company, said in a teleconference today, "It's a very big day for Farmers. When this opportunity came up for the 2010 event, we were very excited even though we had only eight days to prepare."

The PGA Tour announced that next year's event will have a purse of $5.8 million. PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem added, "This agreement will allow incremental growth of the purse as well as of charitable contributions over the course of the deal."

Buick, which had sponsored the event since 1992, filed for bankruptcy last year. Landing what now appears will be a long-term sponsor at the last minute is coup for the tour and for the Century Club, the San Diego organization that operates the event.

"Earlier this year, Farmers Insurance rode into San Diego like a knight in shining armor," said Tom Wornham, Century Club president and general chairman. "This agreement adds a wonderful new chapter to this dream-come-true partnership. The Century Club and the city of San Diego are very grateful."

February 01, 2010

Daily Flogging: Ben Crane survives at Torrey; Phil Mickelson and others falter

Posted at 12:01 PM by Gary Van Sickle

With the likes of Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els and Robert Allenby in the chase, you weren't the only one who was surprised by Ben Crane's victory in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. So, too, was Crane, who up until now has been best known for being golf's poster boy for slow play.

Seriously, Crane two-putted the final green, holing a three-footer, and still didn't know he'd won. Take it from Mick Elliott of AOL Fanhouse:

That's when Crane turned quizzically to caddie Joel Stock, looking very much like a man suddenly realizing his pants were on fire.

"You know, I did not know that I had won when it was over," Crane said. "I didn't know who was playing well. I didn't know what was really going on in front of me. I had no idea what was going on. I'm thankful I didn't. Someone said, 'one-shot lead' when we were going to the last hole, so I thought he might be right."

Still, Crane insisted victory did not register until final-group playing partner Ryuji Imada made it official. "He goes, 'Congratulations,' and I go, 'Did I win?' " Crane said. "He kind of looks at me. I said, 'Did I win the tournament?' He's like, 'Yeah.' "

The funny thing was, the guys who didn't win got almost as much attention as Crane. The most noteworthy story belonged to Aussie Allenby, whose chances of winning vanished when his 7-iron approach shot air-mailed the green at the 14th hole. It was the dreaded flyer shot that everyone has been talking about -- a ball jumping farther than normal off the face of the club from the rough due to the new grooves.

On, Bob Harig focused on Allenby's wayward shot:

"I think it's still going," the Aussie said disgustedly afterward. "It's going for a surf."

Allenby was kicking himself for blowing his second chance at victory in two tournaments -- in both, a "flyer" cost him. He was very much in favor of the new rule in place this year that limits the space in grooves -- the intended consequences now biting Allenby twice.

"I think, if you really look at it, it's cost me two tournaments, definitely," Allenby said. "I was in the groove. And feeling ready to do it today. It was such a shame that it happened... You know what, I don't have a problem with it (the rule). Obviously, two shots have cost me two tournaments. But at least they're costing me tournaments."

Meanwhile, fellow Aussie Michael Sim (perhaps the leader of the up-and-coming-young-stars group) astonished the CBS telecast crew by not going for the par-5 18th green in two when he trailed leader Ben Crane by one shot. Instead, Sim played it safe, laid up and made a par, allowing Crane to win with a routine par.

No writers took Sim to task, but Brent Read let Sim explain himself in The Australian

"I think I could have got there, but I had to hit it flush, and I wasn't swinging that well and just decided to lay up to a comfortable number. I felt like I hit a great shot, landed in a perfect spot. I just had too much spin on it. I'm sure a lot of guys probably did the same on that last hole today... I won three tournaments last year on the Nationwide Tour, and it was just different out there today. You know, you're out there to try and win your first PGA Tour event, and I felt like I handled myself pretty good after getting off to such a rough start. I felt like I struggled with my swing, especially today and yesterday. It was a mentally tough week. So to finish in second place, (I'm) extremely happy."

Hometown hero Mickelson didn't get the job done in the final round, either. He shot 73 and dropped from fifth to 19th. His final-round charge never materialized after he opened with three straight bogeys. As the San Diego Union-Tribune pointed out, it was the ninth straight year he failed to win his hometown event and, coincidentally, it's been nine years since the South Course was remodeled by Rees Jones. The Union-Trib's Phil wrapup:

“Yeah, I would like to play better out here,” Mickelson said when asked if he’s frustrated by the victory drought here. “I’ve struggled on the course since it’s been redesigned, but everybody’s got to play it. I just haven’t played it as well as others. I still look at this tournament with a great fondness... I know where I want to go with my game. It didn’t feel as bad as the score reflected. I’m looking forward to L.A. I’ve had some good results there in the past."

Adding to yesterday’s frustration was that Mickelson’s coach, Butch Harmon, came to Torrey Pines for some pre-round work and Mickelson said he had a “good warm-up session.”

“He was so amped up and excited to play he almost was like a racehorse in the gate, biting at the bit to get out,” Harmon said. “To me he was so ready to play that he almost put too much pressure on himself. He was so anxious, more than anything. But he’s fine.”

Daily Flogging: Michael Allen takes drive on Route 65

Posted at 11:42 AM by Gary Van Sickle

In the middle of all the Phil Mickelson hype and the talk about grooves, it went largely unnoticed that Michael Allen shot 65 in the final round at Torrey Pines, the low score of the day. It was the first time he's ever shot his age.

Just kidding. It only seems like Allen has been around that long. Actually, he shot the 65 on his 51st birthday. So yes, he's getting older, and he's getting better. Ed Zieralski pointed out in the San Diego Union-Tribune that Allen tied for fifth with 21-year-old Rickie Fowler, who was 14 months old when Allen first played at Torrey Pines in the 1990 Shearson Lehman Brothers Open. Now that's a good stat. More from Zieralski on Allen:

"I was just trying to go out today and have fun on my birthday,” said Allen, who won the Senior PGA Championship last year after getting in on a sponsor’s exemption. “I thought maybe I had a little bit extra today.”

One of his playing partners yesterday was former San Diego State star Scott Piercy, who finished 7-under par. “The old guy can play,” Piercy yelled to interviewers as he walked by the area where Allen was talking to media.

Allen went from toting a curiosity item on his golf bag, which features rotating advertisements on a video screen, to being a walking advertisement for Life After 50. Last week he finished third in the Champions Tour Mitsubishi Electric Championship. Allen plans to play at least 20 tournaments on the PGA Tour this year and seven or so on the Champions Tour.

“For me, I’m still desperate,” Allen said. “I’m still trying to make a living. I still have two kids who have to go through college. I love playing out here. I’m not like a lot of those guys who have had great careers leading up to it. I still want to win out here... To be honest, today, I just wanted to beat this golf course for once. It owed me a few.”

January 30, 2010

Tour defends Mickelson, use of Ping wedges

Posted at 3:55 PM by Cameron Morfit

SAN DIEGO -- In light of criticism directed at world No. 2 Phil Mickelson and others using pre-1990 Ping Eye2 wedges at the Farmers Insurance Open this week, circumventing the new rule against square grooves, the PGA Tour on Saturday morning issued a statement defending Mickelson, as well as John Daly, Hunter Mahan, Brad Adamonis, Dean Wilson and any other Ping users.

The statement begins:

"Under the Rules of Golf and the 2010 Condition of Competition for Groove Specifications promulgated by the USGA, pre-1990 Ping Eye 2 irons are permitted for play and any player who uses them in PGA Tour sanctioned events taking place in jurisdictions of the USGA is not in violation of the Rules of Golf."

The second part of the statement is directed at the handful of players who have complained about the use of the old Ping wedges this week, specifically Scott McCarron, who was quoted in Friday's San Francisco Chronicle saying he considered the use of such wedges "cheating."

"Because the use of pre-1990 Ping Eye 2 irons is permitted for play," the statement says, "public comments or criticisms characterizing their use as a violation of the Rules of Golf as promulgated by the USGA are inappropriate at best.

"Commissioner [Tim] Finchem will address this issue in greater detail on Tuesday, February 2 during a regularly scheduled player meeting and with the media during the 2010 Northern Trust Open."

January 29, 2010

Live Blog: Round 2 at Farmers Insurance Open

Posted at 3:01 PM by Alan Bastable

GOLF Magazine's Alan Bastable is here to blog the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open, where Phil Mickelson is making his 2010 season debut. Join in the discussion by leaving a question or comment below. 

Leaderboard | Round 1 Photos | Torrey Pines Map | TV Schedule

6:00 p.m.  OK, get me out of here. Phil's off the course and Faldo's doing weird air traffic controller impressions. Enjoy the weekend, and please join us for lots more live-blogging action as the season unfolds.

Continue reading "Live Blog: Round 2 at Farmers Insurance Open" »

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