Athletes Touch tourney on Monday

The first Athletes Touch Open is Monday at Mountain Gate Country Club. Registration is 10-11 a.m. with a shotgun start for the scramble at noon. Former Laker Jerry West and ESPN analyst Marcellus Wiley will be guests of honor. To register, go to www.athletestouch.com or call 310-557-1923. The tournament benefits the American Red Cross and Athletes Touch. Registration is $195 for a single entrant or $700 for a foursome.

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Tiger reacts to his nickname, No. 3

European player Ian Poulter, who’s from England, started calling Tiger Woods by his world ranking last December at the Chevron World Challenge. It was No. 2. Now, it’s No. 3. Asked if it’s all in fun or bothers him a bit, Woods said: “No, no, no. I mean, granted, obviously, I have a few lines I’ve jabbed at him, but I won’t put that out there like he does with me.” (he said with a wry smile).

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Bramlett earns NTO exemption

Joseph Bramlett is the recipient of this year’s Northern Trust Open exemption. He was the first black golfer to advance through the tour’s qualifying school since 1985. He already has his tour card, but with his rookie tour status and most of the world’s best golfers usually playing in this event – except Tiger, that is – he would have never gotten in the field. Bramlett is 22 and went to Stanford. Tiger has taken him under his wing. In fact, the two were supposed to play a practice round together today at Torrey Pines, site of this week’s Farmer’s Insurance Open, but Woods canceled Sunday night.

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The Tiger effect

Tiger Woods’ commitment to the Farmers Insurance Open next week changes everything. Everything is looking up for the event, which didn’t have Woods the last two years.
“Everybody seems to think Tiger Woods committing to a PGA Tour event is the biggest thing in the world. And it is,” tournament director Tom Wilson said with a laugh.

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Tiger to start season at Torrey

Tiger Woods has officially committed to play in next week’s Farmers Insurance Open. He hasn’t played there since 2008, when he won the U.S. Open in a playoff over Rocco Mediate. His injured knee was hurting so badly that he hobbled around the course to victory. This is a big day for the Farmers Insurance Open.

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Mickelson, McDowell in NTO field

Phil Mickelson and Graeme McDowell are two of the big names who have committed to play in the Northern Trust Open next month at Riviera Country Club. Also committed are: Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Scott Verplank, Stuart Appleby, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan and STeve STricker. Stay tuned for more names, including the watch to see if Tiger adds the tournament back on his schedule, which is a rare thing for him to do. A player must commit to the NTO field by Feb. 11. The tournament is Feb. 17-20.

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