Dances With Hurricane Frances
It felt a little irresponsible, Ill admit. But with Hurricane Frances bearing down on the Bahamas and the authorities emptying out south Florida, I felt like a few holes of golf. We have everything in the house were likely to need, so why not play a few? Things are due to get bad Friday, and theres no telling when well be able to play again.
Somewhere around the eighth hole, the director of golf pulled up in his cart and told me the club would be closed Friday. I expected as much. All morning I had been riding by oaks whose roots seem perilously close to the surface of the sandy soil, which is now pretty damp from our usual summer afternoon storms. Surely some of them, weakened by Hurricane Charley a few weeks ago, will succumb to Frances sustained winds, which are supposed to last longer.
Our club did pretty well holding up against Charley. There are only a few piles of brush and chain-sawed tree trunks piled up between holes. We hope to weather Frances as well, but the last few holes flood in a bad rainas I said, who knows how long well be closed?
Of course, its only golf. Its good to be faithful to ones club or favorite course, but you can take my club, cars, house, the whole shebang if I can hang onto my family. But one does get attached to a place, and as long as the basics are safe and sound, I want to see my golf club do well too.
Playing golf is a great way to hold pre-storm apprehension at bay. But I suppose visions of roof tiles blown into orbit eventually worked their way back into my consciousness, because I started pumping drives out of bounds on the ninth tee. (Cue the Dangerfield voice: You wanna talk natural disasters; you should see my golf game. I tell ya, I dont get no respect.)
So that was enough golf, for now. But the anticipation, and everyone looking warily to the southeast, got me thinking about golf and natural disasters.
Frances, gate-crashing broad that she is, surely takes things beyond the realm of Nae wind, nae rain, nae golf. I actually had a match scheduled in the company tournament Saturday. Last I looked, winds were supposed to have intensified to 33 mph by then. Whats that, a six-club breeze? Just tee it down and swing easy.
The storms central Florida has been dealing with are a perfect metaphor for how much golf is beyond our control. If my roof flies off Sunday, theres not much I can do to prevent it. Its lifes version of the goofy bounce that puts you in a bunker. No point worrying. Just stay alive and unhurt.
All business involves risk, and now is not a happy time to own a golf course in Florida. The rounds played numbers for August arent ready yet, but that month, September, and October are sure to be down as a result of the two storms. Reserve some hope for our colleagues on the ownership and superintendent side.
I remember playing at a beautiful course called Kitansett in Marion, Mass., right next to Buzzards Bay. Behind one green, where the turf ends and the cattails begin, is a stick on which the high water marks of various storms are noted. Suffice to say casual water was forehead-high on some occasions, and the nearest point of relief was in Providence.
So much for grinding over a 10-footer. As we like to say around the newsroom when a story breaks that transcends all things for awhile, Were not curing cancer here. Its golf, and golf TV, and golf Internet. Important, but not as important as our familys lives.
So Im sure youll pardon us if we have to run a little more taped programming than wed like to this weekend. Well still do some of our live shows, but it will be a skeleton crew, some of them working from other cities where we can be sure theyll have power. I imagine well be back to full strength pretty soon.
If you need me, Ill be reading by flashlight on the sofa, leaning against my wife, son, and dog.
Itll be a golf book, of course.
Email your thoughts to Adam Barr
After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time
Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.
On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...
Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).
Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.
It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard
On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...
There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.
He sure looks like the real deal, though.
His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.
Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner
Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2
With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.
He picked up one more No. 2, too.
The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.
In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.
Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.
“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”
Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.
Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.
He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.
Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title
Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.
Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.
His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.
“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."
Tom Brady, postgame, on wearing the wrap on his hand: “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) January 22, 2018
Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.
Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.
Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder
Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:
Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)
What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.
Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.
Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.
Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.
Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.
Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:
Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry