Furyk the Favorite in Tigers Vijays Absences

By Associated PressJune 27, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 Buick OpenGRAND BLANC, Mich. -- Jim Furyk's chances of making nearly $900,000 at the Buick Open increased when Tiger Woods became a father.
 
His opportunity to cash in also improved because Vijay Singh is not at Warwick Hills -- like Woods, for the first time since 2001 -- out with an elbow injury.
 
'I don't think anyone really looks at it in that manner,' Furyk said. 'I've never looked at if it's a strong field or a weak field. Never have I shown up at an event and looked down the list to see who is here and who is not.
 
'Obviously with Tiger and Elin having the baby last week, it was pretty apparent he wouldn't be at this event. I know Buick will miss him, but he's played in this event a lot and he'll be back here a lot in the future.'
 
Woods and Singh played in each of the past five Buick Opens, with Woods winning last year and in 2002 and Singh finishing first in 2004 and 2005.
 
Furyk was the only player to stunt their dominance, winning it four years ago, at one of his favorite courses. Since he began playing a full schedule on the PGA TOUR in 1994, Furyk missed the Buick Open only in 1998.
 
He was second last year, three shots behind Woods, and has finished among the top 10 in six straight Buick Opens to help make more than $2 million and trail just Woods and Singh on the tournament's money list.
 
Entering Thursday's first round, Furyk has been under par in 33 straight rounds going back to 1997.
 
'If you get the ball in the fairway, it's not a very long golf course and you're going to have a lot of short irons in your hand,' Furyk said. 'Those two things, when I'm playing well, are the strengths of my game.
 
'I'm going to show up and play the golf courses where I feel I have the best chances, and this would be one of them.'
 
The Buick Open lacks superstars without Woods and Singh, and tournament officials are not the only ones wishing they were about 60 miles north of Detroit this week.
 
'To be honest, I would rather have them in the field because it adds more to the tournament,' Trevor Immelman said. 'That way, you also know if you manage to win the tournament, you've beaten the best field in golf.'
 
John Daly perhaps gives the tournament its only chance to generate a buzz among casual fans and it's tough to count on that because he is 176th on the money list with only one top 25 finish this year.
 
Charles Howell III (No. 6) and Furyk (No. 8) are the only players among the top 10 on the money list, and Furyk (No. 3) and Immelman (No. 17) are the only ones on the world golf ranking's top 20 list.
 
The Travelers Championship last week also had a lackluster field, but produced a compelling finish with Hunter Mahan making a birdie putt on the final hole of regulation and beating Jay Williamson on the first extra hole.
 
'Every tournament wants Tiger Woods and unlike many tournaments, we've been lucky to have him here the last five years,' Buick Open tournament director Mike Mattucci said. 'He had a child and wants to spend time with his family, which is very understandable and we totally respect his decision.
 
'There are still 156 great golfers in the field and with low scores, people are going to be entertained and there might be some stories that come out of this week that are new and fresh.'
 
Warwick Hills is usually one of the easiest courses on the PGA TOUR. It's relatively short (nearly 100 yards below the average) and players rave about the perfect greens. Woods and Singh won the past two Buick Opens at 24-under 264.
 
Heavy rain, which interrupted Wednesday's pro-am, softened the course that will allow players to shoot right at pins even more than usual.
 
'The greens couldn't be any softer,' Furyk said. 'I can stop a 5-iron out there in a foot. This rain is pretty much ensuring it will be that way for the rest of the week.'
 
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.