Good Field Bad Date for 84 Lumber

By Associated PressSeptember 14, 2005, 4:00 pm
84 Lumber ClassicFARMINGTON, Pa. -- Phil Mickelson. Vijay Singh. David Toms. Jim Furyk. With four of the top five money winners on the PGA Tour, the 84 Lumber Classic has a better field than most of the post-major tournaments.
 
For tournament founder and lumberyard billionaire Joe Hardy, it's not good enough.
 
Hardy is willing to spend big to turn what now is a well-attended but relatively unimportant event that begins Thursday into an upper-tier tournament that doesn't compete with football season, the pennant races, the back-to-school rush or the European pro circuit.
 
So, after spending nearly $75 million in the last year building a five-star, on-course players lodge and further improving the Mystic Rock course at his Nemacolin Woodlands resort southeast of Pittsburgh, Hardy is lobbying hard for a better tour date starting next year.
 
With Hardy showing he can attract many of the recognizable names via intense lobbying -- Tiger Woods was set to play last year, but pulled out after the Ryder Cup -- he wants better dates to showcase his fast-maturing tournament.
 
While attendance should be respectable, with about 70,00 tickets sold, the 84 Lumber Classic is going against the Steelers' game Sunday in Houston and Pitt's televised game Saturday at Nebraska. That kind of competition is bound to limit the crowds, especially since most fans are expected to drive at least an hour each way to get there.
 
Hardy prefers to see the tournament moved to August as soon as next year, though the change might not come until 2007, when new TV contracts could result in a slimmed-down schedule that eliminates some lesser-interest fall tournaments.
 
Hardy has spoken often with PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem about getting an earlier date, before the Steelers' season starts and college and high school students are back in school.
 
``We've made Tim Finchem sensitive to our desires,'' Hardy said. ``But we feel we're going to earn whatever date we're eventually going to get.''
 
Seventeen of the top 30 money winners are entered in the $4.4 million tournament, won last year by Singh during a run of five victories in six tournaments. Also entered among the top 10 money winners are PGA champion Mickelson, Toms, Furyk and Chris DiMarco.
 
Ten golfers, including the International team's Stuart Appleby, Peter Lonard and Singh, are using the tournament to tune up for next week's Presidents Cup in Virginia.
 
Last year's event attracted 21 of the top 30 money winners, partly because Hardy leased two private planes to shuttle golfers to the following week's World Golf Championship event in Ireland. But while Hardy spends big each year to attract a quality field, this was one perk that didn't work as intended; one plane experienced mechanical problems, forcing a 12-hour delay that irked some golfers.
 
As a result, Hardy was extra generous to the golfers this year, sending gifts on their birthdays, their wives' and kids' birthdays, Father's Day and Mother's Day. Mickelson's 2-year-old son, Evan, got a tournament-supplied birthday visit from a Spider-Man character.
 
Hardy also listened to advice offered by Singh and John Daly, both of whom are sponsored by 84 Lumber, and undertook the second major renovation of the 7,511-yard Mystic Rock course in as many years. Twelve of the 18 holes were altered, making what previously was an average course narrower and longer.
 
Numerous players said the course needed toughening following winning scores of 22 under (by J.L. Lewis in a weak 2003 field) and 15 under (by Singh).
 
One feature that wasn't changed is the statue of Daly that stands in front of a waterfall near the No. 5 hole. Daly and Hardy are so close that Daly calls him ``Dad,'' and the resort contains a golf teaching center named for Daly.
 
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    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

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    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.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    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."

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    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.

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    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