Gregorys journey ends Garcia wins scoring title
Gregory is a 30-year-old with cerebral palsy who was given little hope of ever walking. But he earned a bachelors and masters degree from Springfield (Mass.) College in sports management, and walked every hole to raise awareness.
He wound up walking 3,256 holes for a total of 988 miles. He traveled 79,838 miles to get to every event, starting with Mercedes-Benz Championship on Maui and ending at Disney. He consumed 280 bottles of water, 259 bottles of sports drink and 332 sodas. He traveled to 23 states and two countries (England and Canada).
The other statistic he kept: Gregory fell 29 times during his journey, a source of pride and some humor.
The worst was at the Bob Hope, he said earlier this year. I tripped over some TV cables twice in 30 seconds.
Gregory chose one player to walk with at each tournament, interviewed them later and spent the year writing a blog. He has considered writing a book on his quest. He walked the final event at Disney with Jason Gore, but when he finished, Robert Gamez and Rich Beem were at the 18th green to celebrate.
But he might not be finished.
His legs stiff, body rocking from side to side as he walked, it was easy to spot him heading toward the induction ceremony Monday night at the World Golf Hall of Fame.
When someone mentioned that he still had the silly season, Gregorys eyes lit up.
I think Im going to the Merrill Lynch Shootout, he said.
With the PGA Tour season officially over, its now official: Sergio Garcia has won the Vardon Trophy, the first European-born winner since 1937 to have the lowest adjusted scoring average.
Garcia played 72 rounds with an adjusted average of 69.12, overtaking Phil Mickelson (69.17) at the Tour Championship. Anthony Kim finished third at 69.28.
The last European-born winner was Harry Lighthorse Cooper in 1937, the first year of the award when it was based on points. Tiger Woods was not eligible because it requires 60 rounds, and Woods only played 25 before he was injured.
Padraig Harrington wrapped up the points-based PGA player of the year award after winning the PGA Championship, which came with a 50-point bonus for winning two majors in one year. Harrington, who also won the British Open, finished with 116 points to finish ahead of Woods, who had 78 points in six events.
The Kiwi Challenge will be shown this weekend on NBC Sports, and while Hunter Mahan won the 36-hole event on two courses in New Zealand two weeks ago (along with $1.5 million), the broadcast marks the debut of Steve Williams as a commentator.
Based on one exchange, the caddie for Tiger Woods might want to stick to looping or racing.
Williams said he was amazed how much information was available on all the players. But he wishes he could have one mulligan.
On the 13th hole at Kauri Cliffs, the moment Hunter Mahans second shot left the club, I knew it was well over the green, and my first thought was that it was a bad yardage, Williams said in an interview with tournament organizers. But these days, caddies who work for this caliber of player dont make mistakes with yardages.
I made the call on air, which was a poor call on my behalf, he said. However, it was the first thought in my head.
WHATS IN A NAME:
For all the fretting over the future of the Wachovia Championship after the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank was acquired by Wells Fargo, not much will change.
Tournament director Kym Hougham said officials decided to leave the name alone ' Wachovia Championship.
SHARE THE WEALTH:
Vijay Singh didnt start winning tournaments until there were two months left in the season. Tiger Woods didnt play the final three months of the season. There were seven multiple winners, the most since 2005.
All that did was spread some of the wealth around on the PGA Tour this year.
Singh won the money title for the third time in his career with $6,601,094, the lowest amount to lead the money list since Woods won $5,687,777 in 2001.
But a record eight players won at least $4 million. And just 20 years after Curtis Strange became the first player to earn $1 million in a season, 104 players made $1 million or more this year.
And the most staggering number might have been the $852,752 by Martin Laird to finish at No. 125 and keep his card.
Bubba Watson is best known for his prodigious length, and he used to love showing it off. Three years ago at Doral, he pulled out his driver with the pink shaft and belted one shot after another over the golf school on the back of the range. With each strike, he would casually look over both shoulders to see who was watching him.
Now, it seems Watson has figured out that its best to spend more time on other parts of his game.
Putting is the name of the game, he said recently. If you can putt, it doesnt matter how many fairways you hit and how many greens you hit. If you putt well, youre going to win golf tournaments. So Ive tried to work on my putting and my short game and my irons.
As for the driver? Its still in the bag. It still goes longer than anyone else. But Watson says he doesnt hit driver on the range when hes warming up.
Im always going to hit it long, so I dont ever practice that, he said. I practice the other stuff more than I do the driver.
Joe Steranka, chief executive of the PGA of America, was elected a PGA honorary member during the associations annual meeting last week in Phoenix. Jim Murray, the late sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times, was inducted into the Southern California Golf Association Hall of Fame. Others included longtime Bel-Air pro Eddie Merrins and George C. Thomas Jr., who the architect whose designs include Riviera and Bel-Air. Ian Woosnam became the first player to win the Order of Merit in Europe on the regular and senior tours.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Bob Tway led the PGA Tour in actual scoring average (69.94) but finished at No. 132 on the money list and failed to earn his card.
I feel like I could be a worldwide player and be able to make a name for myself in every country, not just the United States. ' Anthony Kim, on why he joined the European Tour.
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