LPGA Looking for Big Finish to 2006

By Associated PressNovember 14, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 ADT ChampionshipWEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Already with the LPGA player of the year award and six tournament victories, there's only one thing left for Lorena Ochoa to pursue this season.
 
A really, really big check.

The richest prize in women's golf -- $1 million -- awaits the winner of this week's season-ending ADT Championship, the finale of the inaugural LPGA Playoffs. A 32-woman field will be pared to eight by Sunday, when those survivors start anew and play 18 holes for the biggest payout in tour history.
 
Ochoa -- who turns 25 Wednesday -- is clearly relaxed these days, knowing that her primary goal for the year is already accomplished. Still, she's postponed the celebratory party until after the ADT is over, saying she wants nothing to distract from her pursuit of one more victory.
 
'I knew it would be a tough thing to do,' said Ochoa, who has won her last three starts to push her earnings to nearly $2.5 million for the season. 'I was just really happy that it happened last week.'
 
Ochoa is one of four players who still have a chance at the season money title, with Karrie Webb and two-time defending ADT champion Annika Sorenstam also assured of finishing the year atop that list by winning this week. Cristie Kerr could also take the money crown if she finishes first and Ochoa doesn't finish second.
 
While Ochoa says she likes the unique ADT format, she -- along with some other players -- doesn't like that the result here could easily skew the season's final money list. The entire $1 million first prize will count as official money, and Ochoa calls that 'a little unfair.'
 
'You can get a second place this week and your money title is gone,' said Ochoa, the first player since 1996 other than Sorenstam and Webb to win player of the year. 'That's the only thing I don't agree with. ... But if I need to win this week to win that title, too, I'm going to try hard to do it.'
 
Second place is worth $100,000, so it's conceivable that someone could stand over a putt on the 72nd hole with $900,000 at stake.
 
Under the tournament format, every golfer will play Thursday and Friday, when the first cut will trim the field to 16 players. A sudden-death playoff will follow Friday's second round in case of ties.
 
On Saturday, those 16 continue play, with that round followed by a second cut to get down to eight. From there, all the scores from the first three rounds are erased, and four twosomes will tee off Sunday morning.
 
The 2006 season was split into halves, with players earning points toward making the ADT Championship. Fifteen players from each half of the season and two wild cards got spots in the field.
 
'I'm not necessarily thrilled with how players qualified into the tournament,' Webb said. 'I don't think we have the best 32 players here, the best 32 players over the course of the year. But the format is something different and it's created a lot of interest.'
 
The odds suggest that whoever prevails at Trump International Golf Club will more than double her earnings for the season.
 
Only 10 women on tour have cracked the $1 million mark in 2006, a year where the average winner's check from the season's first 32 tournaments was $237,240.
 
'You could be a player that hasn't won all year and all of a sudden, you win a million and can be right up there,' Sorenstam said. 'So you know, it makes for a big change. It is obviously going to be very exciting for everyone. ... And I think everybody is going to ask the question, is that the way it should be?'
 
The winner's check is enormous, but the rest of the payouts are rather ordinary for tour golf. Third place is worth $20,500 and payouts dwindle a bit each rung from there, to $16,250 for eighth, $14,000 to those getting cut after Saturday and $8,000 for those gone after the first two rounds.
 
So, even though everyone will leave with at least a little something, this setup has a winner-take-all feel.
 
'It's going to be exciting,' Ochoa said.
 
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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."

    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.

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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