Nielsen Enjoys Being the Defending Champ

By Associated PressJune 26, 2008, 4:00 pm
Champions TourEAST MEADOW, N.Y. -- Lonnie Nielsens last few days have been unlike any hes had as a big-time professional golfer.
 
This is the first time for me doing this as a defending champion, Nielsen said Thursday, the day before he was to tee it up as the reigning champion of the Commerce Bank Championship on the Champions Tour.
 
Nielsen played on the PGA TOUR full-time from 1978-83 with his best finish a tie for fifth at Quad Cities in 1979. He then became a club pro and was successful on the New York State PGA circuit, winning 32 times from 1984-2003.
 
But it was his 14-under 199 total at the Red Course at Eisenhower Park last year that gave him a two-stroke victory over Loren Roberts and his first Champions Tour win in his fourth full year on the over-50 circuit.
 
It was a big confidence boost to me, Nielsen said. You have a feeling of belonging, of getting over a big hurdle because you are playing with World Golf Hall of Famers, major champions and on and on. Everyone out here has such a great resume and that win has been a big reason for my success the last year.
 
Since winning on Long Island, Nielsen has had nine top 10 finishes, including ones in the U.S. Senior Open and British Senior Open. He tied for seventh last week and is 13th on the current money list with $574,759.
 
Nielsen smiled broadly when asked about what followed last years victory.
 
It felt like it went on for about a month. It was exhausting yet absolutely sheer joy, he said. Driving from the golf course my voice mail was full and by the time I listened to the messages, it was full again. Then we got in the plane and it was full again. We got to hotel and there were 150 e-mails. I heard from people I didnt know but they had some sort of connection with me. It was the most fun part of the whole deal. It was such a cool week and then I got to the next tournament and had the other players pat me on the back and welcome me to the club.
 
Nielsen is one of seven former champions playing in the $1.6 million event that has a first prize of $240,000.
 
Jeff Sluman, who won for the first time on the Champions Tour last week at the Bank of America Championship, said being a six-time winner on the PGA TOUR took nothing away from his latest win.
 
Its nice to win any time, any place in any event from junior golf to professional, he said, adding nothing changes to the way these golfers approach the end of a tournament. You just want to win. The rush of competition gets in your blood.
 
Nick Price has yet to win in his second full season on the Champions Tour. The three-time major champion, who was ranked No. 1 in the world during the 1990s, has seven top 10 finishes this year, including six of his last seven events.
 
I was just burnt out in 2005. I was playing the same schedule at 47 that I was playing at 31 or 32 and I hit a brick wall, the 51-year-old said. The Champions Tour has been a breath of fresh air but my game was behind. Slowly, toward the end of last year I felt it was coming back. This year I have built on that. Every week Ive had a chance to finish in the top 10 and Ive had three chances out here to win.
 
You still get the butterflies, have that apprehension. We all enjoy that when we are in control of our game. Every guy here feels the exact same way and wants to be in the hunt on Sunday on the back nine.
 
One golfer hoping to have that feeling return quickly is Peter Jacobsen, who is playing for the first time since March when he had knee replacement surgery.
 
I have a renewed spirit now. Im ready to play, but probably not ready to win, said Jacobsen, a two-time winner on the Champions Tour. The doctor told me to go play.
 
Divots
 
Other former champions in the field are Bruce Fleisher (1999, 2000), Jim Thorpe (2003, 2004), Dana Quigley (1997), Bobby Wadkins (2001), Ron Streck (2005) and John Harris (2006). The course, a county-owned public facility which hosted the 1926 PGA Championship, will be a par 71 at 7,082 yards. There are five members of the World Golf Hall of Fame in the field: Price, Tom Kite, Ben Crenshaw, Isao Aoki and Curtis Strange.
 

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    CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.06 million

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 12:50 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:

    1 Jon Rahm -22 $1,062,000
    2 Andrew Landry -22 $637,200
    T3 Adam Hadwin -20 $306,800
    T3 John Huh -20 $306,800
    T3 Martin Piller -20 $306,800
    T6 Kevin Chappell -19 $205,025
    T6 Scott Piercy -19 $205,025
    T8 Brandon Harkins -18 $171,100
    T8 Jason Kokrak -18 $171,100
    T8 Sam Saunders -18 $171,100
    T11 Harris English -17 $135,700
    T11 Seamus Power -17 $135,700
    T11 Jhonattan Vegas -17 $135,700
    T14 Bud Cauley -16 $106,200
    T14 Austin Cook -16 $106,200
    T14 Grayson Murray -16 $106,200
    T17 Andrew Putnam -15 $88,500
    T17 Peter Uihlein -15 $88,500
    T17 Aaron Wise -15 $88,500
    T20 Ricky Barnes -14 $57,754
    T20 Stewart Cink -14 $57,754
    T20 Brian Harman -14 $57,754
    T20 Beau Hossler -14 $57,754
    T20 Charles Howell III -14 $57,754
    T20 Zach Johnson -14 $57,754
    T20 Ryan Palmer -14 $57,754
    T20 Brendan Steele -14 $57,754
    T20 Nick Taylor -14 $57,754
    T29 Lucas Glover -13 $36,706
    T29 Russell Knox -13 $36,706
    T29 Nate Lashley -13 $36,706
    T29 Tom Lovelady -13 $36,706
    T29 Kevin Streelman -13 $36,706
    T29 Hudson Swafford -13 $36,706
    T29 Richy Werenski -13 $36,706
    T36 Jason Dufner -12 $27,189
    T36 Derek Fathauer -12 $27,189
    T36 James Hahn -12 $27,189
    T36 Chez Reavie -12 $27,189
    T36 Webb Simpson -12 $27,189
    T36 Tyrone Van Aswegen -12 $27,189
    T42 Bronson Burgoon -11 $18,983
    T42 Ben Crane -11 $18,983
    T42 Brian Gay -11 $18,983
    T42 Chesson Hadley -11 $18,983
    T42 Patton Kizzire -11 $18,983
    T42 Hunter Mahan -11 $18,983
    T42 Kevin Na -11 $18,983
    T42 Rob Oppenheim -11 $18,983
    T50 Alex Cejka -10 $14,025
    T50 Corey Conners -10 $14,025
    T50 Michael Kim -10 $14,025
    T50 Kevin Kisner -10 $14,025
    T50 Sean O'Hair -10 $14,025
    T50 Sam Ryder -10 $14,025
    T50 Nick Watney -10 $14,025
    T57 Robert Garrigus -9 $13,039
    T57 Tom Hoge -9 $13,039
    T57 David Lingmerth -9 $13,039
    T57 Ben Martin -9 $13,039
    T57 Trey Mullinax -9 $13,039
    T57 Brett Stegmaier -9 $13,039
    T63 Scott Brown -8 $12,449
    T63 Wesley Bryan -8 $12,449
    T63 Brice Garnett -8 $12,449
    T63 Sung Kang -8 $12,449
    T67 Talor Gooch -7 $12,095
    T67 Tom Whitney -7 $12,095
    T69 Matt Every -6 $11,623
    T69 Billy Hurley III -6 $11,623
    T69 Smylie Kaufman -6 $11,623
    T69 Keith Mitchell -6 $11,623
    T69 Rory Sabbatini -6 $11,623
    T69 Chris Stroud -6 $11,623
    75 John Peterson -5 $11,210
    76 Abraham Ancer -4 $11,092
    77 Ben Silverman 4 $10,974
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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.