No Tiger No Problem Party Goes on at FBR

By Associated PressJanuary 31, 2007, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The absence of Tiger Woods won't spoil the party at the FBR Open. It never does.
 
Woods' string of PGA TOUR victories is on hold at seven this week while he travels halfway around the world for the Dubai Classic. For the sixth year in a row, he is skipping the FBR and its rowdy, raucous crowds.
 
That won't stop a half-million or so people from making the trek to the Tournament Players Club course in north Scottsdale during the tournament's four-day run, which begins on Thursday.
 
Last year, a record 536,767 people attended the weeklong festivities, including record crowds of 117,540 on Friday and 168,337 on Saturday.
 
Among those scheduled to attend Thursday's first round is President George H.W. Bush, who is coming as a guest of the FBR.
 
Throughout the weekend, but especially on Saturday, the see-and-be-seen crowd packs the bars and beer stands near the clubhouse. Many of them wouldn't recognize a golf shot if it bounced off their foreheads.
 
Others, particularly in the din of the stadium-like 16th hole, cheer and even occasionally boo with a vigor directly proportional to the amount of 'refreshments' they have enjoyed.
 
'A little different than most tournaments we play, but it's fun,' said Camilo Villegas, whose wildly colorful clothes made him a crowd favorite a year ago. 'Fans go a little off the board.'
 
Weather is about the only thing that can dampen the enthusiasm. A bone-chilling rain forced a premature end to the pro-am round early Wednesday afternoon, but improved conditions were forecast.
 
There was a slight chance of showers on Thursday, with sunshine and warming conditions predicted the rest of the week.
 
U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, who lives a 10-minute drive from the TPC Scottsdale course, loves the tournament's atmosphere.
 
'It's awesome,' he said. 'I mean, 16 is even bigger than it was before. I mean, it's like hitting a shot in a baseball stadium.'
 
As many as 12,000 people pack the sky boxes and bleachers that surround the par-3, 162-yard 16th. Players enter through a tunnel and are greeted with cheers, their college fight songs, maybe even the national anthem of their own country if they are from outside the United States.
 
The roar from the 16th can be heard through much of the back nine.
 
'Eleven and 12 are on one side of the lake and you can hear all the silliness on 16,' the Australian Ogilvy said, 'and then you go away from it, and it builds as you come. It's a buildup all day to get to 16. Seventeen is the hardest tee shot there because the people on 16, they've forgotten about you, they don't care. They'll make as much noise as they can while you're hitting.'
 
The environment defies the sport's gentile, sophisticated image.
 
'It might get old if it was every week, but it's fun once or twice a year,' Ogilvy said. 'We get the same kind of effect on the 17th hole at the Buick Open in Michigan. I mean, that's incredible, too. But here the whole golf course is like that.'
 
The par-71, 7,216-yard TPC Scottsdale course favors the long hitters, although softened conditions from the rain could help level the playing field.
 
'When it's firmer generally it probably brings down the amount of people who can play well,' Ogilvy said, 'but when it's soft it probably brings more people into it.'
 
Last year, big-swinging rookie J.B. Holmes shot a 21-under-par 263 to win by seven strokes in just his fourth PGA TOUR tournament. But the rest of the year was a disappointment. He missed the cut seven times and never finished better than tied for 13th.
 
This year, he tied for fourth in the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship, but missed the cut the next two weeks.
 
'Actually, I feel more relaxed this week than I have been at a lot of other tournaments because so much positive stuff came from this last year,' Holmes said. 'I'm just going to go out there and have a really good time. The course sets up really good for me. I like the course, I like the crowd, I like the city -- so just go out and have fun.'
 
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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