Notes After 17 Years Love Out of Top 50

By Associated PressSeptember 25, 2007, 4:00 pm
MONTREAL -- Davis Love III was in his fourth full season on the PGA TOUR when he finished alone in third at the Disney Classic on Oct. 21, 1990, and that was enough to move him into the top 50 in the world ranking.
Love has stayed in the top 50 every week since then -- until Monday.
He slipped to No. 51, ending a streak of nearly 17 years. But the ramifications stretch beyond the world ranking to another streak. Love has played in 70 consecutive majors, tops among active players. As of now, he is not eligible for the first three majors next year.
Three Americans will be in the HSBC World Match Play Championship for the second straight year, although there might not be a huge rush on tickets.
Jerry Kelly, Woody Austin and Hunter Mahan all earned a spot through the tournament's 'major championships ranking' criteria, which awards points depending on the finish in a major.
It was perfect timing for Kelly, who until this year had never recorded a top 10 in any major. And until recently, he had no idea how the field was set for the World Match Play, which offers the richest prize at an official tournament with more than $2 million.
'If I had known how to get in, maybe I wouldn't have waited this long to play better in the majors,' Kelly joked.
Austin says he has not played match play in more than 20 years, since he was an amateur. He'll be playing twice in a span of three weeks, at the Presidents Cup and then the World Match Play.
'I didn't know anything about it,' Austin said. 'I didn't know how the points worked, and I guess it was just strictly that I finished second at the PGA. All I know is I got invited.'
The tournament, which no American has won since Mark O'Meara in 1998, will be Oct. 11-14, the same week as Las Vegas.
Austin figures he'll get roasted by the British press for turning down his exemption to the British Open, but turning up in London for the richest prize in golf. The explanation is simple -- and included a dig at Tiger Woods.
Had he played the British Open, that would have been nine straight weeks for Austin, who said he was worn out.
'I had a valid reason,' he said. 'We have a guy who is tired after two weeks when he only plays 15 tournaments a year and he's flying around on his corporate jet. And I get lambasted for not wanting to play nine in a row?'
Davis Love III has never missed the Target World Challenge since Tiger Woods started it in 1999. This year, he needed a sponsor's invitation to get into the field.
Love, Fred Couples and Mark Calcavecchia were added to the 16-man field at Sherwood Country Clubs on Dec. 13-16, the final tournament of 2007. Woods is the defending champion, and the field includes six of the top 10 in the world ranking. Missing are Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Adam Scott and Sergio Garcia.
U.S. Amateur champion Colt Knost had invitations to play in the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open. The SMU graduate is trading those in to play next week in the Valero Texas Open.
Knost, who completed a terrific summer with victories in the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Amateur Public Links and the Walker Cup, decided to turn professional. He has agreed to endorsement deals with Titleist.
'Foregoing my invitations to their championships was a very hard decision,' Knost said. 'But I feel like now is the time to begin my professional career. I hope to play in many of their championships in the years to come.'
The decision came one day after Knost became the inaugural winner of the Mark H. McCormack Medal, awarded to the No. 1 player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Among those making it through the pre-qualifying event for Q-school was Jay Haas Jr., the oldest son of Jay Haas. Among those failing was Isabel Beiseigel, the LPGA Tour player who has been trying PGA TOUR Q-school the past couple of years. ... The R&A has decided to end the British Mid-Amateur Championship after only 13 years because the fields were too small and not very strong. The final name on the trophy will be Matthew Cryer. ... The PGA TOUR has eliminated from its exemption list 'two members of the PGA section in which the tournament is played who qualify through sectional qualifying competitions.' The decision was based on recent performance in the tour events. ... Players in their 40s have more PGA Tour victories (nine) than players in their 20s (seven) this year. ... The refurbished fairways at the TPC Sawgrass passed its first big test. One day after the Jacksonville area received 7 inches of rain, the Stadium Course was among the few golf courses in the area open for play.
Vijay Singh is the only player to compete in all 30 matches of the Presidents Cup since it began in 1994.
'He's not much good against left-handers.' -- Nick O'Hern, asked what advice he would give to Mike Weir if the Canadian were to play Tiger Woods in the Presidents Cup. O'Hern is the only professional to beat Woods twice in match play.
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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, 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 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 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