Notes Couples Gives Quite the Curtain Call

By Associated PressSeptember 25, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PresidentGAINESVILLE, Va. -- Fred Couples had not represented the United States in a major international competition since 1998 and was 0-2-1 after his first three matches at this year's Presidents Cup.
 
But the 45-year-old captain's pick proved his worth Sunday when he beat Vijay Singh, the No. 2 player in the world, 1 up with a 20-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole.
 
Fred Couples
Fred Couples throws his hands to the sky after defeating Vijay Singh 1-up to win a point for the U.S.
``I figure if I beat him, there might be a small golden rainbow out there,'' Couples said. ``And I did.''
 
Couples also beat Singh on the final hole at the 1996 Presidents Cup with a 35-foot birdie putt. Now the veteran of four Presidents Cups and five Ryder Cups would like to wear the U.S. colors one more time -- at next year's Ryder Cup.
 
``I'm going to play a lot next year. I'm definitely going to try to make that team,'' Couples said. ``I knew I had to play well this week, and I played OK. ... The last three rounds I played pretty well.''
 
Couples said he wants to qualify for the Ryder Cup team outright, rather than be a captain's pick again.
 
``I don't want to be picked,'' Couples said. ``And I probably won't be picked.''
 
POINTLESS NO MORE
Americans Kenny Perry and David Toms were both 0-3 through the first three days of the Presidents Cup, so they were understandably relieved to win their singles matches Sunday.
 
Perry beat Mark Hensby 4 and 3, and Toms defeated Trevor Immelman 2 and 1. They accounted for two of the Americans' first three victories Sunday, giving the team momentum that helped win the Cup.
 
``Hopefully it'll inspire our guys -- they knew how poorly I was playing,'' Perry said after his match. ``I told them if I could somehow win a match and win it pretty convincingly, it may give them a shot of confidence.''
 
Said Toms: ``I ran into a buzz saw every match. And even today, I was lucky enough to play just a little bit better.''
 
Three golfers failed to win a match over the four-day event: International players Vijay Singh (0-2-3) and Stuart Appleby (0-4-1) and U.S. player Fred Funk (0-2-2). Three went undefeated: U.S. players Chris DiMarco (4-0-1) and Jim Furyk (3-0-2) and International player Retief Goosen (4-0-1).
 
LOVE THE PRESIDENTS CUP
Who is the winningest golfer in Presidents Cup history? Davis Love III.
 
Love's 4-and-3 victory over Nick O'Hern in Sunday's singles was his 16th in the competition. Love, who has played in all six Presidents Cups, went 2-2-1 this year and is 16-8-4 overall.
 
TIGER SETBACK
Tiger Woods had a rare singles loss in match play Sunday, falling 2 and 1 to Retief Goosen. Woods grabbed his back after playing a shot at the 17th hole, a flare-up of a problem he had earlier in the event.
 
``The last nine holes it was giving me a little problem,'' said Woods, who had been 3-0 in singles in his previous Presidents Cup appearances. ``I had my opportunities to take control of the match. I didn't do it. I didn't make the putts. Goose made a lot of putts on me today.''
 
CRAZY EIGHT
No. 8 was one of the more interesting places to be this week at the Presidents Cup, if only because several players tried to drive the green on the 380-yard par-4. Tiger Woods knocked his tee shot all the way to the No. 9 tee box on Saturday, and Stuart Appleby launched one over a scoring tower later in the day.
 
On Sunday, the hole was won in eight of the 12 singles matches, usually giving important momentum to the winner.
 
Justin Leonard drove into the rough but took the hole with a 20-foot birdie putt to go 2 up on the way to a 4-and-3 victory over Tim Clark. Scott Verplank put his approach in the sand and lost the hole and his 1-up lead to Mike Weir. Verplank carried his frustrations to No. 9, where he put his tee shot in the water and his next shot in the sand and then smacked some plastic cups in frustration. Weir went on to win the match 3 and 2.
 
Vijay Singh lost the hole to Fred Couples when he put his drive into the rough and his approach in a trap. In the last match, Chris DiMarco missed a 3-footer to lose the hole to Stuart Appleby, but DiMarco redeemed himself with a 15-foot putt at No. 18 to win his match and clinch the Cup for the Americans.
 
MAN IN A HURRY
Vijay Singh complained about the slow pace of play at the Presidents Cup after Saturday's matches, so it wasn't surprising the topic was still on his mind when he arrived at the first tee on Sunday.
 
``I don't want to be waiting all day,'' Singh told his opponent, Fred Couples.
 
Singh and Couples smiled as they chatted about the subject and went on to efficiently play one of the best matches of the tournament, with Couples winning on the final hole.
 
NEXT TIME
The Presidents Cup heads north of the border for the first time. The 2007 matches will be played at Royal Montreal Golf Club, with Canada joining Australia and South Africa as International team countries to host the event.
 
Related Links:
  • Scoring - Presidents Cup
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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