Notes Family Crisis Exemption to Benefit Duval
Duval used a one-time exemption as top 25 on the career money list to keep his card this year, but it looked as though it might go to waste when his wife was put on bed rest in February because of complications with her pregnancy. Duval felt his responsibility was at home to care for his wife and four children, and he did not play for more than seven months.
Hart withdrew from the Wachovia Championship in May when his wife became seriously ill, and he stayed home with their 5-year-old triplets as his wife recovered. She is doing better, but Hart has not played since late April.
Duval, whose daughter Sienna was born two months ago and is healthy, originally asked the tour about an extension in May and was denied based on the letter of the regulation. PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem was concerned that granting an exemption in his case might open the TOUR up to a bevy of other petitions.
But after the policy board met in late May, there was enough sentiment to take another look.
'David wanted us to look past him,' said Davis Love III, a policy board member.
The result is 'family crisis' being part of the medical extension regulations, and both Duval and Hart will be eligible.
'He's treated as if he had a back injury,' said Andy Pazder, the TOUR's vice president of competition.
Duval returned to competition last week at the Viking Classic, where he tied for 44th, and he plans to play one more event in the Fall Series. His schedule next year will be based on the average number of starts among the top 125 on the money list this year.
'It's the right thing,' Duval said last week. 'I actually got thanked for bringing this up. I said to them a couple of months ago, whether they make it retroactive or not, it needs to be done.'
As for other situations that might arise? Pazder said like any medical extension request, the decision lies with Finchem.
'It's got to be a serious family crisis,' he said. 'It's a hardship caused by the illness of immediate family.'
TIGER'S MATCH-PLAY RECORD:
Tiger Woods won his first match in a professional cup competition in 1997 when he and Mark O'Meara beat Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer in fourballs at Valderrama.
That was the only time Woods has had a winning record.
He lost his next two matches, and has spent the rest of his career with an aggregate losing record. Woods finally got his Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup record back to .500 with a fourballs victory at Royal Montreal with David Toms in Saturday afternoon fourballs. A victory over Mike Weir would have given Woods a winning record for the first time in 10 years.
But he lost, and now stands at 23-24-3.
That wasn't a subtle statement Phil Mickelson made by wearing soft spikes against Vijay Singh.
Their frosty relationship turned arctic two years ago at the Masters when Singh complained that Mickelson and his 8-millimeter spikes were ruining the greens. During a rain delay, they got into a heated argument in the Champions locker room at Augusta National.
Mickelson, however, said he switched over to soft spikes about the time he went to work with Butch Harmon.
'We changed my foot work,' Mickelson said. 'I started practicing in soft spikes and started playing in soft spikes in my practice round and didn't switch. What I found was it felt better on my back.'
Mickelson said he still plans to use metal spikes, but he prefers soft spikes when playing 36 holes, such as the Presidents Cup.
'I only had one shot this week were I slipped, so that's encouraging,' he said. 'When I swing harder at it, I've been all over the place in the past, and now I'm able to maintain better balance.'
Don't think metal spikes didn't cross his mind for the Sunday singles at Royal Montreal.
'I thought about it just for today,' Mickelson said. 'I thought that would be funny. But I couldn't find any.'
Lorena Ochoa needs to finish sixth or better at the Longs Drugs Challenge to become the first $3 million woman in golf. ... Charles Howell III was the only player who never reached the 18th hole at the Presidents Cup. ... Angela Park has clinched the LPGA Tour rookie of the year award. Park has six top 10s this year, and the 20-year-old Brazilian native is ninth on the money list with $847,933. ... Former USGA agronomist Tim Moraghan has launched a new company called Aspire Golf Consulting, which will provide services ranging from golf course tournament preparation to turf management to golf course planning. ... The first stage of European Tour qualifying school will be held in Scotland for the first time, played at Dundonald Links just north of Royal Troon. The links course is owned by Lyle Anderson as a sister course of Loch Lomond.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Three players at the Presidents Cup have been medalists at Q-school -- Woody Austin (1994), Scott Verplank (1997) and Mike Weir (1998).
'For my money, he's the best competitor and friend I've had in golf.' -- Jack Nicklaus, on Gary Player.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time
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
Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2
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.
Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title
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."
Tom Brady, postgame, on wearing the wrap on his hand: “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. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) January 22, 2018
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.
Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder
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