Notes Love still on the outside looking in Ball wars

By Associated PressMarch 3, 2009, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)MARANA, Ariz. ' Davis Love III began the year with a No. 77 world ranking. David Toms was at No. 113. They knew they would have to play well on the West Coast to qualify for the World Golf Championships, and eventually the bigger prize of getting in the Masters.
 
Both made significant progress. But theyre not quite there.
 
Love, a runner-up at Kapalua, at least made it to the Accenture Match Play Championship, where he beat Henrik Stenson in the opening round. But his loss on the 18th hole to Justin Leonard in the next round might have proved costly.
 
If he had won that match, Love would have gone inside the top 50 in the rankings and qualified for the CA Championship next week at Doral. Instead, he was at No. 53. Love is playing in the Honda Classic this week, and will have one last chance to qualify for Doral, either through the top 50 in the world or top 10 in the FedEx Cup standings (he is No. 14).
 
Toms is in a more precarious spot.
 
He was a runner-up at the Sony Open and tied for fourth in Phoenix, but he narrowly missed out qualifying for Match Play. Toms went to Mexico for the Mayacoba Classic last week, and tied for sixth. That moved him up to No. 11 in the FedEx Cup standings, a mere 36 points behind Mike Weir.
 
Toms did not enter the Honda Classic, so he will not be eligible for Doral. He is ranked No. 64, so Toms will have only two tournaments to move into the top 50 and qualify for the Masters.
 
He has had Augusta National on his mind since the start of the year.
 
Every time I see the Masters preview come on, it drives me crazy, Toms said. Im working toward that.
 
Meanwhile, Bob Hope winner Pat Perez, Buick Invitational winner Nick Watney and Charley Hoffman, a playoff loser in Phoenix, are in the top 10 in FedEx Cup standings, making them eligible for the CA Championship next week.
 

 
BALL WARS: Just when the patent lawsuit between Acushnet and Callaway was getting closer to resolution, both companies filed another round of lawsuits against each other Tuesday that could take two more years to settle.
 
Acushnet, parent company of Titleist and its Pro V1, already is appealing a verdict that its previous Pro V1 model infringed on four patents owned by Callaway. Titleist says the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has found the Callaway patents to be invalid, which will be considered in the appeal.
 
Meanwhile, Titleist introduced a 2009 version of the Pro V1 this year that it said was outside the patents in question.
 
In the latest court battle, Callaway filed another lawsuit claiming the new Pro V1s still infringe on Callaway patents. Moments earlier, Titleist filed a separate lawsuit in the same federal court in Delaware claiming Callaway has infringed on nine patents with its Tour i and Tour ix golf ball.
 
It is regrettable that one of our competitors would rather compete in the courtroom than in the pro shop, said Joe Nauman, Acushnets executive vice president of corporate and legal affairs. However, we are committed to seeing these matters through to appropriate conclusions.
 
Steve McCracken, chief administrative officer for Callaway, said he expects to win the latest round of lawsuits.
 
As long as Titleist, or any competitor, continues to introduce products that we believe infringe our patents, we will continue to seek relief in the courts, McCracken said.
 

 
RESHUFFLE: Webb Simpson opened his rookie season with consecutive top 10s at the Sony Open and Bob Hope Classic, and it paid off. Simpson has earned $401,894 and is 33rd in the FedEx Cup standings, moving him to the top of the priority list for Q-school and Nationwide Tour grads.
 
This was the first of five reshuffles during the season.
 
James Nitties, who tied for fourth in Phoenix, when up one spot to No. 2, followed by Scott Piercy.
 
Q-school winner Harrison Frazar began the year atop that priority list, but he has made only three cuts (two top 20s) and fell to No. 14 after the reshuffle. The higher players are on the list, the better chance they have of getting into tournaments.
 

 
TV BIG THREE: Three television producers from different networks ordinarily would be a crowd at any golf tournament, but there was a reason for it at the Accenture Match Play Championship.
 
Lance Barrow, the golf producer for CBS Sports, was at Dove Mountain for a scouting report. CBS will be televising Match Play next year because NBC Sports will be tied up with the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
 
The only time Barrow has been involved with this format was the HSBC Womens World Match Play Championship two years ago.
 
Tommy Roy, the golf producer for NBC, orchestrated coverage for the week, even the first three days on Golf Channel. Also at Dove Mountain was Jack Graham, the producer for Golf Channel.
 
Graham formerly was the golf producer for ABC Sports, which televised the first Match Play Championship in 1999.
 
It is among the most difficult golf tournaments to produce early in the week because of 32 matches going on across the course. Still, Roy could think of one other event that might be even tougher ' the U.S. Amateur.
 
At least we know who these players are, Roy said.
 

 
DIVOTS: Padraig Harrington missed the cut at Pebble Beach and Riviera, lost in the first round at Match Play, then apparently changed his mind. The Irishman entered the CA Championship at Doral on Tuesday, after saying he likely would take that week off. Boo Weekleys match play record is 4-0 against Europeans and 0-2 against Americans. Geoff Ogilvy beat higher seeds in every round when he won the Accenture Match Play Championship three years ago. This time, he beat lower seeds in every round. Rich Beem, relying on sponsor exemptions and his status as a past champion to get into tournaments, qualified for the Honda Classic with a tie for sixth in Mexico. Beem, however, withdrew from Honda, saying he needed a break. He has played six of the last seven weeks.
 

 
STAT OF THE WEEK: The highest-seeded player Paul Casey beat on his way to the Accenture Match Play Championship final was Ross Fisher at No. 35. It was the first time a finalist never had to play any of the top 32 seeds.
 

 
FINAL WORD: It was kind of my Disneyland. Everything I ever wanted was here. ' Paul Casey of England on arriving in Phoenix to play golf at Arizona State. He still lives in Scottsdale.
 

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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.