Notes OMearas Focus Gone Fishing

By Associated PressJuly 4, 2007, 4:00 pm
U.S. Senior OpenHAVEN, Wis. -- These days, Mark O'Meara would rather be fly fishing.
 
'I enjoy my time away from the game,' said O'Meara, the 1998 Masters and British Open champion who is at Whistling Straits for the U.S. Senior Open that begins Thursday. 'I owe everything to the game of golf, but there are times where the passion is not quite the same as it once was.'
 
The 50-year-old O'Meara had no complaints when the U.S. Open began last month at Oakmont without him. He failed to qualify.
 
'I was in the river fly fishing pretty much every day,' O'Meara said. 'On Sunday, I had a great afternoon. The river was on fire, catching fish left and right.'
 
He didn't hear Angel Cabrera had won until he got a call from overseas. Even then, it was no big deal.
 
'The problem I have is whenever the fly fishing is great somewhere in the world, I base (my golf) around the fishing schedule,' he said. 'When the fishing is good, it's hard to play. That's what I worked for: To make the money to where I can back off and do things I love to do.'
 
Staying in hotels in far off locales where golf tournaments are held no longer has the appeal it used to.
 
'I would rather be in the river somewhere where I know the hatch is going off and the fishing is phenomenal than in a hotel somewhere playing any event, Champions Tour or regular Tour, and thinking, 'Why am I not doing that right now?'' he said.
 
O'Meara had just spotted a moose while rowing in the Snake River with his son when he realized his 27-year professional career had given him perspective for his struggle to stay competitive on golf's highest stage.
 
'It's not that I don't love playing golf, but I wouldn't say I'm quite as passionate as I was when I started with my Volkswagen Rabbit and my wife and no money,' he said. 'I think life is all about understanding what is important to you, and some guys that have played really well didn't quite have the same career I had on the regular tour.'
 
O'Meara said he'll re-evaluate how long he wants to continue playing after three years of playing about 60 percent of the Champions Tour schedule.
 
'It's going to be on performance and that's why I say, give myself three years, see how I do. And if after three years, I don't feel comfortable where I'm standing in my game, then it may be time to retire and move on, do something else.'
 
It's easy to guess just what those plans would entail.
 
'You get in an area in your life where financially, you're somewhat secure, there are other things in life besides playing professional golf,' he said. 'I have a lot of other hobbies.'
 
WATSON'S SECRET:
It took Tom Watson 21 years as a professional to transform from an average ball striker to one of the game's best.
 
'In the early part of my career, I had some streaks where I hit the ball pretty well, but I was never comfortable with my golf swing,' Watson said. 'Literally, in 1992, I kind of found my secret, what I needed to do to hit the ball straighter.'
 
Watson's secret?
 
'Very simply, leveling my shoulders,' he said. 'Keeping the shoulders more level at impact.'
 
Watson said he felt much stronger after that -- until his putting began to go awry.
 
'You have to make putts to win, so I had a lot of tournaments where I could have won if the putter acted well, but it didn't,' Watson said.
 
TIME OUT FOR DE LA TORRE:
Loren Roberts made a quick trip this week to see swing coach Manuel de la Torre, who was head professional at Milwaukee Country Club for 45 years until 1996 and PGA teacher of the year in 1986.
 
'I just kind of wanted to see what his thoughts were about the golf swing,' said Roberts, who visited de la Torre once about a decade ago and had his advice stick. 'What's so great about Manuel is that he talks more about the mental side of the game and the positive side of the game a lot more than the mechanical side.'
 
Roberts said that he sought 'pearls of wisdom' on how to be positive and visualize success from one of 'golf's wisemen.'
 
'A great gentleman and a great teacher,' Roberts said. 'He's interesting to be around because he has a lot of little great sayings about things. He gets the point across directly.'
 
DIVOTS:
Don Bliss withdrew from the U.S. Senior Open on Wednesday because of a heart condition and was replaced by Greg Shaw of Little Rock, Ark. Shaw turned professional in 2006 and played in the 2004 and 2005 USGA Senior Amateur. Shaw is the 12th replacement in the Senior Open field this year.
 
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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