Notes Tiger Versus Weir Blow Up Dolls

By Associated PressSeptember 29, 2007, 4:00 pm
MONTREAL -- Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player needed only four words and about two seconds to set the marquee Sunday singles match in the Presidents Cup.
 
Nicklaus made the first move Saturday night, immediately calling out 'Tiger Woods' with the U.S. selection for the fourth match. Player replied 'Mike Weir' just as fast.
 
'What a feather in his cap it would be for him if he could beat Tiger,' Player said. 'Tiger is a phenomenal player as we know. Mike Weir has nothing to lose. It would be a phenomenal day in his career if he could beat Tiger.'
 
Nicklaus left it up to Woods.
 
'I said, 'Tiger, I don't want to put it on your back, but what do you want to do? Do you want to play Mike or not?'
 
'He says, 'Cap, I'll play whoever you want to give me.'
 
'I said, 'You don't mind playing Mike?'
 
'He said, 'No. If this is what you want to do and you think it will be good for the matches, I'm all for it.'
 
'I give Tiger credit. He had the choice to do it or duck it. And he did not duck it.'
 
Woods is used to facing stars in their home countries. In 1998 at Royal Melbourne, he beat Greg Norman 1-up. The American then beat Ernie Els 4 and 3 in 2003 at Fancourt.
 
'I think it will be a fun match,' Woods said. 'We're great friends, have been for years, and I think we're really looking forward to it.'
 
Weir is 2-1 in Presidents Cup singles. He beat Phil Mickelson 4 and 3 in 2000, lost 3 and 1 to Jim Furyk in 2003 and beat Scott Verplank 3 and 2 in 2005.
 
'It's going to be loud,' Weir said. 'Hopefully, I can give them a lot to cheer about. I've been able to do it so far through three days, but tomorrow, obviously, anybody who plays with Tiger has got their hands full. But I'm playing well and I feel like if I can keep it up, it's going to be a great match.'
 
Woods and Weir were paired together in the final round of the 1999 PGA Championship at Medinah. Woods shot a 72 to win, while Weir closed with an 80.
 
Mickelson and Furyk also drew interesting matchups.
 
After Player put Vijay Singh on the board for the third match, Nicklaus countered with Mickelson. There wasn't any drama left when Furyk ended up with Retief Goosen in the last of the 12 matches. With the United States needing only three points to win, the overall result should be long decided by then, too.
 
Els and fellow South African Rory Sabbatini will play in the first two matches, with Sabbatini getting Verplank in the opener and Els drawing Lucas Glover.
 
Entertaining American player Woody Austin will face U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera in the fifth match, followed by Masters champion Zach Johnson and Australia's Adam Scott; David Toms and South Africa's Trevor Immelman; Stewart Cink and Australia's Nick O'Hern; Steve Stricker and Australia's Geoff Ogilvy; Hunter Mahan and South Korea's K.J. Choi; and Charles Howell III and Australia's Stuart Appleby.
 
MONIQUE DOES MONTREAL
Hunter Mahan is single, making him the only American player without a female companion. The U.S. wives made sure he wasn't alone.
 
During a quick shopping spree -- likely the idea of notorious prankster Barbara Nicklaus -- they bought the 25-year-old Mahan a doll they named 'Monique.'
 
'She came up on the elevator,' Scott Verplank said. 'They had Hunter come down to see if it was OK if this woman came up to the room. So the doll came up. He didn't take that too good, I don't think.'
 
During one team function, the wives placed Monique in a chair at the table. And the ribbing continued on the bus ride to Royal Montreal, with everyone asking Mahan what happened to Monique.
 
'We haven't seen her,' captain Jack Nicklaus said. 'I think they had a fight last night.'
 
GOOD ON PAPER
One reason the Americans love playing for captain Jack Nicklaus is he lets them pick with whom they want to play. Nicklaus asked them to write down their preferred partners on a sheet of paper, and he did his best to accommodate them.
 
Not every player got every partner he requested, including Tiger Woods.
 
Standing on the 18th green after the Saturday morning foursomes, Nicklaus pulled out the master list.
 
Woods had said he listed three players, and they turned out to be Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker and David Toms. So it was strange to see him get paired with Charles Howell III in the first session, a 3-and-1 victory.
 
'Charles wasn't on his list, but they played together in South Africa and I asked Tiger he would like to play with him,' Nicklaus said. 'And he said, 'Absolutely.''
 
Nicklaus wanted to give Woods his other wish -- Stricker -- but Stricker was going great with Mahan.
 
'Other than that, I didn't put anyone together who wasn't on anyone's list,' Nicklaus said.
 
Verplank might have been the only guy who got all three players he requested -- well, sort of. Verplank said he asked for Stricker, Lucas Glover and Zach Johnson. Verplank won two matches with Glover, and he won his only match with Stricker.
 
As for Johnson?
 
They were partners in sitting out the Saturday afternoon fourballs.
 
MUSICAL CHAIRS
David Toms and Adam Scott were either very popular or were difficult to pair. They were the only two players at the Presidents Cup to play all four team matches with four partners.
 
Toms was paired with Jim Furyk and Zach Johnson in alternate shot, and with Woody Austin and Tiger Woods in better balls. Adam Scott went from Geoff Ogilvy to K.J. Choi to Ernie Els to Retief Goosen.
 
As for Woods, he has had 14 partners in the 10 times he has played in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup.
 
DIVOTS
David Toms (3-0-1), Scott Verplank (3-0-0) and Woody Austin (1-0-3) are the only undefeated players. Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker are all 3-1-0. ... Mike Weir and Vijay Singh, teammates in two foursomes matches, lead the International team with 2-1-1 records. ... K.J. Choi is the only player who has failed to earn a point. The South Korean star is 0-3-0. ... Adam Scott (0-3-1) had not led all week until he and partner Retief Goosen won the 15th hole in the afternoon matches Saturday when Austin and Phil Mickelson made a bogey. Scott and Goosen also won the 16th, but lost the final two holes to end up with a halve. ... Woods and Charles Howell III are the only players who have yet to play the 18th hole.
 
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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