Notes Toms DQs Self Verplank Close to Wish

By Associated PressJuly 15, 2005, 4:00 pm
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- David Toms disqualified himself when he couldn't decide if he'd made a mistake.
 
Toms opened with a 74, which included a double bogey on the 17th hole. He wasn't sure if the ball was moving slightly when he tapped in, and figured he ought to take himself out of the tournament.
 
``It was just one of those iffy areas about whether or not a rule was violated, and I was the only one that saw it,'' Toms told the Press Association. ``I just felt it was better that I disqualified myself.''
 
That left Colin Montgomerie and Paul Lawrie to play as a twosome, but it shook up Monty for other reasons.
 
He was accused of hitting a moving ball at the season-ending Volvo Masters two years ago, a tournament title he wound up sharing with Bernhard Langer. Television replays appeared to show the ball moving, although they were not conclusive enough to assess a penalty.
 
Montgomerie was keeping Toms' scorecard in the first round, and when he heard about the DQ on the radio, he was nervous.
 
``I thought, 'What have I done now?''' the Scot said. ``Thank God it was on him this time.''
 
VERPLANK CLOSE TO WISH:
Scott Verplank wanted to be paired with Tiger Woods for the third round of the British Open. If not for bogeys at Nos. 16 and 17, he would have got his wish.
 
Still, Verplank's wild ride Friday began even earlier. At the fourth hole, he went just over the green and chipped to 8 feet before the fun really began.
 
``Hit a nice putt, hit it too hard, lipped it about 2 1/2 feet past,'' said Verplank, who finished with a 70 and wound up five strokes behind Woods, the leader at 11 under. ``That one lipped out, only about a foot. Got up there to tap it in, and I tapped it right in the middle. And it hit the hole and spun back to about a foot. I had already bent over to pick it out and it came popping out on me.''
 
That four-putt left the ugliest scar on a scorecard that also included two three-putts, although Verplank did plenty of things right to stay in the mix at 6-under 138. For example, he bounced back with an eagle on the par-5 fifth.
 
``Every hole was an adventure for me,'' Verplank said. ``That's the nature of the golf course here.''
 
This is the second straight year Verplank, a former U.S. Amateur champion, goes into the weekend in contention. He was three shots behind last year at Royal Troon. Still, he preferred to be playing with Woods, one shot closer.
 
``If he's out in the lead and I'm in the last group with him, it means I'm the closest giving chase,'' Verplank said. ``If you don't want to play with him, you probably shouldn't come to this tournament.''
 
COUPLES' BACK:
Fred Couples always sounds surprised when he's in the hunt at a major. This time with good reason.
 
Couples was only two off the lead when his tee shot on the par-3 11th sailed so far right it nearly landed on the eighth tee. Worse yet, Couples grabbed his back, which has been giving him trouble the last 10 years.
 
He not only finished his round, he shot 71 and was at 5-under 139.
 
``I ended up not really hurting myself, but my back kind of gave out,'' Couples said. ``I never hit a shot like that in my life. I thought maybe that's a wake-up call. Then I played well coming in.''
 
It wasn't easy. Couples spent the next several holes wondering if the pain would return.
 
``I don't know what happened, but it wasn't very much fun the next four or five holes with an iron, because I thought I was going to shank every shot. Now I know what an amateur feels like.''
 
CLOSING HOLE:
Maybe the birdie by Jack Nicklaus on the 18th hole at St. Andrews wasn't so remarkable.
 
The 357-yard closing hole is among the easiest in championship golf, so short that players often wait for the green to clear before hitting their tee shots.
 
Only six players failed to make par or better, and at one point in the second round, there were 10 consecutive birdies, starting with Toru Taniguchi and ending with Angel Cabrera, who were separated by four groups.
 
The streak ended with Thomas Bjorn, who drove his tee shot to the right and out-of-bounds. He wound up with a double bogey and missed the cut by one shot.
 
FANTASTIC FINISHES:
It was only fitting that Jose Maria Olazabal got into the British Open when fellow Spaniard Seve Ballesteros withdrew. Olazabal repaid his debt by producing some Seve magic on the 18th green.
 
He drove into the hollow known as the Valley of Sin just short of the green, then used his putter to hit up the slope, onto the green and into the cup for an eagle.
 
Olazabal held both arms aloft before slapping hands with Tiger Woods as he walked by.
 
The only player who came close to matching that celebration was Tom Lehman, who also made an eagle from the front edge of the 18th green. At the time, he thought he needed that putt to make the cut.
 
``I left an awful lot of shots out there, and I was due for something good to happen,'' Lehman said. ``I was playing so well, but I had zero to show for it.''
 
Lehman had some help.
 
He played with Paul McGinley, and the Irishman had a similar putt on Thursday that he left short.
 
``I hit that shot a lot of times during the practice rounds, and you have to hit it twice as hard as you think you have to,'' Lehman said, who estimated the distance at 45 feet.
 
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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.

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    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.

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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