Player of the Year to Name Only Winner

By Associated PressDecember 3, 2003, 5:00 pm
The deadline for PGA Tour players to submit their player-of-the-year ballots is Friday, and the results will be announced Monday.

The leading candidates are Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh, although most players would love to have three victories and the green jacket hanging in Mike Weir's closet.

It should be the closest vote since Mark O'Meara and his two majors trumped David Duval and his four victories, the money title and Vardon Trophy.

How close?

No one will know. The PGA Tour only says who won, not by how many.

'Our intention is not to release the vote total, but to declare the winner,' PGA Tour spokesman Bob Combs said. 'Just as the Oscars don't tell you who finished second or fifth, neither does the tour.'

Combs said the tour might one day announce final tallies -- just not this year.

'We started the balloting process under one set of guidelines, and changing that at this point doesn't seem the appropriate action,' he said. 'We may well review that for future years.'

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MICKELSON'S MISERY: Phil Mickelson's miserable season ended at the Skins Game, where he missed a 3-foot birdie putt that eventually allowed Fred Couples to capture the final skin worth $200,000.

'It was a tough year,' Mickelson said.

Lefty's take from the Skins Game -- $170,000, third place behind Annika Sorenstam -- was his fourth-highest check of the season. This was the first time in his career that he failed to make the Tour Championship (38th on the money list), and the first time he failed to at least finish second on the PGA Tour.

He also went 0-5 in the Presidents Cup.

Mickelson will not play again until the Bob Hope Classic, about a two-month break.

'That will give me an opportunity to evaluate where I need to go with my game,' Mickelson said. 'Driving is pretty obvious, but there are some other areas, too.'

Mickelson averaged 306 yards off the tee -- more than 17 yards better than last year -- but hit only 49 percent of his fairways (189th on tour) and only 64.8 percent of his greens (102nd). One year after leading the tour in the all-around statistical ranking, he slipped to 17th.

The most glaring drop: His final-round scoring average was 71.72, which put him 144th on tour.

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BRUIN POWER: Jay Delsing is trying to get back to the PGA Tour for the first time since 2000, and he had some strong support getting through the second stage of Q-school.

His caddie was former U.S. Open champion and UCLA teammate Corey Pavin.

'He called me and said, 'Man, I want to caddie for you in the finals,'' Delsing said. 'I told him I had to get through the second stage.'

Pavin was on the bag as Delsing made it through at Black Horse in Monterey, traditionally the toughest course on the qualifying rotation.

'To be where he was and want to do this shows what kind of guys he is,' Delsing said.

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PORTABLE TEST: The U.S. Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club have approved a portable test to measure the trampoline effect in drivers.

The test requires only a low-speed strike to the clubface by a small weight on a pendulum, which measures the contact time of the collision.

The PGA Tour plans to make the test available to players who want to check the coefficient of restitution (COR) and to rules official in case there is a need to test a driver, but commissioner Tim Finchem said last month there will not be mandatory testing.

'This is a game of honor and integrity. It will continue to be that way,' Finchem said. 'When you're dealing with your ability to stay eligible to play in a golf tournament, you're not going to fool around with whether your driver is above or below a COR limit.
 
You're going to test your drive.

'There's no doubt in my mind that every player is going to get their driver tested,' he said. 'And in about four weeks after we start this procedure, it's going to be a non-issue.'

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DIVOTS: Wendy's has taken over sponsorship of the Champions Skins Game, to be played Jan. 31 at Wailea Resort on Maui with Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Lee Trevino. ... Charles Howell III and his former agent, Rocky Hambric, reached a settlement over a breach-of-contract lawsuit over Howell leaving for IMG, Golfweek magazine reported. 'I want to start 2004 with a clean slate and want to be No. 1 in the world. Having a lawsuit hang over your head is not the best way to do that,' Howell said. ... The Gaelic Athletic Association has agreed to switch the date of the All Ireland Football Final in 2006 so that it won't conflict with the Ryder Cup, to be played Sept. 22-24 that year at The K Club near Dublin.

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STAT OF THE WEEK: Fifteen of the 171 players in the finals of Q-school are past champions on the PGA Tour. A year ago, there were 14 former winners.

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FINAL WORD: 'The trophy is going to sit in Ponte Vedra Beach either way.' -- U.S. captain Jack Nicklaus after the Presidents Cup ended in a tie.
 
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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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