Rose birdies 17, 18 to win Zurich Classic

By Associated PressApril 26, 2015, 10:25 pm

AVONDALE, La. – Whatever derailed Justin Rose's game appears long gone now.

Sensing he needed to birdie the final two holes to keep the lead, Rose pulled it off with aggressive swings and clutch putts for a one-stroke victory over Cameron Tringale on Sunday in the Zurich Classic.

''Earlier this year it looked impossible to win,'' Rose said, referring to his three missed cuts and failure to finish better than 37th in his first five starts of 2015. ''I'm very happy to have turned my game around.''

Rose completed a 7-under 65 in the rain-delayed third round Sunday morning and closed with a 66 at TPC Louisiana for his seventh PGA Tour title. He finished at 22-under 266, a record total on the course southwest of New Orleans that has hosted the city's PGA Tour stop 10 times since 2005.

The Englishman has won at least once in six straight seasons, the second-longest streak on the tour behind Dustin Johnson's eight straight. He's projected to jump from ninth to sixth in the world ranking.

Rose said his drastic improvement two weeks earlier at the Masters, where he tied for second, helped him in the Big Easy.

''I took my Masters performance with a huge amount of confidence,'' Rose said, recalling in particular the sense of calm he was able to maintain down the stretch at Augusta National.

Playing aggressively on the soggy TPC Louisiana, Rose made six birdies in the final round and played the last 66 holes without a bogey.


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Rose's final two putts from 10 and 13 1/2 feet allowed him to hold off Tringale, who birdied the 18th for a 65.

''I'm pleased,'' said Tringale, who was looking to become the eighth first-time winner in the last 11 years in New Orleans. ''To finish one back is still a pretty good week.''

Boo Weekley, who led after the first round, finished third at 20 under, and Jim Herman and Jason Day, ranked sixth in the world, tied for fourth at 19 under.

When Rose sank his final putt, he punched his right hand high above his head and looked straight behind the green at roaring fans in the suite of one of his main sponsors, Zurich, which also sponsors the tournament.

He then took off his white cap whipped it across his body and later flexed his left arm to bring attention to the sponsor's logo on his sleeve.

He had to wait about a half-hour before his closest pursuers completed their rounds, but allowed himself to soak up adulation from fans before the result was official.

''I obviously walked off the golf course feeling like I'd done enough,'' Rose said. ''The reception when I came off the golf course was I'd done enough. So it's hard not to enjoy it.''

Rose began the final round tied with Day for the lead at 16 under. But Day, who had to finish most of his third round Sunday morning, hooked his drive into trees lining the left boundary of the second fairway. On the next swing, his ball smacked a tree and bounced right back to him.

He wound up with a bogey on the par-5 hole that he birdied in first and third rounds. On 13, he left a 70-yard approach shot short of the green. He said hot, steamy conditions wore him down over the course of 32 holes.

''The early days and the hot days, and just the long days in general kind of finally caught up to me,'' Day said. ''I played great all week, but this final round just had a lot of mental errors.''

Rose made birdie putts beyond 10 feet on the par-5 seventh and par-4 eighth to improve to 19 under. That was good for the lead until Tringale, several holes behind, birdied the sixth, chipped in for eagle on the seventh and birdied the eighth to reach 20 under.

The course, carved out of a cypress swamp, was soggy from rain that had fallen for much of the past month, including heavy downpours that delayed parts of the second and third rounds.

There was standing water on the edges of some fairways and mud in well-worn spots. As players walked the course, their steps produced a sound similar to water being squeezed from a sponge.

Allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairways and with no roll of any significance to be found, players swung aggressively and aimed approach shots pin-high.

With the top of the leaderboard tightly packed as Rose stepped to the par-3 17th, he showed no interest in playing it safe, even though the pin was placed to the left side of the green, near a bulkhead dropping down into a water hazard from which alligators looked on. Rose took out his 5-iron and belted a 210-yarder straight toward the pin, landing about 10 feet behind the hole, setting up his clutch birdie putt.

''It would have been easy to hit it 20, 30 feet right of that pin, but I kind of knew that - because I was three or four holes ahead of some of the other guys in contention - I knew they had birdie opportunities.''

On the par-5 18th, with water to the right, Rose unloaded a 295-yard drive down the middle, then smacked a 3-wood 243 yards just left of the green and chipped over a sand trap to set up what would be his winning putt.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.