Scott (66) leads by two over McIlroy, Johnson

By Associated PressMarch 4, 2016, 11:56 pm

DORAL, Fla. - A rare instance of Adam Scott seeming less than pleased Friday came after his first putt on the par-4 16th, when he miscalculated the speed and left the 30-footer well short.

Of course, that was after he drove the green on the 315-yard hole and had to merely settle for a two-putt birdie.

Otherwise, there wasn't much for Scott to dislike during the second round of the Cadillac Championship. His 6-under round of 66 got him to 10 under for the tournament and put last week's winner of The Honda Classic two shots clear of Rory McIlroy and defending champion Dustin Johnson at the midway point of the first World Golf Championships event of the season.

''Overall, it was a lot of good stuff,'' Scott said. ''Enough quality shots and enough quality putts to negate a couple of mistakes out there, but they can easily happen on this golf course. So I'm glad there was enough of the good stuff to keep me up on top and kind of setting the pace after halfway.''

Scott made eight birdies, including three straight on holes 15, 16 and 17 to strengthen his grip on the lead.

''I'm probably a little more relaxed this week leading going into the weekend than if I hadn't won last week,'' Scott said. ''A 36-hole lead doesn't mean that much, unless it's by about 10. I could tee off tomorrow and not be leading. I'm going to have to play a good couple of days and try to keep moving in the right direction while the conditions are allowing us to.''

He's right - with relatively gentle breezes, the Blue Monster wasn't exactly defenseless but scores were there to be had Friday, as in the opening round. There were 25 rounds where a player went under 70 at Doral last year; so far this year, the count is already at 21 with the weekend left to go.


WGC-Cadillac Championship: Articles, photos and videos


Johnson shot a flawless 64, eight birdies and no dropped shots on the way to the best round of the day. McIlroy shot a 65 for his share of second place after two rounds, and Danny Willett (66) was alone in fourth at 7 under.

''I think the golf course is fantastic,'' Johnson said. ''It's in great shape. The greens are perfect. It's not an easy golf course.''

McIlroy announced his arrival with a four-hole barrage of birdies on the front side, but the catalyst to all that, he said, was what came immediately before that streak. Going with a left-hand-low grip this week on the greens, McIlroy made a testy 7-footer to save par at the par-3 fourth hole - and that's when the run of birdies started.

''There was a lot of big momentum putts in there that I have not been holing,'' McIlroy said. ''So to see those drop today and to be as comfortable as I was, it feels really good and obviously I'm very happy with where I'm at going into the weekend.''

Phil Mickelson got to 9 under at one point, leading by three - until the two shortest holes on the course led to his undoing.

Mickelson three-putted from 55 feet for bogey on the 191-yard 13th, and made an enormous blunder at the 139-yard 15th by putting his tee ball into the water. That led to double-bogey, the only one made on the hole all day and essentially costing him nearly 2 1-2 strokes against the rest of the field. Mickelson made a 5; on average, everyone else made 2.68.

''I just kind of lost my train of thought,'' Mickelson said. ''I'll be fresh and ready for the weekend. I feel like I'm driving the ball extremely well and my iron game is sharp. And even though that back nine wasn't what I wanted, it was kind of an anomaly. It's going to be a good weekend.''

DIVOTS: Bubba Watson, who has contended at Doral in each of the last two years, shot his second straight 69 and is four shots back. ... Jordan Spieth made bogey on his final hole and shot even-par 72, leaving him seven shots off the lead. ... Brandt Snedeker, who shot 76 on Thursday, withdrew Friday citing a rib injury. ... Marcus Fraser, who shared the lead after the opening round despite flying in from Australia earlier in the week, seemed to have fatigue catch up with him. He shot 77.

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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