Spieth ready for two weeks of family and friends

By Associated PressMay 20, 2015, 9:54 pm

FORT WORTH, Texas - Jordan Spieth occasionally pulls that green jacket out of his closet and holds it like the great trophy that it is.

Back home in north Texas, Spieth will be introduced in consecutive weeks as the Masters champion to crowds filled with family and friends.

''It's where it really starts to hit me kind of what it means,'' Spieth said.

Spieth tees off Thursday at historic Colonial, and then next week at the Byron Nelson Championship where the Dallas native twice made the cut as a teenage amateur, even missing his high school graduation while playing a weekend round.

''I focus as if they're major championships,'' he said. ''There's nothing better than playing well in front of your hometown family and friends.''

His record victory at the Masters last month wrapped up an incredible stretch on the course, and led to the grind of responsibilities and appearances that come with winning at Augusta.

In his three tournaments leading up to the Masters, he won the Valspar Championship in a playoff and had consecutive runner-up finishes in his home state. He was four strokes behind fellow Texan Jimmy Walker at the Valero Texas Open, then fell in a three-man playoff at Houston.


Crowne Plaza Invitational: Articles, videos and photos


Now comes another Texas two-step following some extra time off after missing the cut at The Players Championship two weeks ago in his last tournament. And the 21-year-old said his energy is up again just in time for a green-tinted homecoming.

''I feel like I got my feet under me this past week,'' he said. ''I'm excited for these two weeks, and this is going to be a really fun stretch.''

Spieth tied for 14th at Colonial last year, when Adam Scott won in a three-hole playoff against Jason Dufner to cap his first week as the No. 1-ranked player in the world.

Scott hasn't won since, with only one top-10 finish in eight PGA Tour events this season, and has slipped to No. 11 in the world. He tied for 38th at both the Masters and Players Championship.

''I've just had too many changes, I think, this year,'' said Scott, who while becoming a first-time father also made some switches with equipment and his putting. ''I feel like I'm playing well. I certainly haven't put any numbers on the board, and that's really what it's down to. I've just got to really grind it out and get the most out of it, where as I feel this year I've really gotten the least out of my game.''

Ranked No. 2, Spieth is the only one of the world's top 10 in the 122-player field at Hogan's Alley, where the winner gets a plaid jacket.

Eleven former Colonial champions are playing this week, even after past winners Tom Watson and Tom Purtzer both withdrew Monday.

There is also Colonial member Ryan Palmer, whose caddie is fellow member and four-time club champion James Edmondson. Palmer matched the course record of 9-under 61 in a practice round last week, when he missed short putts on the last two holes.

Every time Palmer plays at Colonial, he glances at the names on the Wall of Champions by the No. 1 tee - including the likes of Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw and Lee Trevino.

''You look at it and you see the names, and I couldn't explain what it would be like,'' said Palmer, whose tie for fifth last year matched his 2012 finish. ''Obviously what it would mean for me, but what it would mean for me for the members here. ... That would mean more to me to give them that type of finish here on Sunday.''

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