Vegas No Guarantee for 04 Schedule

By Associated PressNovember 6, 2003, 5:00 pm
HOUSTON -- The PGA Tour could leave Las Vegas after a 21-year run if a title sponsor cannot be found, commissioner Tim Finchem said Wednesday.
The tour released its 2004 schedule with only 'TBD' - to be determined - next to the Oct. 6-10 normally set aside for the Las Vegas Invitational.
'We have no sponsor in Vegas. It's the only tournament we have an issue with,' Finchem said. 'We have options to play elsewhere, but we would like to play in Vegas.'
Invensys ended its three-year sponsorship of the tournament after 2002. The Las Vegas Founders, the charitable group that runs the tournament, put up the $4 million purse for this year's event.
Tournament manager Charlie Baron did not return calls seeking comment.
Finchem isn't giving up on Las Vegas. He said the tour will continue to talk to potential sponsors into the early part of next year, although he declined to set a deadline.
'We're in some discussions right now, and we're going to see how those play out,' Finchem said.
Las Vegas is one of three PGA Tour events that do not have a title sponsor, along with the Memorial, B.C. Open and Reno-Tahoe Open. The latter two are played opposite of the British Open and a World Golf Championship.
MasterCard signed on as a presenting sponsor for the Bay Hill Invitational.
The 2004 schedule is not much different than this year.
The Buick Championship in Hartford has been moved back a month to late August and will be played one week before the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston, putting the tour in the Northeast in consecutive weeks.
The Texas Open will be played the same week as the Ryder Cup in September.
The season begins Jan. 8 at the Mercedes Championships on Maui, and concludes Nov. 7 with the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
PAYNE STEWART AWARD:@ Tom Watson, who won two majors on the Champions Tour and brought awareness to the disease that is killing his caddie, was honored Wednesday with the Payne Stewart Award.
The award is named after the three-time major champion who was killed in a plane crash the week of the 1999 Tour Championship at Champions Golf Club.
It goes to a player sharing Stewart's respect for traditions of golf, a commitment to charity and his presentation of the sport through his dress and conduct.
'Tom Watson is a fine example of the attribute that make PGA Tour players such excellent role models,' commissioner Tim Finchem said. 'He has always conducted himself on and off the golf course with style and grace.
'Payne would have been proud to have Tom receive this award.'
Watson won 39 times on the PGA Tour, including eight majors. He won the Senior British Open and the Tradition this year, two majors on the Champions Tour.
Watson's caddie, Bruce Edwards, was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, and Watson has used his strong play as a platform to raise awareness and money for a cure.
Watson recalled that Stewart donated his first-place check from the '87 Bay Hill Invitational to the Komen National Cancer Society on behalf of his father, who died of cancer.
'That defined what the game is all about,' Watson said. 'That's why the award is given in his name. And I'm very honored to have this award.'
DRUG TESTING:@ Commissioner Tim Finchem said the PGA Tour doesn't plan to test for the steroid THG or any performance-enhancing drug without conclusive data to show such drugs actually improve a golfer's ability.
'I have never seen any study or data that demonstrates that some substance helps you play the game better,' Finchem said.
He said the tour will review the impact of steroids on golf regularly, but he is not convinced golf has a problem.
Finchem said Nick Price once took beta blockers, which some suggested would reduce the heartbeat and help eliminate pressure when a player is standing over a crucial putt. Price was taking the drug as a prescription, and said it made him lethargic.
'At this time, we are not recommending any changes in our policies or procedures,' Finchem said. 'If that changes, we'll make that information available.'
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT:@ Jack Burke Jr., the colorful Texan who won two majors in 1956 and was named player of the year, is the fifth recipient of the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award.
The award honors those who have made outstanding contributions to the tour on and off the golf course.
Burke, inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame three years ago, is co-founder of Champions Golf Club, which has hosted a Ryder Cup, U.S. Open and five Tour Championships.
He also is a renowned teacher.
Burke won the Masters and PGA Championship in 1956, and he won the Vardon Trophy in 1952. He was Ryder Cup captain twice and played on five teams.
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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, 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 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 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