Watson Gives Praise to Woods

By Associated PressJuly 26, 2006, 4:00 pm
Senior British OpenTURNBERRY, Scotland -- Tom Watson, the master of links golf, is ready to hand the mantel over to Tiger Woods.
Chasing a third British Seniors title in four years to go with his five British Open championships, Watson is the most successful links player of all-time in pro tournaments.
But he believes Woods is the new star of links golf after the unorthodox way he negotiated the Royal Liverpool course to win his third Open title Sunday at Hoylake.
'You look at what Tiger did last week and there was almost a criticism that he never used a driver,' Watson said Wednesday on the eve of the Senior British Open. 'I think that was the beauty of his game, that he could play the game as well as he did without having to hit a driver.'
Woods became the first player to win back-to-back British Opens since Watson in 1982-83. Watson made the cut at Hoylake and finished in a tie for 48th.
Weeks of hot sun and no rain parched the course at Hoylake, making the fairways ultra firm. Woods decided to keep his driver in the bag, hitting it only once in the first round.
'He used his head. He played the golf course the way you're supposed to,' Watson said. 'Phil Mickelson came over here for two weeks and he couldn't hit it straight enough. Tiger hit it straight with the irons.'
By contrast, the Senior Open is being played on a Turnberry course which has had much more water on it and is softer and greener than Hoylake. It's a welcome sight to Watson, who defends his title on links which have brought him two memorable victories.
His 'Duel in the Sun' with Jack Nicklaus here in 1977 was one of the greatest final rounds in the long history of the British Open. When Watson returned here in Seniors play three years ago, he beat Carl Mason in a playoff after they finished 72 holes at 17-under par, a record low for the championship by six strokes.
'I have some great memories of Turnberry,' Watson said. 'I don't know how long I can keep coming but I do enjoy playing links golf. I wish I were playing a little bit better. The way my game is right now, it may show up. It may not.'
Watson won his five Opens at Carnoustie, Turnberry, Muirfield, Troon and Birkdale. His two Seniors titles on the British links came at Turnberry in 2003 and Royal Aberdeen last year.
'Seventeen-under here three years ago, I hit a lot of quality shots,' he said. 'I didn't miss too many. Maybe we'll find out tomorrow and the game starts coming around my trajectory goes where it's supposed to go.'
Of his eight tournament victories on the Champions Tour, four are majors to go with his eight on the PGA Tour.
But Watson is without a tournament victory this year and faces a strong field that includes Loren Roberts and Jay Haas, who have each won three tournaments this season, and Europe's most successful player of 2006, Sam Torrance, who has two victories on his home tour.
'For the last month I've not been on my game,' Watson said. 'Earlier in the year I had my game under control quite a bit better than I do now. It's one of those stretches of golf that you can get into where one swing will get you out of it and I'm waiting for that one swing to happen.'
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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