Woods Named Player of the Year Again
Woods was honored by the Golf Writers Association of America for a record fifth straight year.
He also won player of the year from the PGA of America (based on a points system) and the PGA Tour (a vote by players, said to be among the closest ever).
The GWAA selected Woods on 54 percent of the ballots.
Vijay Singh, who has a testy relationship with the media, wasn't even second. Ernie Els got 18 percent of the vote, while Singh came in third with 14 percent.
Woods led the PGA Tour with five victories, two of them World Golf Championships, and he won the Vardon Trophy with the second-lowest scoring average in history.
Singh had four victories and won the money title with $7.5 million, ending Woods' four-year reign. Els won twice on the PGA Tour, although he won five times overseas and won the European tour's money list.
The GWAA has 912 members, although a majority doesn't cover the PGA Tour on a regular basis. It includes public relations officials from golf organizations, equipment companies, player management agencies and regional golf and travel magazines.
Only 39 percent of the membership voted.
Annika Sorenstam won the GWAA female player of the year for the third straight time, getting 98.6 percent of the votes. She won six times, completed the LPGA career Grand Slam with two majors, and became the first woman in 58 years to play on the PGA Tour.
Tom Watson was the GWAA senior player of the year, winning two majors on the Champions Tour and winning the money title during an emotional year with his caddie, Bruce Edwards, who is dying of Lou Gehrig's disease. Watson received 93 percent of the vote.
Watson won the GWAA player of the year six times, including four straight years from 1977-80.
Time matters: Darren Clarke and Ben Curtis both got off to a bad start at the Target World Challenge and were in the first pairing the last three days.
They were 19 strokes behind the leader Sunday when Clarke ambled onto the practice range with a cup of coffee and a message for the 26-year-old rookie.
''All right, let's get one thing clear. We need to play fast today,'' Clarke said with a big grin. ''My plane doesn't leave until quarter of nine, but I've got a lot to do.''
Curtis smiled back and said, ''Is four hours good enough?''
''No,'' Clarke said.
They played the first hole in six minutes, and finished the round in just under three hours.
Frequent flyer: No one will be in more dire need of a holiday break than Robert Allenby of Australia, who is playing seven straight weeks on four continents.
His journey began with the Tour Championship in Houston, followed by a trip to Japan for the Taheiyo Masters. Allenby next flew to South Africa for the Presidents Cup and the Nedbank Challenge, then went home and won the Australian Masters two weeks ago.
He planned to take a break last week, but when David Toms withdrew from the Target World Challenge because of a wrist injury, Allenby decided to take his spot and flew to California on Monday. He finished eighth and earned $195,000.
He was due to arrive in Australia on Tuesday, just in time for his 36-hole charity event (which raised $1 million). Allenby will be at Yarra Yarra for 12 hours, then attend a black-tie dinner until midnight.
He has a Thursday afternoon tee time for the Australian Open at Moonah Links, a course he has never seen.
Back to Florida, where he plans to spend the holidays with his wife and two children.
''I'm going to Jesper Parnevik's party on New Year's Eve,'' he said. ''You can't miss that.''
Final race: Only two tournaments remain in 2003 that count toward the World Ranking, which is significant because The Masters takes the top 50 in the world at the end of the year.
Among those on the bubble are Loren Roberts (No. 47), who can only hope no one passes him after the Australian Open or the Okinawa Open on the Asian Tour.
Scott Hoch was No. 49 two weeks ago, but he already has dropped 10 spots.
Not to worry. Hoch isn't likely to lose any sleep over this.
Asked in September about falling out of the top 50 and missing out on The Masters, he feigned dismay.
''Oh, that would be a shame,'' Hoch said
Hoch, who came within a 30-inch putt of winning the 1989 Masters, says the revamped Augusta National has become too tough for him to enjoy it, or at least look forward to it.
''When you finish, it's the happiest you've been all week,'' he said.
Divots: Donna Andrews has been re-elected president of the LPGA Tour executive committee. ... Darren Clarke took up PGA Tour membership for 2004, but he's not ready to buy a home. He plans to rent a house near Jupiter, Fla., for a month so he can have a place to stay during the run to The Masters. ... Vijay Singh wasn't completely shut out of the awards. He was selected as golfer of the month by European media for winning the PGA Tour money title over Tiger Woods. ... The two biggest sports in Daytona Beach, Fla., will join forces early next year when the LPGA and NASCAR have a charity pro-am Feb. 4-5. Amateurs will be paired with an LPGA Tour player for nine holes and a NASCAR driver or racing celebrity for another nine holes on the Legends course at LPGA International. ... Joining Ben Curtis and John Daly as European tour members next year will be Rob Rashell, who got his card through European Q-school. His only claim to fame so far is being born on Dec. 30, 1975, the same day as Tiger Woods.
Stat of the week: Annika Sorenstam won as much money ($225,000) in one Skins Game appearance as Tiger Woods in four appearances.
Final word: 'Are you media?'' -- Tiger Woods, when asked by ABC Sports announcer Mike Tirico and analyst Curtis Strange if they would be invited to his wedding.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time
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
Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2
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.
Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title
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."
Tom Brady, postgame, on wearing the wrap on his hand: “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. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) January 22, 2018
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.
Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder
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