Crunching the Numbers

By Brian HewittJune 26, 2008, 4:00 pm
U.S. WomenEDINA, Minn. -- USGA executive director David Fay was talking about how June was busting out all over the other day. And what he was meaning to say, as he admittedly stole a line from Carousel, was that it has been a very good month for his organization.
First there was the U.S. Curtis Cup victory at St. Andrews which concluded on June 1. Then there was Tiger Woods epic win in the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines that was an instant classic.
And already the U.S. Womens Open at Interlachen is showings signs of being memorable. Already the numerologists like it because first round co-leader Ji Young Oh is 19 years old.
Earlier this month another 19-year-old, Yani Tseng, won the McDonalds LPGA, the womens second major of the season.
Woods need 19 holes to beat Rocco Mediate in the riveting playoff in San Diego.
And many weekend players will gladly tell you the 19th is their favorite hole.
Not to torture the numbers too much. But Michelle Wies next birthday will be her 19th. Which might have been part of the problem Thursday.
Wie, you see, shot an 8-over par 81, which is her age transposed. On the par 4 ninth hole, Wie shot half her age. Yes, she made a quintuple bogey 9 on a hole that normally plays as the 18th for the members.
It was like a blur, Wie said after her round. I had trouble counting how many shots I had. It just happened.
And it happened mostly because she hit a driver (she later said she should have hit 3-wood) into the woods right, played up short on her second and blew her third over the green. Long on the severely back-to-front sloped ninth green is the worst place to be on the entire golf course.
But enough about Wie.
And a little more about another 18-year-old, Colombias Maria Jose Uribe. All Uribe did Thursday was fire a neat little 69 at an Interlachen that most players admitted was playing benign. Uribe is the reigning U.S. Womens Amateur champion and just completed her freshman year at UCLA where she will return to college golf in the fall.
Even more impressive than the number she posted was the company in which she played. Her esteemed grouping included defending champion Cristie Kerr and World No. 1 Lorena Ochoa. Uribe beat the former by three shots and the latter by four.
By she paid a price. Walking up the 18th hole Mexicos Ochoa teased Uribe about how good her English is. Uribe said it was like that all day, a pleasant fun group. She also vowed to improve her second language.
I dont think my English is very good, Uribe said. But Im working on it.
For the record, Uribes English is better than Ochoas whose English is, arguably, better than Boo Weekleys.
Then theres Laura Davies, whose English is, well, English.
The 44-year-old Davies was born in Coventry and lists her residence as Ottershaw, UK. If she hadnt spent much of her career loyally propping up the Ladies European Tour, she would have played more in the States and qualified for the World Golf Hall of Fame years ago.
As it is, one major victory gets her in the Hall. And we shouldnt be surprised if it happens here. Davies cruised to a first round 70 and afterward said she has always thought that Interlachen, with its five par 5s, would be her best chance to win another U.S. Womens Open.
She captured her first in 1987 at Plainfield Country Club in New Jersey. More relevantly, she played well and came to love Interlachen at the 2002 Solheim Cup matches played here.
The hardest thing about trying to win a second U.S. Open 21 years after winning her first?
I see more negative stuff than I used to, Davies said, referring to the mind games that plague so many golfers.
June could be the answer to that problem.
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Related Links:
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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