Green Jacket Required

By Brian HewittFebruary 6, 2008, 5:00 pm
Charles Howell, who will attempt to defend his title at the Northern Trust Open next week, was asked this week why Riviera doesnt seem to fit the eye of Tiger Woods, his frequent practice partner.
 
Truthfully, Howell said, I have no idea.
 
But Howell admitted, Its the only thing I have on Tiger and I remind him of it quite often.
 
Asked how Woods responds to the LA needling, Howell said, He mentions all of his green jackets quite quickly ... and that has a very quieting effect on me.
 
(If youre counting, thats Woods four green jackets, Howell zero.)
 
MEET THE FOCKLERS:
Yes, they made it to the game on time.
 
Actually, 11-year-old Drew Fockler and his father, John, were in their seats at Super Bowl XLII 40 minutes ahead of kickoff during a whirlwind day that started at the FBR Open with the pair in search of a Phil Mickelson autograph.
 
Their original efforts were rebuffed at the putting green before the start of the final round. But Mickelson and his caddie, Bones Mackay, stopped the pair after Phil had completed the third hole. Thats when they presented the Focklers with two tickets to the game that was 30 miles away in Glendale.
 
Drew Fockler is an 11-year-old junior golfer from Flagstaff, Ariz., who aspires to play high school, college and professional golf one day. He plays a junior tour near his home. His mother, Rebecca, says his handicap is 13.
 
The end zone tickets had a face value of $700 apiece. The Giants winning fourth quarter touchdown took place right in front of the Focklers seats. Rebecca Fockler was keeping her husband and son apprised of Mickelson progress via text messaging.
 
Once inside the stadium they were able to see the playoff, in which J.B. Holmes defeated Mickelson on the first extra hole, on a stadium television monitor near their seats.
 
Drew Fockler hung around Phoenix for part of the day Monday to do a local television interview. But he didnt miss any school because Monday was a school snow day in Flagstaff, located in northern Arizona.
 
Rebecca Fockler said all the members of her family are avid GOLF CHANNEL watchers including Drews younger sister, Alyssa. Alyssa is 20 months old and, according to Rebecca, was so happy with the plastic golf clubs she received for Christmas that she didnt want to open the rest of her presents.
 
I think, Rebecca Fockler said. Drews taking it all in stride. But hes at an age where this is a lifetime deal.
 
The Super Bowl tickets, if youre curious, included a valet parking pass.
 
DESIGNING MEN:
The golf course design tandem of Bill Coore and former Masters champion Ben Crenshaw has completed their first work in Florida. Sugarloaf Mountain, near Orlando, is situated in the rolling hills above Lake Apopka and its another home run for Crenshaw and Coore who have been in high demand ever since conceiving and building Sand Hills Golf Club in Nebraska.
 
Sugarloaf Mountain, which officially opens for play Friday, is a classic design that plays 7,057 yards from the tips. It is owned by Hampton Golf, whose president is former PGA of America president M.G. Orender.
 
Adjoining residential real estate is planned for the future at Sugarloaf Mountain which will eventually go private. Not a bad hole out there, said two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen, who recently set the course record of 70 at Sugarloaf Mountain. That mark lasted until Tour pro Garrett Willis carded a 68 just minutes later.
 
MORE DESIGN NEWS:
The Toronto Globe and Mail is reporting that Johnny Miller and Stephen Ames, who has adopted Canada as his home country, are collaborating on a golf course in Calgary that could one day host the Canadian Open.
 
The name of the course will be The Legacy at Harmony and is scheduled for completion in 2012. Reports say the course could be stretched to 8,100 yards. No Calgary golf course has previously hosted a Canadian Open.
 
Meanwhile, Tom Doak, who designed Pacific Dunes in Oregon, was in Bandon last month for four days on a site visit for Old Macdonald.
 
Old Macdonald is an 18-hole homage to Charles Blair Macdonald, the seminal early-American golf course designer. Old Macdonald is located 400 acres north and east of Pacific Dunes. Its scheduled to open in July of 2010.
 
Macdonalds most famous design is the National Golf Links in Southampton, N.Y.
 
NORTHERN EXPOSURE:
Among the perks provided at Riviera next week by first-time title sponsor Northern Trust, will be courtesy cars for all players (only half the field got courtesy cars last year); three ams (down from four) per group in the Pro-Am; and an exclusive brunch for companions and spouses with celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis.
 
The Northern Trust is a multibank holding company based in Chicago. But when in L.A. ... Hence the chef. And, yes, culinarians, thats the same Giada De Laurentiis who has dueled Rachel Ray on Iron Chef.
 
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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