Haney Tiger is Better in All Areas

By Brian HewittJanuary 25, 2007, 5:00 pm
A Tuesday conversation with Hank Haney, Tiger Woods' swing coach, confirmed the bad news for everybody else. Woods, Haney told me, is a better player in every phase of his game than the Tiger Woods who finished second to Trevor Immelman at the Cialis Western Open last July 9.
 
That date also marked the last time Woods lost to anybody in a PGA TOUR event. He's going for seven straight this week at the Buick Invitational.
 
Tiger Woods and Hank Haney
Tiger Woods and Hank Haney work together during Tuesday's practice round.
'But you never get completely there,' Haney told me. 'That's why it's so much fun working with him. We know that every day there will be a challenge.'
 
What's left unsaid here is the universal knowledge in golf that Woods is clearly the best player in the world. Since there is nobody to chase down in the world rankings, the only thing left to pursue is perfection. Woods has said he knows he won't ever completely get there but if he keeps getting better, no one will pass him.
 
Meanwhile the sniping at Haney has died down to a whisper. 'I'm happy for Rex Grossman,' Haney said. 'One or two years ago I felt like Rex Grossman.'
 
By way of explanation, Rex Grossman is the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears and has been the target of heavy criticism this year. Now the Bears are in the Super Bowl and Grossman is at least partially responsible.
 
Similarly, Haney came under heavy public attack in his early days of working with Woods. But he has been more than partially responsible for Woods' latest sustained brilliance.
 
LATE NIGHT WITH TIGER:
Meanwhile, don't expect to see Tiger Woods making the rounds on the talk shows any time soon. But his absence won't be for any lack of interest on the part of the networks.
 
According to Woods' sources, Tiger has a standing offer to guest on a number of shows. Included among them are 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.'
 
Do expect to see Woods on Leno if he wins the Masters, for the fifth time, in April. That victory could conceivably coincide with Woods breaking Byron Nelson's long-standing record of 11 straight PGA TOUR wins.
 
PROTO-ATYPICAL:
Eyebrows were raised recently when Vijay Singh and Paul Goydos won the first two events of the PGA TOUR season using a Titleist Pro V1 prototype ball that wasn't listed as such on the USGA's conforming golf ball list.
 
'Certainly a legitimate question that has a pretty simple answer,' said Dick Rugge, the USGA's Senior Technical Director. 'While the ball may be referred to by Titleist and journalists as a 'prototype', that is not the actual name of the ball. ... Titleist has 13 different 'Pro V' models on our conforming list. All of them are allowed for play under the Rules of Golf.'
 
Added Rugge: 'The PGA TOUR rules officials have the authority to check whether or not a ball being used is on the conforming list, so it is rather unlikely that any TOUR player--winners or otherwise--could be using a ball that is not on the conforming list.'
 
A quick check with Titleist officials confirmed that the winning Pro V1s used by Singh and Goydos are, indeed, on the USGA's conforming list.
 
ROGER THAT: Sources say we shouldn't be surprised if Callaway Golf wedge designer Roger Cleveland puts design plans for a full set of irons into the pipeline. Most recently, Cleveland has been best-known for Callaway's X-Tour wedges. None other than Phil Mickelson helped inspire Cleveland to come up with a PM grind and 'Mack Daddy' grooves for the wedges he uses on TOUR.
 
COMFORT ZONE: You have to give John Daly, or at least the people who run his website, credit for candor.
 
Daly's people recently announced a new John Daly clothing line about which the website said this: 'At first glance Big John may seem like an unlikely candidate to headline a golf apparel collection.'
 
As you might imagine, comfort, not style, is the key to John Daly Apparel
 
DALY II:
TaylorMade sources say Daly was so enamored with a recent trial of the company's TP Rescue hybrid that he has taken his 2-iron out of the bag. The TP Rescue has a smaller head, a tighter, more compact look and is designed for better players.
 
A TRUE DAILY DOUBLE, ALEX:
On the Monday night version of long-running game show Jeopardy one of the categories was 'A Few Good Men.'
 
The $600 answer in that category was: 'In 2004 this Fijian set a new record for pro golf winnings in one year, $10,905,166.'
 
The correct answer, as delivered by one of the contestants, was, 'Singh.'
 
Memo to any of Vijay Singh's critics who don't believe he belongs in a category labeled 'A Few Good Men': You can't handle the truth.
 
SMART MOVE:
The LPGA has modified its criteria for sponsor's exemptions. Specifically, a sponsor's exemption is now available (over and above the normal exemptions) to the U.S. Women's Amateur champion if that player is still an amateur and the event is staged in that player's home state.
 
What this means is that reigning champion, Kimberly Kim of Hawaii, will now have a chance to play in next month's SBS Open at Turtle Bay and the Fields Open in Hawaii.
 
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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