Pebble No Stone Unturned

By Brian HewittJanuary 16, 2009, 5:00 pm
A nerve has been struck. Yours truly wrote Wednesday about the extensive course changes that have been made, and continue to be made, at Pebble Beach in advance of the 2010 U.S. Open there.
The gist of the changes is that fairways have been extended right up to the coastline hazards on six holes. More drives are going to end up wet without a significant cut of rough to keep them from tumbling off the cliffs.
The Comebacker loves to strike nerves. It is the lifeblood of The Comebacker to respond to e-mails about controversial subjects. And when it comes to Pebble Beach there is no shortage of opinions.
Without further ado:
Todd writes: With the winter drought that we are experiencing here on the Monterey Peninsula, the fairways may indeed be much faster than anyone could imagine in February. With temperatures in the high 70s and no rain in sight, the 'new hazards' may come into play sooner than anyone expected.
The Comebacker Think about it: The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is just that ' a pro-am. Can you say six and a half hour rounds?

Colin writes:This ought to be interesting. I just love watching pro golfers make double bogey. Tiger beat up a course (Pebble Beach at the 2000 U.S. Open) when nobody else could make par, and they want to make it harder. People will watch Tiger no matter what he shoots. They will not watch Phil shoot 80.The USGA better hope Tiger is in contention. One of the reason I watch golf is to see great players make great shots, not watch them decide where the ball crossed the hazard.
The Comebacker Colin, youre all over the map. Let me just say this: The USGA doesnt need to have Tiger in contention. As big as Woods is ' and I believe hes bigger than anybody in the history of the game ' he is not bigger than The Masters or the U.S. Open.

Jay writes: Nice preview to the new Pebble Beach. I thought you might like to know that for those players that haven't played No. 15 recently, many will be surprised to learn about the new/enhanced bunkers that have been added down the left side. One of them even has a built-in ladder to maneuver in and out all kinds of changes are in store for the show this time. One other thing to consider: We are having a very dry winter so far here in the (Del Monte) forest. If this trend continues next year, look for greens and sloping fairways to be a much larger factor...which should bode well for the field vs. Tiger. When the greens are moist, Tiger has a clear advantage with his trajectory and distance control. The real story in '10 though for Monterey, will be Tiger's return to the Peninsula. Just his presence alone is good for a $50M boost to the local economy.
The Comebacker It always seems to come back (no pun intended) to Tiger, doesnt it?

Wayne writes: I had the chance to play Pebble for the last two years during the month of December and of course, the first year I was in awe of all the surroundings and the icon of Pebble itself. Then last year I was more relaxed and enjoyed my round totally, even thought I shot a combined eight shots more than the year before. As a 12 handicap, I do have issues out there as well as other courses, but all in all, Pebble is one of a kind as are the other courses in Monterey. My personal favorite is Spanish Bay, as I shot a round of 84 there last December and was thrilled.
The Comebacker Happy for you, Wayne. But why do I get the idea that one of the first things you bring up at cocktail parties is your Pebble Beach stories.

John writes: I have no doubt that once players understand the purpose of the restoration they will embrace it with open arms.
The Comebacker Dream on, Johnny boy. The Comebacker has no doubt there will be complaining, at the very least at the 2010 U.S. Open. Actually, I think they teach a course on it at Q-School.

Doug writes: I played Pebble Beach more than 30 years ago, calling for a tee time the same morning I played, and the price, with cart, was $55.00. It was and remains the most memorable course I ever played. I think the changes you describe will be great. I am used to seeing deep rough in major championships, and watching the pros hack out from there. Shortening the rough is certainly an opposite for a major, and I for one, am looking forward to seeing how the pros cope. One thing I recall about No. 6 is television does not come close to the actual visual when you are standing on the fairway, looking towards the green, and you have to hit across Stillwater Cove. A scary sight indeed for an amateur.
The Comebacker The thing about Pebble Beach is this: Its the most visually distracting golf course in the world. There is so much beauty in every direction that its hard to stay in your shot. Also, on a sunny day on the Monterey Peninsula, the reds are redder, the greens are greener and the blues are bluer. One word: Kodachrome.

Michael writes: I played there last April for the first time and No. 6 will be diabolical, but then they deserve that. If you fade the ball, better bring a draw or WD.
The Comebacker
There you go.

Alex writes: Here we go again, changing courses to fit the equipment instead of the other way around. My favorite analogy is with the game of baseball. Ballparks are not being constantly enlarged to accommodate souped-up bats and balls, so why do we continue to make these 7000+ plus yard monsters? The lords of golf continue to shamelessly kowtow to the equipment manufacturers and kiss their offered hand so they will continue the big dollar cash flow. And shame on the USGA for not having any backbone. Where is the tournament ball that was suggested as far back as in Bobby Jones' day? Someone has got to stop this madness.
The Comebacker My first thought in response is to remind you that last years U.S. Open at Torrey Pines was close to 7,600 yards. And it was pretty good stuff, as I recall. Pebbles only going up to 7,014 for the 2010 U.S. Open. I wouldnt call that a souped-up monster.

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CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.062 million

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 12:50 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:

1 Jon Rahm -22 $1,062,000
2 Andrew Landry -22 $637,200
T3 Adam Hadwin -20 $306,800
T3 John Huh -20 $306,800
T3 Martin Piller -20 $306,800
T6 Kevin Chappell -19 $205,025
T6 Scott Piercy -19 $205,025
T8 Brandon Harkins -18 $171,100
T8 Jason Kokrak -18 $171,100
T8 Sam Saunders -18 $171,100
T11 Harris English -17 $135,700
T11 Seamus Power -17 $135,700
T11 Jhonattan Vegas -17 $135,700
T14 Bud Cauley -16 $106,200
T14 Austin Cook -16 $106,200
T14 Grayson Murray -16 $106,200
T17 Andrew Putnam -15 $88,500
T17 Peter Uihlein -15 $88,500
T17 Aaron Wise -15 $88,500
T20 Ricky Barnes -14 $57,754
T20 Stewart Cink -14 $57,754
T20 Brian Harman -14 $57,754
T20 Beau Hossler -14 $57,754
T20 Charles Howell III -14 $57,754
T20 Zach Johnson -14 $57,754
T20 Ryan Palmer -14 $57,754
T20 Brendan Steele -14 $57,754
T20 Nick Taylor -14 $57,754
T29 Lucas Glover -13 $36,706
T29 Russell Knox -13 $36,706
T29 Nate Lashley -13 $36,706
T29 Tom Lovelady -13 $36,706
T29 Kevin Streelman -13 $36,706
T29 Hudson Swafford -13 $36,706
T29 Richy Werenski -13 $36,706
T36 Jason Dufner -12 $27,189
T36 Derek Fathauer -12 $27,189
T36 James Hahn -12 $27,189
T36 Chez Reavie -12 $27,189
T36 Webb Simpson -12 $27,189
T36 Tyrone Van Aswegen -12 $27,189
T42 Bronson Burgoon -11 $18,983
T42 Ben Crane -11 $18,983
T42 Brian Gay -11 $18,983
T42 Chesson Hadley -11 $18,983
T42 Patton Kizzire -11 $18,983
T42 Hunter Mahan -11 $18,983
T42 Kevin Na -11 $18,983
T42 Rob Oppenheim -11 $18,983
T50 Alex Cejka -10 $14,025
T50 Corey Conners -10 $14,025
T50 Michael Kim -10 $14,025
T50 Kevin Kisner -10 $14,025
T50 Sean O'Hair -10 $14,025
T50 Sam Ryder -10 $14,025
T50 Nick Watney -10 $14,025
T57 Robert Garrigus -9 $13,039
T57 Tom Hoge -9 $13,039
T57 David Lingmerth -9 $13,039
T57 Ben Martin -9 $13,039
T57 Trey Mullinax -9 $13,039
T57 Brett Stegmaier -9 $13,039
T63 Scott Brown -8 $12,449
T63 Wesley Bryan -8 $12,449
T63 Brice Garnett -8 $12,449
T63 Sung Kang -8 $12,449
T67 Talor Gooch -7 $12,095
T67 Tom Whitney -7 $12,095
T69 Matt Every -6 $11,623
T69 Billy Hurley III -6 $11,623
T69 Smylie Kaufman -6 $11,623
T69 Keith Mitchell -6 $11,623
T69 Rory Sabbatini -6 $11,623
T69 Chris Stroud -6 $11,623
75 John Peterson -5 $11,210
76 Abraham Ancer -4 $11,092
77 Ben Silverman 4 $10,974
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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.