Final Two Decided at Carnoustie

By December 14, 2005, 5:00 pm
Editor's Note: The Big Break IV ' USA vs. Europe, is The Golf Channels fourth installment of its hit television series. As the title suggests however, this seasons format has been tweaked to include a team dynamic. But that in no way means the stakes arent high for each individual, as the contestants will be vying for entry into select European Tour tournaments in 2006.
With the Big Break IV ' USA vs. Europe, down to the final four, the remaining players from each team would have to face their own teammate to keep their dream alive for at least one more show.
Big Break IV
Who would end up representing the U.S. in the Big Break IV finale? T.J. Valentine or Paul Holtby?
T.J. Valentine and Paul Holtby of the U.S. and Guy Woodman and Thomas Blankvoort from team Europe each had to play nine holes of match play to see who would reach the finals.
Valentine and Holtby got things started while Woodman and Blankvoort followed along, waiting for their match at the conclusion of the first battle.
Its going to take my A-game, absolutely, to beat Paul, said Valentine prior to his showdown with his friend Holtby.
Ill always go back to the Ben Hogan quote, that he plays with friends but he does not play friendly golf. And thats how you got to look at it, responded Holtby. This is business.
And Holtby was all business at the start as he rolled in a 5-foot par putt at the first and then watched as Valentine was unable to convert his par putt from just over 3 feet. Holtby 1-up.
The same situation arose at the second hole with Valentine needing to make a 3-footer to halve the hole. He struck the putt and began to go fetch it out of the cup when his ball caught the side of the lip and rolled out. Holtby 2-up.
Feeling the pressure to make something happen and avoid going 3-down after just three holes, Valentine came up short at the par-3 third. With Holtby safely on and in two putt range, Valentines chip flew well past the hole and then missed the comebacker.
Three down in a 9-hole match and Im hitting that panic button, recalled Valentine. Ive got to be a little more aggressive now. Ive got to throw some birdies on the board.
Unfortunately for Valentine, it was more of the same at the fourth hole, as he again failed to get it up and down while Holtby calmly two-putted for his par. Holtby 4-up through four.
And just when Valentine thought things couldnt get any worse, they did. His tee shot at the fifth found a large patch of trees down the left side. His subsequent recovery attempt still left him in a world of trouble.
On a links-style course I found the only block of trees out there, said a good-natured Valentine on his dire situation.
After taking two shots to hack out of the trees and seeing that Holtby was safe in the fairway, Valentine conceded the hole and in the process the match, losing 5 and 4.
Its been an unbelievable experience. I know I have a lot of weaknesses and I know I have a lot of strengths but theres a lot of room to grow and I hope that people see that, said a tearful Valentine.
Now with Holtby waiting in the finals on one side of the draw, Woodman and Blankvoort too, would have it out in a 9-hole match.
Im going to have to play well, I know that, because hes been very solid in every department, said Woodman on his match up with friend turned foe Blankvoort. I just hope I can do myself justice and hit some good shots.
Big Break IV
Thomas Blankvoort offers congratulations to Guy Woodman after their semi-final match.
Both players started off a bit rusty as each found the rough on opposite sides of the fairway. They did, however, scramble well enough to make pars and to remain even after one.
At the second, Woodman drew first blood as Blankvoorts tee shot found a gnarly patch of rough that left him carding a bogey to Woodmans par. Woodman 1-up through 2.
At the par-3 third, Blankvoort again created trouble for himself by hitting his iron into the burn that surrounded the green. After failing to hole his chip he conceded Woodmans putt. Woodman 2-up.
Woodmans good luck continued at the fourth hole when he sank a 12-footer for par which was good enough to win his third straight hole against Blankvoort. Woodman 3-up through 4.
That was a big relief to go 3-up. At one stage maybe looking like I might have lost the hole, said Woodman on his clutch putt to win the hole. Thats massive.
Time was starting to run out for Blankvoort who needed something to go his way at the fifth. But it was again Woodman who came up with a clutch putt for a halve and to keep Blankvoort from winning the hole. Woodman 3-up with four to play.
Both made routine pars at the sixth but in the process Blankvoort was put in a dormie situation, were he would have to win the next three holes in succession just to halve the match.
It just wasnt Blankvoorts day, however, as his tee shot at the par-3 seventh fell way short of the green. Woodman was safely on the green and watched Blankvoort blow his chip past the hole and then miss the comebacker. Blankvoort picked up Woodmans marker and offered congratulations, falling 4 and 3.
Its (losing) all the more difficult because youre so close to getting to the point of where you want to be - which is winning, said a disheartened Blankvoort. For it to end like this, it leaves an empty feeling in you.

The Big Break IV: USA vs. Europe airs each Tuesday at 9 p.m. (ET), while Big Break IV: All Access airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. (ET), as part of the networks Top Shelf Wednesday lineup of premium programming.
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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.

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    Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

    “Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

    “We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

    In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010. 

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    Woods impresses DeChambeau, Day on Tuesday

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 11:27 pm

    SAN DIEGO – Bryson DeChambeau played with Tiger Woods for the first time Tuesday morning, and the biggest surprise was that he wasn’t overcome by nerves.

    “That’s what I was concerned about,” DeChambeau said. “Am I just gonna be slapping it around off the tee? But I was able to play pretty well.”

    So was Woods.

    DeChambeau said that Woods looked “fantastic” as he prepares to make his first PGA Tour start in a year.

    “His game looks solid. His body doesn’t hurt. He’s just like, yeah, I’m playing golf again,” DeChambeau said. “And he’s having fun, too, which is a good thing.”

    Woods arrived at Torrey Pines before 7 a.m. local time Tuesday, when the temperature hadn’t yet crept above 50 degrees. He warmed up and played the back nine of Torrey Pines’ South Course with DeChambeau and Jason Day.

    “He looks impressive; it was good to see,” Day told afterward. “You take (Farmers) last year and the Dubai tournament out, and he hasn’t really played in two years. I think the biggest thing is to not get too far ahead, or think he’s going to come back and win straight away.

    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

    “The other time he came back, I don’t think he was ready and he probably came back too soon. This time he definitely looks ready. I think his swing is really nice, he’s hitting the driver a long way and he looks like he’s got some speed, which is great.”

    Woods said that his caddie, Joe LaCava, spent four days with him in South Florida last week and that he’s ready to go.

    “Before the Hero I was basically given the OK probably about three or four weeks prior to the tournament, and I thought I did pretty good in that prep time,” Woods told, referring to his tie for ninth in the 18-man event.

    “Now I’ve had a little more time to get ready for this event. I’ve played a lot more golf, and overall I feel like I’ve made some nice changes. I feel good.”

    Woods is first off Torrey Pines’ North Course in Wednesday’s pro-am, scheduled for 6:40 a.m. local time. 

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    With blinders on, Rahm within reach of No. 1 at Torrey

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 10:10 pm

    SAN DIEGO – The drive over to Torrey Pines from Palm Springs, Calif., takes about two and a half hours, which was plenty of time for Jon Rahm’s new and ever-evolving reality to sink in.

    The Spaniard arrived in Southern California for a week full of firsts. The Farmers Insurance Open will mark the first time he’s defended a title on the PGA Tour following his dramatic breakthrough victory last year, and it will also be his first tournament as the game’s second-best player, at least according to the Official World Golf Ranking.

    Rahm’s victory last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his second on Tour and fourth worldwide tilt over the last 12 months, propelled the 23-year-old to No. 2 in the world, just behind Dustin Johnson. His overtime triumph also moved him to within four rounds of unseating DJ atop the global pecking order.

    It’s impressive for a player who at this point last year was embarking on his first full season as a professional, but then Rahm has a fool-proof plan to keep from getting mired in the accolades of his accomplishments.

    “It's kind of hard to process it, to be honest, because I live my day-to-day life with my girlfriend and my team around me and they don't change their behavior based on what I do, right?” he said on Tuesday at Torrey Pines. “They'll never change what they think of me. So I really don't know the magnitude of what I do until I go outside of my comfort zone.”

    Head down and happy has worked perfectly for Rahm, who has finished outside the top 10 in just three of his last 10 starts and began 2018 with a runner-up showing at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and last week’s victory.

    According to the world ranking math, Rahm is 1.35 average ranking points behind Johnson and can overtake DJ atop the pack with a victory this week at the Farmers Insurance Open; but to hear his take on his ascension one would imagine a much wider margin.

    “I've said many times, beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task,” Rahm said. “We all know what happened last time he was close to a lead in a tournament on the PGA Tour.”

    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

    Rahm certainly remembers. It was just three weeks ago in Maui when he birdied three of his first six holes, played the weekend at Kapalua in 11 under and still finished eight strokes behind Johnson.

    And last year at the WGC-Mexico Championship when Rahm closed his week with rounds of 67-68 only to finish two strokes off Johnson’s winning pace, or a few weeks later at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play when he took Johnson the distance in the championship match only to drop a 1-up decision to the game’s undisputed heavyweight.

    As far as Rahm has come in an incredibly short time - at this point last year he ranked 137th in the world - it is interesting that it’s been Johnson who has had an answer at every turn.

    He knows there’s still so much room for improvement, both physically and mentally, and no one would ever say Rahm is wanting for confidence, but after so many high-profile run-ins with Johnson, his cautious optimism is perfectly understandable.

    “I'll try to focus more on what's going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win,” he reasoned when asked about the prospect of unseating Johnson, who isn’t playing this week. “I'll try my best, that's for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”

    If Rahm’s take seems a tad cliché given the circumstances, consider that his aversion to looking beyond the blinders is baked into the competitive cake. For all of his physical advantages, of which there are many, it’s his keen ability to produce something special on command that may be even more impressive.

    Last year at Torrey Pines was a quintessential example of this, when he began the final round three strokes off the lead only to close his day with a back-nine 30 that included a pair of eagles.

    “I have the confidence that I can win here, whereas last year I knew I could but I still had to do it,” he said. “I hope I don't have to shoot 30 on the back nine to win again.”

    Some will point to Rahm’s 60-footer for eagle at the 72nd hole last year as a turning point in his young career, it was even named the best putt on Tour by one publication despite the fact he won by three strokes. But Rahm will tell you that walk-off wasn’t even the best shot he hit during the final round.

    Instead, he explained that the best shot of the week, the best shot of the year, came on the 13th hole when he launched a 4-iron from a bunker to 18 feet for eagle, a putt that he also made.

    “If I don't put that ball on the green, which is actually a lot harder than making that putt, the back nine charge would have never happened and this year might have never happened, so that shot is the one that made everything possible,” he explained.

    Rahm’s ability to embrace and execute during those moments is what makes him special and why he’s suddenly found himself as the most likely contender to Johnson’s throne even if he chooses not to spend much time thinking about it.