Frazar leads suspended Barclays, but Irene gets the headlines

By Doug FergusonAugust 26, 2011, 12:27 am

EDISON, N.J. – Harrison Frazar is leading The Barclays. All anyone wanted to talk about was Irene.

Whatever enthusiasm there was for start of the FedEx Cup playoffs was dampened Thursday – first by rain that halted the first round for more than three hours, then from the gloomy forecast of Hurricane Irene. That left players and officials wonder when, how or even if they can finish the opening playoff event.

Of the early starters – who didn’t finish until mid-afternoon – Frazar led an onslaught of birdies on rain-softened Plainfield Country Club, shooting a 7-under 64. One of the few times he was in trouble, he chipped in from behind the first green to turn bogey into birdie.

Vijay Singh overcame a double bogey early in his round for a 65 and was tied with Jonathan Byrd. Adam Scott was in the group at 66. Nick Watney, the No. 1 seed as the race begins for the $10 million FedEx Cup bonus, was among those at 67.

When it was too dark to continue, 51 players did not finish the round. They were to return at 7:15 a.m. ET on Friday, and the tee times for the second round were expected to be pushed back by about 30 minutes.

William McGirt, the last of the 125 players who qualified for the playoffs, had to stop after making his seventh birdie in an eight-hole stretch to get to 7 under par through 11 holes. Matt Kuchar, the defending champion at The Barclays, also was at 7 under through 16 holes.

“I wanted to get done today,” Frazar said. “With the way the weather is coming, I didn’t want to have to sit around and play too much tomorrow or too much Saturday. It’s going to be a long week by the time this thing is over.”

Slugger White, the Tour’s vice president of competition, was hopeful that everyone from the afternoon group could at least make the turn. That would give the tournament a chance to complete 36 holes by Friday, and if the expected wind and rain holds off long enough, get through the third round Saturday.

No one was sure what to expect after that, if anything at all. White ruled out a 36-hole Saturday.

The concern is that Plainfield about 10 inches of rain over the last few weeks and probably can’t take much more.

“If we get 5 or 7 inches of rain here, we are probably dead in the water,” White said.

This is supposed to be the time the 125 players who qualified can start dreaming about golf’s biggest payoff – $10 million to the winner after four playoff events in the next five weeks. Officials again painted “PGA TOUR PLAYOFFS” into the grass of one hill, much like is seen on midfield at a football game.

It’s a wonder the paint didn’t wash away.

Then again, the Deutsche Bank Championship last year braced for remnants of Hurricane Earl to possibly wash out big chunks of the tournament outside Boston, and it never materialized.

Bad weather is not unusual in golf, and the tour has a policy to only reduce events to 54 holes if there is no way to finish on Monday. But this is not an ordinary event. Only the top 100 players in the FedEx Cup standings after The Barclays advance to the second round.

What might help is that the next event, the Deutsche Bank, doesn’t start until Friday because of its traditional Labor Day finish. Only PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem has the authority to allow for a Tuesday finish if it comes to that.

“I don’t think anybody has any clue,” Charley Hoffman said after a 66. “I’m pretty sure 100 percent of us want to play 72 holes out here, and we all know the tournament (next week) doesn’t start until Friday. So I’m pretty sure the players will commit to go to Tuesday if possible. But if this place gets 10 inches of rain two weeks in a row, I don’t know how playable this golf course is going to be on Tuesday.”

There was so much talk about weather that Watney said he heard a rumor that Manhattan might be evacuated. Left unsaid was how he heard such a thing while being too preoccupied with his golf to check on any such reports.

He found it fascinating, nonetheless.

“That would be quite a sight of evacuating Manhattan,” he said. “Where would they all go. That’s like 12 million people.”

Everyone else just kept plugging away, coping with a course that was starting to get firm and fun until they returned from a rain delay and tried to control how much the ball was spinning once it landed on the green.

The tournament was a sellout even before it began, and despite the weather, there was plenty of cheers. With the tees moved up on the 18th hole this week, making it play 285 yards up the hill, the lone eagle came from Troy Matteson, who pitched in from 35 years. Steven Bowditch hit his tee shot to within 5 feet, only to three-putt for a par.

Singh, who hit a beautiful approach into 6 feet on the tough 17th for birdie, drove to the front of the green on the 18th and chipped to 8 feet to close out his round of back-to-back birdies. That atoned for hitting into the water on the par-3 third.

Meanwhile, White said the Tour won’t decide how to proceed until they see the forecast on Friday.

“I really don’t want to paint myself in a corner right now,” he said. “There’s a lot of scenarios out there.”

DIVOTS: J.J. Henry was not in the pro-am Wednesday, yet he still made good use of his time. He went over to Pine Valley in southern New Jersey to play on the eve of The Barclays. … Pat Perez withdrew after opening with a 79, although his position is secure to play next week in Boston. … The day began under sunshine, yet players were told they could lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway because of the approaching weather.

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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