Notes: AimPoint users need to be careful

By Doug FergusonSeptember 8, 2015, 10:16 pm

NORTON, Mass. - Ian Poulter and Kevin Chappell played together at the Deutsche Bank Championship, and their birdie putts on the par-5 second hole during the second round were significant mainly because of how they read the greens.

Both use AimPoint Express, only Poulter had to do without on this occasion. He was just under 20 feet away. Chappell was about 12 feet away, and his marker was in the line of where Poulter ordinarily would have straddled the line of his own putt to feel the slope of the green.

''I thought it may go right-to-left, but I couldn't tell until I hit it that I picked the wrong line,'' Poulter said.

Poulter has been using the method since January, joining a growing list of players that includes Adam Scott, Stacy Lewis and Hunter Mahan. It has become so popular that the R&A and USGA published a joint statement at the start of the year that cautioned players of one pitfall.

One part of AimPoint Express is to pick an area halfway toward the hole where the feet can feel the slope (and from there players will hold up one or two fingers to help them figure out where to start the putt).

Rule 16-1a, however, makes it illegal for players to touch the line of their putts, which is defined as the line players want their balls to take and includes a ''reasonable distance on either side of the intended line.''

The European Tour went so far as to post a video explaining how the rule can be breeched if players are not careful. The variance of the line will be greater on longer putts than the shorter ones. No one is believed to have been penalized yet (two-stroke penalty or loss of hole in match play).

''You can't stand in your own line, but your own line is vague,'' Chappell said. ''When it first became big, it came up. They were going to try to outlaw it a few years ago, and then it became like, 'OK, your line from 4 feet is much smaller and precise than your line from 40 feet.' But it would be pretty hard to stand in your line from 40 feet and have them prove you have an advantage.

''I haven't been warned, but I've had discussions about it.''


FINAL MAJOR: The Evian Masters this week in France is the fifth and final major on the LPGA Tour schedule, and it presents another opportunity for an unprecedented feat. Only it doesn't involve Inbee Park.

Park won the Women's British Open last month at Turnberry for her fourth different major, and now she goes after the career Grand Slam (all five majors) at Evian.

But she wouldn't be the first woman to do that.

Karrie Webb won her first major at the du Maurier Classic outside Calgary in 1999, and she wrapped up the career Grand Slam over the next two years (Kraft Nabisco, U.S. Women's Open, LPGA Championship). But when tobacco sponsorship became an issue, the du Maurier was replaced by the Women's British Open, and Webb won that (at Turnberry) in 2002. That gave her what the LPGA referred to at the time as the ''Super Slam.''

If the Australian can win the Evian Masters for a career Grand Slam of six majors, the LPGA may as well called it the Karrie Slam.


LONG YEAR: Carlos Ortiz of Mexico finished his rookie year on the PGA Tour sooner than he wanted after a season that felt much longer than he imagined. The 24-year-old from Guadalajara can't recall playing so much golf in his life. The Deutsche Bank Championship was his 30th event.

''I thought it was bad in college,'' Ortiz said of his schedule. ''I played seven weeks in a row. It's too much. It becomes work. Hopefully, next year I can play better and have more breaks.''

He fell into the same trap of so many rookies who need a week off but are concerned about their position in the FedEx Cup or money list. As long as they're at home, they are giving up a chance at points or money.

Ortiz didn't miss a cut in four starts last fall, and he tied for ninth in Mexico. But his Fedex Cup standing fell out of the top 100 in the summer and he kept playing until he began the playoffs at No. 112 and needed a good week at The Barclays to advance. He was in good shape going into the final round until he opened with a quadruple-bogey 8.

''One of the worst experiences of my life,'' Ortiz said. ''I wanted to cry.''

Instead, he bounced back to play the rest of the round in 1 under and made it to the TPC Boston. This time, he wasn't so fortunate. Ortiz made four straight birdies early in the final round to get inside the projected top 70, only to make triple bogey at No. 9 and shoot 41 on the back nine for a 76. He had the look of a tired golfer.

Next year might not be much easier. Ortiz is likely to make the Olympic team for Mexico.


DIVOTS: Now that the LPGA has gone through the inaugural International Crown, it is moving back the dates to qualify so the cutoff is closer to when the event is played. The eight countries will be determined by the world ranking after the first LPGA major of the year at the ANA Inspiration. The four players who qualify for each team will be determined after the second major in June at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship. The tournament will be July 19-24 at Rich Harvest Farms southwest of Chicago. ... Keegan Bradley closed with a 69 to narrowly advance to the third FedEx Cup playoff event. That wasn't the only reason to celebrate. He got engaged at the start of the week to Jillian Stacey.


STAT OF THE WEEK: The 54-hole leader has failed to win the last six years at the Deutsche Bank Championship.


FINAL WORD: ''Nothing is different. I don't feel it's far off, even though my score is far off. It's just weird. It's almost like a bad dream. I just need to wake up and get the putts to go in again.'' - Jordan Spieth after missing back-to-back cuts for the first time in his career.

Getty Images

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
Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.