Notes: All the Presidents Cup men almost finalized; Belly blunder

By Doug FergusonSeptember 6, 2011, 8:45 pm

NORTON, Mass. – Brandt Snedeker has made the biggest jump without winning in the FedEx Cup playoffs, going from No. 18 to No. 5 with a tie for third at The Barclays and the Deutsche Bank Championship. He also has made a swift climb in the U.S. standings for the Presidents Cup, and now is only the equivalent of $28,016 behind David Toms at No. 10.

There was some movement in Boston, but not enough to clarify everything. The top 10 players earn spots on the U.S. team before Fred Couples doles out his captain’s pick (one already goes to Tiger Woods).

Jim Furyk finished sixth, moving him up to No. 9 – but he is only $15,809 ahead of Toms, and $43,825 ahead of Snedeker (each dollar counts two points in the standings). Toms is $28,016 ahead of Snedeker –  that’s how much 44th place earns at the BMW Championship, which is the last qualifying event.

Charles Howell III at No. 23 is as low as anyone on the list with a mathematical chance of qualifying.

Rickie Fowler might have hurt his chances the most. He started the final round only three shots out of the lead, but closed with a 77 and tied for 52nd, leaving behind big points. He now is $700,287 behind the 10th spot and would have to finish alone in second or win at the BMW Championship to assure playing his way onto the team.


COMPANY MEN: Acushnet chief Wally Uihlein believes the relationship between manufacturers and ruling bodies is “180 degrees improved” from where it was 20 years ago.

That doesn’t mean the two sides do not – nor should no –  disagree on technology issues.

“I really think we need to let the ruling bodies define the issues and the manufacturers, in the spirit of those ruled upon, need to continue to provide the tension, which ensures the dialogue is open and progressive,” Uihlein said.

He spoke last week at the Bay Club, where he introduced Acushnet’s new ownership, a Korean consortium called Alexandria Holdings. The new Acushnet chairman is Gene Yoon, who said that all operations at Acushnet’s headquarters of Fairhaven, Mass., will stay the same.

The debate between tradition and technology has been around more than a century, and that is not likely to change. Uihlein said he can make an argument “for or against bifurcation” – different equipment rules for pros and amateurs – although that should not be an agenda that any manufacturer could promote.

“We still have a commercial genesis to that thought process,” he said. “We can’t argue that we have the best interest in the game. We can make that argument, but the fact is we represent the commercial landscape. And so, it doesn’t matter how noble our argument is. It’s still going to be seen as to some degree commercially prejudiced.”

Uihlein said it’s up to the R&A and the USGA to not only set the rules, but to assume greater responsibility in the game’s future.

“If not, who does?” he said. “There’s always going to be that question of whose game is it, and who’s responsible for its perpetuation and sustenance.”


BELLY BLUNDER: Brandt Jobe has been so frustrated with his putting over the last few months that he stopped having fun. It reached a point at the Deutsche Bank Championship that he decided to use a belly putter in the third round.

This is nothing new for Jobe, who briefly used a belly putter some five years ago. But it had been so long that he didn’t want to make a full commitment, so he kept two putters in the bag for the third round –  his belly putter and the conventional model.

“I’ve been hitting it real good and putting so bad that the last month hasn’t been fun,” Jobe said. “It was getting to the end of the year and I had nothing to lose, but I didn’t want to shoot 80 if it didn’t go well.”

With an extra putter, something had to give to stay at the 14-club limit, so he removed his 4-iron.

Bad move.

“I needed a 4-iron four times today,” Jobe said, laughing at himself.

He figured he would use his hybrid off a couple of tees, and he was counting on the tee at par-3 11th being a 3-iron. But the wind shifted and Jobe was stuck. He used 3-iron on the par-3 eight and went long, and 5-iron on the 11th and came up short.

Even more comical was the belly putter, and his caddie’s reaction.

On the first three holes, Jobe missed a birdie putt from about 15 feet, a par putt from 6 feet and he three-putted his third hole. He drove the green at No. 4, and his caddie handed him the short putter.

“I said, `What are you doing? No, we’re going to stick it out,”’ Jobe said. “And we made eagle.”


WORLD CUP: The Presidents Cup could feature about 18 of the top 50 players in the world ranking on Nov. 17-20 in Melbourne.

The World Cup is the following week in China, and it could have just as many.

An event that seemed to be losing top players –  particularly from America –  is attracting one of its strongest fields. Six of the two-man teams have both players currently in the top 50 in the world, while Northern Ireland (Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell) and South Africa (Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen) have two major champions.

The United States offers its strongest team in nearly 10 years by sending Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland. The defending champion from 2009 is Italy with Francesco and Edoardo Molinari, while England again puts up a strong tandem of Ian Poulter and Justin Rose.

Then there’s Denmark, with Anders Hansen and Thomas Bjorn both inside the top 30.

Five players from Australia passed on the opportunity to play until Richard Green accepted a spot. Then again, the World Cup is the same week as the Australian PGA Championship, and comes right in the heart of the Australasian Tour schedule.


DIVOTS: Starting in 2014, the British Open will move away from holding final local qualifying at links courses near where the Open is held that year. Instead, the four qualifiers will be held at four courses each year in three parts of England (Hillside, Woburn and Royal Cinque Ports) and Scotland (Glasgow-Gailes). The R&A said the change is to make it more convenient for players to qualify. … Patrick Cantlay has won the Mark H McCormack Medal as the No. 1 player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking at the end of the amateur summer season. He secured that spot with his runner-up finish in the U.S. Amateur. Cantlay had been No. 1 for the previous 13 weeks. Cantlay will receive his award this week at the Walker Cup in Scotland. … The LPGA has launched an official Korean version of its website that will feature live scoring, player information and enhanced blogs with special Korean content. The LPGA already has a website geared toward the Japanese audience.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Ten players on the PGA Tour already have earned more than $2 million this year without winning a tournament.


FINAL WORD: “The season is so condensed that it’s a weird feeling. It’s early September and it feels like October.” –  Brandt Jobe, competing in his first FedEx Cup playoffs.

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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