Notes Nerve-racking moment Goydos on testing

By Doug FergusonMay 12, 2009, 4:00 pm
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PGA Tour (75x100)PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. ' The most nervous Annika Sorenstam ever felt on a golf course was standing on the 10th tee at Colonial in 2003 when she became the first female in 45 years to compete on the PGA Tour.
 
Ian Baker-Finch might be able to understand how she felt.
 
The 48-year-old Australian, a past champion at Colonial, has entered the Crowne Plaza Invitational, which begins May 28. This will be the 20-year anniversary of his victory at Colonial, but only his second time to compete in the last 12 years.
 
I turn 50 in a couple of years and I want to see where I am, whether its worth putting extra effort into playing a bit, Baker-Finch said Tuesday. Id be an addition to the field as a past champion, so if I did shoot a bad score, I wouldnt feel bad about taking a place.
 
Why the nerves?
 
Baker-Finch, a television commentator for the last decade who now works for CBS Sports, has not played tournament golf in eight years, going 74-77 at Colonial to miss the cut. Most people recall his return to the British Open as a former champion when he played at Royal Troon in 1997 and shot 92 before he withdrew.
 
He has considered playing a couple of times over the years, but was cautious because of what happened at Troon, playing with an ailing back, nowhere to hide before thousands of fans.
 
But hell still be nervous.
 
Im out of my league now, he said. I call the golf and still play well, but its different when you play a Tour event. Im a little apprehensive how my form would be. I have no visions of grandeur.
 
His one wish is that the PGA Tour will consider grouping past champions together at tournaments where they can still play, such as Colonial and the Memorial.
 
Baker-Finch said Colonial officials have embraced the idea, and he is hopeful the PGA Tour would go along with it.
 
I really think it would add some spice to the event, he said. You add groupings of past champions, theres extra spice, more of a media angle. I think it would be good for the tournament. And the older guys are going to be more comfortable playing with each other. Im not sure I want to get drawn with two young guys that hit it 340 yards.
 
Baker-Finch said depending on how the Colonial goes, he might consider returning to play the British Open next year at St. Andrews.
 

 
GOYDOS AND DRUG TESTING: Paul Goydos last year illustrated the difference between him and Tiger Woods when he said that Woods was trying to win 18 majors and Im trying to play in 18 majors.
 
But he has one major distinction Woods cant match ' first player to be tested for drugs at a major.
 
I shot a 74, nothing special, he said. I hadnt made a cut at a major in 10 years, since the 99 PGA Championship, and I was the first one tested at a major championship.
 
Drug testing became a topic last week after Los Angeles Dodgers star Manny Ramirez was suspended for 50 games. The PGA Tour wasnt looking for a spokesman on the issue when it asked Goydos to speak Thursday night at a corporate function, but it might have found one.
 
Goydos has his own take on what constitutes performance enhancing drugs, arguing that glasses help a players performance. But he pointed out to reporters, and later during his Q&A with Jeld-Wen clients, that drug testing shouldnt be an issue in golf.
 
Do you know the rules of golf? he said. Our second rule says to be a good sport, treat competitors fairly and leave the course better than you found it. Its not the 50th rule. Its the second. We dont cheat. We call penalties on ourselves. Golf is all about integrity.
 
He said drug testing is the only rule in golf in which were not policing ourselves.
 
Goydos is not about to join a speakers circuit, and he said he agreed to the corporate function at The Players Championship only if he didnt have to give a speech.
 
If I had to entertain these people without them being involved, not good, he said. If they want to do a Q&A, I can be pretty good.
 

 
COUPLES FUTURE: Fred Couples turns 50 in October and will make his Champions Tour debut later this year. As for the future, he plans to keep full membership on the Champions Tour, and he has an idea what his schedule will look like without even looking.
 
And while he doesnt know the schedule, he kept it simple, as always.
 
The Senior Open is in Seattle, and theres a tournament in Seattle, he said. A couple in California ' thats four. One in Houston and San Antonio late in the year ' thats six. Five majors ' thats 11. And I believe I have to play 12, and thats my goal.
 
He counted the U.S. Senior Open twice, but not to worry.
 
I could get in as a pick for Hualalai, he added, referring to the season-opener in Hawaii. I think the Senior Skins is the next week, and Jay (Haas) and I are going to be partners. Can you believe that?
 
That made him think of something else, and he snapped his fingers and grinned.
 
Oh, Jay and I are playing the Legends of Golf, he said. Thats 12.
 

 
DIVOTS: Having now played more than 21 rounds this year, Tiger Woods made his debut in the PGA Tour statistics. He is No. 1 in scoring average at 69.13, more than a half-stroke better than David Toms. The bright side of missing the cut at The Players Championship was that Paul Goydos was able to spend Mothers Day at home with his two daughters. Their mother, ex-wife Wendy, died in January. There was a piece of me that thought it was a good thing that I was home, he said. And I was right. Danny Lee has accepted a sponsors exemption to the John Deere Classic, held a week before the British Open. The third round of the LPGA event last week at Kingsmill had to give way on ESPN2 for the opening round of the NCAA Lacrosse Championship featuring Brown against Johns Hopkins. For the record, Johns Hopkins won in an overtime thriller.
 

 
STAT OF THE WEEK: With his three-way tie for second in the Italian Open, John Daly moved up 343 spots in the world ranking. He now is No. 451.
 

 
FINAL WORD: I dont think I could play unless I was trying to get better.'Padraig Harrington.
 
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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