Notes Ogilvy shaking off the rust

By Doug FergusonJuly 6, 2011, 12:46 am

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. – Halfway through the season, part of Geoff Ogilvy feels as though he’s just getting started.

Ogilvy, a former U.S. Open champion and three-time World Golf Championship winner, is No. 79 in the FedEx Cup standings with the playoffs looming less than two months away. It hasn’t been an awful year, just one that has been slowed by two peculiar injuries.

“It feels like I’m trying to get rust off at the moment, which is weird,” Ogilvy said last week at the AT&T National, where he scrapped it around and tied for 57th.

Ogilvy said he had never felt better at the start of a season, which is saying something since he was the two-time defending champion of the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua. But he gouged his right index finger on coral in a freak accident at the beach and wound up missing three tournaments.

He got his game in shape for the Masters, where he was among eight players who had a share of the lead at one point in the final round; he finished tied for fourth.

“I was back on schedule and it was happy days,” he said.

A week later, he was in contention at the Texas Open going into the weekend when his shoulder went from nagging him to hurting him. Ogilvy went 74-74 and tied for 23rd.

“The shoulder was annoying at the Masters, not bad. Then in San Antonio, it flared up on the weekend. I was playing in the last group Saturday,” he said. “By the weekend, it just got horrible and turned out to be quite an annoying place for an injury for a golfer.”

Ogilvy played one round of The Players Championship – his WD didn’t get much attention – and essentially went nearly two months without playing until returning the week before the U.S. Open.

“I’d never been injured before,” he said. “I’ve taken big time off, but I’ve still played golf. When you’re injured, you can’t play anything. And when you do come back, it’s like, `Ooooh, don’t hurt it.’ So I feel rusty.”

He added the Travelers Championship and AT&T National to get back in shape, forcing him to miss the Scottish Open this week. On Tuesday, Ogilvy signed up for the Canadian Open, played a week after the British Open.

“I like how I’m playing,” he said. “I just don’t like how I’m scoring.”

A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE: Bubba Watson had a rough time at the French Open, but another American with less fanfare couldn’t stop raving about it. Texas Open winner Brendan Steele, who, like Watson, opened with a 74, wound up tied for seventh.

“Everything has been amazing,” Steele said. “Fans were great. I thought they were enthusiastic, and there were a lot of them. I was very excited to play here, and it didn’t disappoint.”

Watson said it was not a “normal tournament,” complaining about too many mobile phones and not enough security.

Steele said he was surprised to hear that.

“I don’t know him very well, but that kind of caught me off guard,” Steele said. “I’m sure it was probably more of a case of just getting him right off the golf course and not playing well and maybe he said some things. But it hasn’t been my experience at all. It’s been a fantastic week.

“I’m hoping that I get the opportunity to come back and play it. It’s something that only Europe can provide. I don’t think it’s anything that I’ve seen in the States.”

OPEN ALTERNATES: Anthony Kim missed the cut at Aronimink and probably figured his British Open hopes were over.

Not so fast.

Tiger Woods withdrew and next in line was Brendan Jones, who turned down the spot because his wife is expecting. Jason Dufner took Woods’ spot. If Tim Clark doesn’t play because of his elbow injury, Robert Garrigus is the next alternate.

Then it goes to Kim.

It was not clear if Kim planned to go to England as an alternate. Meanwhile, Thomas Levet broke a bone in his leg while jumping into the lake after winning the French Open. A spokesman said Levet would do everything possible to try to compete in the British Open.

The two alternates after Kim are Simon Dyson and Thomas Bjorn, who lost a late lead at Royal St. George’s in 2003 when he took three shots to get out of the bunker on the 16th hole.

FURYK IN A FUNK: Once the model of consistency even when he wasn’t winning as much as he thought he should, Jim Furyk is now in the midst of his worst slump in 16 years. When he missed the cut at the AT&T National, it marked the first time since 1995 that he had gone four consecutive starts on the PGA Tour without making the cut.

“It’s probably one of the worst stretches of my career … where I’m struggling this much and missing cuts,” Furyk said. “I don’t really have a lot of answers. I know the problem areas, and I’m trying to fix them. At times, it feels better.”

Furyk often says the three most important clubs in his bag are the driver, wedge and putting. He feels as though he is hitting good wedges. He doesn’t miss many fairways, but says there usually is one drive per round that is way off line and leads to double bogey.

As for the putting?

“I’m not going to play better until I start gaining confidence with my putter and I start putting better,” he said.

Furyk became so frustrated after the first round that he gave his putter to a young spectator.

“I’ve never done that before,” he said. “But it was one happy kid.”

DIVOTS: Ben Curtis is no longer with Andy Sutton, the caddie he hired at Royal St. George’s when he won the 2003 British Open. Sutton, who grew up in Kent, still returns home for the Open. He says he will be working for Aaron Baddeley. … British bookmaker William Hill not only refunded all bets on Tiger Woods after he withdrew, it offered odds on whether he would return for the PGA Championship. The odds are 2-to-5 that he plays, 7-to-4 that he does not. … The Women’s British Open will make a donation to the British Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal for every birdie or better made by the field in the final round at Carnoustie. … The PGA Championship will let fans bring mobile device onto the golf course to use in selected areas. They can take and make calls in designated spots, and text and email on the course.

STAT OF THE WEEK: The last time Trevor Immelman played Aronimink and Royal St. George’s in the same year was 1997. He lost in the finals of the U.S. Junior Amateur and in the finals of the British Amateur.

FINAL WORD: “I remember a lot of things, most of them bad.” – Robert Allenby, on the last British Open held at Royal St. George’s.

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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, 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 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 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