Notes: Schedules up in air with Match Play move

By Doug FergusonSeptember 16, 2014, 11:36 pm

ATLANTA – Some 20 years ago, there was a feeling that the PGA Tour didn't really get going until Florida.

It might feel like that next year, too.

Among the contributing factors – the busy end to the FedEx Cup season that forces players to pace themselves during the year, the start of a new season and moving the Match Play Championship to the first weekend in May.

Tiger Woods doesn't know what his schedule will be in 2015. Except for the Match Play, he has played only one event on the West Coast (Torrey Pines) since 2007. He did play Pebble Beach in 2012, but that was a one-time agreement with AT&T.

Adam Scott is contemplating such a big winter break he likely will skip Kapalua.

''My schedule is going to start on the East Coast,'' Scott said last week. ''That's just the way I want to do it. I've got some things I want to do in the offseason to get ready for next year and do better than this year.''

Scott said it would be ''a bit of a heart-breaker'' to skip Kapalua. He said he's not 100 percent sure he will miss the Tournament of Champions, though it sounded that way. The Australian PGA ends Dec. 14 and ''I'll get 10 full weeks'' off before resuming at the Honda Classic.

Of the six Europeans from the top 20 in the world, three played one West Coast event before the Match Play. Graeme McDowell was at Pebble Beach, but only because his father played with him.Justin Rose played Riviera because he missed the Middle East swing because of injury; and Martin Kaymer played Phoenix, where he lives.

The rest showed up at Match Play, which will not be at the end of February in Arizona next year.

Rory McIlroy left Atlanta on Sunday. Odds are it will be five months before he next plays an official PGA Tour event in America.


TECHNIQUE AND FEEL: Tiger Woods is in no hurry to look for a new swing coach, not until he's finished restoring his ''explosiveness.''

Does he even need a coach?

Woods has been playing since he could walk. If he's not talking about owning his swing, he'll say how important it is to be able to fix it in the middle of a round. That led to a question Monday at Isleworth: Has he ever had coaches who didn't know as much as about swing as he did?

''I would have to say on the technical side, I probably don't know as much as some of them,'' Woods said without singling out Butch Harmon, Hank Haney or Sean Foley. ''But from a feel standpoint, which is something I think is innate because of what we're able to do at such an elite level, yeah, I think I know a lot more than they do. Because they've never played down the stretch of a major championship. What do the hands feel? What does the body feel?''

Woods is known to take only what he wants of the instruction offered.

''You have to understand your practice sessions,'' he said. ''Will they work on the back nine on a Sunday of a major? Either yes or no. And I think that's one thing I've always tried to tell all my coaches. Will it work or not work? And if it's not going to work, then we're not going down that road.''


DRIVING SPIETH: Jordan Spieth revealed at the Tour Championship that he has been looking for the right driver for the last four months.

He said the driver he had used the last two years cracked on Wednesday of The Players Championship, where he shared the 54-hole lead with Martin Kaymer. He said he has tried a couple of new heads and can't seem to get the right combination. And he said he hasn't had time to try the latest driver from Titleist.

Spieth, who makes his Ryder Cup debut next week, said he has lost 20 percent in driving accuracy since May.

''I'm not driving the ball worse than anyone else, but it's a strength of mine,'' he said. ''When your strength becomes average, something has to make up for it. And the rest of my game hasn't made up for it.''


PGA TOUR BALLOT: The PGA Tour has sent out its year-end awards ballot to the players. Voting closes Sept. 25, and the awards are to be announced the week after the Ryder Cup (a week before the 2014-15 season begins).

Rory McIlroy figures to be a lock with his two majors. The others on the ballot are U.S. Open and Players Championship winner Martin Kaymer, Masters champion Bubba Watson, FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel and three-time winner Jimmy Walker.

The rookie ballot features only three players. Chesson Hadley was the only rookie who won, though it was an opposite-field event in Puerto Rico. The other two candidates didn't even become members until midway through the season - Victor Dubuisson and Brooks Koepka.


TRINGALE'S RETURN: Cameron Tringale heard about the changes to Masters criteria, such as cutting back on the number of players from the previous year's majors who were invited. So when he was runner-up at The Barclays - in effect assuring him a spot in the Tour Championship - it didn't register until later he was going to Augusta.

The field from the Tour Championship gets in the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open.

''I didn't think this got you in,'' Tringale said last week. ''I really didn't think that was the case.''

It will be his first appearance at the Masters, though certainly not his first trip to Augusta National. Tringale played at Georgia Tech and says the Yellow Jackets were invited to play the course once a year.

''I've played there four times,'' he said. ''I haven't broken par.''

He said he shot 73 the first time, and that was about as close as he got. No matter. The course changes from Wednesday to Thursday during the Masters, much less from one year to the next. Besides, Tringale said he was busy taking pictures.

''I was thinking, 'I might never make it back here,''' he said.


DIVOTS: Michelle Wie is the inaugural winner of the Rolex Annika Major Award for the LPGA player who accumulates the most points in the majors. Wie won the U.S. Women's Open and was runner-up in the Kraft Nabisco Championship. ... Davis Love III, who rarely passes on a chance to play golf in Hawaii, is making his Champions Tour debut this week in the Pacific Links Hawaii Championship at Kapolei Golf Club on Oahu. ... Tiger Woods didn't go the entire year without a trophy. His foundation received the Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy. It will be honored Thursday in Princeton, New Jersey, by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. ... The BMW Championship will return to Crooked Stick in 2016.


STAT OF THE WEEK: There are five Americans in the top 25 in the world ranking who are not playing in the Ryder Cup - Billy Horschel (14), Tiger Woods (15), Dustin Johnson (17), Chris Kirk (22) and Steve Stricker (25).


FINAL WORD: ''As a TV spectacle, it's far better than the Super Bowl. Only one comes close - the 100 meters in the Olympics. Maybe. And it only lasts 10 seconds. Golf generally is not amazingly suspenseful on TV, but that is off the charts.'' - Geoff Ogilvy, on the Ryder Cup.

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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