Notes: Tiger tells tales about ol' Tom

By Doug FergusonJanuary 23, 2013, 3:02 am

SAN DIEGO - Tiger Woods and Tom Watson are both Stanford alums and have won player of the year multiple times on the PGA Tour. They have never been particularly close, though they have a long history that dates to when Woods was still in elementary school.

That mainly involves Watson's caddie, though.

Woods was talking Tuesday about how his father took him to PGA Tour events when he was a kid, to Torrey Pines and Riviera, when he recalled a moment with Watson at Riviera in 1985. Watson's caddie was the late Bruce Edwards, who died of Lou Gehrig's disease.

''So No. 8, Tom snipes it to the left off the tee, and I'm right there,'' Woods said. ''He hits it again, left of the green - pin was back left. I'm up there ... He basically yelled at me saying, 'I moved you out of here once,' and basically moved me out of there twice. I just wanted to see, you know? Tom Watson. He sniped one, and sniped another one, and I happened to be right there on both of those shots. And Bruce let me know about it.''

Many years later, is it safe to assume that some young fan watching Woods might have gone through the same experience?


HISTORY MAKER?: Geoff Ogilvy of Australia has a chance to be a small part of history on the PGA Tour, even if he thinks history is against him.

Ogilvy is among five players on this year's 16-member Player Advisory Council who has been nominated to be a chairman of the PAC. The chairman serves one year before he is elevated to player director on the PGA Tour's policy board.

There has never been an international player serve on the board.

''I don't think I'll get voted in because I'm an international player,'' Ogilvy said Tuesday. ''I guess there's more international players every year. I think their position - the current board and Ponte Vedra, if you like - think if the Tour is 25 percent international players, maybe of the four player directors there might should be one that's an Americanized international. You can't just bring someone from another country and put them on the board. But once you've been on Tour for a certain amount of time, you get a feel for it.''

Roughly one-third of the Tour now consists of international players.

Steve Stricker and Paul Goydos are in their final year on the board, so there will be two chairmen elected from the PAC. The other four candidates are Joe Ogilvie, Mark Wilson, Bo Van Pelt and Jason Bohn.

Ogilvy is respected among his peers for his clarity and his insightful thoughts on the game, particularly his outlook on golf course architecture and how courses are set up. He has served on the PAC a few times before, without any interest in being a chairman.

''It would be interesting to be on the board. This is an interesting time for the Tour,'' Ogilvy said. ''I'm not inclined that way, but I am interest in the operations of the tour.''

The former U.S. Open champion, who also has three World Golf Championships to his credit, is not about to campaign for votes.

He's not even sure what players want in a chairman and future board member.

''I would have said at least 50 percent of the players don't mind who the board members are and really don't care about the operating of events. As long as they get $6 million to play for 30 times a year, they're happy - and they like the way the courses are set up. That's pretty much the interest of half the tour. They don't go much further than that. They vote for their friends, I would think. That's how politics work in general, isn't it?''


CLINTON'S LESSON: Tom Watson gave former President Bill Clinton the best advice he ever received in golf - and perhaps in politics, too.

Clinton last week at the Humana Challenge recalled the time he was in office and hosted the 1993 U.S. Ryder Cup team, when Watson was the captain and the Americans last won on European soil.

''The best political lesson I ever got from a golfer,'' Clinton said. ''And practically the best political lesson I ever got from anybody.''

Watson asked the president to grip a club, and immediately told Clinton that he was gripping it too tightly, a common mistake of average golfers. Watson showed him the proper grip, and Clinton was able to take the club out of his hands.

Then, Watson asked to see the grip again and focused on the position of his hands. And then came the lesson.

''He said, 'Golf is the way politics is,''' Clinton said. '''If your grip is too far to the right, you're going to get in trouble on the left. But if your grip is too far to the left, you're going to get in big trouble on the right.'''

As the laughter subsided, Clinton finished the lesson.

''The trick is for your grip to be just right,'' he said. ''Worth remembering these days.''


MASTERS RETIREMENT: Jim Armstrong was working for an accounting firm that had Augusta National Golf Club as one of its clients. Clifford Roberts was the chairman at the time, meaning that by extension, Armstrong will end his career having worked with every chairman at the home of The Masters.

Roberts died the year before Armstrong went to work for the club in 1978, and a year later, he became the director.

After serving directly under the last five chairmen - William Lane, Hord Hardin, Jack Stephens, Hootie Johnson and Billy Payne - Armstrong is retiring this year after 35 years as what amounts to the highest-ranking person at the club who is not a member.

''Jim Armstrong has given Augusta National Golf Club more than three decades of exceptional vision, impressive leadership and outstanding service as our executive director,'' Payne said. ''Jim has certainly earned and deserves his retirement. As a consequence of his longtime commitment, he is leaving a permanent and positive impression upon the legacy of Augusta National, its membership and the Masters.''

Will Jones was appointed to the new executive director. Jones has worked under Armstrong since 1993 and currently is senior director of business affairs.

''My career at Augusta National Golf Club has been one of remarkable good fortune, and my affection for this wonderful place is immeasurable,'' Armstrong said. ''It is nearly impossible to put into words the privilege I have experienced in serving the club.''


DIVOTS: This will be the final year the U.S. team for the Presidents Cup is decided by PGA Tour earnings. The 2015 team will be determined by FedEx Cup points. ... LPGA commissioner Mike Whan takes over for USGA executive director Mike Davis has chairman of the World Golf Foundation for 2013. ... Kevin Sutherland, who missed most of last year with a neck injury, was planning to return at the Humana Challenge until his back went out on him while putting on a pair of gym shorts. He plans to play next week in the Phoenix Open.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Tiger Woods has 74 wins on the PGA Tour, with 42 percent of them on five golf courses - Torrey Pines (7), Firestone (7), Bay Hill (7) Muirfield Village (5) and Cog Hill (5).


FINAL WORD: ''Any time Tiger has a record, I put an asterisk by it, because it's Tiger's record. It's not normal. It's not the way it's normally going to be for most people.'' - Brandt Snedeker.

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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