Power Rankings: WGC-Cadillac Championship

By Will GrayMarch 5, 2013, 4:08 pm

This week the PGA Tour heads farther south down the Florida Turnpike to Miami for the season's second WGC event. Doral plays host to an elite field for the WGC-Cadillac Championship, with most of the top 50 players in the world looking to hone their skills with The Masters just over a month away.

Be sure to join the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to test yourself against our panel of experts, including former champion Win McMurry.

Justin Rose returns to defend the title he won last year by a shot over Bubba Watson. Here are 10 players to watch this week as the game's best try to tame the Blue Monster:

1. Matt Kuchar: Doesn't get any better if trying to combine current form and past history. Kuchar is coming off his Match Play win two weeks ago, and has recorded top-eight finishes each of the last three years at Doral, including a tie for third in 2010.

2. Justin Rose: Rounding into form just in time to defend his Doral title, having notched a T-4 finish at Honda last week in his first stroke-play event of the year in the States. Rose also nearly won in Abu Dhabi earlier this year, finishing T-2 in January behind Jamie Donaldson.

3. Keegan Bradley: Quietly finished in a tie for fourth at PGA National, his third straight top-25 finish in a stroke-play event this year. Bradley has carded 71 or better in 11 of his last 12 stroke-play rounds, and finished T-4 here a year ago.

4. Charl Schwartzel: Bounced back from an early exit at Dove Mountain to finish T-9 at Honda, his second top-10 in as many stroke-play starts. The South African was a runner-up here in 2010 and tied for fourth last year, having broken par in 11 of his last 12 competitive rounds at Doral.

5. Bubba Watson: Last year, Watson used a runner-up finish at Doral to help propel him to a win at Augusta a month later. The southpaw was especially able to capitalize on the par-4s at Doral, playing them in 9 under for the week - three shots better than the next-best player in the field.

6. Robert Garrigus: Garrigus is making his first appearance in this event, but has yet to finish outside the top 25 in any of his five starts in 2013. He brings two factors to the table - long drives and the ability to make birdies in bunches - that make him ideally-suited for this course.

7. Tiger Woods: Last year's unexpected withdrawal was the first time he was outside the top 10 since this event moved to Doral. Last week's T-37 was largely a product of lost balls and penalty shots, both of which Woods should be able to minimize on a course where he's won three times before.

8. Luke Donald: The Englishman has finished T-6 here each of the past two years, and was T-16 at Riviera in his only other stroke-play start on Tour this season. He made only seven bogeys here in 2011, and only three last year (along with a pair of doubles).

9. Graeme McDowell: Backed up his quarterfinal run at Dove Mountain with a tie for ninth at PGA National. Bounced back from an opening 75 to finish T-13 here a year ago, and also tied for sixth in 2010.

10. Rickie Fowler: His T-13 finish at Honda was his third top-15 showing in four stroke-play starts this year. Fowler was solo eighth here in 2011, shooting 68-66 over the weekend, and may receive a boost this week from the release of the latest 'Golf Boys' video.

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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