After Further Review: 2014 Open Championship

By Randall Mell, Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2014, 8:00 pm

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in on a very healthy state of the game even without a very healthy - or high-performing - Tiger Woods, thanks in large part to Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler.

Now that his back's fixed, Tiger Woods can go to work getting his driver fixed, or his driver skills, at least. Rory McIlroy loves to hit driver. When he is on, McIlroy will hit it just about everywhere, with impunity. It's the giant advantage McIlroy has over Woods today. It's the advantage Adam Scott has over Woods. It's the advantage Bubba Watson has over Woods. It's the advantage just about every top-10 player has on Woods, who sometimes looks like a man yanking a bandage off a wound when pulling driver out of his golf bag. Woods can still be so good with his irons, with his short game, with his putter, he'll continue to win, but it's harder work against these major championship challengers if his game plans are designed to avoid hitting drivers. With his back fixed, with his strength and speed coming back, so may that driver, a tool that could go a long way to helping him beat these younger challengers who stand between him and Jack Nicklaus' record.  Randall Mell

It could take Tiger Woods weeks, months, maybe even a year to regain his top form. That’s OK. In the meantime, the sport will be just fine, with Rory McIlroy again in full flight, Adam Scott consistently excellent, and Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth on the cusp of breakthroughs. The first two majors of the year have been snoozers, drama-wise, but were tremendous displays of golf. The Open was a reminder of how McIlroy’s best is unmatched. The common denominator was that Woods, long the sport’s main needle-mover, didn’t play a factor, either because of injury or ineffectiveness. His return to form will simply be a bonus. – Ryan Lavner

Rory McIlroy has the ability to be a truly dominant player. The only question is whether he has the drive to dominate like the players he is being compared to. McIlroy’s victory on Sunday at the Open Championship made him just the third player to claim three legs of the career Grand Slam before his 26th birthday, joining Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus in that elite club. But if he is to continue that impressive trend he will need to avoid the kind of slump that dominated his season in 2013, when he failed to win on the PGA Tour or contend in the majors. “I've really found my passion again for golf,” he said. Along with that passion he’s found his way back onto a historic path.  Rex Hoggard

Rickie Fowler is ready to win a major. Any major. Seems obvious because of his performance at the British Open, but I'm not so sure I'd have made such a declarative statement just four short days ago. He's the only player to finish top-five in each of the season's three majors so far but at both the Masters and the U.S. Open, Fowler played well on Saturday, then followed it with a poor Sunday round. This week Fowler showed tons of guts and fought his butt off until the last putt. He's only won one PGA Tour event, but he's shown that he has a game for all seasons and he's now firing on all cylinders on golf's biggest stages. Major glory will come soon.  Jay Coffin

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.