After Further Review: Ko, good ol' days, Riviera's 10th

By Jason Sobel, Randall Mell, Ryan LavnerFebruary 22, 2015, 9:35 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 mature and precocious 17-year-old Lydia Ko, how golf was in the good ol' days and the par-4 10th at Riviera Country Club that gave players more than a few headaches this week.

Lydia Ko’s reign at No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings as a 17-year-old is even more impressive when you consider the nature of today’s competition. With her victory Sunday at the Women’s Australian Open, Ko pads her lead on Inbee Park, who in 2013 became the first woman in six decades to win the first three majors of the season. Park has won four majors over the last two years. Ko is also pulling away from Stacy Lewis, who swept the LPGA’s major awards last season, becoming the first American in two decades to win the Rolex Player of the Year Award, Vare Trophy and LPGA money title in the same season. With Michelle Wie finding top form last year, with Lexi Thompson winning her first major, with Suzann Pettersen always a factor and with a strong, new wave of rookies hitting the tour, Ko towers above them all in the world rankings. The throne she occupies is a special seat with so many terrific players in good form today in the women’s game. - Randall Mell

Things were much simpler back in the good ol’ days.

That’s what they say, at least – and that’s what some of the game’s greats were saying once again this week. Jack Nicklaus insisted that Tiger Woods just needs to figure out his short game on his own; Johnny Miller pointed out that pitching the ball isn’t so hard, just take it back and brush the grass; Lee Trevino maintained that Phil Mickelson should have played better golf or stayed quiet at the Ryder Cup.

Maybe they’re all right. Maybe certain aspects of the game really are just that simple and some of today’s biggest names are overcomplicating things.

Or maybe things just aren’t as simple now as they were back in the good ol’ days. - Jason Sobel

Everyone loves a good train wreck, but Riviera’s 10th hole has gone from one of the best par 4s in the world to a carnival act. It’s not every year that the L.A. gem plays so firm and fast, but a few tweaks are long overdue, starting at the green, which is in dire need of reshaping and re-contouring. 

The best holes in golf reward good shots. The 10th seems to reward good luck. The best players in the world aren’t holding the green on a well-struck 80-yard wedge shot, or a deft splash from the bunker. They’re embarrassed while hitting what should be a straightforward chip shot from short of the green. They’re reduced to playing croquet around the hole. Riviera’s 10th has long been regarded as the greatest 315-yard hole on Tour. Now, more than anything, it’s gimmicky. – Ryan Lavner

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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.