After Further Review: Spieth's similarity to Woods

By Al TaysJuly 13, 2015, 3:12 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in on a similarity between Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods, the continuing development of Rickie Fowler and the question of just how many world-class women golfers there are in South Korea, anyway.

Let's get one thing straight right off the bat - Jordan Spieth is not the next Tiger Woods. He might become the next Tiger Woods, yes, but we're talking about the here and now, so no, don't call him the next Tiger. He's the current Jordan Spieth, which is not a bad gig. Human nature being what it is, though, it's only human and only natural to want to compare excellence to excellence. Spieth is the gold standard right now. Tiger in his prime was breathtaking.

One thing struck me about Spieth's performance on Sunday, when he muddled through his first 12 holes in 1 over par, with three bogeys and two birdies. Putts weren't dropping. Approaches weren't covering the flag. I figured it was just that old saw, "The toughest thing to do in golf is to follow up a really low round with something similar" at work. But then Spieth awakened. he birdied four of his last six holes and, improbably, got himself into a playoff. Which he won.

Spieth didn't have his A-game for most of the round, but he was able to summon it when he needed it. That's something Woods used to do in his prime. Some will say that Spieth wasn't exactly facing A-competition, but the answer to that is this: When you have to sink a 20-foot putt to keep your chances alive, the ball doesn't know it's "only" Tom Gillis you're trying to catch. It just knows it has to find the bottom of the cup. And for special players, it does more often than not. - Al Tays 

Winning begets winning. There’s no way to know if Rickie Fowler would have won the Scottish Open without his playoff victory at The Players Championship two months ago, but the two results certainly looked rather familiar. With his back against the wall at Gullane, Fowler rattled off three birdies across his final four holes, including a kick-in on the final green to race past Matt Kuchar.

Fowler was already a player to watch at St. Andrews, and equipped with a career-best world ranking he will certainly be on a number of short lists. His game continues to evolve and improve at an elite level, but the intangible momentum he has derived from winning two trophies this summer can’t be overstated.

For so long, the knock on Fowler was that he didn’t have the hardware to back up the hype. With that notion now a thing of the past, expect his trophy collection to continue to grow. - Will Gray 

Add In Gee Chun to the remarkable wave of young South Koreans storming the women’s game. Chun won the U.S. Women’s Open Sunday with a record-tying 72-hole score, equaling the 272 score set by Juli Inkster at Old Waverly in 1999 and Annika Sorenstam at Pine Needles in 1996. This year’s LPGA’s rookie class is the strongest ever, in great part because Hyo Joo Kim, Sei Young Kim, Ha Na Jang and Q Baek were proven stars in South Korea before they joined the American-based tour. Kim won the Evian Championship late last year before she even joined the American tour. Chun isn’t an LPGA member yet, but she will follow Hyo Joo Kim’s lead. We’ll just have to wait to see if Chun joins the LPGA this year or next. This gifted young player will add to an international tour that’s deeper than it has ever been and will make winning on the LPGA tougher than it has ever been. - Randall Mell

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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, 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 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 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