After Further Review: WGC-Cadillac Championship

By Randall Mell, Ryan LavnerMarch 10, 2014, 1:00 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in on the WGC-Caillac Championship at Trump National Doral, specifically winner Patrick Reed's claim that he is one of the top five players in the world, and the uncertain state of Tiger Woods' game and health..

Did you hear that?

No, I'm not talking about Patrick Reed’s bravado with his comments in the wake of his winning the WGC-Cadillac Championship on Sunday at Trump National Doral. I’m talking about the thumping on golf’s door.

Reed said he believes he’s one of the top five players in the world. He pretty much said that what he has accomplished at 23 sets him apart from everyone but Tiger Woods and the legends of the game.

As bravado goes, the nature of that symbolic chest-thumping barely registers in any sport but golf and, maybe, badminton. Still, Reed ruffled golf’s genteel sensibilities with his unrestrained confidence. It’s one thing to believe you’re good, but in this game it’s quite another to say it. Failing to be humble is deemed bad form in golf, more reprehensible than failing to repair a divot.

So, about that sound, that thumping at golf’s door. That’s the real world of sport at large trying to barge its way into golf. Reed is 23. Yes, he has grown up in golf with its honorable traditions, but he has also grown up in a sports culture where chest-thumping is ritual in the NBA, the NFL and Major League Baseball. So, isn't it just a matter of time until it makes its way into golf? Reed said exactly what he believes, what he ought to believe after winning for the third time in a little more than six months. He probably didn't mean for it to spill out quite like that in his excitement, but it was refreshing to hear what a player really thinks. At the same time, it also makes you wonder if we’ll actually see some young player literally thumping his chest and howling after a win in golf’s not too distant future. Now, that wouldn't be so refreshing. - Randall Mell

The fine line between confident and cocky can so easily become blurred when recorders and cameras go to work. It is easy to consider some of Patrick Reed’s comments both before and after his victory on Sunday at the WGC-Cadillac Championship a tad over the top, but in professional golf a lack of confidence is career kryptonite. Perhaps Reed’s assessment that he considers himself among the top five players in the game is a little too boastful for some, but in this statistics don’t lie. His World Golf Championship victory was his third PGA Tour triumph in his last 14 starts and moved him into the top 20 the Official World Golf Ranking. Maybe the 23-year-old’s take was too honest for some, but to think otherwise would be much worse. – Rex Hoggard

I know we’re supposed to write something here about what we’ve learned this week, but after watching Tiger Woods for four days at Trump National Doral, I think I know less about him than ever before. He’s somewhere in between the best player in the world and a guy who can’t find a fairway or make a 5-foot putt. He’s somewhere in between the road to injury recovery and needing a gurney to follow him on the course. He’s somewhere in between next month’s Masters favorite and a likely trunk-slammer. What I do know is that he remains the game’s most fascinating player. While that was once true because of his dominance, it’s now the case because we have no idea what each new day will bring. He might resemble vintage Tiger, as he did on Saturday when he shot 66; he might look older than his 38 years, as he did on Sunday when he shot 78. I learned long ago to never write the guy off and we’ve all long known that the year’s first three months are simply the appetizer before he reaches the main course. This could become a season for the ages if he puts it all together in the major championships. It could just as easily be another lost year in his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record. I didn’t learn the answer to that this week – and anyone who claims they did is only guessing. – Jason Sobel

Yes, only Tiger Woods knows how he truly feels. But it seems unlikely that in two weeks the world No. 1 will be much improved from the guy we saw Sunday at Doral – grimacing, aching, barely able to pluck the ball out of the cup. A ninth victory at Arnie’s Place won’t mean that he’s Masters-ready. Most critical to his major chances is getting close to 100-percent health. Tiger needs to shut it down, rest his back and prepare for Augusta on his own terms. Grinding out another 72 holes, right now, will only do more harm than good. – Ryan Lavner

Patrick Reed, meet Joe Flacco. On Sunday after winning at Doral, Reed said he believes he’s one of the top five players in the world. In 2012, Flacco’s agent said the Baltimore Ravens quarterback was one of the five best in the NFL. Then Flacco went his agent one better, opining that he was the best NFL QB.

There’s plenty of evidence to dispute both athletes’ claims, but that’s not the point. Good for them for believing in themselves. You can argue whether it was smart for Reed to paint a target on himself for fans and fellow competitors to shoot at, but he’s the one who’ll have to take the heat. Maybe it’s how he motivates himself. Either it will work, and he’ll further back up his claim, or it won’t. He has nothing to lose. Look at it this way – he managed to steal some of the spotlight from Tiger Woods. Not many players can say they’ve done that. As Flacco put it, “What do you expect me to say?” – Al Tays

Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 19, 2017, 5:30 pm

Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.

He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.

Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:

Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 4:22 pm

Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.

Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.

Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.

"I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.

The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.

Matsuyama was a runner-up to Koepka at the U.S. Open earlier this summer, and the 25-year-old seems headed back to the drawing board before defending his title at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.

"I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said. "It seems there are many issues to address."

McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.

Rahm wins finale, Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 1:42 pm

Jon Rahm captured the final tournament on the European Tour calendar, a result that helped Tommy Fleetwood take home the season-long Race to Dubai title.

Rahm shot a final-round 67 to finish two shots clear of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shane Lowry at the DP World Tour Championship. It's the second European Tour win of the year for the Spaniard, who also captured the Irish Open and won on the PGA Tour in January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

"I could not be more proud of what I've done this week," Rahm told reporters. "Having the weekend that I've had, actually shooting 12 under on the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, it's really special."

But the key finish came from Justin Rose, who held the 54-hole lead in Dubai but dropped back into a tie for fourth after closing with a 70. Rose entered the week as one of only three players who could win the Race to Dubai, along with Sergio Garcia and Fleetwood, who started with a lead of around 250,000 Euros.

DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship

With Fleetwood in the middle of the tournament pack, ultimately tying for 21st after a final-round 74, the door was open for Rose to capture the title thanks to a late charge despite playing in half the events that Fleetwood did. Rose captured both the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, and was one round away from a two-trophy photo shoot in Dubai.

Instead, his T-4 finish meant he came up just short, as Fleetwood won the season-long race by 58,821 Euros.

The title caps a remarkable season for Fleetwood, who won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship as well as the French Open to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes and a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Open.

"I find it amazing, the season starts in November, December and you get to here and you're watching the last shot of the season to decide who wins the Race to Dubai," Fleetwood said at the trophy ceremony. "But yeah, very special and something we didn't really aim for at the start of the year, but it's happened."