Live blog: Day 1 at the WM Phoenix Open

By Bailey MosierJanuary 29, 2015, 4:30 pm

(Editor's note: Grill Room is live from the WM Phoenix Open with a Day 1 running blog. All times local.)

4:57 p.m. That's a wrap for me from the 16th at TPC Scottsdale. #nofilter #wheresthebeveragegirl

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4:48 p.m. They came, they saw, they went.

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4:25 p.m. Mass exodus.

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4:18 p.m. Tiger rolls in his par putt. More cheers for him than either Jordan Spieth or Patrick Reed when they made their birdie putts.

4:11 p.m. "Quiet, please. Quiet," the 16th hole announcer insists.

Tiger over the ball, backs off after someone yells. Entire crowd boos the lone screamer.

Tiger readdresses the ball. More disruptive screams cause him to back off the ball a second time.

Tiger again addresses the ball. Hits it to middle of the green.

4:10 p.m. After Patrick Reed tees off, Tiger tees his ball up.

4:08 p.m. A smiling Tiger Woods walks onto the tee to "Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!" chants.

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4:06 p.m. In anticipation of Tiger coming to 16 tee, announcer says into the microphone, "No cameras and no cell phones." Immediately gets booed from the entire crowd.

Don't think they're going to obey.

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3:59 p.m. Heading to the tee box to watch Tiger play the 16th. Updates when I return.

3:53 p.m. Morgan Hoffmann is a crowd favorite with this hat:

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3:49 p.m. Tiger makes par at 14 and is now one hole away from the 16th. The crowd is ready. This is what thy've been waiting all day for.

3:25 p.m. On the TVs nearby, watch Tiger almost hole out for double eagle on the par-5 13th. Overheard: "He's back!" Back to 3 over, perhaps. But "back" is debatable.

3:21 p.m. Skies look gray and weather seems a bit suspect. Considering staying in the comfy (and covered) set off to the left side of the 16th green.

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3:08 p.m. Overheard at the WMPO: "Is there even golf being played right now?" Nah, bro. Keep drinking.

2:59 p.m. The scenery is festive, indeed. Also, the sandwiches are yummy. See on the TVs around the set that Tiger Woods is having trouble at the 11th. If you want to see Tiger this week, I suggest you come out tomorrow. #justsayin

2:38 p.m. Back in the Golf Channel set area, computer charging. Going to go make the rounds and see what the "scenery" is like in these parts. At first glance ... festive.

2:25 p.m. It's that time again to go charge my computer so that I can make it back in time for Tiger Woods to come through. That is, after all, the man everyone has been waiting for. He's 10 groups out. Back to the Golf Central set on 16 again. I shall return.

2:10 p.m. Envious of the drunk guy behind me who, although no one appeared to bring him more beer, he at least has had some beer.

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2:05 p.m. Drunk guy behind me breaks into song: "More beeeeer, more beer more beer more beer. More beeeeeer. More beer." 

No one appears with more beer.

1:52 p.m. Spectators do the wave. This is my attempt to capture it in photo form. A masterpiece, if I do say so.

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1:43 p.m. Freddie Jacobson makes birdie at the party hole. The Grill Room approves.

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1:40 p.m. Time for another Twitter question:

I'm pretty sure anything that is wet. Mostly people holding cans of beers, but the next time I get up from my seat I will investigate further. Stay tuned for this developing story.

1:33 p.m. Rain drops begin to fall from the sky. Most people seem unfazed. The girl with the computer in her lap is fazed.

1:32 p.m. Allenby makes bogey when he fails to get up and down from the bunker. Everything around me is just noise. Can't make out anything, specific, that anyone is saying.

1:26 p.m. As Robert Allenby is teeing off, lady to my left asks me what the real Robert Allenby story is. I tell her that Annabel Rolley, native Australian and host of "Lesson Tee Live," translated the whole thing in the most recent episode of Grill Room. Or, I told her I wasn't sure.

Allenby knocks it in the bunker short, right. Everyone boos, but not in any more exaggerated manner than the boos for everyone else.

1:22 p.m. I find my way back to my seat in the third row, behind the green in line with the pin. Ruben and friends say they missed me and very warmly welcome me back. They tell me I missed a lot of boos and the section to the right of me has been trying to entice the caddies to race.

1:13 p.m. I just read on @GCTigerTracker that Tiger is 4 over through 4. Uhm, that's not good. But, there is some good news. My computer battery is fully charged and I'm heading back into the crowd. From the Golf Channel set, I can see my buddy from earlier, Ruben, and see that the seat to his left is still vacant. A man of his word. Back soon.

1:00 p.m. No funny business allowed.

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12:53 p.m. Line to get into the 16th is now around the corner. I asked a group near the front of the line how long they had been waiting, and they said about 20 minutes. I can't imagine why anyone who's up there and has a seat would give theirs up now. They've come so far. 

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12:49 p.m. Just got back to the Golf Channel set on 16 to loud roars from the crowd. Is it really a surprise Russell Knox knocks it close? (Just go with it.)

12:34 p.m. As much as it pains me to leave the Golf Channel set and the hospitality area, I'm going to take to the grounds and see what the buzz is outside the 16th for a few. Shall return shortly.

12:26 p.m. I'm not hungry or anything.

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12:17 p.m. Things are pretty tame at the 16th at the moment. Meanwhile at No. 1, Tiger Woods teed off 10 minutes ago. Spoke to spectators earlier in the stands, said they got there at 8:30 a.m. and were staying put all day waiting for Tiger to come through.

11:56 a.m. Brains and beauty. The Golf Central pre-game show is about to begin.

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11:48 a.m. Time to answer a Twitter question. 

Explosive, it will be, indeed. But I think the hashtag you're looking for is #toothknockedout

11:35 a.m. I wonder if I can call in sick.

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11:21 a.m. Crowd especially loud for the Carl Pettersson, Shawn Stefani, James Hahn grouping. The younger crowd must be rolling in with beers in hand (and in belly).

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11:10 a.m. On the Golf Channel set, computer charging. This place isn't half bad.

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10:45 a.m. You want the bad news or the good news first? Bad news it is. My computer battery is already running low. The good news? My buddy Ruben to my right is planning to stay put all day (until Tiger comes through, which won't be until much later this afternoon) and is going to save my seat. So I'll be back to bringing you action from the front row third row, computer battery fully charged, later this afternoon. For now, I'm off to the Golf Channel set on the 16th to get some charge.

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10:33 a.m. First birdie I've seen since I got to the 16th about an hour ago drops from Brooks Koepka. Crowd is pleased.

10:25 a.m. First beer guy sighting. Gets the loudest cheers so far of the day.

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10:21 a.m. Spectators around me ask if I'm working or "working." I am insulted! Appalled! And tell them that unfortunately, I'm working, no air quotes. But valid question. These are my kind of people.

10:02 a.m. Crowd breaks out into a "Sea ... Hawks" chant. No Pats fans answer. The cheer soon dies down.

9:50 a.m. A svelte and clean-cut Jason Dufner makes his way to the green. Sweet, older lady to my left says, "I think Jason Dufner cut his hair. He looks terrible. So different than before." Minutes later she also comments how she thinks his belly looks slimmer, too. She is correct on all accounts.

9:36 a.m. Crowd tame for Fowler and Mahan teeing off, but give a huge round of applause for the hometown kid man. All three hit the green and all three make pars.

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9:32 a.m. Make my way to the 16th just in time to catch Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan and Phil Mickelson teeing off. Seats are already packed. I weasel my way into an empty seat in the third row in line with the pin.

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9:27 a.m. Happy that I have a media badge and get to bypass this line, already starting to wind its way around the corner. If you're not here yet, you're already missing out.

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9:20 a.m. My boss emailed me on Wednesday with the idea to sit at the par-3 16th at TPC Scottsdale and live blog all the action during the first round. I told him that was a great idea, and I accepted the task. Making my way to the 16th on Thursday morning, here are my initial thoughts:

Why are people awake right now?

It's 5 o'clock somewhere. Or, for those not working the Waste Managment Phoenix Open, time to have fun.

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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, 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.

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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 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