Love: Woods, Mickelson already team leaders

By Will GrayOctober 14, 2015, 1:22 pm

According to 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III, any questions over the leadership capabilities of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are out of bounds.

Love came to the defense of both players Wednesday on "Morning Drive," praising Mickelson's leadership last week at the Presidents Cup and confirming a report that Woods contacted him during the event about a potential assistant captaincy should he not make the Ryder Cup team next year.

"Tiger was really interested in the pairings and what was going on," Love said. "Because of what we did at the task force, because of him being on the Ryder Cup committee, because of him being such a great advisor to me since I was announced (as captain) back in March, he's like, 'What are you guys doing over there? Why are you putting this guy with that guy?'

So he was talking to me, talking to Fred (Couples), talking to (Steve) Stricker about what was going on at the Presidents Cup. That led to conversations about what we are going to do at Hazeltine."



Mickelson was a controversial addition to the team by captain Jay Haas, but he more than validated his selection by going 3-0-1 in South Korea. Last week, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee questioned whether Woods or Mickelson should receive future captaincies based on their perceived passion for both the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup during their playing careers, saying that neither "deserves" to be a captain.

According to Love, both players have already earned the respect of the team room and would be well-suited for captaincies at some point.

"If you've been paying attention to the last few Ryder Cups or Presidents Cups, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods have become respected leaders of this team," Love said. "Whether you're playing in Korea or Medinah, these guys have stepped up to the plate and been leaders. So now the players respect them, they look to them for leadership and they're expecting that in the future."

It was a sentiment echoed by Haas, who spoke just days removed from leading the U.S. to a dramatic Presidents Cup victory.

"From what I've seen, they certainly have the passion," Haas said on "Morning Drive" on Wednesday. "I couldn't disagree more, not necessarily with Brandel, but with anyone that says Phil and Tiger don't like these team events."

Love also refuted the notion that their relatively mediocre individual records in the team events should preclude them from someday taking the helm.

"Ryder Cup record really doesn't have anything to do with being a leader, because Paul Azinger and Ben Crenshaw both had losing Ryder Cup records but they were great leaders as Ryder Cup captains," Love said. "Being a leader and winning matches don't always go together."



"There's world-class golfers at these events, both Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup," added Haas. "In an 18-hole match, it's a short series so to speak. It doesn't take much. A guy gets 1- or 2-down, and he's fighting an uphill battle ... It's not just a tap-in that these guys are going to go 5-0 every time."

Despite Woods facing another road to recovery after a second back surgery, Love expects to have the 14-time major champ helping the U.S. cause at Hazeltine next year - in one form or another.

"I'll tell you this. Tiger Woods wants to play for me at Hazeltine," Love said. "He wants to be on the U.S. team. He wants to win points, and that's his main focus. But he also said, as did Phil, Strick, Jim (Furyk), Tom Lehman, 'We will do whatever it takes to help you win.'"

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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

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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 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