SMU gets postseason ban; DeChambeau can't defend

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 29, 2015, 4:47 pm

The SMU men’s golf program will be ineligible for postseason play this season after the NCAA found multiple violations involving recruiting and unethical conduct under former head coach Josh Gregory.

Mustangs senior Bryson DeChambeau, who last month became only the fifth player to win the individual NCAA Championship and U.S. Amateur in the same year, will be unable to defend his title next year in Eugene, Ore.

The school said DeChambeau can't compete at NCAAs even as an individual. SMU officials said they have 15 days to decide whether to appeal the penalties, per NCAA guidelines. 

The Division I Committee on Infractions panel found that Gregory, who helped lead Augusta State to back-to-back national titles in 2010-11, committed multiple recruiting infractions, including 64 impermissible contacts with 10 prospects and seven parents of prospects over a 10-month period. Gregory also offered university merchandise and golf equipment at a significantly reduced price in 2013, and the NCAA found that Gregory was aware of a university booster who contacted nine recruits and facilitated contact between the coach and their families.

As a result, SMU, now coached by Jason Enloe, will be banned from postseason play in 2015-16. The Mustangs, who can award four-and-a-half scholarships each year, also will receive a 25-percent reduction in scholarships (1 1/8) for the next three years, beginning in 2016-17.

The university imposed its own sanctions for this season, including the reduction of 12 percent of available scholarships (.54). SMU also limited the number of official and unofficial visits by prospective student-athletes and restricted the number of communications between coaches and athletes. 

“Shocked, disappointed, very sad,” Gregory told on Tuesday. “I’ve admitted my mistake since Day 1, but I’ve never hidden from it. I know I made a mistake, but I don’t understand this. It doesn’t fit the crime.” 

In a statement, SMU said that it “strongly disagrees with the postseason ban for men’s golf as the discipline is punitive for every student-athlete and coach, none of whom were involved in the infractions.”

It’s a crushing blow for SMU’s program, which has risen to national prominence in recent years. Two years ago, Gregory helped lead his alma mater to the NCAA quarterfinals for the first time, and last year DeChambeau became the first NCAA champion in school history. 

DeChambeau did not respond to a message seeking comment. Enloe told that he spoke with DeChambeau for more than an hour Tuesday and said that he has no intention to turn pro this fall. It is not yet known, however, whether DeChambeau will play out the season with the Mustangs. If he were to turn pro before April, he would forfeit his exemptions into the 2016 Masters, U.S. Open and Open Championship. 

“I’m disappointed by the news for the kids that are on this year’s team,” Enloe said. “They’re a great group of kids and they’ve had two nice runs in the NCAAs the past two years. I’m heartbroken they won’t get the chance to do that again this year.

“It’s an unfortunate situation, and it’s disappointing that the kids are suffering the consequences of one person’s actions.” 

Gregory, who is currently coaching and working with junior golfers in the Dallas area, said he has “no desire” to work with the NCAA again. He cannot coach in college until September 2019.

“I’m embarrassed about what happened,” said Gregory, who resigned in August 2014. “I feel terrible for the kids – those are the ones I feel worst about. It just makes no sense whatsoever. Throw the book at me and give all the penalties to me, but the kids are the ones who suffer. It’s simply garbage.” 

The SMU men’s basketball program was also hit with severe sanctions, which included a one-year postseason ban, scholarship reductions, vacation of wins and a nine-game suspension for head coach Larry Brown.

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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