By the numbers: Key stats from Hahn's win

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 8, 2016, 11:40 pm

James Hahn topped Roberto Castro in a playoff to capture his second PGA Tour title at the Wells Fargo Championship. Here are the key stats from Quail Hollow, courtesy of the Golf Channel research department.

James Hahn

• Second career PGA Tour win (2015 Northern Trust Open)

• Missed eight consecutive cuts entering this week

• First player to win at both Quail Hollow and Riviera

• Was 30 over par in previous eight starts entering this week

• 68 Saturday was first round in 60s since two days before Super Bowl

• Projected to move into top 55 in World Ranking (134th this week)

• Hit only 11 GIR in final round (went 5-for-7 scrambling)

• Perfect 5-for-5 in sand saves this week

• Improves to 2-0 in playoffs in career

• Fourth player in last five PGA Tour seasons to get first two wins via playoff (Hideki Matsuyama, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler)

Roberto Castro

• Made 6-foot putt on 72nd hole to force playoff with Hahn

• Defeated in first playoff of PGA Tour career

• Second career runner-up finish (116th start)

• Other runner-up finish came in 2013 Quicken Loans National

• Played last three holes of regulation in 2 over (bogeyed 16 and 17)

Justin Rose

• 71 in final round; did not make a birdie over last eight holes

• Missed five putts inside 10 feet in final round

• Did not make a putt longer than 7 feet in final round

• Fourth top-10 finish in nine worldwide starts this year

• Played 18th hole in 4 over par for the week (12 under on rest of the course)

• Went 6-for-8 scrambling over final two rounds this week

• Second consecutive year to finish top-5 in this event (fifth last year)

Rory McIlroy

• 66; eight birdies and two bogeys in final round

• Sixth round of 66 or better at Quail Hollow (most all-time)

• Sixth career round at Quail Hollow with eight or more birdies/eagles

• No other player has more than three such rounds in tournament history

• Combined 66 under in this tournament since 2010 (best of anyone in span)

• Averaged 323 yards driving distance in final round

• Hit 14/18 GIR in final round (three more than any other round this week)

Phil Mickelson

• 66; fifth career round of 66 or better at Quail Hollow

• Fifth round of 66 or better this season (last: third round at Pebble Beach)

• Had five rounds of 66 or better each of previous two seasons combined

• Lowest final round score to par since 2014 WGC-Bridgestone

• 60th worldwide start since last win (2013 Open Championship)

• 18-for-18 on putts inside 15 feet in final round

Rickie Fowler

• Led by one after 54 holes; played first seven holes in 3 over

• 0-for-3 converting 54-hole leads/co-leads into PGA Tour wins

• Was trying to win on Mother’s Day for second straight year

• Last player to do that was Tom Watson (1979-80)

• T-4; seventh top-10 in 11 worldwide starts in 2016

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.