FH: Punch Shot: Who will be the 2013 PGA Tour Player of the Year?

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 4, 2013, 4:20 pm

Tiger Woods won the PGA Tour Player of the Year award 10 times in a 13-year span, but has not done so in the last three years. Will he regain the Jack Nicklaus Trophy in 2013? Will Rory McIlroy repeat? In this Punch Shot, GolfChannel.com writers pick their '13 Player of the Year.


Well, I think this year we'll see a minor step back for Rory McIlroy, last year's POY. Phil Mickelson's chance of ever winning the award seems a bit of a longshot now. Same for Ernie Els. I'm bullish on Keegan Bradley and Dustin Johnson, but it's not over-the-moon optimism.

So, who does that leave? Just some guy named Tiger Woods.

The days of Woods' name being the only one needed on the ballot may be over; I don't think we'll see him claim another eight- or nine-win season. But if we can lower the bar just a bit, he may clear it again.

What does that mean, exactly? Well, a more realistic goal for him would be something similar to McIlroy's performance last season. In the days before Tiger's dominance, four wins including a major was good enough to take the award. It appears those days are here once again.

Woods is adjusting nicely to swing changes that he's undergone with instructor Sean Foley in recent years and he maintains that his physical health has never been better. Those should be scary propositions for other players hoping to win the award.

It may not be a landslide vote. His name may not be the only one needed on the ballot. But when the year is over and his peers vote, Woods will once again find his name on this title. 


Unless he decides to embark on a mixed-doubles tennis career with better-half Caroline Wozniacki or struggles with his new bag of Nike Golf equipment, the preseason 2013 Player of the Year nod goes Rory McIlroy.

In fact, given the 23-year-old’s record over the past 24 months there isn’t anything to suggest he will not continue to perform at a world-beater level. Check the scorecard, since last year’s British Open he has just two finishes outside the top 10 around the globe, four victories and a nearly perfect Ryder Cup.

Tiger Woods’ new swing and improved health would make him the most-likely candidate to wrest the award away from the Ulsterman, but even the former alpha male has been unable to find an answer for McIlroy in recent years.

By most accounts McIlroy may be better prepared for 2013, committing to a more streamlined schedule this season and his fulltime move to South Florida.

The only question mark seems to be his impending move to Nike Golf, which will likely be officially announced later this month in Abu Dhabi. But even that dramatic change will be mitigated by the fact that he’s had over a month to acclimate to his new implements (his last start was Nov. 25 in Dubai).

It all makes McIlroy the proverbial leader in the clubhouse for the 2013 POY.


With a long putter pressed against his non-existent belly, Keegan Bradley will ascend to new heights in 2013 and, if we’re lucky, rankle the governing bodies along the way.

No, Bradley won’t become the Tour’s Player of the Year in 2013 simply because he’s vindictive and seeks to torment the U.S. Golf Association and R&A for banning the anchoring stroke. But it’d be foolish to suggest he doesn’t have added motivation.

In November, when the proposed ban on anchoring was announced, a fan suggested to Bradley on Twitter that he send in his application to Burger King for 2016. (In other words, the moron was saying, You’re nothing without the belly putter.) Bradley himself even thinks that the USGA has “really put an X on our back and really shined a light on us.” Well, if the Ryder Cup was any indication, he isn’t one to back down from a challenge.

His rise to golf’s elite, however, will be fueled more by his stellar all-around game than any animosity. Consider that two years ago this week, Bradley was ranked 328th in the world. Now, the 26-year-old has won three times on Tour – including the 2011 PGA, where he became the first player to win a major with a belly putter – earned nearly $8 million and sits just outside the OWGR top 10 (currently 13th), with his best season forthcoming. Sorry, golf purists.


Tiger Woods.

While it’s difficult to imagine he will ever be as dominant as he was in his prime, Woods still might be the best player in the game. If it wasn’t for Rory McIlroy, there wouldn’t be any “might” as a qualifier in that assertion. If it wasn’t for McIlroy, Woods probably would have been PGA Tour player of the year last season. McIlroy might be even better this year, but so will Woods.

With three PGA Tour titles in 2012, Woods served notice he still knows how to win. Those titles helped him climb back as high as No. 2 in the world rankings. His driver came around last year, his swing was better, and though his putting stroke is less dependable, he will still make enough big putts to win big events. That includes majors.

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CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.062 million

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 12:50 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:

1 Jon Rahm -22 $1,062,000
2 Andrew Landry -22 $637,200
T3 Adam Hadwin -20 $306,800
T3 John Huh -20 $306,800
T3 Martin Piller -20 $306,800
T6 Kevin Chappell -19 $205,025
T6 Scott Piercy -19 $205,025
T8 Brandon Harkins -18 $171,100
T8 Jason Kokrak -18 $171,100
T8 Sam Saunders -18 $171,100
T11 Harris English -17 $135,700
T11 Seamus Power -17 $135,700
T11 Jhonattan Vegas -17 $135,700
T14 Bud Cauley -16 $106,200
T14 Austin Cook -16 $106,200
T14 Grayson Murray -16 $106,200
T17 Andrew Putnam -15 $88,500
T17 Peter Uihlein -15 $88,500
T17 Aaron Wise -15 $88,500
T20 Ricky Barnes -14 $57,754
T20 Stewart Cink -14 $57,754
T20 Brian Harman -14 $57,754
T20 Beau Hossler -14 $57,754
T20 Charles Howell III -14 $57,754
T20 Zach Johnson -14 $57,754
T20 Ryan Palmer -14 $57,754
T20 Brendan Steele -14 $57,754
T20 Nick Taylor -14 $57,754
T29 Lucas Glover -13 $36,706
T29 Russell Knox -13 $36,706
T29 Nate Lashley -13 $36,706
T29 Tom Lovelady -13 $36,706
T29 Kevin Streelman -13 $36,706
T29 Hudson Swafford -13 $36,706
T29 Richy Werenski -13 $36,706
T36 Jason Dufner -12 $27,189
T36 Derek Fathauer -12 $27,189
T36 James Hahn -12 $27,189
T36 Chez Reavie -12 $27,189
T36 Webb Simpson -12 $27,189
T36 Tyrone Van Aswegen -12 $27,189
T42 Bronson Burgoon -11 $18,983
T42 Ben Crane -11 $18,983
T42 Brian Gay -11 $18,983
T42 Chesson Hadley -11 $18,983
T42 Patton Kizzire -11 $18,983
T42 Hunter Mahan -11 $18,983
T42 Kevin Na -11 $18,983
T42 Rob Oppenheim -11 $18,983
T50 Alex Cejka -10 $14,025
T50 Corey Conners -10 $14,025
T50 Michael Kim -10 $14,025
T50 Kevin Kisner -10 $14,025
T50 Sean O'Hair -10 $14,025
T50 Sam Ryder -10 $14,025
T50 Nick Watney -10 $14,025
T57 Robert Garrigus -9 $13,039
T57 Tom Hoge -9 $13,039
T57 David Lingmerth -9 $13,039
T57 Ben Martin -9 $13,039
T57 Trey Mullinax -9 $13,039
T57 Brett Stegmaier -9 $13,039
T63 Scott Brown -8 $12,449
T63 Wesley Bryan -8 $12,449
T63 Brice Garnett -8 $12,449
T63 Sung Kang -8 $12,449
T67 Talor Gooch -7 $12,095
T67 Tom Whitney -7 $12,095
T69 Matt Every -6 $11,623
T69 Billy Hurley III -6 $11,623
T69 Smylie Kaufman -6 $11,623
T69 Keith Mitchell -6 $11,623
T69 Rory Sabbatini -6 $11,623
T69 Chris Stroud -6 $11,623
75 John Peterson -5 $11,210
76 Abraham Ancer -4 $11,092
77 Ben Silverman 4 $10,974
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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.