Rose takes gold over Stenson in dramatic finish

By Nick MentaAugust 14, 2016, 7:00 pm

Great Britain’s Justin Rose made birdie on the 72nd hole to put away Sweden’s Henrik Stenson and win the first Olympic gold medal awarded for golf in 112 years. Here’s how things wrapped up in Rio, where Stenson took silver and the United States’ Matt Kuchar captured bronze:

Leaderboard: Rose (-16), Stenson (-14), Kuchar (-13), Thomas Pieters (-9), Rafa Cabrera Bello (-8), Kiradech Aphribarnrat (-8)

Gold: Rose is now the only player in history to win both a major championship and an Olympic gold medal for golf. This is his 16th worldwide victory across six different continents. Up one to start the day, the 2013 U.S. Open champ poured in three birdies on his first five holes and turned in 3 under. He briefly lost the lead to Stenson after a birdie at 13 but immediately got it back when Stenson bogeyed 14 and Rose birdied 15. Tied with Stenson through 71 holes, Rose hit a pitch shot from 39 yards to just a few feet on 18. When Stenson raced his own birdie try by the hole and three-putted for bogey, Rose cleaned up for birdie, pumped his fist, let out a yell, and grabbed his Great Britain team shirt. Three years after his win at Merion, Rose claimed the gold in Rio.

Silver: The reigning Champion Golfer of the Year, Stenson kept pace with Rose for 71 holes before faltering on 18. Like Rose, he started with three birdies on his first five holes and turned in 32. But it was his short game that failed him down the stretch. Stenson lost his outright lead when he failed to get up and down for par at 14, and he gave away his chance at the gold when he left his 50-yard pitch to the final green 23 feet from the hole. Going for gold, Stenson raced his birdie try 8 feet past the hole. When his come-backer for par missed low, Stenson tapped in for a bogey, a 3-under 68 and the silver medal.

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Bronze: Kuchar wouldn’t have been in the Olympic field were it not for Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson’s deciding to stay home. Up until last week, the seven-time PGA Tour winner didn’t even know the Olympic format. But Sunday afternoon, he stood on the medal stand. Four shots out of third place to start the day, Kuchar raced up the leaderboard with four front-nine birdies and an eagle at the par-5 10th. Two clear of Thomas Pieters through 14 holes, Kuchar pulled away from the chase pack with birdies at 15 and 17. He missed out on a chance to set a new Olympic record of 62 and maybe force a playoff for silver when his birdie putt at 18 came up inches short. Instead, he tapped in for a round of 8-under 63 and the bronze medal.

Biggest disappointment: The sixth Australian on the Olympic list, Marcus Fraser got to Rio after four of his countrymen withdrew, and for three days it looked like he was going to leave with a medal. The 38-year-old opened with an Olympic record 63 Thursday and held the solo lead for 36 holes. Playing in the final group with Rose and Stenson, Fraser started Sunday alone in third, three shots clear of the field in the race for bronze. But Fraser’s run came to an end on Nos. 3-8 Sunday, when he sandwiched two birdies with four bogeys.

Rest of the U.S.: Bubba Watson made the turn in even par, birdied the 10th hole and closed with eight straight pars to shoot 1-under 70, finish 7 under for the week and tie for eighth place. One over through his first three rounds, Patrick Reed blitzed the back nine with six birdies to shoot 7-under 64 and finished tied for 11th. And finally, rather than challenging for a “backdoor medal,” Rickie Fowler moved the wrong way on the leaderboard, posting a final-round 74 to finish tied for 37th at even par.

Shot of the day: Rose’s gorgeous pitch to the 18th green that secured the gold.

Quote of the day: Rose, when asked how the reality compared to the dream: "The reality is incredible. The reality hasn't sunk in yet. Firstly, it's heavier than I expected, so I've kind of got a forward lean going on."

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Rahm focusing on play, not shot at No. 1

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 9:06 pm

SAN DIEGO – Jon Rahm’s meteoric rise in the world rankings could end with him reaching No. 1 with a win this week at Torrey Pines.

After winning last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his fourth title in 51 weeks, Rahm has closed the gap on Dustin Johnson – less than 1.5 average points separates them.

With Johnson not playing this week, the 23-year-old Spaniard has a chance to reach the top spot for the first time, but only if he defends his title at the Farmers Insurance Open.

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“Beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task. It’s no easy task,” he said Tuesday. “We still have four days of golf ahead and we’ll see what happens. But I’ll try to focus more on what’s going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win.

“I’ll try my best, that’s for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”

Rahm has already become the fourth-youngest player to reach No. 2 in the world, behind Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. 

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Rahm: Playoff wasn't friendly, just 'nervous'

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:53 pm

SAN DIEGO – Too chummy? Jon Rahm says he and Andrew Landry were just expending some nervous energy on the walk up to the fairway during the first playoff hole of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

“I wouldn’t have been that nervous if it was friendly,” Rahm said with a smile Tuesday. “I think it was something he said because we were talking going out of the first tee.

“I didn’t know Andrew – I think it was a pretty good time to get to know him. We had at least 10 minutes to ourselves. It’s not like we were supporting each other, right? We were both in it together, we were both nervous together, and I felt like talking about it might have eased the tension out of both of us.”

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On Sunday, two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange saw the exchange on TV and tweeted: “Walking off the tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me? Talking at all?”

Strange followed up by saying that, in a head-to-head situation, the last thing he’d want to do was make his opponent comfortable. When his comments went viral, Strange tweeted at Rahm, who won after four holes: “Hopefully no offense taken on my comment yesterday. You guys are terrific. I’m a huge fan of all players today. Made an adverse comment on U guys talking during playoff. Not for me. A fan.”

Not surprisingly, the gregarious Rahm saw things differently.

“We only talked going out of the first tee up until the fairway,” he said. “Besides that, all we said was, ‘Good shot, good putt, see you on the next tee.’ That’s what it was reduced to. We didn’t say much.” 

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Tiger grouped with Reed, Hoffman at Torrey Pines

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:35 pm

SAN DIEGO – Tiger Woods will make his 2018 debut alongside Patrick Reed and Charley Hoffman.

The threesome will go off Torrey Pines’ South Course at 1:40 p.m. ET Thursday at the Farmers Insurance Open. They begin at 12:30 p.m. Friday on the North Course.

Woods is an eight-time winner at Torrey Pines, including the 2008 U.S. Open, but he hasn’t broken 70 in his last seven rounds on either course. Last year, he shot rounds of 76-72 to miss the cut.

Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

Reed, who has grown close to Woods after being in his pod during the past two international team competitions, is coming off a missed cut last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Hoffman, a San Diego native, has only two top-10s in 20 career starts at Torrey.

Other featured groups for the first two rounds include:

• Jon Rahm, Jason Day and Brandt Snedeker: 1:30 p.m. Thursday off South 1, 12:20 p.m. Friday off North 10

• Rickie Fowler, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele: 12:30 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:30 p.m. Friday off South 1

• Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama: 12:40 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:40 p.m. Friday off South 1

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Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

“While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

“What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

“I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”