Press Pass Rating Tiger and the FedExCup

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 19, 2007, 4:00 pm
Press PassEach week, GOLF CHANNEL experts and analysts offer their thoughts and opinions on hot topics in the world of golf with the Press Pass.
 
Hot Topic
Tiger Woods won seven PGA TOUR events, including one major, and the inaugural FedExCup Playoffs. Where does this season rank on his all-time list?
 
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
No. 2. Clearly. The only reason 2000 beats 2007 is because he won three major championships that year. I actually think Woods is a better player now than he was then. And when I asked him at the PGA this year, he agreed that hes a better player now than he was in 2000. He also said he expected to be better still in 2008. Scary.
 
Steve Sands Steve Sands - Reporter, GOLF CHANNEL:
It's not in Tiger's top-3. And that's saying something considering he earned seven wins. But it's about majors to Tiger. 1997 was better because that was his first major. And the years when he won multiple majors are better. When you've reached the height Tiger has reached, it is, and he's admitted this, all about the majors.
 
Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
Well, we all know that 2000 was his best year -- even though he may technically be a better player today. I'd also argue that 2005 and 2006 were better years, as he won multiple majors during both seasons. I'd rank it in the top 5, but no higher than fourth.
 
Ian Hutchinson Ian Hutchinson - Contrib. Writer, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
Until he wins a single season Grand Slam, and that's a very distinct possibility with Tiger, everything falls short of his 2000 season. I'm not even sure if this season was better than last year when he won eight TOUR events, including a couple of majors, despite the loss of his dad. What this year and last does prove is that Tiger is getting scarier. Whatever happened to the theory that married life was going to distract him? Now, he's a husband and a father and looking more dangerous than ever.
 
Hot Topic
How would you grade the FedExCup now that its in the books, and what one major tweak would you make for 2008?
 
Hewitt:
Id give it a B, mostly because it gave us Tiger vs. Phil with the same tee time three days out of four at the Deutsche Bank Championship. My major tweak would be subtract significant points for players who miss the cut in the Playoffs. And also subtract significant points for players who dont show up in an event with the exception of players who finished the season (prior to the Playoffs) in the top 10. They should get one bye without penalty. They earned it.
 
Sands:
I would give the Playoffs and the FedExCup a C. The competition was excellent. But I think you should have to play all the Playoff events to be eligible for the FedExCup. To do that, I think they should shorten the Playoffs to three events; four is too much to ask - especially with the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship so close before the Playoffs and the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup so close behind.
 
Baggs:
I think a B is a fair grade. It easily could have been a failure had it not been for Tiger winning twice, Phil winning once (over Tiger), and Steve Stricker putting up a great fight. It also could have been a resounding success had it not been for a mountain of complaining and controversy. If I could change just one thing (among many) about the FedExCup, it would be the schedule. There should be two weeks between the PGA Championship and the start of the Playoffs. That's plenty of time to rest up and would leave no one with an excuse to skip out.
 
Hutchinson:
I would give it a C. What saved the FedExCup was some outstanding golf, like Tiger's performance to finish it off, the Mickelson-Woods showdown and Steve Stricker's longshot excellence. Having said that, I think people are still looking at all of the Playoff tournaments as individual events instead of being part of an overall package. That's the nature of golf. The first thing the PGA TOUR should do is stop calling them playoffs -- the majors are still what counts most. Another suggestion is to base a player's FedExCup winnings on how many tournaments he played. For example, Tiger would win 75 percent of what he could have won after missing The Barclays. Not that it means that much to Tiger, but it may encourage other players to participate in all four events.
 
Hot Topic
Is the Solheim Cup the premiere event in womens golf?
 
Hewitt:
The Solheim Cup to me is a close third behind the No. 2 Kraft Nabisco Championship. No. 1, by far, is the U.S. Womens Open. And if you dont agree with me, ask Nancy Lopez what she thinks. By the way, its still making me a little crazy that theres not a meaningful Cup in womens golf that allows the Internationals to get in on the action. Lorena Ochoa, Karrie Webb and the Koreans deserve a chance.
 
Sands:
No. The U.S. Women's Open is. Ask any woman which event she'd prefer to win. Winning a major changes your life, career and legacy. Being part of a Solheim Cup team is fantastic, but nothing in golf is bigger than winning a major championship.
 
Baggs:
I'm sure any of the 24 women on both sides would rather win a major than the Solheim Cup. But in terms of the viewer, I'd rank it right behind the U.S. Women's Open. I think that is the premiere women's event.
 
Hutchinson:
It could be as long as Dottie Pepper is involved and keeps throwing gas on the fire at the Solheim Cup. But seriously, I think the Solheim Cup is just one of several top-tier events. The LPGA Tour doesn't have the same emphasis on its majors as the PGA TOUR, but they are still important. What distinguishes the Solheim Cup is that it's a special thing every other year as opposed to the men's side where either the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup is played each year.
 
Hot Topic
Give the readers something or someone to follow during the Fall Series.
 
Hewitt:
Keep an eye on the top 30 on the money list. Those, not already qualified, will get invites to Augusta National. Several players, secure in the top 125, already have told me that the top 30 is their goal in the Fall Series. Also, players love qualifying for the Mercedes-Benz Championship in Kapalua. Fall Series winners will be going to Maui for that one.
 
Sands:
I think the thing to follow during the Fall Series is to see how good the players are on the grandest stage in golf who are not the 'so-called superstars.' The PGA TOUR is the deepest tour in the world and the golf/competition will be exciting.
 
Baggs:
Nick Flanagan. He won three times on the Nationwide Tour to earn a promotion to the PGA TOUR. He's had to sit in idle while the FedExCup Playoffs were taking place, but hopefully he will be able to pick up where he left off and make a name for himself with the big boys.
 
Hutchinson:
There is something intriguing about watching hungry guys scrap for their careers. Another interesting thing will be how many top-tier players show up just to keep their games in shape. Will Vijay play every one of the fall tournaments?
 
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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.”

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    Videos and images from Tiger's Tuesday at Torrey

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 7:45 pm

    Tiger Woods played a nine-hole practice round Tuesday at Torrey Pines South, site of this week's Farmers Insurance Open. Woods is making his first PGA Tour start since missing the cut in this event last year. Here's a look at some images and videos of Tiger, via social media:







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    Power Rankings: 2018 Farmers Insurance Open

    By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:59 pm

    The PGA Tour remains in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open. A field of 156 players will tackle the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines, with weekend play exclusively on the South Course.

    Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge - including a new One & Done game offering - to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to www.playfantasygolf.com to submit your picks for this week's event.

    Jon Rahm won this event last year by three shots over Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan. Here are 10 names to watch in La Jolla:

    1. Jon Rahm: No need to overthink it at the top. Rahm enters as a defending champ for the first time, fresh off a playoff win at the CareerBuilder Challenge that itself was preceded by a runner-up showing at Kapalua. Rahm is perhaps the hottest player in the field, and with a chance to become world No. 1 should be set for another big week.

    2. Jason Day: The Aussie has missed the cut here the last two years, and he hasn't played competitively since November. But he ended a disappointing 2017 on a slight uptick, and his Torrey Pines record includes three straight top-10s from 2013-15 that ended with his victory three years ago.

    3. Justin Rose: Rose ended last year on a tear, with three victories over his final six starts including two in a row in Turkey and China. The former U.S. Open winner has the patience to deal with a brutal layout like the South Course, as evidenced by his fourth-place showing at this event a year ago.

    4. Rickie Fowler: This tournament has become somewhat feast-or-famine for Fowler, who is making his ninth straight start at Torrey Pines. The first four in that run all netted top-20 finishes, including two top-10s, while the last four have led to three missed cuts and a T-61. After a win in the Bahamas and T-4 at Kapalua, it's likely his mini-slump comes to an end.

    5. Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker has become somewhat of a course specialist at Torrey Pines in recent years, with six top-10 finishes over the last eight years including wins in both 2012 and 2016. While he missed much of the second half of 2017 recovering from injury and missed the cut last week, Snedeker is always a threat to contend at this particular event.

    6. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama struggled to find his footing after a near-miss at the PGA Championship, but he appears to be returning to form. The Japanese phenom finished T-4 at Kapalua and has put up solid results in two of his four prior trips to San Diego, including a T-16 finish in his 2014 tournament debut. Matsuyama deserves a look at any event that puts a strong emphasis on ball-striking.

    7. Tony Finau: Finau has the length to handle the difficult demands of the South Course, and his results have gotten progressively better each time around: T-24 in 2015, T-18 in 2016 and T-4 last year. Finau is coming off the best season of his career, one that included a trip to the Tour Championship, and he put together four solid rounds at the Sony Open earlier this month.

    8. Charles Howell III: Howell is no stranger to West Coast golf, and his record at this event since 2013 includes three top-10 finishes highlighted by last year's runner-up showing. Howell chased a T-32 finish in Hawaii with a T-20 finish last week in Palm Springs, his fourth top-20 finish this season.

    9. Marc Leishman: Leishman was twice a runner-up at this event, first in 2010 and again in 2014, and he finished T-20 last year. The Aussie is coming off a season that included two wins, and he has amassed five top-10s in his last eight worldwide starts dating back to the Dell Technologies Championship in September.

    10. Gary Woodland: Woodland played in the final group at this event in 2014 before tying for 10th, and he was one shot off the lead entering the final round in 2016 before Mother Nature blew the entire field sideways. Still, the veteran has three top-20s in his last four trips to San Diego and finished T-7 two weeks ago in Honolulu.

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    Davis on distance: Not 'necessarily good for the game'

    By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:28 pm

    It's a new year, but USGA executive Mike Davis hasn't changed his views on the growing debate over distance.

    Speaking with Matt Adams on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, Davis didn't mince words regarding his perception that increased distance has had a negative impact on the game of golf, and he reiterated that it's a topic that the USGA and R&A plan to jointly address.

    "The issue is complex. It's important, and it's one that we need to, and we will, face straight on," Davis said. "I think on the topic of distance, we've been steadfast to say that we do not think increased distance is necessarily good for the game."

    Davis' comments echoed his thoughts in November, when he stated that the impact of increased distance has been "horrible" for the game. Those comments drew a strong rebuke from Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein, who claimed there was "no evidence" to support Davis' argument.

    That argument, again reiterated Tuesday, centers on the rising costs associated with both acquiring and maintaining increased footprints for courses. Davis claimed that 1 in 4 courses in the U.S. is currently "not making money," and noted that while U.S. Open venues were 6,800-6,900 yards at the start of his USGA tenure, the norm is now closer to 7,400-7,500 yards.

    "You ask yourself, 'What has this done for the game? How has that made the game better?'" Davis said. "I think if we look at it, and as we look to the future, we're asking ourselves, saying, 'We want the game of golf to be fun.' We want it to continue to be challenging and really let your skills dictate what scores you should shoot versus necessarily the equipment.

    "But at the same time, we know there are pressures on golf courses. We know those pressures are going to become more acute."