Normans Tourney Ushers In Off-Season

By Golf Channel NewsroomNovember 8, 2004, 5:00 pm
Golfs off-season begins with a rush this week as Greg Normans Franklin Templeton Shootout unreels in Naples, Fla.
Norman started the tournament at Bay Hill in Orlando 16 years ago to benefit children's cancer research. At that time there were only three players plus Norman competing.
This year there will be 24 players paired up into 12 two-man teams. Ten are in the top 50 in the world golf rankings. Seven were in the field of the Tour Championship just completed.
Jay Haas, Chad Campbell, Chris Riley, Fred Funk and Kenny Perry were on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Peter Jacobsen is coming off an outstanding rookie season on the Champions Tour. And Paul Azinger and Nick Faldo are coming off their official debuts as part of ABC's announcing team.
'We're having more and more high-profile players wanting to play,' Norman told the Naples News. 'It's probably as strong as it's ever been.'
Example: when Mark O'Meara withdrew with a nagging wrist injury, another two-time major winner, Lee Janzen, stepped in. Janzen had been a regular Shootout competitor and teamed with Rocco Mediate to win in 2002.
Actually, the off-season began Monday, the day after the final putt of the Tour Championship. Six golfers who will play in the Shootout will be jetting back across the country late Tuesday after appearing at made-for-TV events that will be shown at later dates. Peter Jacobsen, Jay Haas and John Daly are in Las Vegas on Monday and Tuesday for the Wendy's Three-Tour Challenge. Haas, Daly and Fred Couples are on the PGA Tour team; Jacobsen joins Tom Kite and Craig Stadler on the Champions Tour team. Cristie Kerr, Meg Mallon and Grace Park represent the LPGA. The event won't be shown until Dec. 18-19 on ABC.
And Shootout co-defending champion Hank Kuehne, Chad Campbell and Chris Riley will be playing in the Tommy Bahama Challenge in Scottsdale, Ariz. The new made-for-TV event pits four 30-or-younger Americans (Zach Johnson is the fourth member) against four International players. Paul Casey, David Howell, Kevin Na and Ian Poulter are on that team.
Kuehne, Campbell and Riley won't be the only ones traveling back for the Shootout. CBS golf analysts Gary McCord and David Feherty are the captains for the Tommy Bahama event, and both will tee it up in Naples Friday.

The dizzy schedule contines Monday following the Shootout. Jacobsen, Norman, Nick Faldo and Paul Azinger will head across the state to tape the ADT Golf Skills Challenge at Trump International in West Palm Beach, Fla. That will air Dec. 25-26. Rory Sabbatini will be heading all the way to Spain to represent South Africa in the WGC-World Cup beginning Nov. 16, and Haas, Fred Funk and Scott Hoch will be competing in the UBS Cup starting on Nov. 18 in South Carolina.

'I couldn't pass them up,' Haas wrote in a diary he's been doing this past week on He plans on grabbing the goodies while he can, playing in several of the so-called silly season events.
'I'm coming from the old school when my first-year earnings were $31,000, he said. I've got to take advantage of these opportunities. '(His wife) Jan and I talked about it, and she knew and I knew that I was going to be gone more than I ever have before, but there's just something that told me it was the right thing. It's going to be busy, but it's going to be fun.'
The teams for the Franklin Templeton Shootout:
Greg Norman-Scott McCarron, Jeff Sluman-Hank Kuehne, John Daly-Rory Sabbatini, Justin Leonard-Steve Flesch, Chris Riley-Chad Campbell, Lee Janzen-Charles Howell III, Fred Funk-Nick Faldo, Jay Haas-Bill Haas, Kenny Perry-Scott Hoch, Steve Elkington-Peter Jacobsen, Mark Calcavecchia-Loren Roberts, Olin Browne-Paul Azinger.
Related links:
  • Full Coverage - Franklin Templeton Shootout
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    Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

    “Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    “We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

    In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010. 

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    Woods impresses DeChambeau, Day on Tuesday

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 11:27 pm

    SAN DIEGO – Bryson DeChambeau played with Tiger Woods for the first time Tuesday morning, and the biggest surprise was that he wasn’t overcome by nerves.

    “That’s what I was concerned about,” DeChambeau said. “Am I just gonna be slapping it around off the tee? But I was able to play pretty well.”

    So was Woods.

    DeChambeau said that Woods looked “fantastic” as he prepares to make his first PGA Tour start in a year.

    “His game looks solid. His body doesn’t hurt. He’s just like, yeah, I’m playing golf again,” DeChambeau said. “And he’s having fun, too, which is a good thing.”

    Woods arrived at Torrey Pines before 7 a.m. local time Tuesday, when the temperature hadn’t yet crept above 50 degrees. He warmed up and played the back nine of Torrey Pines’ South Course with DeChambeau and Jason Day.

    “He looks impressive; it was good to see,” Day told afterward. “You take (Farmers) last year and the Dubai tournament out, and he hasn’t really played in two years. I think the biggest thing is to not get too far ahead, or think he’s going to come back and win straight away.

    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

    “The other time he came back, I don’t think he was ready and he probably came back too soon. This time he definitely looks ready. I think his swing is really nice, he’s hitting the driver a long way and he looks like he’s got some speed, which is great.”

    Woods said that his caddie, Joe LaCava, spent four days with him in South Florida last week and that he’s ready to go.

    “Before the Hero I was basically given the OK probably about three or four weeks prior to the tournament, and I thought I did pretty good in that prep time,” Woods told, referring to his tie for ninth in the 18-man event.

    “Now I’ve had a little more time to get ready for this event. I’ve played a lot more golf, and overall I feel like I’ve made some nice changes. I feel good.”

    Woods is first off Torrey Pines’ North Course in Wednesday’s pro-am, scheduled for 6:40 a.m. local time. 

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    With blinders on, Rahm within reach of No. 1 at Torrey

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 10:10 pm

    SAN DIEGO – The drive over to Torrey Pines from Palm Springs, Calif., takes about two and a half hours, which was plenty of time for Jon Rahm’s new and ever-evolving reality to sink in.

    The Spaniard arrived in Southern California for a week full of firsts. The Farmers Insurance Open will mark the first time he’s defended a title on the PGA Tour following his dramatic breakthrough victory last year, and it will also be his first tournament as the game’s second-best player, at least according to the Official World Golf Ranking.

    Rahm’s victory last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his second on Tour and fourth worldwide tilt over the last 12 months, propelled the 23-year-old to No. 2 in the world, just behind Dustin Johnson. His overtime triumph also moved him to within four rounds of unseating DJ atop the global pecking order.

    It’s impressive for a player who at this point last year was embarking on his first full season as a professional, but then Rahm has a fool-proof plan to keep from getting mired in the accolades of his accomplishments.

    “It's kind of hard to process it, to be honest, because I live my day-to-day life with my girlfriend and my team around me and they don't change their behavior based on what I do, right?” he said on Tuesday at Torrey Pines. “They'll never change what they think of me. So I really don't know the magnitude of what I do until I go outside of my comfort zone.”

    Head down and happy has worked perfectly for Rahm, who has finished outside the top 10 in just three of his last 10 starts and began 2018 with a runner-up showing at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and last week’s victory.

    According to the world ranking math, Rahm is 1.35 average ranking points behind Johnson and can overtake DJ atop the pack with a victory this week at the Farmers Insurance Open; but to hear his take on his ascension one would imagine a much wider margin.

    “I've said many times, beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task,” Rahm said. “We all know what happened last time he was close to a lead in a tournament on the PGA Tour.”

    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

    Rahm certainly remembers. It was just three weeks ago in Maui when he birdied three of his first six holes, played the weekend at Kapalua in 11 under and still finished eight strokes behind Johnson.

    And last year at the WGC-Mexico Championship when Rahm closed his week with rounds of 67-68 only to finish two strokes off Johnson’s winning pace, or a few weeks later at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play when he took Johnson the distance in the championship match only to drop a 1-up decision to the game’s undisputed heavyweight.

    As far as Rahm has come in an incredibly short time - at this point last year he ranked 137th in the world - it is interesting that it’s been Johnson who has had an answer at every turn.

    He knows there’s still so much room for improvement, both physically and mentally, and no one would ever say Rahm is wanting for confidence, but after so many high-profile run-ins with Johnson, his cautious optimism is perfectly understandable.

    “I'll try to focus more on what's going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win,” he reasoned when asked about the prospect of unseating Johnson, who isn’t playing this week. “I'll try my best, that's for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”

    If Rahm’s take seems a tad cliché given the circumstances, consider that his aversion to looking beyond the blinders is baked into the competitive cake. For all of his physical advantages, of which there are many, it’s his keen ability to produce something special on command that may be even more impressive.

    Last year at Torrey Pines was a quintessential example of this, when he began the final round three strokes off the lead only to close his day with a back-nine 30 that included a pair of eagles.

    “I have the confidence that I can win here, whereas last year I knew I could but I still had to do it,” he said. “I hope I don't have to shoot 30 on the back nine to win again.”

    Some will point to Rahm’s 60-footer for eagle at the 72nd hole last year as a turning point in his young career, it was even named the best putt on Tour by one publication despite the fact he won by three strokes. But Rahm will tell you that walk-off wasn’t even the best shot he hit during the final round.

    Instead, he explained that the best shot of the week, the best shot of the year, came on the 13th hole when he launched a 4-iron from a bunker to 18 feet for eagle, a putt that he also made.

    “If I don't put that ball on the green, which is actually a lot harder than making that putt, the back nine charge would have never happened and this year might have never happened, so that shot is the one that made everything possible,” he explained.

    Rahm’s ability to embrace and execute during those moments is what makes him special and why he’s suddenly found himself as the most likely contender to Johnson’s throne even if he chooses not to spend much time thinking about it.

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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.

    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

    “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.