Rest of the Best Head to Reno

By Golf Channel NewsroomAugust 20, 2003, 4:00 pm
RENO, Nev. (AP) -- John Daly, Corey Pavin, Bob Tway, Jeff Maggert and Duffy Waldorf are in the field for the PGA Tour event everybody loves to play in, but always hope they don't.
 
The $3 million Reno-Tahoe Open gets under way Thursday, the same day the world's top golfers start play in the NEC Invitational World Golf Championships in Ohio.
 
Twenty-six of the 132 players at Reno are ranked among the Top 100 on the tours money list. The highest is Woody Austin at No. 32 because the World Golf Championship field includes the top 50 players in the World Golf rankings as well as members of the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams.
 
Notah Begay III, who won the inaugural Reno-Tahoe Open as a rookie in 1999, is the first past champion to return to the Montreux Golf and Country Club. Other past winners, including Scott Verplank, John Cook and 2002 champion Chris Riley, have used their victories to help qualify for the next year's World Golf Championship competition.
 
Those who have played the tree-lined, mountain course on the edge of the Sierra Nevada near Lake Tahoe praise it conditions. The 7,472-yard course was designed by Jack Nicklaus.
 
The golfers also are drawn by dry, cool weather in the shadow of the 10,800-foot Mount Rose, not to mention a chance to try their luck at the casinos.
 
'If they are not in the top 50 and they are not Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup, it's like, `Man, we're going to Reno,'' tournament director Jim Kline said.
 
'Caddies will tell you that for them, other than The Players Championship, this is the best event out there,' he said.
 
They gush over the catered food tent reserved for them. Not that they and their bosses don't prefer the alternative.
 
'A lot of the players will say they same thing -- 'Jim, I love Reno. I hope I'm not playing Reno, but I love coming to Reno if I play Reno,'' he said.
 
'Mark Calcavecchia told me last year, 'I'm not going to the World Golf Championships, I'm going to Reno,'' said Kline, who had to inform the former British Open champion he didn't have a choice, that the PGA Tour would force him to play in Ohio.
 
'He said, 'Well, I like Reno better than the WGC.' Scott Hoch said the same thing,' he said.
 
While Calcavecchia, Hoch and the rest are battling Tiger Woods and company, the bottom half of the money list will make a run at the $540,000 winner's check at Reno.
 
David Sutherland said the victories in the four majors by first-time winners this year shows the depth of the competition on any given weekend.
 
'PGA Tour players, over the last 10 years, have been screaming how deep the fields are out here,' Sutherland said.
 
'It puts an exclamation point on what PGA Tour players have been saying,' he said.
 
Austin has nearly $1.3 million in earnings this year, with three finishes in the top 10 -- a second at the MCI Heritage Classic, a seventh at the HP Classic and a tie for eighth at the Honda Classic. He finished tied for 27th last week at 9 over in the PGA Championship.
 
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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.

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry