Worth Watching

By Golf Channel NewsroomJune 24, 2008, 4:00 pm
U.S. WomenThe 63rd U.S. Women's Open will begin Thursday at Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minn. Here are some groups worth keeping an eye on come Round 1.
*Starting on 10th tee


7:00 a.m. CT: Hilary Lunke, Patricia Meunier-Lebouc, Alison Walshe (A)
The first group out off the first tee. It's been five years since Lunke improbably won the Women's Open. It's also been five years since Meunier-Lebouc won her only major at the Kraft Nabisco. Since their triumphs, Lunke and Meunier-Lebouc have played in a combined 40 major championships -- and have combined to make 15 cuts. On the other hand, Alison Walshe, a former Tulane player who transferred to Arizona after Hurricane Katrina wiped out the Green Waves golf teams, is a a two-time All-American and just went 4-0 in the Curtis Cup. The amateur, not the major champs, is the player to beat in this group.
7:33 a.m. CT: Cristie Kerr, Maria Jose Uribe (A), Lorena Ochoa
The defending champion, the reigning U.S. Women's Amateur champion, and the reigning Women's British Open champion (and world's No. 1) . It's easily the marquee pairing in the morning. To this point, Kerr's 2008 season is mirroring her 2007 performance. But we don't anticipate a repeat. After finishing runner-up a year ago, we expect Ochoa to end her major-less drought, which currently stands at one event.
7:33 a.m. CT*: Karrie Webb, Yani Tseng, Christina Kim
Fortunately, Kim doesn't actually need other people to talk to in order to entertain herself, because Webb and Tseng aren't likely to contribute much to any conversation. Kim can chat with her caddie, the fans, the marshals, the grass and the bunker rakes, and be as content as one human can be.
7:55 a.m. CT*: Laura Davies, Stacy Lewis, Helen Alfredsson
What's rarer than a 1909 T-206 Honus Wagner baseball card? Seeing Laura Davies on TV and NOT having the announcer remind you that she's only 2 points shy of the Hall of Fame. We hope she wins this week. For her sake and ours.
7:55 a.m. CT: Natalie Gulbis, Young Kim, Carin Koch
Can looks be intimidating? Kim is grouped with the tour's No. 1 attraction (literally) and a player nicknamed 'The Face' because of her striking features. The good news for the South Korean is that Asian players have won each of the last two events on the LPGA, including the most recent major, the McDonald's LPGA (Yani Tseng from Taiwan).
8:17 a.m. CT: Kimberly Kim (A), Julieta Granada, Michelle Wie
Wie bashers can't complain this week as the 18-year-old qualified all on her own for this major. She has been playing much better of late, with a tie for sixth in the Ladies German Open on the LET and a tie for 24th at the Wegmans. Who knew that when she tied for third in 2006, just making the cut two years later would be considered progress?
12:30 p.m. CT: Martha Nause, Alexis Thompson (A), Sherri Turner
Thompson is an Open veteran ... at age 13. She became the youngest player to compete in this event a year ago (12 years, 4 months). She missed the cut, but made it her goal to get back and so she has -- one year older and 5 inches taller. That growth spurt has her hitting the ball 20 yards further off the tee. Of course, those silly Blue Coats just had to group her with two women who are a combined 105 years old. Hilarity will ensue!
1:14 p.m. CT*: Annika Sorenstam, Paula Creamer, Suzann Pettersen
The afternoon's marquee grouping. Annika may be competing in her final Women's Open (not likely). Paula is trying to win her first major championship (not likely). And Suzann is trying to put behind her a bitter loss at the Wegmans (much more likely). We'll take Pettersen out of this group as the player with the best chance to win this week. She seems to play her best when she's mad - and she can't be happy about blowing a three-shot lead last week.
1:36 p.m. CT*: Brittany Lang, Amanda Blumenherst (A), Na-Yeon Choi
It was recently pointed out in a Golfweek article that, on the 10th anniversary of Jenny Chuasiriporn's near miss at the 1998 U.S. Women's Open, no Duke player has since won on the LPGA. Lang is a former Duke star, while Blumenherst is a current Lady Devil starlet. Duke's wealth of success in the collegiate ranks hasn't applied professionally. Dan Brooks meet Mike Krzyzewski.
Related Links:
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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