Dont Count em Out

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 18, 2008, 5:00 pm
Editor's Note: In Backspin, the editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.
WE'VE MISSED YOU: Annika Sorenstam held off a slew of pursuers and posted a gritty 3-under 69 in the final round to win the LPGA Tour's season-opening SBS Open at Turtle Bay. The victory marked the 70th of her career, and more importantly, her first win in 17 injury-prone months.
Backspin What a way for the LPGA to start the season, with Annika back in the winner's circle. Not sure which was a more dramatic turn of events from last year - Lorena Ochoa's meteoric rise to the top or Annika's almost unfathomable fall from her perch atop the women's game. But just one event into 2008, Sorenstam served notice to Ochoa and golf fans everywhere that she is still a driving force in the game. Game on!

RIVIERA RE-DO: Phil Mickelson withstood a strong challenge from Jeff Quinney in Sunday's final round to hang on and win the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club. With his 33rd PGA TOUR victory, Lefty moved into the 13th spot on the TOUR's all-time career win list.
Backspin Where do we begin? The fact that Phil lost in a playoff here at Riviera last year and was able to come back and make amends? The fact that just last week he took an 11 on the 14th on Friday at Pebble Beach which caused him to miss the cut? Or the fact that in three straight weeks his line reads like this - playoff runner-up at FBR; MC at Pebble; first-ever win at famed Riviera? 'What Will Phil Do Next?' is still the greatest television commercial concept ever.

MATCH PLAY MATCH UPS: The WGC-Match Play Championship field and first-round pairings were officially announced Sunday evening. This is the 10th year of the tournament and Tiger Woods goes in as the event's overall No. 1 seed. Mickelson is the second seed, Steve Stricker the third and Ernie Els the No. 4.
Backspin A quick glance at the bracket offers up quite a few intriguing first round match-ups: the first and foremost involving Tiger and J.B. Holmes, who is coming off a big win in a playoff over world No. 2 Mickelson in Scottsdale; Jim Furyk and Ryder Cup match play extraordinaire Colin Montgomerie; Luke Donald and Nick Dougherty - two of England's brightest young stars; 2006 Match Play champ Geoff Ogilvy and 2005 Match Play champ David Toms; and finally, Sweden's Niclas Fasth up against Australia's Richard Sterne. OK, just kidding about the last one. No offense Niclas and Richard.

NEW SENIOR KING?: Scott Hoch drained a birdie putt on the final hole of regulation to get himself into a four-man playoff at Champions Tour's The ACE Group Classic . He then drained another birdie putt on the first playoff hole to win for the second straight week.
Backspin As stated last week right here in Backspin, the Champions Tour is flat out in the business of exciting finishes. A four-man playoff? Why not? Truth is, it would have been a five-man playoff if not for three-time major champion Nick Price just missing a birdie putt on 18 that would have gotten him into the mix. As for Hoch, a few more back-to-back wins like this will forever make people forgot that awful nickname he earned from the 1989 Masters. No, no it won't.

HALFWAY AROUND THE WORLD: Felipe Aguilar of Chile won the European Tour's Indonesian Open - his first career win - with a birdie on the 72nd hole. Finishing runner-up was India's Jeev Milka Singh, who had a one-stroke lead heading to the 18th before a bogey handed to trophy over to Aguilar.
Backspin This was the second straight week that a virtual unknown has won on the European Tour, following S.S.P. Chowrasia's breakthrough victory last week in India. These two winners are coming off the heels of back-to-back weeks that the Euro Tour saw Adam Scott win in Qatar and world No. 1 Tiger Woods crowned champion in Dubai. Some tournament organizers just don't have the luck or timing that other organizers do.

RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY...: Darron Stiles birdied the final hole to win by a stroke at the rain-soaked New Zealand PGA. The American tallied a 36-hole score of 10 under as inclement weather wiped out both the second and third rounds of play. Due to this fact organizers said that the victory would not be recognized as an official tour win, although Stiles did collect first-place prize money.
Backspin Why it was determined that Darron Stiles triumph Sunday was not an official win seems somewhat silly. Last we checked, Stiles doesnt control the weather, and on top of that, he had to travel halfway around the world to play in the event. But the American didnt let that rain on his parade, stating, 'It may have been just the second round but today felt every bit as pressure packed as in a normal fourth round Sunday.'

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Mickelson again made headlines by his mode of transportation to Riviera Country Club in L.A., choosing to fly instead of drive from his home in Rancho Santa Fe; John Daly, in on yet another sponsor's exemption, actually played all four rounds of a tournament for the first time in his last seven starts.
Backspin Phil's flights of fancy were perhaps unorthodox, but who knows, maybe he's just trying to rack up on the frequent flyer miles so he can get a few extra free flights to scout out Augusta in the upcoming months; Big John may have made it all four rounds, but that didn't turn out to be a good thing, as he bogeyed six of his first nine holes on Sunday en route to a 5-over-par 76 and a tie for second to last place.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Northern Trust Open
  • Full Coverage - SBS Open
  • Full Coverage - The ACE Group Classic
  • More Headlines
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    CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.06 million

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 12:50 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:

    1 Jon Rahm -22 $1,062,000
    2 Andrew Landry -22 $637,200
    T3 Adam Hadwin -20 $306,800
    T3 John Huh -20 $306,800
    T3 Martin Piller -20 $306,800
    T6 Kevin Chappell -19 $205,025
    T6 Scott Piercy -19 $205,025
    T8 Brandon Harkins -18 $171,100
    T8 Jason Kokrak -18 $171,100
    T8 Sam Saunders -18 $171,100
    T11 Harris English -17 $135,700
    T11 Seamus Power -17 $135,700
    T11 Jhonattan Vegas -17 $135,700
    T14 Bud Cauley -16 $106,200
    T14 Austin Cook -16 $106,200
    T14 Grayson Murray -16 $106,200
    T17 Andrew Putnam -15 $88,500
    T17 Peter Uihlein -15 $88,500
    T17 Aaron Wise -15 $88,500
    T20 Ricky Barnes -14 $57,754
    T20 Stewart Cink -14 $57,754
    T20 Brian Harman -14 $57,754
    T20 Beau Hossler -14 $57,754
    T20 Charles Howell III -14 $57,754
    T20 Zach Johnson -14 $57,754
    T20 Ryan Palmer -14 $57,754
    T20 Brendan Steele -14 $57,754
    T20 Nick Taylor -14 $57,754
    T29 Lucas Glover -13 $36,706
    T29 Russell Knox -13 $36,706
    T29 Nate Lashley -13 $36,706
    T29 Tom Lovelady -13 $36,706
    T29 Kevin Streelman -13 $36,706
    T29 Hudson Swafford -13 $36,706
    T29 Richy Werenski -13 $36,706
    T36 Jason Dufner -12 $27,189
    T36 Derek Fathauer -12 $27,189
    T36 James Hahn -12 $27,189
    T36 Chez Reavie -12 $27,189
    T36 Webb Simpson -12 $27,189
    T36 Tyrone Van Aswegen -12 $27,189
    T42 Bronson Burgoon -11 $18,983
    T42 Ben Crane -11 $18,983
    T42 Brian Gay -11 $18,983
    T42 Chesson Hadley -11 $18,983
    T42 Patton Kizzire -11 $18,983
    T42 Hunter Mahan -11 $18,983
    T42 Kevin Na -11 $18,983
    T42 Rob Oppenheim -11 $18,983
    T50 Alex Cejka -10 $14,025
    T50 Corey Conners -10 $14,025
    T50 Michael Kim -10 $14,025
    T50 Kevin Kisner -10 $14,025
    T50 Sean O'Hair -10 $14,025
    T50 Sam Ryder -10 $14,025
    T50 Nick Watney -10 $14,025
    T57 Robert Garrigus -9 $13,039
    T57 Tom Hoge -9 $13,039
    T57 David Lingmerth -9 $13,039
    T57 Ben Martin -9 $13,039
    T57 Trey Mullinax -9 $13,039
    T57 Brett Stegmaier -9 $13,039
    T63 Scott Brown -8 $12,449
    T63 Wesley Bryan -8 $12,449
    T63 Brice Garnett -8 $12,449
    T63 Sung Kang -8 $12,449
    T67 Talor Gooch -7 $12,095
    T67 Tom Whitney -7 $12,095
    T69 Matt Every -6 $11,623
    T69 Billy Hurley III -6 $11,623
    T69 Smylie Kaufman -6 $11,623
    T69 Keith Mitchell -6 $11,623
    T69 Rory Sabbatini -6 $11,623
    T69 Chris Stroud -6 $11,623
    75 John Peterson -5 $11,210
    76 Abraham Ancer -4 $11,092
    77 Ben Silverman 4 $10,974
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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, 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.