Punch Shot: The must-see event for rest of 2013?

By Rex HoggardOctober 30, 2013, 12:46 pm

The 2013 season may have ended, but there is still plenty of golf to be played across the globe over the remainder of the calendar year. GolfChannel.com writers debate which event is the best of the rest.


With respect to this week’s WGC-HSBC Champions or next month’s Australian Masters, the only must-see golf stilling looming on the 2013 schedule is the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

The European Tour finale is lucrative, star-studded and infused with a healthy amount of intrigue even for American audiences.

Henrik Stenson is poised to become the first player to win both the FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai in the same season, but the Swede showed up at the first playoff event last week in China with an ailing right wrist and plenty of doubt.

If Stenson’s wrist becomes more than just an annoyance, Graeme McDowell, No. 2 on the Race to Dubai points list, Justin Rose (No. 3) and American phenom Peter Uihlein (No. 9) all could race past him in Dubai.

As an added level of intrigue, Rory McIlroy, currently No. 62 on the points list and outside of the field for the season ender in Dubai, has started to show signs of life and is poised to make a late-season run.

Remember, the Ulsterman finished third at the Singapore Open and won the DP World Tour Championship to close 2012. He could be due for a similar rally which could make the European Tour’s season-ending stop a must-see event.


During what is largely viewed as the off-season for golf (perish the thought), the best of the remaining events look to combine a strong field with a world-class venue. For my money, no tournament will merge those two factors better than next month’s World Cup of Golf.

The event boasts a limited field of 60 players, but among them some of the world’s best – recent major winners Adam Scott, Graeme McDowell and Angel Cabrera, not to mention rising stars like Jason Day, Nicolas Colsaerts and Matteo Mannasero. Nearly a third of the field can make the claim that they have participated in either a Ryder or Presidents Cup.

The true appeal of the World Cup, though, is the venue. For four days, players and viewers alike will be treated to the rolling fairways and pristine greens of Royal Melbourne, host of the 2011 Presidents Cup and arguably one of the best courses in the world. During a portion of the calendar when the golf pickings are relatively slim, I look forward to watching some of the game’s best compete on a truly fantastic layout – all for pride, country and an $8 million purse.


Give me a seat in front of the television for the Turkish Airlines Open next week.

Hey, it's world No. 1 Tiger Woods in his last tournament appearance outside his unofficial, limited-field event at Sherwood Country Club. It’s an official event for the European Tour, one of its Final Series tournaments in the Race to Dubai. Three of the top five players in the world are in the field with No. 4 Henrik Stenson and No. 5 Justin Rose also scheduled to play.

While this event won’t be stacked with all the top players in the world, Woods will get a test with Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and Ernie Els all in the field. This competition is meaningful and that makes watching Woods more meaningful. Will he get his sixth title of the year? That’s one of the better questions left this year.


Of all the tournaments between now and the end of the year, I’m most looking forward to the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge.

More casually known as “Tiger’s Tournament,” this one may feature a better lineup with only 18 players in the field than half of the regular season full-field PGA Tour events on the schedule.

That’s because each of the 18 players who will tee it up at Sherwood CC are currently ranked inside the world’s top-30, including, of course, its No. 1-ranked host.

And therein lies the biggest reason for so much anticipation: No matter how you slice it, Sunday’s leaderboard down the stretch will be filled with elite players for the simple reason that everyone in the field is an elite player.

You can’t say that about any other event over the next two months. 

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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