What We Learned: Pace of Play month

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 30, 2013, 1:30 pm

As Golf Channel's Pace of Play month draws to a conclusion, GolfChannel.com writers offer up 'what we learned.'

For this scribe, the biggest revelation during Pace of Play Month was that nearly every segment of the sport desperately wants to find a solution to one of the game’s most irritating issues … except, of course, the level that has the most potential to enact serious change.

The PGA Tour, which hasn’t doled out a slow-play penalty since 1995, continues to operate with the premise that five-hour rounds are OK, so long as the players are constantly moving. They claim it’s a numbers game – that there are too many players on the course, that backups are inevitable – and that’s probably true. But there’s no denying the $10,000 fine is little deterrent. There’s no denying that repeat offenders know how to beat the flawed system.

The AJGA may have a proactive policy in place to help curb slow play at the junior level, and the college game is finally starting to address some of its issues, but those players still want to emulate the stars they see on Tour. They take their cues from them.

So if the PGA Tour shows little sign of changing, then the next generation is merely hurrying up just to slow down. – Ryan Lavner

I learned that there are a lot of golfers concerned with pace of play. Tons of ‘em. Almost all of us, really. But I also learned that until there’s a 100 percent give-a-heck rate, a lot of things aren’t going to change.

All it takes is one car driving 30 mph in the fast lane to back up traffic and the same is true on the golf course. Quite frankly, 90 percent or 95 percent or even 99 percent is not enough to completely speed up pace of play – whether it’s on the PGA Tour or in the recreational ranks.

I’ve also learned that there are really only two things that will get us to that 100 percent number: Embarrassing the offenders and hitting ‘em where it hurts – in the wallet.

If nothing else, though, more golfers have had their eyes opened up to the problem recently. Earlier this week, Jason Day said, “You see it all over Golf Channel – they want to quicken up play. The USGA heads that as well. I know it hurts the game of golf. … I'm a medium to slower player, I believe.  I've been actually pretty quick this year.”

People are working on it, from top-level pros to 36-handicap hackers. The solution to any problem has to start somewhere. This one has already begun. – Jason Sobel

With a monsoon of respect to the USGA, the pace-of-play issue in golf goes well beyond the well-intentioned ideals of “While we're young,” the association’s new effort to speed up play.

While researching a story on the PGA Tour’s pace-of-play policy we received 10 different answers from 10 different points of view on how to speed up play. If the Tour, which is a confined environment with virtually limitless resources, can’t swing a quick fix then there’s little chance Hometown GC can discover the formula for faster rounds.

That everyone is trying, however, is a step in the right direction. The answer may not be easy but as long as everyone is looking, that is progress by any measure. – Rex Hoggard

Pace of play at the grassroots level can only be transformed from the top down.

It takes governance, or a club’s membership, to decide it’s going to implement and enforce a pace-of-play policy. Then it takes a definitive plan. There’s no changing slow-play culture with education or preaching alone. That’s supplemental.

H. Smith Richardson Golf Course in Fairfield, Conn., and the Country Club at Castle Pines outside Denver are model plans for what works in the public and private sectors of golf. The Town of Fairfield hired their local pro (Jim Alexander) to come up with a time-par plan with strict enforcement. If players are out of position with time par after a warning, marshals make them pick up their balls and advance to where their proper time par should have them. At Country Club of Castle Pines, the club’s membership posts the names of slow-play transgressors in the clubhouse with the threat of suspending privileges.

It’s a major commitment from leadership, but both plans work. – Randall Mell

This month I learned several things: namely, that there are any number of ways to assuage slow play concerns at the local club level and that once the term “knucklehead” gets in your head, it’s tough to get out.

More than that, though, I came away from this month realizing that slow play is an issue that is not going away anytime soon. Despite the options available at the local level – be they larger holes, better-assembled tee sheets, or designing courses with pace in mind – slow play will continue to plague the game because nothing is being done to prevent it at the very top of the sport.

While both the PGA Tour and USGA can espouse pace of play policies, each organization clearly lacks teeth. The Tour has now gone more than 18 years since its last one-stroke penalty was issued for pace, instead relying on closed-door fines and a flawed system in which repeat offenders know just where the loopholes are hiding. The USGA, meanwhile, rolled out a robust “While We’re Young” slow play campaign during the U.S. Open at Merion, but just two weeks later we see rounds routinely approach six hours in the U.S. Women’s Open at Sebonack.

Until things change at the top, it’s hard to see any lasting pace of play solutions trickle down far enough to impact the average player. – Will Gray

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CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.062 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, 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.