What We Learned: The Players Championship

By Jason SobelMay 13, 2013, 1:38 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the world of golf. This week, our writers weigh in on Tiger Woods' second-career victory at The Players Championship and the fascinating dynamic between Woods and Sergio Garcia.

The rivalry between Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia that appeared imminent back in 1999 has never developed and never will. Well, not in the traditional sense, at least, with the two players trading haymakers on major championship stages throughout their careers. Since the 1999 PGA Championship, Woods’ career has soared while that of Garcia – perfectly acceptable on its own merits – has listlessly paled in comparison, his lifelong major title odometer still stuck on zero. And yet, following this weekend’s events, from the incident on the second hole on Saturday to the back-and-forth comments through the media to Tiger’s win in the wake of Sergio’s collapse, there is no more intriguing potential set of playing partners on the planet than the two of ‘em. 

Sure, I’d accept the chilly stares of Woods and Phil Mickelson or the buddy-buddy duo of Woods and Rory McIlroy, but if you’re asking for the one final twosome that I’d love to see at each of the year’s final three majors, it’s easily Woods and Garcia. Their chilly relationship is fascinating; their inability to mince words publicly is intoxicating. Pro wrestling fans pay good money for this type of drama – and it’s fake. (Whoops, sorry for the lack of a spoiler alert.) Tiger and Sergio will never become a rivalry, but that’s OK. It’s still more entertaining than any other combination of pairings. Let’s hope we’re treated to more icy glares and cursory comments again sometime in the very near future. – Jason Sobel

Apparently, we should get used to seeing the white flag flying on the PGA Tour again.

Don’t get me wrong, Tiger Woods looked really good again Sunday winning The Players, but the rest of the Tour is looking as if it is just going to go into surrender mode again. Yes, Woods was solid all week at The Players, and yet just as he did in his last victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, Woods made himself uncharacteristically vulnerable with the lead down the stretch. He opened the door to challengers. At Bay Hill, Rickie Fowler wasn’t ready to take advantage when Woods gave him an opening. Fowler plunked two balls in the water at the 70th hole in his surrender. At the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course Sunday, Sergio Garcia did one better. He showed he was not ready for the challenge, plunking three balls in the water, two at the 17th and one at the 18th.

Yes, Woods is gaining back his winning mojo, but for somebody who roots for drama, it’s disappointing to see yet another failure to step up to the tremendous challenge Woods presents. Are we on the verge of marveling at more Woods greatness as he resurrects his run at Nicklaus' record? Or is somebody going to step up to the challenges he presents? – Randall Mell

The Players Championship may never enjoy “fifth major” status, but there is no denying TPC Sawgrass’ ability to identify a worthy champion and ignite a gallery. With the help of more user-friendly hole locations on the back nine on Sunday, the Stadium Course delivered the key component of a memorable championship – two-way traffic. With four players tied for the lead with four holes to play, there were equal amounts of heroics (Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia at the 16th hole) and heartbreak (Garcia and Jeff Maggert at the 17th hole and David Lingmerth at the 14th) to qualify as a memorable championship – be it a major or otherwise. – Rex Hoggard

The 17th hole at the Stadium Course will continue to live in infamy.

Every year, players descend upon TPC Sawgrass for the PGA Tour’s flagship event, and the opinions often read like a predetermined script: some like its position on the course, others tolerate the hole but would rather see it elsewhere in the rotation of holes, and a chosen few would just as soon sink the island green to the bottom of the lake surrounding it.

Yet once again, the 137-yard hole played a pivotal role in determining the tournament’s outcome Sunday, as some of the game’s best players were vexed by a wedge shot to a relatively sprawling green. The penultimate hole crushed the hopes of Sergio Garcia, who won the title in 2008 on the very same hole, while also costing 49-year-old Jeff Maggert a shot at what would have been the biggest win of his career.

So while some in the field will continue to rue its very existence, the fact remains: hokey or not, fair or unfair … the 17th hole at Sawgrass isn’t going anywhere. 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.