Hyundai Tournament of Champions Q and A

By Jason SobelJanuary 5, 2013, 10:31 pm

KAPALUA, Hawaii – They say the Masters doesn’t really begin until the back nine on Sunday. Here at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, that may be literally true.

We’re officially two days into the PGA Tour season and the season hasn’t officially started yet. If that sounds like a riddle wrapped in an enigma, you clearly haven’t been paying attention to the festivities in Maui – or lack thereof.

After the initial opening round was wiped away just two hours into play on Friday, the scheduled restart never happened on Saturday, with strong, gusting winds canceling the day for good following three one-hour delays.

So … now what? Well, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Here’s everything you always wanted to know about this tournament (but were afraid to ask).

Q: Why didn’t they at least try to play on Saturday?

A: They did try. And tried and tried. First tee time was scheduled for 7:30 a.m. local time, then delayed until 8:30, then 9:30 and finally 10:30 before it was finally called off for the day.


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Q: Well, why didn’t they keep trying?

A: The strongest winds were expected between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. It wasn’t getting any better. Even if the conditions calmed down after that, they weren’t getting in 18. Besides, ever see Bubba Watson after hours of being told to sit still and be patient? It’s a shock he didn’t start hitting balls through the clubhouse windows.

Q: I play in wind all the time! These guys are such babies.

A: That’s not a question.

Q: Fine. I play in wind all the time! Why are these guys such babies?

A: That’s better. They’re not. That isn’t the issue here. Players aren’t whining about the conditions; they were simply unfit for play. Here’s the deal: If you can’t get the ball to stop rolling on the greens, you can’t play golf. Rules officials were testing the greens during the delays. They would drop a ball and watch it roll all the way off the greens – and that was uphill! It’s not as if the players revolted and refused to play. It was the rules officials who made the decision.

Q: Yeah, but those guys are just protecting these spoiled players. Sorry, I mean: Aren’t those guys just protecting these spoiled players?

A: Nope. Just listen to some of ‘em.

“It’s just ignorant. Come out here and see what we’re dealing with,” Zach Johnson said of those who disagree with the decision. “We can’t use an umbrella because of the wind. If it rains with the wind, that is not easy. And like I said, the ball won’t stop on the greens. So if the ball won’t stop on the greens, you can’t play golf. We’ve played in winds, but when you have gusts in the 40s on hills like this, it just makes it almost impossible.”

“We’re willing to play,” Hunter Mahan explained. “But you can’t when the ball is just moving on its own like it was yesterday. Wind is one thing. But on this golf course, that’s where the difficulty sets in. If it can’t stay on the green and it can hit and spin and roll right off into a bunker, I guarantee you people aren’t playing in that. Not in Hawaii on a mountain with greens that have a lot of slope. I play in Texas all the time, where it blows really hard, but it’s not designed the same. Wind doesn’t bother us. This is just a perfect storm of strong tradewinds at the wrong time of year.”

Q: Don’t they play the British Open every year in stronger winds than these?

A: Yes. And if St. Andrews was built into the side of a mountain, not only would balls roll off the greens, they’d never stop.

Q: So now what happens?

A: The opening round of the season is scheduled for a two-tee start on Sunday, with 36 holes beginning at 7:10 a.m. local time.

Q: Will they actually play or is it just going to be more waiting around?

A: The forecast sounds better than the first two days, with 20- 25-mph winds and gusts into the 30s, but nothing like the 45- 50-mph gusts that we’ve witnessed so far.

Q: Are they still going to play 72 holes?

A: No. The intention is to play a 54-hole tournament, with 36 on Sunday and 18 on Monday.

Q: What if delays prevent the first two rounds from being played on Sunday?

A: According to PGA Tour vice president of rules and competition Slugger White, “Tuesday is not out of the realm as yet. But let's get through tomorrow first.”

Q: Why was this tournament slated for a Monday finish in the first place?

A: Well, the prevailing feeling was that it helped the final round get out of the shadow of NFL playoff games, which is well intentioned until you consider that the final game would be over before the telecast reached prime time on the East Coast. With a Monday finish, though, it’s backed right up against college football’s BCS Championship game. In this specific situation, it’s certainly hurt to lose an extra 24 hours.

Q: Is there a possibility of a 36-hole event?

A: There are a few PGA Tour executives who are fond of saying, “I don’t deal in hypotheticals.” It’s a valid question, though. Officials will do everything in their ability to play 54. If they can’t, a 36-hole winner would be deemed unofficial and – irony of ironies – wouldn’t qualify for this tournament next year.

Q: Going 36 in one day on this course is brutal. What about splitting up the rounds?

A: In his Saturday media session, White had the following exchange with a reporter:

“Were there any thoughts of 27 and 27?”

“No.”

“Why?”

“Just because.”

“Just because?”

“Because I didn't think about it.”

So … that should clear up that scenario.

Q: Isn’t this a perfect reason for moving this tournament?

A: Huh? This tournament has never seen weather like this. If it was an annual thing, sure. But one brief period of anomaly shouldn’t serve as a death knell for this event.

“All the years it’s been here, they’ve never ever even had to evacuate anyone off the golf course,” George McNeill said. “It’s just not something you can plan on, especially here in Hawaii.”

Q: So who’s more depressed about this – the players or the fans?

A: Might have to go to a playoff to determine this one. As Johnson said, “There’s no winner in this. It stinks for everybody. It stinks for us players, certainly. It stinks for the fans. It really stinks for the rules officials. And it probably stinks the most for the sponsors.”

That’s a lot of stink going around.

Q: That answers pretty much everything. Just one more question: What’s going to become of those 17 fans who were still dutifully sitting under umbrellas on the first tee bleachers after the final announcement was made on Saturday?

A: One of two things. Either they’ll each earn co-PGA Tour Fan of the Year honors or they’ll catch the flu. Maybe both.

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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.