Jobe, others robbed of chance to win award

By Jason SobelNovember 9, 2011, 7:27 pm

The paint is still drying on the 2011 PGA Tour season, but it's never too early to look ahead to next year. Though I’ll be spending the next few months working on my prognostication skills at the local range, I've already uncovered a secret in the dirt, digging out my nominee for one postseason award: 2012 Comeback Player of the Year.

The true spirit of this award is to honor those who have sunk to the depths of obscurity, only to rise like a phoenix from the ashes and prove relevant once again. Well, this candidate is coming off a truly awful campaign. Dismissed and forgotten, my pick never even showed up, conspicuous only in absence.

With all of that in mind, when you think about it, there's only one logical choice to claim next season's edition of this award.

And so my pick to win the 2012 PGA Tour Comeback of the Year award is ... the Comeback Player of the Year award.

Hey, the hardware fits the criteria. For the second time in three years, the Tour announced this week that the award wouldn’t be handed out – which, of course, sets up a big comeback for the upcoming season.

Still unanswered, though, is one simple question: Why?

Of the more than 200 PGA Tour members this year, nobody was deemed worthy of being crowned with this achievement? Really?

Apparently that’s what commissioner Tim Finchem and the four members of the policy board are telling us. They are the brain trust responsible for submitting names to the ballot.

'We just thought it originally was an award that focused on a player who had an unusual injury,” Finchem told The Associated Press recently. “An injury that was career-threatening, and he comes back from it.”

Hmmm … seems to me that very description is a perfect summation of Brandt Jobe’s comeback.

Five years ago, Jobe was sweeping his garage when the broom inexplicably shattered, severing parts of his left thumb and index finger. Believing his career was over, he attempted to play again, but went through a lengthy period where changing both his swing and his grip led to disastrous results.

“I was in the midst of really just about saying I can’t do this anymore,” Jobe explained. “Standing up on a teebox and trying to hit a shot and it goes in the dead opposite direction for 2½ years was pretty brutal.”

He continued grinding anyway. Last year, Jobe played the Nationwide Tour and enjoyed a solid season, but needed a T-6 finish at Q-School to regain his PGA Tour membership.

This season, the man who once sliced off parts of his fingers gave the proverbial finger to surrendering his career, making the cut in 21 of 28 starts, with four top-10s that included a runner-up finish at the Memorial Tournament.

Let’s see, commish: Unusual injury? Check. Career-threatening? Check. Comes back from it? Check.

Of course, this isn’t communist Russia – Cue Ty Webb: ”Is this Russia? This isn’t Russia.” and so a ballot needs more than one name. Could that have been why the CPOY award wasn’t issued this year? Not exactly.

Jobe had plenty of company in the comeback department.

There was Harrison Frazar, who was playing on a medical extension after hip and shoulder surgeries last year. The longtime veteran was so pessimistic about his golf career that he had another job lined up at the end of the year – until he defeated Robert Karlsson in a playoff at the FedEx St. Jude Classic to win his first career title.

There was Chez Reavie, also playing on a medical extension after reconstructive surgery for a torn ACL and meniscus in his right knee. In danger of losing status up to the last start of his extension, he not only retained membership, but claimed five top-10s and finished 10th on the final FedEx Cup points list.

There was David Toms, who has struggled with injuries in recent years and whose comeback even included a comeback. After losing in a playoff at The Players Championship, he came back the next week to win at Colonial, which led to earning a spot on the Presidents Cup roster.

With so many viable candidates, it feels like if Tour officials couldn’t find anyone worthy of being nominated for this year’s CPOY award, they should have simply opened their eyes.

Word among golf’s inner circle is that those in Ponte Vedra Beach didn’t want a repeat scenario from a few years back, when Steve Stricker came back from winning Comeback Player of the Year to once again win Comeback Player of the Year the very next year.

Sure, that can be embarrassing, but there’s an easy solution: Don’t put an unworthy candidate on the ballot.

This year, there were plenty of players who could have staked a claim to this award. Instead, they’ll spend the offseason knowing they couldn’t rock the vote.

“Maybe there is no award, but with all of the people in golf saying well done and recognizing that, maybe that’s my award this year,” Jobe said. “You’ve got to take what you can get. Awards are awards and they’re great things to have, but all of us know we’ve done some special things for ourselves and that’s pretty good, too.”

There’s always next year for guys like Jobe, though he maintains he’d rather not slice off any more fingers in an attempt to finally win the award. As for me, I’m sticking with my pick for next season. The big winner of the upcoming Comeback Player of the Year award will be the award itself. Let’s hope so, at least.

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."