A McIlroy win at East Lake the only fitting end

By Jason SobelSeptember 13, 2014, 11:56 pm

ATLANTA – Call it collective ignorance or exhausted indifference or an inadequate marketing campaign or some combination of each, but there remains a common misconception about the FedEx Cup playoffs.

The format was never supposed to crown a season-long champion. It was never supposed to undeniably prove which player enjoyed the best year.

But it sure would be one big, happy coincidence if it that exact scenario was the end result.

On Sunday evening, the PGA Tour will send Player of the Year ballots to its membership, but really, only one name needs to be included. Rory McIlroy has won three titles – two major championships and a WGC. He leads the money list, is ranked No. 1 in the world and has inarguably been the best player.

None of that guarantees he will also win the FedEx Cup, of course, but it would be a lot more fitting if he did.

We could even call it poetic justice should McIlroy cap off his brilliant season by hoisting two trophies on Sunday afternoon.

“In my mind it would be, yes,” he concurred with a laugh.

A third-round 3-under 67 has McIlroy in position to do exactly that at East Lake Golf Club, as he shares the Tour Championship lead with Billy Horschel entering the season’s final day.


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The reality is, a victory would alleviate this year of any ifs, ands or buts.

McIlroy would have enjoyed a dominant season … IF he won the FedEx Cup. He won three times … AND almost a fourth. He would have added another line to his resume … BUT he couldn’t claim the season finale.

A win would also keep us from relying on projections. No touchscreens. No whiteboards. No (gulp) math.

As one of the top five on the points list entering this week, McIlroy will claim the playoff series title with a tournament win – but he’s the only one for whom it would feel entirely appropriate.

“I feel like I've had my best year to date,” he proclaimed. “I feel like I've had the best year out of anyone on Tour and I've come here with the ultimate goal of trying to cap it off and trying to put an exclamation point on it or the icing on the cake or whatever you want to call it.”

What you would call it is another impressive line on his ever-growing resume – one of very few which has yet to be added.

Sure, there’s the small matter of a green jacket which is still nagging McIlroy. But that’s the only major title he hasn’t yet captured. He’s won a WGC and the European Tour’s season-long race and played on a pair of winning Ryder Cup teams.

The FedEx Cup might not be a gaping hole on that resume, but it’s one of very few that still exists.

“I just want to win,” he explained. “I just want to get myself back in the winner's circle again, even though it hasn't been that long. It's been three events, but I've got a very good opportunity to do it tomorrow.”

Here’s when you know things are going well for a player: McIlroy sounded genuinely upset that he’s played three straight events without winning. He also wasn’t exactly enamored with his own performance on Saturday – “it really wasn't much to look at out there,” he muttered – but still managed to post an eagle and three birdies against just two bogeys.

He also believes the FedEx Cup might owe him a little something.

Two years ago, McIlroy won two of the first three playoff events, but got passed on the points list by Brandt Snedeker, who won the Tour Championship.

“I'd feel really good about it just because of what happened in 2012, feeling as if I was a little bit hard done by,” he said. “Yeah, it would definitely make up for a couple of years ago.”

Anyone who’s studied the FedEx Cup understands that it’s about rewarding the best player during these four events, not the best player for the entire season.

That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be completely appropriate for this year’s champion to fill each of those roles.

“Would it be poetic justice?” McIlroy asked. “I mean, it would be.”

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The Social: G.O.A.T., after G.O.A.T., after G.O.A.T.

By Jason CrookJanuary 23, 2018, 6:00 pm

Tom Brady compares himself to Tiger Woods, who coincidentally is returning to the PGA Tour this week, Jordan Spieth hangs out with some decent company and kids these days ruffle some feathers with their friendships.

All that and more in this week's edition of The Social.

Well, it’s finally Farmers Insurance Open week and Woods has been spotted practicing for his official return to the PGA Tour on Thursday.

Some thought this day might never come after a 2017 filled with mostly downs for the 14-time major champ.

But as he has taught the golf world time and time again, you just can't count Tiger out.

So even as Jon Rahm attempts to overtake Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world this week at Torrey Pines, all eyes will be on one of the greatest we've ever seen do it, even if that guy is ranked No. 647 in the world.

Speaking of greatness …

There’s not many who can just offhandedly compare themselves to Tiger, but if anyone gets a pass, it’s Tom Brady.

The 40-year-old New England Patriots quarterback led his team back to the Super Bowl for the second straight year despite playing the AFC title game with a cut on his throwing hand.

When asked about it after the Patriots come-from-behind victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady answered, “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. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”

So there you have it. A 40-year-old Brady is winning AFC Championships with his C game. Good luck, Eagles; you’re going to need it.

Also, if for some reason you wanted an update on Justin Thomas' life, it's still awesome:

Yeah, that's last year's PGA Tour Player of the Year hanging with Cy Young winner Cory Kluber in a suite at the Patriots game and teasing us with a possible #SB2K18 cameo.

Curtis Strange likes his competitive golf straight up, hold the friendliness.

This, according to Curtis Strange.

The two-time U.S. Open champ took to Twitter during the CareerBuilder Challenge to vent his frustration regarding the constant chit-chat and friendliness between Rahm and Andrew Landry:

This, of course, makes sense in theory. But good luck watching golf – or really any sport – from here on out. Sure there will be a few old school guys who buck the trend here and there, but for the most part, it’s really hard to share a private jet/dinners/vacations/(insert awesome thing here) with someone, and then completely turn off the friendship coming down the stretch of a big tournament.

Damn millennials. They ruin everything.

By now you've all seen that poor Philadelphia Eagles fan who lost his battle with a subway station pillar (from multiple angles), so instead here is a video of a man attempting to stand on an egg. Bet you can't guess how that goes.

Tony's gonna stand on an egg

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Seriously if you haven't seen the video of that Eagles fan, here's your last chance in this column. You'll be glad you did.

Jordan Spieth, Michael Phelps and Bryce Harper walk on to a golf course … there’s no punchline, that actually happened last week in Las Vegas.

Was the whole thing just a big advertisement for Spieth’s new Under Armour shoe? You bet.

But that doesn’t make the optics of three of the biggest superstar athletes on the planet teeing it up for a round any less awesome.

Off to the next. #Spieth2 #TEAMUA

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The trio has three major wins, five All Star Game appearances and 28 Olympic medals between them, and there they were over the weekend just fake laughing for the camera and driving around individual golf carts with their own personalized logos on them.

Just guys being dudes. Nothing better than that.

Matt Kuchar. Still good at golf. Still overly polite. This according to European Tour pro Eddie Pepperell who had the privilege of hitting on the range next to Kuuuuuch in Abu Dhabi last week.

That image is burned into your brain forever now, thanks Eddie. From now on when you think of Kuchar you're going to think of those Sketches ads and "oopsies."

Which, I suppose is better than a, "Did you get that?"

Blayne Barber's caddie, Cory Gilmer, collapsed and hit his head while at a restaurant at the Sony Open and has been mostly unconscious in the neurological intensive care unit ever since.

The outpouring of love and support from the golf community has been overwhelming on social media, and a GoFundMe page has been set up to help with the mounting medical costs for Gilmer and his family.

Check out the link below for more info or to donate to a worthy cause:

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Top-ranked amateur wins LAAC, earns Masters invite

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 5:38 pm

Joaquin Niemann walked Augusta National Golf Club as a patron last year. He’ll be a competitor in 2018.

Niemann, the top-ranked amateur in the world, shot 8-under 63 Tuesday at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Santiago, Chile, to win the Latin America Amateur Championship.

And with the title, both redemption and an invitation to the Masters Tournament.


Full-field scores from the Latin America Amateur Championship


Niemann finished runner-up in last year’s LAAC to fellow Chilean Toto Gana. He followed Gana around Augusta grounds, watching as his best friend played two rounds before missing the cut.

Niemann, who was going to turn professional had he not won this week, started the final round one back of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz. Niemann was sluggish from the start on Tuesday, but then drove the 313-yard, par-4 eighth and made the eagle putt. That sparked a run of five birdies over his next six holes.

Niemann was bogey-free in the final round and finished five shots clear of Ortiz, at 11 under.

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Judges Panel, Host Announced for Wilson Golf's "Driver vs. Driver 2," Premiering This Fall on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJanuary 23, 2018, 4:15 pm

‘Driver vs. Driver 2 Presented by Wilson Currently in Production; Sports Broadcaster Melanie Collins Returns to Host

Morning Drive: Driver vs. Driver 2 Judges Announced

Golf Channel and Wilson Golf announced today the panel of judges and host for the second season of Driver vs. Driver, the innovative television series that follows aspiring golf equipment designers as they compete for the opportunity to have their driver idea or concept transformed into the next great golf driver from Wilson. The show is currently in production and will premiere this fall.

Joining judge Tim Clarke, President of Wilson Golf, are two newcomers to the series: 9-time National Hockey League (NHL) All-Star and current NHL on NBC hockey analyst Jeremy Roenick – an avid golfer with a single digit handicap and a self-described golf equipment junkie; and PGA Professional, golf coach, equipment reviewer and social media influencer Rick Shiels.

“Golf is a big passion of mine, and personally I enjoy learning about new equipment and concepts,” said Roenick. “To be able to see this side of the business in how equipment is developed first-hand is fascinating. Being a part of the process in reviewing driver concepts and narrowing them down to an ultimate winning driver that will be sold across the country is a tremendous honor.” 

“Jeremy, as an avid golfer, and Rick, as a coach, equipment reviewer and golf professional, bring incredible, real world insights and different perspectives to the show and this process,” said Clarke. “I’m excited to work alongside these two judges to push the boundaries of innovation and bring a next-generation driver to golfers around the world.”

Sports broadcaster Melanie Collins returns as the host of Driver vs. Driver 2. Currently a sideline reporter for CBS Sports’ college football and basketball coverage, Collins hosted the inaugural season in 2016 and formerly co-hosted Golf Channel’s competition series, Big Break.

Production for Driver vs. Driver 2 began in the fall of 2017 and will continue through the summer, including this week at the PGA Merchandise Show. The series is being produced by Golf Channel, whose portfolio of original productions include interview series Feherty hosted by Emmy-nominated sports personality David Feherty, high-quality instruction shows School of Golf, Golf Channel Academy and Playing Lessons and a slate of award-winning films.

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Tiger Tracker: Farmers Insurance Open

By Tiger TrackerJanuary 23, 2018, 4:00 pm

Tiger Woods is competing in a full-field event for the first time in nearly a year. We're tracking him at this week's Farmers Insurance Open. (Note: Tweets read, in order, left to right)