Twelve myths about the U.S. Ryder Cup loss

By Jason SobelOctober 2, 2012, 2:10 pm

In the wake of the Americans losing yet another Ryder Cup, it seems like their fellow Americans are quick to lay blame. Using an informal poll of despondent respondents, the priority order is as follows: Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, the trooper who drove Rory McIlroy to the course, former president George H.W. Bush, Michael Jordan, former president George W. Bush, Johnny Miller and Ian Poulter's optometrist.

Feel free to play the blame game if that’s your thing, but come armed with enough knowledge to do it intelligently.

Personally, I think there’s way too much blame being thrown around already. Think of it this way: If just one U.S. player could have turned a loss into a win Sunday afternoon, the entire result would have changed and we’d be hailing Love and his team as heroes. Hell, one more point for the red, white and blue and we’d be calling DL3 one of the best captains in recent memory, maybe even wondering if he’s got a passport ready for Gleneagles in 2014.

It didn’t happen that way, of course. The U.S. lost and its fans are hurt, heartbroken and above all else, angry. In the aftermath of defeat, theories and analyses are flying all over the place as to what went wrong, where it went wrong and how it all could have been avoided.

Many of these hypotheses hold some credence, but for every notion that makes sense, there are two that fly in the face of logic. The following are 12 myths which have been floating around, followed by a thorough debunking that would even make Poulter’s eye guy proud.

Myth 1: Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley should have played Saturday afternoon.

Yes, they were hot, going 3-0 as partners. But there were a few reasons for not sending 'em back out for Saturday afternoon’s fourball session. First and foremost, Mickelson told Love that they shouldn’t play again. There aren’t too many hard and fast rules as a captain, but one of them states that when a player says he can’t play, then you can’t play him.

“Keegan and I knew going in that we were not playing in the afternoon, and we said on the first tee, ‘We are going to put everything we have into this one match, because we are not playing the afternoon,’” Mickelson said Sunday night. “When we got to 10, I went to Davis and I said, ‘Listen, you're seeing our best. You cannot put us in the afternoon, because we emotionally and mentally are not prepared for it.”

Bang on Mickelson all you’d like for essentially removing himself from a fourth straight match – and taking Bradley with him. (And yes, I’ve heard the sentiment which claims the rookie should have teamed with Woods in the afternoon. Nice thought. Other than the fact that they never practiced together, never played together and may not even know each other. For those who think such relationships aren’t important in fourballs, well, you’re contradicting yourself if you’ve already maintained Mickelson and Bradley needed to remain together for that very reason.)

Think about it from a negative point of view: After they won three matches together, Love had a chance to give both players some rest and let them enter Sunday riding a wave of confidence. If they let it ride and lost Saturday afternoon, though, Love was looking at the possibility of having two tired, less optimistic players the next day. It backfired because they each lost but would have been ingenious if they won.

Myth 2: Steve Stricker shouldn't have been a captain's pick.

He didn’t play well. In fact, Stricker played terribly. Worse than any other player in the competition.

It’s the ultimate in Monday morning quarterbacking, though, to second-guess this selection. At the time the captain’s picks were made, Stricker was the 10th-ranked player – in the entire world! He was the no-brainer of the four, the one unquestioned choice because of his ability to partner with Woods and his silky putting stroke. The idea backfired, but to claim Stricker shouldn’t have been named to this team is awfully shortsighted.

Just in the past 24-48 hours, I’ve heard hand-wringing over the fact that Stricker was named to the team over younger players such as Hunter Mahan and Rickie Fowler. I like each of those guys, I really do. Terrific talents. But what a poor memory some of you have. Just two years ago at Celtic Manor, Mahan was left in tears after losing the clinching match while Fowler finished a mundane 0-1-2. Add in the fact that after a combined three wins from those two players in the spring, they each endured underwhelming summers and were unimpressive in the events leading up to the captain’s picks being made.

Want to crush Stricker for his poor play at Medinah? Go right ahead. But if you’re trying to contend that you were against the pick a month ago, just stop. He was the easiest of the four picks. It didn’t work out, but that doesn’t mean it was the wrong decision.

Myth 3: Jim Furyk has always been a choker.

Perhaps the most controversial captain’s selection, Furyk failed to prove Love right by finishing 1-2-0 and losing his singles match in dramatic fashion. He missed a 12-foot putt on 17 and a 6-foot putt on 18, the culmination of a brutal summer that included a pull-hook off the 16th tee at the U.S. Open and a yipped putt on the final green at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

How bad has it been? I’ll put it this way: The Boston Red Sox have had a more productive summer than Furyk.

Despite him enduring an ugly run as of late, it’s impossible to label a 15-time PGA Tour champion and likely future Hall of Fame member as a choker based simply on a few months of “unclutchness.”

This is a guy who has made a career out of not letting things rattle him and keeping calm under pressure. He’s done a world of hurt to that reputation since June and his atrocious Ryder Cup record won't assuage such criticism. All of which he understands.

“It's been a low year,” he said after losing to Sergio Garcia in singles. “I've played very well this year, but haven't closed the door. I'm pretty sure Sergio would tell you that I outplayed him today, but I didn't win and I lost the match. I've had a lot of that happen this year. As far as team versus individual, it's the lowest point of my year.”

Call it a choke, call it a collapse, call it whatever you want. It wasn’t good and he knows it. This week, though – heck, this whole year – shouldn’t serve as a symbolic representation of Furyk’s entire career. He’s been much better in the clutch than he has been lately, even if a dissenter would point out that he couldn’t have been any worse.

Myth 4: The U.S. players don't buy into the team concept.

Here’s some irony for you: The U.S. players have forever been criticized for not buying into the team concept and competing instead as 12 individuals. That isn’t always such a bad problem to have; it’s helped the team win each of the two previous singles sessions.

And yet, this time around, the team that “doesn’t play like a team” claimed 10 of a total 16 points in the opening four team sessions but only 3½ while playing as individuals on Sunday.

Mickelson and Bradley handed Garcia and Luke Donald their first loss ever in foursomes. Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson never even saw the 15th hole in their two victories.

There was high-fiving, there was fist-bumping, there was hugging and there was butt-slapping – sometimes all at once. Even if those celebrations weren’t always coordinated so that the teammates were in synch, it’s the thought that counts.

These guys may not be best buddies the other 51 weeks of the years and they may not have even been best buddies last week, but they played like they were and they played like they didn’t want to let down any of the other 11 guys in the locker room. That’s exactly what the team concept is about. It’s taken the U.S. team awhile to figure that out, but like a poker player with pocket aces, they’re now all in.

Myth 5: Davis Love III didn't adjust well on the fly.

The captain came into the week with a few definitive plans. One was that none of his 12 players would compete in all five sessions. He wanted to keep everybody physically and emotional fresh for all three days. The other was that each player would have limited partners. It may not have mirrored Paul Azinger’s pod system exactly, but as it turned out, there were only six total teams, and each player had only one partner.

It’s much easier to shift from the original game plan when you’re losing. But Love’s squad was in control for the first two days, so he stuck to the blueprint rather than trying to make adjustments that didn’t need making. If the score had been reversed during the opening four team sessions, there would have been adjustments to make. As the case was, the plan worked until Sunday.

Once again, think of it from the opposing viewpoint: If Love had opted away from the script after a 5-3 lead on Friday night or an 8-4 lead on Saturday afternoon, wouldn’t that be more of a sign of panic than sticking with what got him there? Can you imagine the consternation if he came out Saturday afternoon with completely different pairings and it backfired? It would be the golf equivalent of a manager pulling his ace after six shutout innings.

Love was adhering to the old axiom, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Nothing broke until late Sunday afternoon. By that time, it was too late for the captain to fix anything.

Myth 6: Tiger Woods was the goat.

And no, that doesn’t stand for Greatest Of All Time. At least, not in this case.

Wins are the thing – and when the team’s best player concludes his Ryder Cup week without a single one in four matches, he can expect to take his fair share of the blame.

Delve a little deeper, though, and you’ll find a guy who wasn’t nearly as pitiful as his record indicated.

Woods was the second-best player on the course Friday afternoon but lost to Nicolas Colsaerts, who enjoyed a career day. He received virtually no help from Stricker in their three team matches together.

And check out this stat: In three matches playing their own ball, Woods posted 13 birdies, while Dustin Johnson posted 11. Final records in those matches? Woods was winless, Johnson was undefeated.

Again, it all comes down to winning, and Tiger didn’t win. But he was hardly one of the worst players on the course.

Myth 7: Playing in the No. 12 spot was a slap in the face to Tiger Woods.

Quite the contrary. Instead, he was the greatest insurance policy Love could ever want. Granted, the Ryder Cup doesn’t often come down to the final match – and this one didn’t, either, though not as the captain would have expected – but every point counts the same.

With such a large lead on Saturday night, the thought process was the following: If the team doesn’t need the final match, that means it has already won. If the team does need the final match, it has its best player in the right place.

In case you hadn’t noticed, Love was sort of the anti-Hal Sutton. Which is to say, rather than imposing his will on the team and telling them when they’d play, he asked for their input and usually obliged. If Woods wasn’t OK with running the anchor leg, he wouldn’t have. Simple as that.

Myth 8: Davis Love III should have front-loaded his lineup to match Europe's expected order.

Everyone from Medinah to Madrid knew that Jose Maria Olazabal would come out guns blazing with his best players at the top of the order on Sunday. Love didn’t exactly choose to fight fire with fire, but it’s not as if he had much of a choice, either.

“It's hard to decide who the best six players or the best eight players on your team are,” he said Saturday night. “It doesn't really matter which ones you put in which order, because everybody is playing so well.”

That may sound like the easy answer, but in reality, Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner turned out to be the only winners in singles. If Love had placed those guys in the 1-2-3 spots, that wouldn’t have been considered front-loading.

The truth is, he did front-load in a way, putting a few high-energy guys along with those who had played well on Saturday right at the top of his lineup. Crowd favorite Watson led off – a no-brainer, because nobody else could get that first tee rockin’ like a guy who actually asked the gallery to cheer during his drive – followed by Simpson (who was electric on Saturday afternoon), Bradley (another fiery favorite) and Mickelson (ditto).

Those who grumble about Love’s ordering of players are likely complaining without offering a solution, because it’s unlikely that a better one existed.

With a blind draw, the match-up of players comes down to blind luck. The captain simply ran out of it Sunday.

Myth 9: Phil Mickelson shouldn't have been clapping for Justin Rose when his chances were imploding.

There aren’t any great analogies in other sports to what we witnessed Sunday. In other competitions, those involved can play defense on their opponents. Block a shot, make a diving save, physically knock the other guy out of the way.

In golf, there’s no defense. Only offense. And so when Rose holed an improbable 35-footer on the penultimate hole, then followed with another birdie at the last, Mickelson could only smile and tip his cap. It’s called class – and the fact that he is being criticized for it speaks greater volume about the critic.

If Mickelson had instead proffered a few choice four-letter words and thrown a tantrum, it wouldn’t have reversed those putts from going into the hole. Handling the situation with the proper spirit of the competition should be commended, not criticized.

Myth 10: Trotting out celebs and politicians was a distraction to the end result.

Once again, NBA icon Michael Jordan was involved in the festivities throughout the week. The presidents Bush joined him in the team room, giving a speech on Saturday night. Other luminaries from Justin Timberlake to Michael Phelps were hanging around at various times, too.

Over the top? Maybe. Major distraction? No way. The team didn’t lose because of a lack of focus. It didn’t lose because the players were too starstruck or asking for autographs from their new buddies instead of practicing and preparing.

Myth 11: Davis Love III was too nice to win.

There’s an assumption that the U.S. needs a fiery, inspirational type of captain in order to triumph, which is probably based on the fact that Paul Azinger was a fiery, inspirational type, and he’s the only one to have triumphed so far this century.

Let’s use two other examples to disprove this theory. The first is Hal Sutton. Not that the 2004 captain wasn’t a nice guy, but his fiery demeanor completely backfired. Instead of listening to the players' wants and needs, he imposed his will upon the team, and they subsequently laid an egg.

The second example is the captain who did win this week. If it’s true that “nice guys finish last,” then how can we explain Olazabal, who was classy when his team trailed and classier when they won? There’s no magic formula for the personality of a winning captain. Love and Olazabal actually own very similar personalities. One of 'em had to lose.

Myth 12: The U.S. players don't care enough about the Ryder Cup.

Here’s an idea: Go find Furyk, look him in the eye, and tell him the problem was that he didn’t care enough. See what happens.

On second thought, say it to any of the U.S. players. They care – whether you believe 'em or not. Just because they don’t have eyes popping out of their heads like Poulter doesn’t mean there’s abject apathy.

There’s no tangible measure for caring, no statistic which can definitively show who cared the most and who cared the least. But I’ll tell you this much: For as much as you cared standing outside the gallery ropes or yelling at the TV from the confines of your couch, the players cared about the Ryder Cup more than you. Way more.

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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)


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Wie's goal to reach goals: Just. Stay. Healthy.

By Randall MellJanuary 23, 2018, 3:30 pm

Michelle Wie’s player bio should come with medical charts.

Her caddie would be well served if he could read X-rays as well as he reads greens.

Remarkably, Wie will begin her 13th full season as a pro when she tees it up Thursday in the LPGA’s season opener at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic.

Wie is only 28, but on some days, she must feel like she’s going on 40.

It isn’t the years, it’s the mileage. Her body has too often been like an exotic sports car, a sleek and powerful machine capable of thrilling rides ... when it isn’t sitting it in the shop for weeks for repairs. There’s been one breakdown after another, spoiling her rides.

That’s why one burning desire trumps all others for Wie as she begins this new year.

“Being healthy, staying healthy, it’s my No. 1 priority,” Wie told GolfChannel.com. “I hired private physios at the end of last year, to work on my body. I’ve been working with my doctors in New York, and they’ve been doing a great job of getting me to a place where I’m pain free.

“For the most part, I’m feeling pretty good and pretty healthy. I’ve got little aches and pains from hitting so many balls over the years, but I’m really excited about starting this year. I feel really driven this year. I just want to be healthy so I can build some momentum and be able to play at 100 percent.”



Wie would love to see what she can do in an injury-free, illness-free year after all the promising work she put into rebuilding her game last year. She seemed on the brink of something special again.

“We worked last week, and Michelle looked really, really good,” said David Leadbetter, her swing coach. “It’s quite impressive the way she’s hitting the ball. She is hitting it long and feeling good about her game. So, the main goal really is to see if she can go injury free.”

After winning twice in 2014, including the U.S. Women’s Open, Wie battled through a troublesome finger injury in the second half of that year. Hip, knee and ankle injuries followed the next year. She didn’t just lose all her good momentum. She lost the swing she grooved.

Wie rebuilt it all last year, turning her draw into a dependable fade that allowed her to play more aggressively again. She loved being able to go hard at the ball again, without fearing where it might go. The confidence from that filtered into every part of her game. She started hitting more drivers again.

And Wie found yet another eccentric but effective putting method, abandoning her table-top putting stance for a rotating trio of grips (conventional, left-hand low and claw). She would use them all in a single round. It was weird science, but it worked as she moved to a more classic, upright stance.

“It’s not pretty, but it’s working,” Stacy Lewis said after playing with Wie at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship last summer.

Wie said she’s going back and forth between conventional and left-hand low now.

“I can’t promise I’ll stay the same way all year,” Wie said. “But even with different grips, I stayed with the same putting philosophy all year. I want to keep doing that.”

Leadbetter calls Wie a rebel in her approach to the game. She’s a power player, but she carried a 9-wood and 11-wood last year. She says the 11-wood will be back in her bag this week. Her unorthodox ways go beyond technique, strategy and equipment. She’ll be sporting pink hair come Thursday.

“She has never been orthodox,” Leadbetter said. “She doesn’t like to conform. She’s always liked to buck the system in some way.”

Wie looked as if she were poised to make a run at her fifth career title last season. She logged six finishes of fourth place or better the first half of the year. She contended at the ANA Inspiration, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

And then a neck spasm knocked her out of the U.S. Women’s Open.

And then emergency appendectomy surgery knocked her out for six weeks at summer’s end. It kept her from playing the year’s final major, the Evian Championship.

“I can’t list all the injuries Michelle has had in her career,” Leadbetter said. “I don’t think there is one joint or bone in her body that hasn’t had some sort of injury or issue.”

Over the last three seasons alone, Wie has played through bursitis in her left hip, a bone spur in her left foot and inflammation in her left knee. She has battled neck spasms and back spasms. There have been platelet rich plasma injections to aid healing, and there have been too many cortisone injections for her liking.

There also have been ongoing issues in both wrists.

In fact, Wie, who broke two bones in her left wrist early in her career, is dealing with arthritic issues in both wrists of late. She underwent collagen injections this off season to try to be more pain free.

“I’ve had to pull back the last couple years, restrict the number of balls I hit, not practice as much as I would like, but I was able to put in a lot of work this offseason,” Wie said. “I’m excited about this year, but I’ve been smart about things.”

Leadbetter says he has been focusing on injury prevention when working with Wie. He worries about the stress that all the torque she creates can have on her body, with her powerful coil and the way she sometimes likes to hold off shots with her finish. His work, sometimes, is pulling her back from the tinkering she loves to do.

“Everything we do with her swing now is to help prevent injury,” he said.

Leadbetter relishes seeing what’s possible in 2018 if there are no setbacks.

“Michelle would be the first to admit she hasn’t reached anywhere near her potential,” Leadbetter said. “We all know what she is capable of. We’ve had fleeting glimpses. Now, it’s a matter of, ‘OK, let’s see if we can really fulfill the potential she’s had from a very young age.’

“She’s really enthusiastic about this year. She can’t wait to get back in the mix.”

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How Rahm can overtake DJ for OWGR No. 1 this week

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 2:50 pm

Editor's note: Information and text provided by Golf Channel's Official World Golf Ranking expert, Alan Robison.

Despite having fewer worldwide wins, fewer top-5 finishes, fewer top-25 finishes and more missed cuts over the past two years, Jon Rahm is poised to overtake Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking with a win in this week’s Farmers Insurance Open. 

The Rise of Rahm is meteoric, but how is this possible? After all, Rahm has five worldwide wins vs. eight for Johnson in the same span? 

We’ll start with the raw numbers over the 104-week cycle of the Official World Golf Ranking. These numbers include a win for Rahm in this week’s Farmers (the only way he could get to No. 1; DJ is not playing):


  Dustin Johnson Jon Rahm
Events   46 40
Wins  8 (1 major, 3 WGCs) 5 (3 PGA Tour, 2 Euro)
Top 5 finishes   20 16
Top 10 finishes  26 19
Top 25 finishes  37 26
MC or 0 OWGR Pts earned  4 7

Johnson leads Rahm in every possible category, so you may be wondering, again, how is Rahm replacing DJ possible? 

To understand this, you would need to understand the Official World Golf Ranking, which is all about the power of math, a recency bias and the divisor.

The ranking system can feel a bit overwhelming, so here are a couple of topline bullet points:

  • The ranking is a 104-week period (two years) that evaluates a player’s performance.
  • Events are given a certain weight and bigger events have a higher point total.
  • Majors are worth 100 points to the winner. The Players champ is given 80 points. From there, you will see events weighted in the 70s for most WGCs, down to 24 for PGA Tour events opposite WGCs and majors.
  • The number assigned to an event has to do with the quality of field – the more top 10/20/50/100 players that are in a field, the higher the weighting.

Next, you can look at how recent the event was to determine its true value to a player. Dustin Johnson’s 2016 U.S. Open victory was given 100 points, but now he’s only receiving 23.9 percent of its original weight. Conversely, Rahm’s win at the CareerBuilder Challenge was only worth 40 points, but because it happened on Sunday, he’s receiving the full allotment of points.

Why is DJ getting 23.9 percent of his U.S. Open total? Doesn’t that seem arbitrary? Actually, the OWGR has an intricate formula to determine the value of events. Any event a player has started in the previous 13 weeks is given full value. For the remaining 91 weeks, events drop off at a rate of 1.09 percent until they eventually fall off. Here’s an example:

  • Event 25 weeks ago: 86.96 percent of value
  • Event 50 weeks ago: 59.78 percent of value
  • Event 75 weeks ago: 32.61 percent of value
  • Event 100 weeks ago: 5.43 percent of value

With a win at Farmers, Rahm would have three victories and a runner-up finish inside the last 13 weeks.  That would total to 175.60, given full-point value. After this week, DJ would only have three events in the last 13 weeks and those finishes are T9-win-T14, for a total of 67.32.

Rahm is taking advantage of the full value for three of his five professional wins.

There is still one more important piece of the formula and that’s the divisor.

The OWGR has determined that each player must have a minimum number of events and a maximum number of events, in order to protect players.

For instance, when Rahm won the Farmers a year ago he received 54 points. It was his 13th event and if 13 had been his divisor he would have had an OWGR total of 4.15, immediately placing him inside the top 20. Instead, to be more fair, it’s divided by the minimum number of 40 events played, giving him 1.35, which was around 110th (Rahm, though, had received enough points in his other 12 events that his win moved him to 46th in the OWGR at the time).

The maximum number is as important as the minimum. Many players compete in up to 60 events over the course of two years. Instead of hurting them by counting every event, the OWGR only counts the 52 most recent events in the 104-week cycle.

Why is the divisor so important? Because math. If a player wins a major (100 points) and has the minimum divisor, that major is worth 2.5 points (100/40). A player winning that same major who has the max divisor (52 events) only gains 1.92 points.

In the case of Rahm and Johnson, it’s Rahm who is taking advantage of his divisor in attaining maximum value for his play. Here’s a table of what it would look like after this week (again calculating for a Rahm win) to help explain:


  Dustin Johnson Jon Rahm
Total points earned:  960.82 557.26
OWGR valued points 493.08 433.39
OWGR divisor/events 46 40
Projected OWGR after Farmers 10.72 10.83

What’s amazing about these numbers is that Rahm is still maintaining 77.78 percent of his original value on the points that he’s earned. As we said earlier, three wins are 100 percent. His Irish Open win is 81.82 percent, while even his 2017 Farmers victory is still earning 56.5 percent of its original value.

On the other side, DJ is only maintaining 51.3 percent of his total points earned.

And there you have it. The math favors Rahm, who is still on the outset of his career. Eventually, it will hurt him. But, for now – and right now – Rahm has an opportunity to take all of these numbers and turn them into the world’s No. 1 ranking.

To do that, the scenario is quite simple: Win this week.

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Stock Watch: Strange grumpy; Tiger Time again?

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 1:00 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Jon Rahm (+9%): This should put his whirlwind 17 months in the proper context: Rahm (38) has earned four worldwide titles in 25 fewer starts – or a full season quicker – than Jordan Spieth (63). This kid is special.

Tommy Fleetwood (+7%): Putting on a stripe show in windy conditions, the Englishman defended his title in Abu Dhabi (thanks to a back-nine 30) and capped a 52-week period in which he won three times, contended in majors and WGCs, and soared inside the top 15 in the world.

Sergio (+3%): Some wholesale equipment changes require months of adjustments. In Garcia’s case, it didn’t even take one start, as the new Callaway staffer dusted the field by five shots in Singapore.

Rory (+2%): Sure, it was a deflating Sunday finish, as he shot his worst round of the week and got whipped by Fleetwood, but big picture he looked refreshed and built some momentum for the rest of his pre-Masters slate. That’s progress.

Ken Duke (+1%): Looking ahead to the senior circuit, Duke, 48, still needs a place to play for the next few years. Hopefully a few sponsors saw what happened in Palm Springs, because his decision to sub in for an injured Corey Pavin for the second and third rounds – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard – was as selfless as it gets.


FALLING

Austin Cook (-1%): The 54-hole leader in the desert, he closed with 75 – the worst score of anyone inside the top 40. Oy.

Phil (-2%): All of that pre-tournament optimism was tempered by the reality of his first missed cut to start the new year since 2009. Now ranked 45th in the world, his position inside the top 50 – a spot he’s occupied every week since November 1993 – is now in jeopardy.

Careful What You Wish For (-3%): Today’s young players might (foolishly) wish they could have faced Woods in his prime, but they’ll at least get a sense this week of the spectacle he creates. Playing his first Tour event in a year, and following an encouraging warmup in the Bahamas, his mere presence at Torrey is sure to leave everyone else to grind in obscurity.

Curtis Strange (-5%): The two-time U.S. Open champ took exception with the chummy nature of the CareerBuilder playoff, with Rahm and Andrew Landry chatting between shots. “Are you kidding me?” Strange tweeted. “Talking at all?” The quality of golf was superb, so clearly they didn’t need to give each other the silent treatment to summon their best.

Brooks Koepka (-8%): A bummer, the 27-year-old heading to the DL just as he was starting to come into his own. The partially torn tendon in his left wrist is expected to knock him out of action until the Masters, but who knows how long it’ll take him to return to game shape.