Can We Get a Name Change

By Kraig KannAugust 19, 2002, 4:00 pm
The PGA of America's premier championship trophy is called the Wanamaker. Its place in major championship history is secure and respected. But I think it's time for a change.
 
How about the Won-a-major trophy? Has a nice ring to it doesn't it? And if you look at recent history the PGA of America has been spending Sunday's at its marquee event handing out the trophy to first-time major winners.
 
Payne Stewart won the PGA Championship at Kemper Lakes in suburban Chicago in 1989 to become a major winner for the first time. And there was John Daly in 1991 at Crooked Stick. How bout Aussie Wayne Grady? And what a run we've had since 1995. Steve Elkington at Riviera in 1995, Mark Brooks at Valhalla in 1996, Davis Love III at Winged Foot in 1997 and Vijay Singh at Sahallee in 1998. Tiger broke the trend at Medinah in 1999 and a year later he won again at Valhalla. But last year it was David Toms and now we're saluting Rich Beem at Hazeltine.
 
I, for one, think it's great. You can't win multiple majors until you win your first. Just ask Phil Mickelson. And I guess if I was a betting man I'd now envision Phil's first to come at a PGA Championship as well.
 
People seem to pile on the PGA of America for some reason. Mostly the media, I might add. They view the year's fourth major as the 'forgotten major'. But re-read the list of champions I've just run off and think back to the excitement on that particular Sunday.
 
Rich Beem might have been a long-shot, but he played like a hot-shot. He earned his major by holding off the world's No. 1 Tiger Woods. A final round 68 might have been one-shot higher than Woods' 67, but Beem was in control all day on Sunday, never really giving in to the pressure that Woods has put on so many players in the past. Need proof? How about hitting 13 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens - easily his best numbers of the week. Doesn't seem like wilting under pressure to me.
 
And I promise you, the four consecutive birdies Woods ran off to finish his round on Sunday would not have happened at the U.S. Open. And more than likely, they wouldn't have come at the British either. Talk to the players and they'll spend a good amount of time defending the PGA of America's set-up of its major championship. It might be long, but it's definitely fair. Actually, if you walked around Hazeltine National last week you'd have had a hard time believing you weren't at a stiffened-up PGA Tour event. A Memorial on steroids if you will. Guys like Nick Price who missed the cut said they just didn't play well. They didn't balk about the course.
 
And maybe that's why Rich Beem was able to find comfort all being week in contention. Maybe it's why Fred Funk was able to focus as much on theatrics as he was on making a run of his own. As I see it, the PGA Championship is arguably the most entertaining major of them all. Recent years have provided us with great finishes and great championship winners.
 
Rich Beem might have been an underdog. But he's now a fan and media darling because unlike other majors, the PGA of America gave him a chance. And I think that's a good thing for golf. So let's celebrate the cell-phone man and bring on Oak Hill in Rochester next year so we can find another guy just like him!
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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.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry