The TOUR Needs 40Somethings

By Kraig KannJune 2, 2006, 4:00 pm
This weeks Memorial Tournament presented by Morgan Stanley has a field of 106 players. Superstars are here in the name of Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Retief Goosen.
Young stars are here, too. Sergio Garcia still qualifies, and Sean OHair, who shot 5-under 67 on Thursday, also comes to mind. Camilo Villegas and Adam Scott are also hot-shots in their 20s who bring any tournament the proper power and flair.
Given the fact that I turned 40 early last month, Ive now got this certain affection for the 40somethings.
Cmon, you like em, too, dont you?
In the last few years, Singh has given every man over 40 years of age reason to keep the faith. A truckload of victories, a few majors, too, and the wins necessary to earn him a spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Last year here, Bart Bryant walked away as a surprise winner. He later won THE TOUR Championship, making for his greatest season in professional golf. This November, Bryant will turn 44 and hes in the prime of his career, and certainly the prime of his life.
This week, Ive talked to John Cook, Joey Sindelar, Brad Faxon, Fred Couples, Davis Love III, Bryant and a few others who seem to be as motivated as they were in their 20s. Not a single one seemed the least bit down about his lot in PGA TOUR life.
The challenge of competing might be greater than ever before. And perhaps thats what keeps these guys driving to stay in the game and keep their game.
On a given course we can play with anybody, Cook said.
Maturity means so much in this game, Bryant quipped.
Theres still plenty of reason to stay competitive. Plus, its still fun to be out here, Faxon added.
Faxon, who won last years Buick Championship in Hartford, admitted that hes been watching the likes of Villegas and J.B. Holmes and using them as motivation. If they can win in their 20s, then why cant we win in our 40s? said Faxon. True, and Faxon added that staying fit might be the biggest thing to help confidence to accomplish the goal.
Last week, Jeff Maggert won the FedEx St. Jude Classic, ending a winless drought and keeping the older guys/seasoned vets in our mind.
To me, Cook is right when he says that fans like a PGA TOUR where its not just about one player. And the fact that he and others still feel like they can compete is good medicine. Suddenly Nick Price, at 49 years of age, is finding form.
Kirk Triplett won earlier this year in Tucson. And given that four of the PGA TOURs more recent winners include Chris Couch, Brett Wetterich, Jeff Maggert and Tim Herron ' who knows whos next.
Couples told me that its one thing for a 40something whos a very good player to be in the mix. Its another thing to be there consistently. Im not out here to finish fifth or third or second, Couples said.
So what does the 40-crowd bring to the TOUR? Perspective for one thing. Experience for another. A large fan base is another added bonus.
It might just be me, but I like a mix in my PGA TOUR winners. Id love to see Couples win another big one. Ive enjoyed Jay Haas still mixing it up with the flat-bellies.
So keep on keepin on. The Champions Tour can wait. Lets get a few victories along the way.

Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
Getty Images

After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, 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

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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 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 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