A Shared Victory for Virginia Tech

By Mercer BaggsApril 23, 2007, 4:00 pm
They stood five in a row, six with their coach, faint smiles on their faces, arms around each others shoulders.
The scene was, at most, subdued. Certainly not what you would expect from a team having just won a championship.
At the same time that its extreme joy, theres a lot of sadness, too.
Those were the words of Ryan Sypniewski, the lone senior on the Virginia Tech mens golf team.
Sunday in New London, N.C., Virginia Tech, six days after the massacre of 32 students on their Blacksburg campus, won a share of the Atlantic Coast Conference Mens Golf Championship.
They did so for the first time since joining the ACC in 2004. They did so by shooting a 9-under 279 on the final day, tying the best performance of the week by any team.
We came out here today (Sunday) and gave it all we had, said sophomore Drew Weaver to ACC Video Services. We said today was for the 32 lives that were lost on Monday.
Virginia Tech tied Georgia Tech for medalist honors. The two teams ended the three-day competition at 10 under. Rather than go into a playoff, it was declared that both teams would share the title.
Sometimes in life things are supposed to work out the way theyre supposed to, Yellow Jackets coach Bruce Helper was quoted as saying. Their kids played an unbelievable event and (had) an unbelievable day.
The Virginia Tech team arrived at the Old North State Club 47th in the Sagarin Team collegiate rankings, without a single player ranked inside the top 180.
They really didnt have much of a chance to win, not in the ultra-competitive ACC, where six teams reside inside the top 25. They just had a lot of hope ' that and bunch of red eyes, scrambled minds and heavy hearts.
Toughest thing Ive ever had to do, Weaver said about trying to center his attention on golf when the tournament began Friday. It took me nine or 10 holes (in the first round) to really get focused. Still, I caught myself having lapses on the golf course every round.
Five back to start Sunday, Hokie players, one by one, came to the par-5 18th needing a little something special in order to have a chance at victory. Three of them made birdie. The other two made par.
It seemed like there was something a little extra out there with us today, something kind of eerie, said Sypniewski, who birdied four of his final seven holes for a 5-under 67. This last hole, definitely with what happened ' the sort of heroics, if you will ' it was eerie.
Added Jay Hardwick, in his 24th season as VT head coach, Im just really so proud of these guys. This week I was more of a father than a friend. They didnt need a lot of coaching this week.
But they got a lot of support. Most of the players in the field wore orange and maroon ribbons, in addition to the blue ribbons they pinned to their shirts and hats in remembrance of former Duke coach Rod Meyers, who died of leukemia on March 30. Some wore black wrist bands in observance of the tragedy. And even the University of Virginia, VTs most dreaded rival, handed their players Tech decals to put on their bags.
The show of support from my fellow coaches, the other teams in the ACC, the Atlantic Coast Conference office and the members and staff at Old North State made it possible for us to get through this week, Hardwick was quoted as saying on hokiesports.com.
As the Virginia Tech players and their coach accepted their medals and posed for pictures with the championship trophy, they did so with reservation. There were smiles and pats on the back, but no loud proclamations, no waving or raising of a single index finger.
This wasnt about one, or being No. 1. This was a shared victory. Not with Georgia Tech, but with all those still grieving back home and those 32 lost on April 16, 2007.
Winning is, coach Hardwick started to say before pausing for composure, taking it back home to the people who deserve it.
It puts everything into perspective. I think thats the word for the week ' perspective, said Sypniewski, the teams captain. It wasnt about making putts or hitting shots; it was about representing our school and representing the people we lost.
I cant wait to get back to Blacksburg.
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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