Tryon Something New

By Mercer BaggsJanuary 23, 2002, 5:00 pm
Mark Calcavecchia turned professional 21 years ago - when the average PGA Tour purse was $315,000, Tom Kite was the tours top player, and Ty Tryon was still four years in the making.
Now, the smallest winners check is $378,000. Tom Kites on the Senior circuit; and Ty Tryon is golfs latest ' and youngest ' tour prodigy.
Tryon makes his card-carrying debut at this weeks Phoenix Open, where Calcavecchia will try and defend the title he won here a year ago in record fashion.
Tuesday, the two met for the first time in a pre-tournament shootout. And as Calcavecchia eyed a bright future, he could see clearly a black-and-white past.
Things are so much different, said the 41-year-old, in recalling a time two years ago when he and Phil Mickelson played with the University of Georgia golf team.
'The athletes are better. They are in better shape. They are way ahead of where we were mentally at that age.
I was impressed with how far they (the Bulldogs) hit it and how straight they drove it. They had a (Ping) TSI driver in their bag, all the latest technology, the 3-woods, the 7-woods, Scottie Cameron putters. When I was in college, almost none of us had a straight shaft in our bag, let alone a $600 driver.
Their locker room was the size of (the TPC at Scottsdale) clubhouse. I mean, each one of them had an oak wood locker, pool table, giant-screen TV, teaching facilities. When I was in college, we had a little tin locker ... where you could get a pair of shoes in it and a pair of sneakers.
Yes, things have changed dramatically since Calcavecchia left the University of Florida prior to his senior season.
Now, many an athlete in many a sport turn professional before their amateur status expires. Primary education is a secondary option.
But in Tryons case, its altogether moot. Hes a 17-year-old professional. And should he ever decide to attend a university, it wont be to play golf competitively.
In turning pro, Tryon has forfeited his collegiate eligibility. And by doing so, hes been a target of much criticism.
I expected some negative opinions, he said Wednesday. But this is what I want to do. I want to play golf for a living, and theres no better place to do it than here.
Now that I have this great place to play, its going to be easier to get better ' great courses, great facilities, great players to play against.
Tryon is a professional golfer. But hes also a 17-year-old high school junior. And many are encouraging him to keep that scale balanced.
Its not a big mistake, Calcavecchia said of Tryons turning pro. I think maybe he should have waited a year or two, maybe even gone to college for a year or two. But, you know, I am not the most patient guy in the world, either. Maybe he just felt he was ready. This is what he wanted to do. Maybe hes got the maturity of a 22-year-old, so why waste five years, because he thinks he is already there.
I am here to tell you, none of us are near as good as he is at 17.
Tryon will be put to the test immediately. Not just physically, but mentally. The Phoenix Open is one of the most popular tournaments on the schedule. The crowds are big, beautiful and boisterous. A party atmosphere resonates in the gallery. Focus is imperative.
Im a little blown away ... and the tournament hasn't even started yet, Tryon said. Im more in awe of the fans and the media (attention) than the players.
Added Calcavecchia, There is no other tournament on the tour like this.
And he would know. Calcavecchia is a three-time champion, winning last year with a 72-hole tour record 256 aggregate. On all three occasions, he reached the 20-under plateau - though, he doesnt see that level being achieved again ' ever.
I honestly dont think anybody will ever shoot 20 and under here again, he said. I will take 18-under and take my chances right now.
The only number Tryon is focused on right now is 10 ' as in the top-10, where he wants to finish this week in order to gain a spot in next weeks AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
I didnt come here to make the cut, he said.
That's the mentallity many of the game's newcomers share - a different take than that of 21 years ago.
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