Woods Mickelson Struggle Together
For what was believed to be the first time since the final round of the 2001 Masters, world No. 1 Tiger Woods paired alongside world No. 2 Phil Mickelson in the first round of the season-ending Tour Championship.
They shook hands at the first, shook hands at the last, and spoke very little in between.
It wasnt personal, just business.
And not that it was all business, either. The two walked in stride on a couple of occasions, with Mickelson doing most of the talking. The lefthander even offered a bit of levity prior to the beginning of the round.
While the first-tee announcer was reeling off Tigers list of 2002 accomplishments, Phil chimed in near the end with a facetious, All right, all right. Both men, along with the congested crowd, shared in laughter.
I didnt realize all that stuff had taken place this year, all of those victories. That was pretty impressive, Mickelson later said.
Neither played impressively Thursday, despite playing lift, clean and place. Mickelson shot even-par 70 under chilly, windy conditions at the East Lake Golf Club. Tiger had a 71, 1-over-par, to put him six shots back of leaders Steve Lowery and Vijay Singh.
Field aside, the two battled for the one-on-one lead throughout the front side. Mickelson birdied the second to draw first blood, but came up short of the green with his approach at the fifth and made bogey. Woods, on the other hand, bumped in a 3-wood from the fringe for birdie at 5 to take a one-shot advantage at 1-under.
The sixth proved to be a three-shot swing, as Woods 7-iron on the 164-yard par-3 flew the putting surface and caromed into the water behind the peninsula green. Tiger took double bogey to drop to 1-over, while Mickelson rolled in a 15-footer for birdie to get back to 1-under.
I got fooled, Woods said of his tee shot. The wind switched on me and it went downwind.
Phil hit a shot and he hit it harder than I did, hit the same club, and it came out pin-high. Just timing.
Two holes later, the two were again deadlocked. Woods made birdie from 10 feet at the seventh. Mickelson badly pulled a short-iron from the rough at the eighth and made bogey.
Each birdied the par-5 ninth. Tiger then bogeyed the 10th after missing the fairway and the green. He atoned with a birdie at 12, but for the third time on the day he followed up a birdie with at least a bogey, again missing the fairway and the green at 13.
Mickelson picked up a shot at the par-3 11th, and then parred his next four holes before failing to get up and down at 16.
Woods saved par at 17 when he had to play his second shot off the cart path. He missed the green, but made an eight-footer. He wasnt as fortunate at the last. His 3-iron off the tee at the 232-yard par-3 came up short of the green, from where he pitched to four feet, only to miss the putt.
Mickelson also bogeyed the last after pushing a 3-wood left of the green.
I really dont know when was the last time we played under tricky conditions like this, Woods said. But even with ball in hand, it was still tough to try and gauge what shot you are going to play.
Still, the two said they enjoyed one anothers company.
We dont get a chance to play with each other very often, said Woods. It was a lot of fun. We both didnt play that great, but it was a lot of fun. We thoroughly enjoyed it.
Said Mickelson: I enjoy playing with him because I respect his game and know that if I stay somewhere near his score, Ill be somewhere near the lead, most likely, and so there are a lot of pluses to it.
Woods will be paired with Bob Estes in Round 2. Mickelson will play with David Toms. The two went 2-1-1 as Ryder Cup partners this year.
He and I kind of feed off each other and play well when we play together, so I expect either one of us, if not both of us, should have a good day tomorrow, said Woods.
Full-field scores from The Tour Championship
After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time
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
Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2
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.
Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title
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."
Tom Brady, postgame, on wearing the wrap on his hand: “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. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) January 22, 2018
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.
Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder
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