Lewis embarking on summer that includes wedding

By Randall MellJune 1, 2016, 8:45 pm

A life-altering summer run begins in earnest this week for Stacy Lewis.

A big three-month run is ahead for all the top players in women’s golf, but there are more than three major championships and the Olympics among the marquee events on Lewis’ schedule over the next 12 weeks. She’s getting married, with the wedding planned Aug. 6, the week after the Ricoh Women’s British Open and 11 days before the start of the Olympic women’s golf competition.

“It's been a challenge,” Lewis said in a pre-tournament news conference Wednesday at the ShopRite Classic. “It's been a lot more than I thought it was going to be. I kind of handed the reins to my mom and said, `Do what you want to do,’ but there's still a lot that I have to do and that we need to take care of.”

Lewis is marrying Gerrod Chadwell, the University of Houston women’s golf coach. She is scheduled to play eight of the nine LPGA events leading up to their wedding.

“The golf has honestly been good, because I think it's my time to get away from all of that and not have to worry about it,” Lewis said. “But we're kind of at the place with the wedding where a lot of stuff is done, which is good, because now I'm heading into the busiest time, and now it's just little stuff.

“I'm looking forward to September, I can tell you that.”

Why is Lewis scheduling her wedding in the middle of such a rigorous run of big events? Her answer says a lot about her changing priorities.

“Some people might think, `Why isn't she waiting until after the Olympics and all that stuff is over?’” Lewis said. “I've waited for this for a long time, and I've wanted this for a long time, and just because of some golf tournaments I'm not going to put my life on hold. I've done that enough, and it's time to do something for myself that I've wanted, and that's what we're going to do.”

At the ANA Inspiration in April, Lewis opened up about her changing priorities, how she’s learning to balance the importance of her personal life with her career.

“The biggest thing is I’ve got somebody in my life that’s more important than any golf tournament I’ll ever play in, or any tournament I’ll ever win, and I honestly never thought I would be up here saying that,” Lewis said at Mission Hills. “It’s a little bit strange to me, and that’s one thing I’m trying to figure out right now.”

Lewis opened the year No. 3 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings. The former world No. 1 slipped a spot to No. 5 last week and another spot to No. 6 this week. She said at the ANA that in learning to juggle priorities, a return to No. 1 might no longer be a pressing goal, because of the scheduling and week-to-week sacrifices that it takes. She said winning majors, however, would remain her professional focus.

Lewis is on friendly turf this week outside Atlantic City, N.J., looking for her first victory in almost two years. She won at the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club in 2012 and ‘14. She and world No. 4 Brooke Henderson are the only players among the top 10 in the world rankings who will tee it up in Friday’s start of the 54-hole event.

Since last winning at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in the summer of 2014, Lewis has been knocking hard on the door to her 12th LPGA title. She has logged 10 second-place finishes since that last victory. There couldn’t be a better time to mount a hot run with next week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship starting the summer’s major run.

All those close calls, Lewis says, hasn’t deterred her.

“If you asked me a year ago, yes, it was driving me crazy, but I've kind of come to terms with it, that I've finished second a bunch but I've played some good golf,” Lewis said. “It's not like I haven't played well. Sometimes, you kind of take advantage of the situation. I was rolling there for so long, I didn't have to work that hard. It was just things were happening, and I was playing good, and now it's like I've been working hard and I've got to get my act together a little bit.”

Lewis isn’t having a bad year. She has two runner-up finishes this season. Her ball-striking stats are strong. She’s No. 4 in hitting greens in regulation and No. 4 in driving accuracy. She led the tour in putts per greens in regulation last year but has slipped to 24th this year. She is 10th in scoring this season.

“I like what I'm working on,” Lewis said. “I like where the game is going. It's just getting back in those last couple groups, which I've done the last few weeks and getting comfortable there again. I'm starting to trust the swing under pressure. Alabama (the Yokohama Tire Classic) was big because I hit some shots there down the stretch that I needed to hit. Things just didn't quite work out, but being able to hit the shots under pressure is what's going to get that win.”

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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