Newsmaker of the Year: No. 10 Stacy Lewis

By Randall MellDecember 10, 2012, 1:40 pm

Out of the way, folks.

Stacy Lewis is playing through, and she’s playing quickly.

She blew through all the Americans in front of her in the Rolex World Rankings in 2012, and now she has her eye on overtaking Yani Tseng as the top-ranked woman in the world in 2013.

How far and how quickly has Lewis come?

At the start of the 2011 season, she was No. 37 in the Rolex World Rankings. She was just the eighth-highest ranked American behind Cristie Kerr, Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel, Angela Stanford, Brittany Lincicome and Kristy McPherson. She blew by all of them in soaring as high as No. 2 in the world this season.

Lewis’ ascendance was the story of the year for the LPGA in 2012. She rode a tour-best four victories in becoming the first American to win Rolex Player of the Year since Beth Daniel in 1994.


Stacy Lewis: Articles, videos and photos


With Americans appearing to lose ground on the world stage in women’s golf over the last 15 years, Lewis broke through to lead a resurgence. Her four titles helped Americans claim eight LPGA titles in 2012, equaling the South Koreans as the most by any nation this year.

“I wanted to do it for the tour,” Lewis said. “I wanted to do it for all the other American girls, just for everybody, to get that pressure off. It’s a ton of pressure. You’ve got the expectations of yourself and your country and your other players.”

Though Lewis won her first major at the Kraft Nabisco in the spring of 2011 and ended the year ranked No. 10 in the world, she found motivation opening this season with hardly anyone talking about her as a favorite in the game’s biggest events.

“It does put a little bit of a chip on your shoulder,” Lewis said. “Even last year, I got a little bit overlooked. It was definitely motivation coming into this year.”

Lewis got her winning start in 2012 at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic in late April, and then she won her very next stroke-play start, claiming the Shoprite Classic. Lewis won in Alabama again in September at the Navistar Classic and also won the Mizuno Classic in Japan in November.

A perusal of the season-long stats shows just why Lewis climbed to the top of so many leaderboards. She was first on tour in birdies, third in scoring average, third in greens in regulation and third in putts per greens in regulation.

Lewis thinks she can get better with a focus on overtaking Tseng to become the No. 1 player in the world next year.

“That’s one of the things I am going to pay attention to going into next year,” Lewis said. “That’s been one of the goals this year, to chip away at her lead and narrow that gap. That’s the next goal for me, to be No. 1 in the world, but you have to win tournaments, you have to be in contention. Being No. 1 is the result of a lot of hard work, and I just have to keep working hard.”

Lewis is 2.63 average rankings points behind Tseng in the Rolex World Rankings. Eight months ago, Lewis was a whopping 12.15 average points behind. Lewis, now No. 3 behind Tseng and Na Yeon Choi, still has some work to do. With a victory against a strong field typically worth .7 points, Lewis couldn’t give herself a chance at No. 1 until a month or so into next season.

Long, arduous journeys are nothing new for Lewis, who overcame scoliosis to become the best American woman in the game today. She had a rod and five screws attached to her spine before she headed off to the University of Arkansas. She redshirted her freshman year to recover from that surgery but she would end up winning the NCAA Division I championship before graduating.

“I remember sitting in my doctor's office before the surgery and thinking 'Why me? Why is this all happening to me?’” Lewis said in her Rolex Player of the Year acceptance speech. “That is something I've asked a lot in my life, in the good and the bad, and I still don't know the answer to that. I don't know why I have been through all I have been through, but I do know that everything that happens to you happens for a reason. And all the adversity I have gone through is the reason I am up here tonight and that I would not be here without the help of a lot of people.”

All the adversity overcome made Lewis one of GolfChannel.com’s top 10 newsmakers in 2012.


Newsmaker of the Year schedule
No. 10: Stacy Lewis
No. 9: Dec. 12
No. 8: Dec. 14
No. 7: Dec. 16
No. 6: Dec. 19
No. 5: Dec. 21
No. 4: Dec. 23
No. 3: Dec. 26
No. 2: Dec. 28
No. 1: Dec. 31

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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