Rollicking Good Time

By Randall MellMarch 26, 2009, 4:00 pm
ORLANDO, Fla. ' Tiger Woods made him laugh.
 
So did Padraig Harrington.
 
For a guy sandwiched between a pair of multiple major championship winners, Mark Wilson had a rollicking good time as the player who seemed out of place in the marquee pairing Thursday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger takes a drop during his up-and-down day at Bay Hill. (Getty Images)
Wilson didnt just enjoy the fact that his 3-under-par 67 was the best round of the threesome. Woods shot 68 and Harrington 70.
 
Wilson enjoyed the circus that came with playing beside an icon who has won 14 majors (Woods) and a rising star who has won three of the last six majors (Harrington).
 
Woods, Harrington and Phil Mickelson are favorites to win the Masters in two weeks.
 
Early in Thursdays round, Harrington shared with Wilson how crazy life has become as winner of the last two majors. In Wednesdays pro-am, Harrington told Wilson that he noticed a man step out of a cart and begin to videotape him. Harrington also noticed an elderly woman sitting in the cart.
 
She was about 90 years old, Wilson said. All of a sudden, the cart started to move with the woman in it, and the man is not in it. Hes focused on videotaping, and she rolled right down the hill about 50 yards and he had no idea it happened. She was gone, but she was safe.
 
Wilson was prepared for a raucous first round. He first experienced Tigermania in 1992, when he lost to Woods in the finals of the U.S. Junior, the second of Woods three U.S. Junior titles.
 
Woods set the tone early Thursday at Bay Hill.
 
The electricity and the energy on that first tee is something else with him, all the people cheering, said Wilson, who won the Mayakoba Golf Classic a month ago. I definitely was a little nervous.
 
After two mediocre shots to begin his round, Woods found himself in a difficult spot short of the first green and faced with a challenging up and down for par.
 
The wind is blowing pretty good, and hes got that 35-yard pitch out of the first cut, Wilson said. Im looking at it going, `He could start out with a double bogey here. Its an easy shot to hit short.
 
Woods holed it for birdie and the gallery erupted.
 
Thats where Wilson heard what would become the days theme.
 
Tigers back!
 
The words became a rally cry on the back nine, where Woods mounted a run of four consecutive birdies beginning at the 11th hole.
 
The front nine wasnt so much fun for Woods, who was making his third PGA Tour start after missing eight months recuperating from reconstructive left knee surgery.
 
At No. 6, Woods pulled his tee shot left in the water.
 
The 321-yard walk to where his re-teed drive landed wasnt long enough to allow all the steam to dissipate off his head. He slammed the shaft of his driver into his bag, muttering and cursing to himself as he circled his ball in the rough. He made double bogey there.
 
At the eighth tee, he blocked his tee shot right behind a tree but saved par anyway.
 
At No. 12, he tossed his driver in disgust after pushing another tee shot right into trouble, but he scrambled to make birdie at the par 5.
 
At the 17th, he looked like as if he were going to walk off the course after pulling his tee shot in the rough.
 
Woods showed more frustration Thursday than he did in his first two starts combined at the Accenture Match Play Championship and the CA Championship.
 
The first two tournaments, I didnt have (anger) because I was hitting it so well, Woods said. Today, I was not hitting it well, and I had to scramble and grind it out and manage to score.
 
Woods hit just two of his first seven fairways and just three of his first nine greens in regulation, but he was sharper on the back nine, hitting four fairways and six greens. The best news of the day was how well his putter behaved. He had eight consecutive one putts in the round and took just 24 on the day.
 
The other good news for Woods fans is that his rebuilt knee continued to feel good.
 
Its nice to drive into the left leg for the first time, Woods said. Its been a long time since Ive been able to drive into the left leg and have it stable.
 
Harrington needed an impressive par at the 18th to finish at even par for the round.
 
After watching his last approach shot hit the bank short of the green and bounce back into the water, he dropped on the fringe of the green and made a 16-foot putt.
 
I see the points that still need to be made, but Im happy to be going in the right direction, Harrington said.
 
The same could be said of Woods and Wilson.
 

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    CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.06 million

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 12:50 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:

    1 Jon Rahm -22 $1,062,000
    2 Andrew Landry -22 $637,200
    T3 Adam Hadwin -20 $306,800
    T3 John Huh -20 $306,800
    T3 Martin Piller -20 $306,800
    T6 Kevin Chappell -19 $205,025
    T6 Scott Piercy -19 $205,025
    T8 Brandon Harkins -18 $171,100
    T8 Jason Kokrak -18 $171,100
    T8 Sam Saunders -18 $171,100
    T11 Harris English -17 $135,700
    T11 Seamus Power -17 $135,700
    T11 Jhonattan Vegas -17 $135,700
    T14 Bud Cauley -16 $106,200
    T14 Austin Cook -16 $106,200
    T14 Grayson Murray -16 $106,200
    T17 Andrew Putnam -15 $88,500
    T17 Peter Uihlein -15 $88,500
    T17 Aaron Wise -15 $88,500
    T20 Ricky Barnes -14 $57,754
    T20 Stewart Cink -14 $57,754
    T20 Brian Harman -14 $57,754
    T20 Beau Hossler -14 $57,754
    T20 Charles Howell III -14 $57,754
    T20 Zach Johnson -14 $57,754
    T20 Ryan Palmer -14 $57,754
    T20 Brendan Steele -14 $57,754
    T20 Nick Taylor -14 $57,754
    T29 Lucas Glover -13 $36,706
    T29 Russell Knox -13 $36,706
    T29 Nate Lashley -13 $36,706
    T29 Tom Lovelady -13 $36,706
    T29 Kevin Streelman -13 $36,706
    T29 Hudson Swafford -13 $36,706
    T29 Richy Werenski -13 $36,706
    T36 Jason Dufner -12 $27,189
    T36 Derek Fathauer -12 $27,189
    T36 James Hahn -12 $27,189
    T36 Chez Reavie -12 $27,189
    T36 Webb Simpson -12 $27,189
    T36 Tyrone Van Aswegen -12 $27,189
    T42 Bronson Burgoon -11 $18,983
    T42 Ben Crane -11 $18,983
    T42 Brian Gay -11 $18,983
    T42 Chesson Hadley -11 $18,983
    T42 Patton Kizzire -11 $18,983
    T42 Hunter Mahan -11 $18,983
    T42 Kevin Na -11 $18,983
    T42 Rob Oppenheim -11 $18,983
    T50 Alex Cejka -10 $14,025
    T50 Corey Conners -10 $14,025
    T50 Michael Kim -10 $14,025
    T50 Kevin Kisner -10 $14,025
    T50 Sean O'Hair -10 $14,025
    T50 Sam Ryder -10 $14,025
    T50 Nick Watney -10 $14,025
    T57 Robert Garrigus -9 $13,039
    T57 Tom Hoge -9 $13,039
    T57 David Lingmerth -9 $13,039
    T57 Ben Martin -9 $13,039
    T57 Trey Mullinax -9 $13,039
    T57 Brett Stegmaier -9 $13,039
    T63 Scott Brown -8 $12,449
    T63 Wesley Bryan -8 $12,449
    T63 Brice Garnett -8 $12,449
    T63 Sung Kang -8 $12,449
    T67 Talor Gooch -7 $12,095
    T67 Tom Whitney -7 $12,095
    T69 Matt Every -6 $11,623
    T69 Billy Hurley III -6 $11,623
    T69 Smylie Kaufman -6 $11,623
    T69 Keith Mitchell -6 $11,623
    T69 Rory Sabbatini -6 $11,623
    T69 Chris Stroud -6 $11,623
    75 John Peterson -5 $11,210
    76 Abraham Ancer -4 $11,092
    77 Ben Silverman 4 $10,974
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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.