Stars lined up behind McGirt

By Randall MellFebruary 16, 2014, 12:36 am

LOS ANGELES – Jimmy Walker is lurking in his rear-view mirror.

So are Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth.

Some of the most gifted players in the game are in the logjam just behind William McGirt on the leaderboard going into Sunday’s final round of the Northern Trust Open.

It’s enough to make McGirt feel like David vs. a squadron of Goliaths.

McGirt heads to Sunday’s final round as the quintessential journeyman underdog, seeking at 34 to win his first PGA Tour title. McGirt has played so many mini-tours he can’t count them all.

“May have to use fingers and toes,” he cracked.

At No. 197 in the world rankings, McGirt has never even held a 54-hole lead in a PGA Tour event before. He hasn’t won anywhere since winning a Tarheel event in 2007.

All of it makes him relish this chance in his fourth full season on the PGA Tour.

“When you are around mini-tours for eight years, and go through a bunch of heartaches at Q-School, once you finally get here, you really have to appreciate it,” McGirt said.

Northern Trust Open: Articles, videos and photos

McGirt seized the lead at Riviera Country Club on Saturday with a 6-under-par 65. At 12-under 201, he is two shots ahead of George McNeill (66) and Charlie Beljan (68).

A dozen players are within four shots of the lead.

Walker, Watson, Johnson and Spieth are all among a pack tied for sixth, four shots back.

McGirt, who is 0 for 96 trying to win a PGA Tour event, can find some inspiration in his rear-view mirror. Walker was 0 for 187 before breaking through to win his first PGA Tour event at 34 late last year. Walker has gone on to win three times already this wraparound season.

Walker wants his fourth title on Sunday. He gave himself a shot with a birdie at the last hole Saturday to shoot 67.

“I feel like I’m playing good, and I feel like that kind of carries over,” Walker said.

Watson got into contention with a 64 on Saturday, his career-best round at Riviera by four shots. He did that bombing his way around Riviera, launching his tee shot 362 yards at the 13th hole, the longest drive at Riviera all week. He was sharp in all facets of his game as he seeks to rebound from a loss at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in his last start. Watson couldn’t close a two-shot lead in the final round in Phoenix, making bogeys at two of the final three holes as Kevin Stadler went on to win.

“Only one guy beat me,” Watson said. “So, I played pretty solid. When I look back at it at the end of my career, I’m not going to pout over not winning. I took all the positives from it.”

Watson, 35, wants to get right back into the fire. He’s seeking his fifth PGA Tour title, his first since winning the Masters two years ago.

“I'm looking to the back nine tomorrow, having a chance,” Watson said. “Tomorrow is going to be about the pressure of trying to win a golf tournament, the people that haven't won, or the people that have won, trying to win again.”

Johnson, 29, is the first player since Tiger Woods to win in each of his first seven years on the PGA Tour. A bogey at the last Saturday left Johnson with a 69. He's coming off a second-place finish at Pebble Beach.

Spieth, 20, shot a 67 to get in the hunt. He is looking to shake off some weekend disappointments to win his second PGA Tour title.

“Today, for a Saturday, I felt like it was A+ for my mental game,” Spieth said. “Typically, my mental game on Saturdays has been a C. But really solid today.

Spieth squandered weekend chances at the Farmers Insurance Open and AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in his last two starts. He was in the hunt at Torrey Pines before shooting 75-75 on the weekend. He was in the hunt at Pebble Beach last week before shooting a 78 on Saturday.

“This week, I’ve just kind of taken a different mindset,” Spieth said.

 Come Sunday, golf finds out what McGirt’s mindset is and whether he can slay some giants.

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CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.062 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, 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.