Cut Line: Tiger's statement, not absence, helps U.S.

By Rex HoggardAugust 15, 2014, 2:52 pm

One season ended with a dramatic announcement on Wednesday, the same day the roadmap for another season was laid out. The PGA Tour’s new schedule and the end of the 2013-14 road for Tiger Woods highlight this week’s Cut Line.

Made Cut

No “I” in T-E-A-M. This was shaping up to being a classic staring contest between U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson and Woods.

On Monday, Watson seemed to reverse course when it came to the possibility of making Woods one of his three picks for this year’s matches saying, “He brings a lot to the team, if he has the ability to play and he's healthy. I'd be a fool not to consider him.”

Less than 72 hours later Woods made Watson’s decision for him, saying in a statement, “While I greatly appreciate Tom (Watson) thinking about me for a possible captain’s pick, I must take myself out of consideration. I’ve been told by my doctors and trainer that my back muscles need to be rehabilitated and healed. They’ve advised me not to play or practice now.”

Not having Woods on the U.S. team in September will hurt. Conversely, not having the distraction of whether to make him a pick will only make the American side stronger.

Ross revisited. It’s been more than a half century since Donald Ross designed a golf course, but his finger print endures at the game’s highest level with both the PGA Tour and LPGA holding events on Ross designs this week.

Sedgefield Country Club is hosting the Wyndham Championship for the seventh time and the classic layout continues to draw players despite an awkward spot on the schedule for the final regular-season event.

Even more impressive is how Monroe Golf Club is rewarding diverse styles of play at the Wegmans LPGA Championship. Consider that Lexi Thompson and Meena Lee shared the first-round lead at the year’s fourth major championship and rank first and 139th, respectively, in driving distance.

Modern architects have been straining hamstrings for the last decade trying to find an answer to increased distance gains. It seems Ross had it figured out over a half century ago.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Travel advisory. The Tour unveiled its 2014-15 schedule on Wednesday with few surprises, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t any double takes.

Atop the curious list of schedule changes is the transition of the WGC-Match Play away from Dove Mountain near Tucson, Ariz., a widely unpopular venue among Tour types, and the West Coast swing to Harding Park in San Francisco in early May.

While the venue and the new format are solid upgrades, the new spot on the schedule will necessitate a 2,798-mile journey for players from San Francisco to Jacksonville, Fla., for The Players Championship which will be held the following week.

There is also the issue of how this will impact the Wells Fargo Championship, which was shifted to the week after The Players and has been one of the circuit’s top events.

The Match Play makeover is an improvement, but Camp Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., still has some work to do if they are going to get it right.

Tweet of the week. @Chris_Kirk “I guess I need a new head shot!”

Kirk was responding to Jimmy Fallon’s spoof on “The Tonight Show” that used various Tour player headshots to dole out “superlatives.” Kirk won “Most likely to say, ‘Enjoy your stay. They all do . . .” when handing over your hotel room key.”

#CrazyEyes


Missed Cut

Storm warnings. The final round at last week’s PGA Championship was arguably the year’s most compelling, and entertaining, theater. Lost amid the excitement, however, were a surprising number of curious decisions.

The PGA of America’s decision to not adjust Sunday’s tee times with more rain bearing down on the Louisville, Ky., layout led to a nearly two-hour rain delay and more than a few questionable rulings.

“They didn’t do a very good job with the rules in my opinion. I saw two rulings that were completely incorrect, never seen them before, don’t know how you can do it,” Jason Bohn told GolfChannel.com. “I couldn’t really do anything because an official was telling me what to do.”

The race against darkness also led to a questionable decision to have the final two groups essentially play up as a foursome. There are plenty of times in professional golf when groups are allowed to “play up,” but according to various sources it was officials, and not the players, who made the call at Valhalla.

That’s not the way it is supposed to work.

Nobody wants to hang around until Monday to finish a tournament, but when the sprint impacts play it may be time to slow down.

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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