Deutsche Bank hopes for a storm-free finish

By Rex HoggardSeptember 4, 2016, 11:41 pm

NORTON, Mass. – While the vast majority of the United States enjoys BBQs, football, fireworks and the swan song for white shorts, the PGA Tour and those in the traveling circus’ radius will be enduring a quintessential manic Monday.

There will be a champion crowned at the Deutsche Bank Championship, some clarity added to the U.S. Ryder Cup picks race, a potentially dramatic FedEx Cup shuffle and a dead sprint to beat Post-Tropical Cyclone Hermine to the clubhouse.

So much for holidays.

Of course, all of those plans could get blown off course if Hermine, which is forecast to turn to the northeast and just brush New England, blows the best-laid plans into a Tuesday finish.

Officials made the proactive move to send players off earlier than scheduled in threesomes from the first and 10th tees with the hope of finishing at 2 p.m. (ET), but with gusts expected to reach 45 mph around brunch time it promises to be an eventful day whether they complete the second playoff stop as scheduled or not.

But the forecast, and the prospect of a Tuesday finish, was the last thing on most players’ minds, not with so many other moving parts to track.

For the likes of Kevin Chappell, who is tied for third place heading into Monday’s tempest, the final turn at TPC Boston represents yet another chance to break through the grass ceiling after finishing second three times this season.

“I have stuff to pull from in my past so in that sense it's easier,” said Chappell, who shot a third-round 71. “Answering these questions every week doesn't make it any easier though. I look forward to getting [a win] tomorrow and hopefully having it stop.”

Or Smylie Kaufman, the rookie who is tied for third with Chappell and Jimmy Walker, to pick up where he left off when he won his second start as a Tour member last October.

Deutsche Bank Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Both will be chasing Paul Casey, your 54-hole leader at 15 under par and three strokes clear of the field following a torrid finish that included an eagle at the last hole. The endearing Englishman has three consecutive rounds of 66 in his search for his first Tour victory since 2009, if not the final chapter of a comeback that has been ongoing for the better part of two years.

“There were many a times that I questioned not if I was going to play golf but certainly to what level I would play golf,” said Casey, who leads Brian Harman by three strokes. “Sometimes I believed I could get back to a certain level and other times I didn't see much hope.”

It’s been a strange year for Casey, who turned down his European Tour membership this season and with it a potential spot on the Continent’s Ryder Cup team. He replaced the lingering drive to play for country and cup with a different goal – advance to the Tour Championship with a chance to win the FedEx Cup.

A victory on Monday would vault Casey from 59th on the points list to fourth with two stops remaining on the 2015-16 schedule.

“I've been to the Tour Championship before and you just want to be there in the top 5 and control your own destiny,” he said. “Being outside that top 5 and having other guys in control is not something you really want to be part of.”

Jim Furyk will also have an eye on the FedEx Cup algorithms, but for vastly different reasons.

Furyk is 84th on the points list and unless he finishes inside the top 20 this week his season, and perhaps his Ryder Cup hopes, are over. U.S. captain Davis Love III has repeatedly mentioned Furyk, who is currently scheduled to serve in the role of vice captain at Hazeltine National, as a potential pick, but if the veteran failed to advance to the final two postseason events it would be difficult to justify him as a selection.

If the math and leaderboard holds, there are currently six players projected to play their way into the top 70 and next week’s BMW Championship, including Billy Hurley III and Steve Stricker, adding an entirely different level of intrigue to an already busy and blustery day at TPC Boston.

And if all that wasn’t enough, Rory McIlroy moved to add a measure of star power to the proceedings with a third-round 66 that moved him to within six strokes of the lead and into a tie for seventh place.

The guy who teamed with a new putting coach last week and has repeatedly said it’s going to be a process – adding that he hopes to be back to his old self by next April – has rolled in 178 feet of putts the last two days to post his first back-to-back sub-pars rounds on Tour since June.

Not bad for a player who started his week 4 over par through his first three holes.

“The way I'm looking at it is how good a tournament would this be to win being 4 over through three,” said McIlroy, who is 9 under. “It's a great opportunity to do something that I've never done before.”

It’s all part of a potentially frenzied day at TPC Boston. That is, of course, if Hermine cooperates.

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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 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 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