DJ again proving ability to bounce back after loss

By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2015, 10:07 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – If the line from the cult classic movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou” is correct and you can only have painful association with memories, then Dustin Johnson stands as a rigid exception to the ghosts of history.

What else would explain the 31-year-old’s ability to dust himself off time and time again, despite the cruelest twists of fate?

After bad starts (2010 U.S. Open) and bad decisions (2010 PGA Championship) and embarrassingly bad greens (2015 U.S. Open), the game’s preeminent bomber has regularly sidestepped the inevitable pity party and mental baggage that accompanies loss.

Through two windswept days on the Old Course this week, he’s pounded his way to a one-stroke lead with no regard to what transpired less than a month ago at Chambers Bay.

“It was a little disappointing not to get in the playoff at least [at the U.S. Open], but I mean I don't really dwell in the past too much,” said Johnson, who forged his advantage at the Open Championship through a wet and frigid wind until play was halted for the day with him on the 14th hole. “You can't really change it, so there's no reason to worry about it.”

For those who would dismiss Johnson’s take as psychological hokum, consider the insight from the man whose job it is to keep him on the competitive straight and narrow.

“We talked about it a couple minutes and that was it,” Johnson’s swing coach Butch Harmon said of his man’s three-putt at the last at Chambers Bay to finish a stroke behind Jordan Spieth. “Nothing stays with him.”

It only makes sense that Harmon would use a football analogy to describe a player who, in another life, may well have made a living on the gridiron instead of the links.

“He’s like a linebacker in the NFL,” Harmon figured. “The last play never happened, because they are always getting beat and just need to move on.”

Move on like he did at the 2010 U.S. Open after he turned a three-stroke 54-hole lead into a tie for eighth place with a closing 82; and at the PGA Championship later that year when he squandered his chance at major glory by grounding his club in one of Whistling Straits’ multi-purpose bunkers and incurring a two-stroke penalty.

Johnson rebounded from those disappointments by winning the BMW Championship a month later.

In 2011, he was within two strokes of eventual winner Darren Clarke at the Open Championship when he launched his second shot at the par-5 14th hole closer to the adjacent Prince’s course than Royal St. George’s. True to form, he won The Barclays a month later as if he were immune to the type of scar tissue that others endure.

Where others take solace in the educational properties of hard times, Johnson appears above that type of psychological handicapping.

Maybe that emotional firewall is born from his unique physical gifts, a skillset that leaves both rivals and the venerable Old Course in awe.

When you can split “bunkers at about 380 yards,” as Spieth explained on Thursday, it’s easier to take the occasional haymaker from fate.

It is worth noting that for all of the focus on DJ’s prodigious power, which at times seems to transcend the laws of physics, it may well be his short game that will ultimately decide his Grand Slam fate.

While it was his driver that sent his golf ball to within 20 paces of the par-4 10th green, it was a surprisingly soft touch that settled that same ball just inches from the hole for birdie.

The same putting stroke that produced that ill-timed three-jack on the 72nd hole at Chambers Bay rolled in impressive early birdie attempts at the fourth and seventh holes.

“I feel great. I’m in a good spot,” he said of his abbreviated 3-under round that will resume at 7 a.m. on Saturday, thanks to an early storm on Friday that forced a delay of more than three hours.

As Johnson prepared to set out for a blustery round that would inevitably leak into Saturday morning, Harmon mused, “Watch this, he’ll hit 2-iron [off the first tee] and it will never get off the ground,” he smiled.

As his tee shot sliced low through a cold wind it seemed to be a fitting metaphor for Johnson. Through victory and heartbreaking defeat, the game’s most powerful enigma never seems to be affected by the winds of turmoil.

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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.