Fitting that Rose is playing well at site of first U.S. win

By Rex HoggardJune 6, 2015, 10:50 pm

DUBLIN, Ohio – Jack’s Place is where Justin Rose first got on the board in the United States, so it seems only fitting that the easygoing Englishman would use the Memorial to vault himself back into a crowded spotlight.

The top shelf has been a busy stage of late, what with the twenty-something threesome of Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler dominating the highlight reel with victories from TPC Sawgrass to San Francisco and beyond.

While Rose hasn’t exactly been the forgotten man in all this, what with his victory at the Zurich Classic and a runner-up showing to Spieth at the Masters, in the uber-competitive world of professional golf a select few thrive on the concept of one-upmanship.

Not that Rose would ever admit to such narcissistic underpinnings. He’s far too well-rounded for that. But beyond the easy smile and thoughtful answers dwells a competitor every bit as driven by the concept that “second sucks.”

“Now I'm in a situation where I want to win every year,” said Rose, who carded his best round of the week (66) to move to 15-under 201 at Muirfield Village. “I've got that nice run going six years in a row [with victories]. Now there's pressure to win every year, so you certainly don't get complacent.”

Since that win at the Memorial in 2010, Rose has recorded a victory each year on Tour including the 2013 U.S. Open. It’s a triumph that he links directly back to his breakthrough at Muirfield Village six years ago.

“If you look at my career, to be honest with you, you could say it's gone from strength to strength since getting the monkey off my back and winning here at the Memorial,” said Rose, who leads David Lingmerth (72) and Francesco Molinari (69) by three strokes.

“I was definitely feeling the pressure for a number of years to notch my first PGA Tour victory, and it had become pretty elusive. As time ticks on, it becomes harder and harder.”

The victory also began the legend of Rose’s ballstriking and explains a solid resume at Nicklaus’ central Ohio gem. Quite simply, he is the ultimate second-shot surgeon on the ultimate (outside of Augusta National, of course) second-shot golf course.

Rose’s resume is littered with statements at ballstriking ballparks, from Congressional (2014 Quicken Loans National) and Cog Hill (2011 BMW Championship) to Merion (U.S. Open) he plays his best golf on layouts that reward calculated control from the fairway.

For the week, Rose is first in approach shot distance to the pin, fourth in strokes gained-tee to green and has hit 30 of 42 greens in regulation.

“Majestic,” swing coach Sean Foley said when asked to describe his man’s ballstriking the last few weeks.

Rose didn’t make a birdie putt outside of 7 feet on Saturday and seemed to regain his momentum after a bogey at No. 9, his only miscue on Day 3, with a towering 5-wood that he called “risky” at the par-5 11th hole that set up a tap-in birdie to move to 15 under par and a field goal clear of the field.

His form combined with his record at the Memorial, where he’s finished inside the top 10 five times and was runner-up in 2008, along with the assembled cast behind him gave Rose an air of invincibility when he calmly putted out for par at the demanding final hole Saturday afternoon.

Combined, the top 10 players behind Rose heading into Sunday have 26 Tour titles - most of those belonging to Jim Furyk (17) who is alone in fourth place - and three majors, and he will be joined in the day’s final two-ball by Molinari, a European Tour staple playing his first full season on the PGA Tour.

Furyk, who won this event in 2002, would be the most likely choice, but at 11 under par he would need some help from the front-runner and the weatherman on a golf course that has become increasingly more difficult as a rare dry week in Dublin has progressed.

“It's going to depend on the weather. I think it's supposed to be more breezy tomorrow, supposed to come from the other direction,” Furyk said. “Justin is definitely in control at 15 under par. He's got a lot of experience, obviously one of the best players in the world. He'll kind of control what it's going to take and a lot of the rest of us will have to chase him.”

It’s a position that Rose has become exceedingly comfortable in since that first victory back in 2010.

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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.

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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 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