Love, Furyk seek redemption at McGladrey

By Rex HoggardOctober 20, 2012, 11:24 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – This will likely stretch the boundaries of Davis Love III’s accommodating nature.

The host with the most will set out on Sunday afternoon in this idyllic slice of southern hospitality with visions of utter selfishness, the byproduct of three rounds of 66 or better on the Seaside Course and a share of the three-quarter pole lead with Jim Furyk, of all people.

Cue the screenwriters, who would struggle to conjure up a Love vs. Furyk finale at The McGladrey Classic given the events of the past few months.

Not after last month’s Ryder Cup, when Love captained America to its largest Sunday collapse and Furyk bogeyed his final two holes to drop a decisive singles match. Not after the season Furyk had, dropping decisions in heartbreaking fashion at the U.S. Open and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

This was supposed to be a soft sendoff for both players after what can only be described as bittersweet seasons, but instead we have high drama with the two tied at 13 under and two shots clear of the field.

“This is a perfect golf course for Jim,” said Love, the McGladrey host who has paused just long enough for a short paddle board session since America’s loss at Medinah. “He’s played well and I kept saying he was real close to an all-star, hero year and (on Saturday) he came out firing.”

Furyk’s quick start included three birdies through his first six holes to build a two-stroke lead at one point, but Love rallied with a clutch birdie putt at the last to set up a showdown that few this side of Brunswick, Ga., thought possible.

Sure, Furyk figures his play this season was every bit as consistent as he was in 2010, when he won three times and the FedEx Cup; and Love knows the Seaside Course better than anyone. But as the Europeans celebrated into the Chicago evening last month it was hard to imagine such a showdown.

For 69 holes at The Olympic Club in June Furyk was at his Open best until he yanked a hybrid tee shot left of the 16th fairway and never recovered. In August at Firestone he led by two strokes through 71 holes, double bogeyed the last and lost by one stroke. And then there was the Ryder Cup, where some considered him a questionable captain’s pick. He went 1-2-0 including Sunday’s singles loss to Sergio Garcia at the height of the American collapse.

But for Furyk, who played just three rounds of golf in the two weeks since Medinah, his cup, pardon the pun, is half full.

“There are a lot of similarities between this season and 2010,” said Furyk, who has rounds of 66-65-66 this week. “I’ve put myself in contention a lot more, my scoring average is better this year (69.8 in 2010 compared to 69.4 this season).

“But the differences are pretty glaring as well. I had a chance to win three events (in 2010) and closed out each one. This year is the exact opposite. This year I’ve found a way to lose those events.”

Furyk, one of the circuit’s most thoughtful types, had no interest in turning a possible victory on Sunday at Sea Island into some sort of season salvation. That’s not possible, not after everything that has happened.

Instead, the final round is the closing chapter of a year he is glad to be done with.

“Tomorrow is an opportunity,” he said, nothing more. No cosmic make-good, no vindication for all those missed chances.

In fact neither Furyk nor Love have much interest in history, be it recent or otherwise. The Sea Island host pegged his own event as a litmus test for his game, which suffered from neglect during his two-year stint as captain.

He played solid in Las Vegas and last week’s Frys.com Open and found inspiration on the greens this week thanks a Brian Bateman’s putter and a challenge from his brother, Mark.

Following last year’s British Open Love went to his brother for putting help and Mark’s answer was “something different.” In practical terms that is Bateman’s putter, a belly version that Love allows to hover just below his shirt.

“This was my best Saturday putting for a while,” said Love, who has always been considered one of the game’s best ballstrikers but has struggled in recent years on the greens.

Through three rounds on his home course Love is second in putts per greens in regulation and, despite his accommodating nature, has embraced the role of spoiler, at least for one final round.

D.J. Trahan (66) and Arjun Atwal (69) are tied for third at 11 under and rising rookie Bud Cauley (68) is alone in fifth at 10 under, but for all practical purposes this is about Love and Furyk., longtime friends turned unlikely foes.

On his way out of the interview room Love was reminded that Furyk currently has 16 Tour titles. “I’d love to keep him from (victory No. 17),” Love said.

Hosting, it seems, does have its boundaries.

Getty Images

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

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 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