Son's tears show Rose significance of Olympic gold

By Rex HoggardAugust 15, 2016, 3:18 pm

RIO DE JANEIRO – It wasn’t standing on the podium or hearing “God Save the Queen” being played or even the gold medal draped across his shoulders that was most special to Justin Rose.

It wasn’t the hundreds of text messages he received in the hours after holding off Henrik Stenson to claim Great Britain’s first gold medal in golf or the pride of pulling on his Team GB tracksuit.

No, it was a phone call from his 7-year-old son, Leo, that truly gave the Englishman an idea of the scope of his accomplishment.

“I’ve never seen my little boy in tears,” said Rose early Monday in Rio. “I’ve never seen it resonate so much with him. He’s 7, he’s just starting to understand what sports is all about.”

Rose fought back tears as he explained that Leo brought home a medal of his own from a soccer camp this week and was quick to lay down a challenge.

“He said to me, ‘Alright, Dad, I’ve got mine, now it’s time for you to get yours,’” said Rose, who outdueled Sweden’s Stenson on Sunday in Rio to win by two strokes. “He was crying when I phoned him.”

Leo, you see, was probably too young to appreciate his father’s signature victory in 2013 at the U.S. Open and likely has little idea of how consistent Rose has been in his career, winning seven times on the PGA Tour and becoming a staple for the European Ryder Cup team.

VIDEO: Rose talks about son Leo's reaction to gold medal

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The younger Rose may have a general notion that his dad is a world-class player, but like most children his age the sometimes insular world of golf doesn’t resonate beyond the core audience.

But these were the Olympics and the gold medal that hung from Rose’s neck transcended golf, transcended sport, really. Leo’s reaction may have been the emotional haymaker that made Rio real for Rose, but it was hardly unique.

While many of those around Rose in the Official World Golf Ranking blinked at the prospect of travelling to Brazil in the middle of a busy season, the 36-year-old never wavered. From the outset, Rose became an Olympic ambassador in the truest sense.

He envisioned the podium, the ceremony, the tracksuit, the medal and what it could mean to a wider audience beyond the normal golf circles. He bought into the notion that Olympic golf would be more than just a novelty, and on Sunday before a sold out gallery that optimism was rewarded.

He pounded his chest in the moments after putting out for birdie on the final hole and embraced his caddie, who acknowledged that winning a gold medal may, in fact, reach beyond the importance of a major championship.

But that’s a debate for another day.

What was important to Rose on Monday, beyond what in the world he would do with his gold medal (“Maybe get a mannequin and put a [Olympic] jacket on him with the medal,” he laughed.), was what the competition has meant to golf.

“For me, it would be easy to sit here with a gold medal and tell you this is an incredible experience, but for me it was deeper than just the guys who finished on the podium,” Rose said. “Everybody talked about what an incredible experience it was here in Rio, which tells a bigger picture about this week.”

This year had not been the best for Rose. Although he’d finished in the top-10 five times on Tour, for a player of his stature he measures success in victories. That all changed on Sunday.

“For me this is winning a tournament and this is winning a huge tournament. This has made my season,” Rose said. “It’s a huge win for me, it’s made my season, it’s made my year, it’s made my next four years.”

Rose had planned to fly home to the United Kingdom on Sunday and take Leo to a Chelsea match. Those plans were altered thanks to his near-flawless play for four days in Rio.

Leo understood.

“I’ll make it up to him,” Rose smiled.

If the 7-year-old’s tearful reaction to Rose’s victory was any indication, he’d already given Leo something much more meaningful.

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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