Thats Showbiz - COPIED

By Rex HoggardDecember 17, 2008, 5:00 pm
Jerry Seinfeld said it best. Leave them wanting more, the Manhattanite funnyman told George Costanza. The essence, if not the substance, of Seinfelds message will ring true Thursday morning when the PGA of America announces its pick for the 2010 U.S. Ryder Cup captain.
 
Paul Azinger, the firebrand who injected life and energy into this years matches with everything from his team pod theory to his emotionally charged cheerleading from his captains cart, ended all the will he, wont he? hype this week when he told Golf World magazine that he will not return to captain the 2010 squad.
 
Paul Azinger
Paul Azinger is one and done as U.S. Ryder Cup captain. (Getty Images)
The PGA is said to have pegged Corey Pavin to lead the American side at Celtic Manor in Wales. Its a pick thats been brewing for some time.
 
We spotted Pavin and a PGA executive having dinner at the 2007 Honda Classic and it was a meal peppered with Cup talk. Pavin was given a special exemption into the 2007 PGA Championship and was on the grounds this year at Oakland Hills glad-handing sponsors and officials.
 
Whether Pavin ' a three-time Cup participant with an 8-5-0 record ' will be a good choice to lead the United States is best left to the fortunes of history. He will, however, have a tough act to follow. Imagine the marquee getting flopped and The King Curtis Band having to go on after The Beatles at Madison Square Garden.
 
Azinger was coy when pressed last week at the Father-Son tournament near Orlando, Fla., about the subject. I dont want to jump the gun and try to get the message out ahead of when they want the message out, Azinger said.
 
Less than a week later, Azinger got the message and it was likely not the one he had hoped for. But it may be the best move, if not for the U.S. team then at least for Azinger.
 
Be it his decision or the PGAs, Azinger will now always be remembered as Captain America. He will forever be the guy who used grit and an ingenious game plan to stem Americas sliding fortunes in the biennial meet-and-greet.
 
Azingers players, led by Phil Mickelsons chants of Azinger in 2010 at the post-match press conference, wanted him back and theres a good chance he was intrigued by the chance to win one on European soil. But at what cost?
 
Would Azingers legacy have been enhanced by an American repeat at Celtic Manor in 2010? Maybe. What is not debatable is what impact a loss, particularly another 18 -9 walkover, would do to Azingers place in the history books.
 
It may not be of his own making, but Azinger will enjoy the simplicity of Seinfelds wisdom. The image of him charging his Club Car down Valhallas 17th fairway, whipping the Kentucky fateful into a frenzy will now be burned into the iconic slideshow of great Ryder Cup moments.
 
The PGA may have been calling the shots, but it was fate that wielded the ultimate haymaker for Azinger. Had the golf world not lost Payne Stewart there is a good chance America could be riding a 2-0 Ryder Cup wave heading into Wales.
Stewart, one of Azingers closest friends, who was cut from the same win-at-all-cost mold, would have probably captained the 2006 U.S. team in Ireland. Its not a stretch to envision, particularly after Azingers dynamic leadership, how Stewart could have swung Americas Cup fortunes at The K Club. It would have made the passing of the captains hat to Pavin in 2010 easier to swallow.
 
The PGA may have pulled the plug on Azinger, but it was a surgeons scalpel that cost him his ultimate Ryder Cup experience. When Tiger Woods season ended shortly after his historic U.S. Open victory at Torrey Pines it robbed Azinger of his chance to captain a team that included the world No. 1.
 
Its one of those things Im going to miss the most. Not being able to spend time with the likes of Tiger Woods . . . its unfortunate, Azinger said before the matches.
 
For the man who didnt leave a blade of Kentucky bluegrass undisturbed in his quest for Ryder Cup gold, the PGAs decision and Woods season-ending injury are particularly painful rubs on an otherwise agreeable green.
 
The good news for Azinger is that like Seinfeld he left us wanting more.
 
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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.

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Landry stays hot, leads desert shootout at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 12:35 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – 

Andrew Landry topped the crowded CareerBuilder Challenge leaderboard after another low-scoring day in the sunny Coachella Valley.

Landry shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course to reach 16 under. He opened with a 63 on Thursday at La Quinta Country Club.

''Wind was down again,'' Landry said. ''It's like a dome out here.''

Jon Rahm, the first-round leader after a 62 at La Quinta, was a stroke back. He had two early bogeys in a 67 on the Nicklaus layout.

''It's tough to come back because I feel like I expected myself to go to the range and keep just flushing everything like I did yesterday,'' Rahm said. ''Everything was just a little bit off.''

Jason Kokrak was 14 under after a 67 at Nicklaus. Two-time major champion Zach Johnson was 13 under along with Michael Kim and Martin Piller. Johnson had a 64 at Nicklaus.


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Landry, Rahm, Kokrak and Johnson will finish the rotation Saturday at PGA West's Stadium Course, also the site of the final round.

''You need to hit it a lot more accurate off the tee because being in the fairway is a lot more important,'' Rahm said about the Pete Dye-designed Stadium Course, a layout the former Arizona State player likened to the Dye-designed Karsten course on the school's campus. ''With the small greens, you have water in play. You need to be more precise. Clearly the hardest golf course.''

Landry pointed to the Saturday forecast.

''I think the wind's supposed to be up like 10 to 20 mph or something, so I know that golf course can get a little mean,'' Landry said. ''Especially, those last three or four holes.''

The 30-year-old former Arkansas player had five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine. After winning his second Web.com Tour title last year, he had two top-10 finishes in October and November at the start the PGA Tour season.

''We're in a good spot right now,'' Landry said. ''I played two good rounds of golf, bogey-free both times, and it's just nice to be able to hit a lot of good quality shots and get rewarded when you're making good putts.''

Rahm had four birdies and the two bogeys on his first six holes. He short-sided himself in the left bunker on the par-3 12th for his first bogey of the week and three-putted the par-4 14th – pulling a 3-footer and loudly asking ''What?'' – to drop another stroke.

''A couple of those bad swings cost me,'' Rahm said.

The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3 in the world, Rahm made his first par of the day on the par-4 16th and followed with five more before birdieing the par-5 fourth. The 23-year-old Spaniard also birdied the par-5 seventh and par-3 eighth.

''I had close birdie putts over the last four holes and made two of them, so I think that kind of clicked,'' said Rahm, set to defend his title next week at Torrey Pines.

He has played the par 5s in 9 under with an eagle and seven birdies.

Johnson has taken a relaxed approach to the week, cutting his practice to two nine-hole rounds on the Stadium Course.

''I'm not saying that's why I'm playing well, but I took it really chill and the golf courses haven't changed,'' Johnson said. ''La Quinta's still really pure, right out in front of you, as is the Nicklaus.''

Playing partner Phil Mickelson followed his opening 70 at La Quinta with a 68 at Nicklaus to get to 6 under. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer is playing his first tournament of since late October.

''The scores obviously aren't what I want, but it's pretty close and I feel good about my game,'' Mickelson said. ''I feel like this is a great place to start the year and build a foundation for my game. It's easy to identify the strengths and weaknesses. My iron play has been poor relative to the standards that I have. My driving has been above average.''

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on a sponsor exemption, had a 70 at Nicklaus to match Mickelson at 6 under. The Southern California recruit is playing his first PGA Tour event. He tied for 65th in the Australian Open in November in his first start in a professional tournament.

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Mickelson 'displeased' with iron play; 10 back

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:18 am

All of Phil Mickelson’s offseason work on his driver has paid off through two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

His iron play? Not as sharp, and it’s the reason why he heads into the weekend 10 shots off the lead.

“I’ve been pretty pleased, overall, with the way I’ve been driving the ball, and very displeased with the way my iron game has been,” said Mickelson, who shot 68 Friday on PGA West’s Nicklaus course. He has hit only 21 of 36 greens so far this week. “Usually my iron play is a lot better than what it’s been. So I’ll go work on it and hopefully improve each round in this tournament and build a solid foundation for the upcoming West Coast events.


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“I feel like if I continue to drive the ball the way I am, and if I got my iron play back to my normal standard, I should have the results that I’ve been expecting.”

Mickelson, of course, is always bullish this time of year, but he has been able to find 10 of 14 fairways each of the past two rounds, including at narrower La Quinta Country Club, which doesn’t always fit his eye.

“This is actually the best I’ve driven it in a lot of years,” he said.

Currently in a tie for 67th, Mickelson will need a solid round on the more difficult Stadium course Saturday to ensure that he makes the 54-hole cut. He hasn’t missed a cut in his first West Coast event of the new year since 2009.