Time for U.S. Ryder Cup task force to take action

By Rex HoggardFebruary 4, 2015, 1:28 am

Insanity [in-san-i-ty] noun. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

 SAN DIEGO – Give the PGA of America credit.

 The alternative, of course, was to dip back into the status quo, pluck a fifty-something former major champion from the archives to captain the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup team and blindly hope that he can stem Europe’s dominance in the biennial blowout that has gone to the continent in eight out of the last 10 meetings.

But the answer, for all the well-intended ideals, is not a task force. Player input? Sure, that would be great. A more detailed plan? Absolutely. Just don’t turn it into a free-form jam session that doesn’t appear to have an end in sight.

The PGA confirmed the task force met on Monday in San Diego. And for the record, that’s the only thing the association was willing to say.

“We did have a meeting that went incredibly well and built off of the momentum of our first meeting,” PGA of America chief executive Pete Bevacqua told Golf Channel’s Tim Rosaforte. “The process is not yet complete but I feel I can speak for everyone on the task force when I say that we are all excited about the direction of our discussions.”

Anything beyond that has turned into a national secret, with the PGA installing a gag order when it comes to all things task force.

A source familiar with the meetings told GolfChannel.com that the task force has had “several productive meetings” but not to expect any type of announcement until the spring regarding the ’16 captain or anything else.

Like most meetings, this thing has jumped the proverbial shark. On this, last year’s U.S. captain Tom Watson had it right. “It’s not pods. It’s 12 players,” said Watson in the dusk of last year’s defeat at Gleneagles.

Old Tom probably feels the same about meetings.

The “Task Force 11” can talk this thing in circles but the essence of victory should have taken all of 20 seconds in the group’s initial meet-and-greet in December.

Bevacqua: “I’d like to open the floor to ideas.”

Tiger Woods: “Make Fred (Couples) the captain.”

Jim Furyk: “I second that.”

Davis Love III: “Third.”

Phil Mickelson: “And make Paul Azinger his assistant captain.”

The “ayes” have it.

Couples’ 3-0 run as a Presidents Cup captain is all the argument one needs to name Captain Cool America’s next front man.

Maybe it’s his hands-free attitude or laid-back demeanor that makes Couples such an effective captain. Maybe it’s his ability to lighten a team room and an entourage that includes Michael Jordan. Who cares?

If the PGA is serious about changing America’s Ryder Cup fortunes give Couples the keys to the fancy golf cart and let him ride with ’Zinger in tow.

The consensus on Tour is that Couples would be considered an inspired choice but some suggest the structured confines of the Ryder Cup, with all the pre-match obligations and 24-month news cycle, wouldn’t be conducive to his brand of magic.

But even that meeting could be quick and concise. If Freddie doesn’t want to be the PGA’s show pony for two years, than let him fly under the public radar. If Couples doesn’t look forward to a hectic dance card of endless official functions, than set up a few ping-pong tables in the team room and lock the door until the Day 1 matches.

The task force, which includes at least two future captains (Woods and Mickelson) and another (Furyk) who has the markings of a truly inspired choice to lead the team one day, started out with the best of intentions. In fact, it was Furyk who summed up the American mood during that tense post-match press conference last September and laid the groundwork for the task force.

“If I could put my finger on it, I would have changed this sh*t a long time ago but we haven't and we are going to keep searching,” he said.

The task force has now had multiple meetings to conjure up some answers, but it appears as if they are no closer to a solution than they were when they boarded the plane in September to leave Scotland.

This one, it seems, has been talked into the ground. It’s time to adjourn and move on.

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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, 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

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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 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