Woods' Ryder hopes may depend on FedEx Cup

By Rex HoggardJuly 23, 2014, 2:36 pm

There are still 42 days before Tom Watson finds himself officially on the clock, a theoretical eternity considering the heavily weighted schedule between now and the moment Captain American must announce his three picks for this year’s Ryder Cup.

Yet as Watson deferred the inevitable as the questions mounted on Sunday at the Open Championship, there was no mistaking the reality that Tiger Woods was running out of time in his pursuit of a spot on Old Tom’s team.

Woods said all the right things on Sunday at Hoylake, where he finished 69th following rounds of 69-77-73-75.

“The fact I was able to play a few weeks ahead of time, and I'm only getting stronger and faster, which is great. I just had to get more game time,” said Woods, who returned from the DL last month following back surgery on March 31. “We did the smart thing by not playing too much leading into this event, just want to assess how my back was.”

By all accounts, Woods’ back is fine. It’s the silver lining behind a comeback that started four weeks earlier than expected. His game, and by association his Ryder Cup chances, are still to be determined.

While Woods has taken a measured approach in his return to action, Watson has not deviated from his initial take on the former world No. 1.

“If he’s playing well and in good health, I'll pick him,” he has told anyone who would listen. On Sunday at the Open Championship, where the captain clipped the potential pick by five strokes, he added an addendum to that company line.

“The caveat to that is if he doesn't get into the FedEx Cup (playoffs), what do I do then? That's not here yet,” Watson allowed.

Although the clock says 42 days, in essence Woods has just two weeks to make his case – next week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship.

While the top 8 on the U.S. points list may be the ultimate goal, Woods’ immediate concerns are focused on another points list. At 214th on the FedEx Cup points list, Woods’ first order of business is to crack the playoff roster.

The most direct path would be through the winner’s circle. “I'd like to win the next two tournaments I'm in. That should take care of that,” Woods said when asked about his Ryder Cup and FedEx Cup predicament.

Short of that, to convince Watson he is deserving of one of his three picks he will likely have to, at a minimum, play his way into The Barclays, the first playoff event.

It was telling that on Sunday at Hoylake the captain and the potential pick were sending out something of a mixed message. When asked if he would make himself a pick Woods was unapologetically positive.

“I got picked by Corey (Pavin) back in (2010),” Woods said. “I was coming off an injury as well there with my Achilles, and I sat out for most of the summer.

“I felt like I was able to contribute to the team. And that's all you want as a pick, you want someone who can contribute to the team, whether it's in support or it's in play. I did it then and hopefully I can actually earn my way on to this team.”

Of course, in 2010 when Pavin made Woods a pick he was 12th on the U.S. points list and had finished fourth at the U.S. Open and in the top 15 in his final two events before the announcement was made.

Woods – who went 3-1-0 at Celtic Manor in ’10 – didn’t play the U.S. Open this year and in just five events his best finish is a tie for 25th at the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

All of which might explain why Watson had a slightly different take on Woods’ short-term Ryder Cup prospects based on his week in England.

“Looks like he's playing without pain,” Watson said. “But, again, he's not in the mix. He needed to get in the mix to get some points to get some money and get in the FedEx Cup.”

When Woods made his debut at his Quicken Loans National in late June following back surgery he jokingly told reporters his expectations for the week were simply to, “get in the playoffs somehow.”

At the time, the assembled scribes dismissed Woods’ self-deprecating take. Little did anyone know that his Ryder Cup chances would come down to that other points list.

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Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.