ATT National Ready With or Without Tiger

By Sports NetworkJuly 2, 2008, 4:00 pm
AT&T NationalBETHESDA, Md. -- Too bad the PGA TOUR doesnt publish a disabled list.
Tiger Woods is out for the rest of the year after surgery on his left knee. Adam Scott is still trying to recover from a broken pinky on his right hand that limited him at Torrey Pines. Vijay Singh injured his ribs in Europe a month ago and has gone to Hawaii for some rest before the British Open. Former Masters champion Zach Johnson is nursing a sore elbow.
The result is what appears to be a mediocre field in the AT&T National.
PGA TOUR events that Woods typically doesnt play often get criticized for being meaningless, so its no small coincidence that it would happen at his own tournament.
Defending champion K.J. Choi and runner-up Steve Stricker are the only two players from the top 10 in the world ranking. There are only five of the top 20, adding Jim Furyk, Masters champion Trevor Immelman and Anthony Kim.
A good field, very deep, Woods said in a conference call earlier this week.
The second edition of the AT&T National begins Thursday on a Blue Course at Congressional that players have raved about this week, a change from complaints of bumpy putting surfaces a year ago.
But is it a good field? A deep one?
Using the FedExCup standings that only measures this years performance, there are 10 of the top 20 players, which adds tour winners such as Ryuji Imada, J.B. Holmes and D.J. Trahan.
None of this matters to Paul Goydos, who missed the tournament last year and claimed one similarity with Woods.
Hes played half of them, as many as I have, Goydos said.
Goydos blamed the media, and he was half-serious.
The media is trying to decide whats a good field and whats a bad field, and I dont think they are very good at deciding that, he said Wednesday. I think we have these arbitrary rankings, and those are very good at identifying the best couple of players, and maybe the next 10. But are they good at identifying the next 90? In my opinion, no.
TOUR (qualifying) school has got a great field. Its just we had never heard of Anthony Kim. The reality is there are not any bad fields. Its just a field that hasnt been known as strong yet.
There are still spots in the British Open up for grabs this week, still plenty of money from the $6 million purse. And for those who feel as if they have been at the U.S. Open a lot this year, Congressional might feel the same way.
The rough'moderate but still punishing'frames the fairways in classic U.S. Open style, and the greens are better than Stuart Appleby remembered from last year when he closed with a 76 and lost a two-shot lead.
Congressional hosted the U.S. Open in 1997, won by Ernie Els, and will get the U.S. Open in three years.
Poa annua and smooth is almost an oxymoron, Appleby said. Its tough. This week, they seem to be not too puffy. The ball is doing everything that any player would want it to do. For some reason here, they got it right.
Some have wondered if the bumpy conditions last year kept players away. Others point to the European tour season hitting its stride, especially with the British Open only two weeks away.
Sergio Garcia, who won at Congressional three years ago, and Justin Rose are among those playing the European Open in England this week. Els and Phil Mickelson will be playing the Scottish Open next week at Loch Lomond.
And some players had to go through 36-hole qualifying for the British Open on Monday.
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said it was too early for anyone to worry about the AT&T National drawing the best players, even when the top player is on the DL.
All of the pieces are here for it to be an especially good tournament, Finchem said. We have a lot of great players here this week, and one of things we are looking forward to between now and when Tiger comes back is watching to see who steps up. From that standpoint, Im not too concerned.
When you add some of the players that are hurt, Tiger being back next year, I really feel good about it.
Choi felt good just seeing the Blue Course again, recalling the situations he was in on every hole and the shots he pulled off, none more important than holing out from a bunker on the 17th that wrapped up his three-shot victory.
It definitely helps my confidence, and I think its going to help me a lot this week, Choi said. I think this course is in very good condition. This course fits my game very well because I hit a lot of high fades. I hope to repeat the same achievement I did last year.
If he does, there will be one big difference.
Woods, who is in a straight knee brace and on crutches, probably wont be around to hand him the trophy.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - AT&T National
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    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

    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 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