BuyCom Year in Review
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem announced that the Buy.Com Tour will undergo its fourth name change since its inception in 1990. Get ready for the Nationwide Tour as the insurance company inked a five-year deal with the PGA Tour to be the umbrella sponsor for the PGA's developmental tour.
The name change will have no significant impact on the average golf fan other than the tour staying around until at least 2008. The tour is gaining corporate sponsorship for some of its events and fields are ever improving on the Buy.Com..oops...Nationwide Tour.
With the influx of European Tour stars playing the PGA Tour events, there is not a lot of room in PGA Tour fields for the lesser-known players. These solid professionals are now competing in Nationwide Tour stops, bumping the name recognition of the competitors and in turn, the level of play.
After the Tour Championship, the top 15 on the Buy.Com money list gain full exemptions to the PGA Tour for 2003. Patrick Moore, who was a two-time winner in 2002 before the Tour Championship, held the 54-hole lead as rain wreaked havoc on the tournament all week and threatened Sunday's action as well.
On to Sunday as Jeff Klauk, who was 42nd on the money list, built a two-shot lead over Moore and a one-shot edge over Steven Alker. Then the heavy stuff came down and officials decided to suspend play for the day, ultimately washing Klauk's PGA Tour hopes away.
Officials shortened the tournament to 54 holes and declared Moore the winner, as he held the outright lead after three rounds. That gave him a 'battlefield promotion' for winning three times and sent him to the Southern Farm Bureau Classic on the PGA Tour the next week.
Klauk needed a victory to reach that top-15 plateau, nothing less. Klauk tied for second and only moved to 22nd on the final money list, meaning he will settle for a berth into the finals of the 2002 PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament.
In 2002, the Buy.Com opened in Australia as the tour ventured across the globe. The tour played in Canada in years past but never this far away from the United States.
Gavin Coles won the inaugural Jacob's Creek Open in the Land Down Under to begin the season, and it was Peter O'Malley who took the Holden Clearwater Classic the following week in New Zealand.
O'Malley gained prominence a few weeks earlier as he upset World No. 1 Tiger Woods in the first round of the WGC-Match Play Championship. O'Malley bowed out in the second round to Nick Price.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Not a hard decision here as Patrick Moore gets the nod. He was the only player to win three times on tour in 2002, he won the biggest event (Tour Championship) and he topped the money list.
Honorable mention goes to Arron Oberholser (two wins and second on the money list), Cliff Kresge (two wins and fifth on the money list) and Jason Gore (two wins and sixth on the money list).
Todd Barranger was 15th on the money list heading into the 2001 Tour Championship but was bounced from his spot and missed his PGA Tour card.
In 2002, Barranger came into the season finale 15th on the money list and this time held on to the final place. He thus earned his automatic entry to the big show.
In 1993, Chip Beck finished second to Bernhard Langer at the Masters, second to Jim Gallagher, Jr., at the Michelob Championship and was an integral part of Tom Watson's victorious Ryder Cup team.
He hasn't done much since. Until 2002.
Beck made the cut in half of his starts on the Buy.Com in 2002 and took two top-10s. At the Omaha Classic in August, Beck was in the hunt until Jay Delsing drained a six-foot birdie putt at the 72nd hole to capture the title.
Beck came in a respectable 71st on the final money list and can look forward to 2003
Andy Miller, son of NBC analyst and two-time major winner Johnny Miller, impressed his father with fine play at this year's U.S. Open at the extremely difficult Black Course at Bethpage State Park in New York. What he did in September at the State Farm Open may have impressed dad even more.
Miller, a Monday qualifier, fired a final-round 66 and waited nearly two hours for the last round to draw to an end. The result was a four-man playoff that Miller won with a two-putt birdie from 40 feet. It was Miller's first win as a professional and with only six starts on the Buy.Com, Miller reached the Tour Championship and has a home for the 2003 campaign.
After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time
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
Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2
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.
Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title
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."
Tom Brady, postgame, on wearing the wrap on his hand: “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. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) January 22, 2018
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.
Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder
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