Solheim the Real Deal The Land of Borat
Come On, Get into Womens Golf:
This year I was disappointed to open one British national newspaper, a few days before the opening tee-shot of the first womens professional tournament at St Andrews Old Course, and find not one word about the event. Ask the average British sports fan when was the last time a British woman won the Wimbledon Singles title and most will recall Virginia Wade in 1977. Ask the same fan about the last British winner of the Ricoh Womens British Open and you can bet your bottom dollar a blank look will present itself across their face. (Karen Stupples 2004). Thats why the Solheim Cup is so important; it fuels peoples interest. The Europeans want to beat the Americans, and the Americans dont like losing. Add to the mix a hostile home crowd, on either side of the Atlantic - and some passionate, good looking golfers - and youve got a great event for fans, players and sponsors alike. Soccer takes such pride of place in Europe that other sports get left behind. But if we keep having Solheims like this one, that might change.
The singles were a bit one sided, but thats team golf. Dont forget it was anyones for the taking heading into that final set of matches and the U.S. played their hearts out for victory. I thought Nicole Castrale was impressive; any critics of her captains pick were quickly silenced. I also liked Linda Wessberg and wished she played more than just two matches. And as always, Juli Inkster was legendary. Morgan Pressel will not forget her match in a hurry, to beat Annika one-on-one is a real achievement.
I cant wait for the next Solheim, bring on 2009.
FedExCup Finishes, But Dont Forget the Race in Europe:
Like it or loathe it, the FedExCup produced the correct winner. Now that it's over why not turn your attention to the other side of the Atlantic and early morning live golf on GOLF CHANNEL in the US. The European Tour Order of Merit is getting interesting with just seven events remaining. Justin Rose trails Padraig Harrington by $416,085, with Ernie Els, Henrik Stenson and Niclas Fasth not too far behind. October is when things will come alive - the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship boasts a first prize of over $832,194, and all five are expected to play with Padraig the defending champion. Then weve got the HSBC World Match Play at Wentworth with the largest first prize in golf, followed by events in the Mediterranean region, finishing the year off at Valderrama. Having been to the great Spanish venue and spent many an evening relaxing on the Costa Del Sol, looking out over the Med, it doesnt get much better.
Challenge Tour Heads to Borats Home:
If I gave you three guesses as to which country hosts the richest Challenge Tour event, youd never get it. Kazakhstan. Yes, the land made famous by Borat plays host for the third consecutive year to the Challenge Tour boys this week. With $73,233 to the winner, which Im sure goes a long way in the former Soviet Republic, this is a big week for the tour. Im told by players that its a really good event, although sometimes the caddies are a bit unreliable. Competitors stay on site and are transferred from Almaty airport which is about 30 minutes from the Nurtau Golf Club. A win over the 7,301-yard layout could be the key to a European Tour card. Peter Baker is occupying the bubble spot (20th) and hes made $64,074 this season.
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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