Golf Channel Am Tour lets you test your game on some of Tucson's top courses

By Travel ArticlesMarch 26, 2012, 4:00 am

Every sports fan wants to know what it's like to dunk a basketball, hit a 95-mph fastball or sink that 4-foot par putt on No. 18 for the victory and first-place check.

Well, the Golf Channel Am Tour is giving swingers of every stripe -- from scratch players to those who routinely post three-digit scores -- an opportunity to go 1-for-3.

The Am Tour, which features 11 tournaments in the Tucson area, culminating with the Tucson Tour Championship in mid-August, is the closest thing amateurs will get to knowing what touring pros feel like on a week-to-week basis.

The one-day tournaments (the Tour Championship is held over two days) are broken down into separate flights based on handicaps, and the top finishers of each flight receive a Visa gift card (the U.S. Golf Association has ruled the gift card does not violate a player's amateur status). The flight winner also gets a trophy.

'Basically, the idea is to get amateur players in a situation where they can have a live tour experience,' said Don Littrell, who runs the Tucson section of the Am Tour.

To do that, the Am Tour plays on some of the country's most renowned golf courses, including Pinehurst No. 2, Troon North and Chambers Bay. The entry fee ranges from $85 to $120 for every tournament.

This is the second year for the Tucson portion of the Am Tour and spots are available in the men's, women's and senior brackets. Interested players can reach him at (520) 990-3818 and visit for more information.

Here are a few of the upcoming Tucson venues. And if you're thinking Arizona summers are a bit hot to be playing golf, remember it's about 7-10 degrees cooler in the Old Pueblo than it is in the Valley.

Foothills Championship, Skyline Country Club, March 25

Skyline Country Club, a par 71, winds its way through the Sonoran foothills. It's a relatively easy course compared to some of Tucson's more notable layouts. The back tees play only 6,138 yards, and all four par 5s are less than 500 yards. Skyline's best attributes are its doglegs -- there's only one straight par 4 on the course -- and No. 9, a 181-yard uphill par 3 with water short and left and bunkers behind the green.

Crooked Tree Challenge, Crooked Tree Golf Course, May 5

Crooked Tree Golf Course, a 7,065-yard par 72, is a Lee Trevino design that hosted the Monday qualifier of the Tucson Open for years as well as the Southern Arizona Open. It's a traditional layout with wide fairways, small greens and plenty of chipping room around the green. One positive note for the high-handicapper: There are no homes lining the fairways, so the only damage the occasional wayward drive will do is to the scorecard.

Southwest Championship, Starr Pass, July 8

Starr Pass hosted the Tucson Open from 1987-96. During that time, the third and fifth holes were rated two of the most difficult on the PGA Tour. The 27-hole facility made a name for itself in 1991, when a young Arizona State product named Phil Mickelson won his first PGA Tour event. The views of the course are as spectacular as the facility itself.

Northwest Invitational, The Gallery Golf Club, Aug. 12

The Gallery Golf Club is located in Marana, about a 20-minute drive north from downtown Tucson. Tom Lehman and John Fought designed the 36-hole private facility, and players will compete on the South Course, a links-style design that played host to the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in 2007 and 2008.

Tucson Tour Championship, Ventana Canyon, Aug. 17-18

There are 27 holes at Ventana Canyon -- The Tucson Tour Championship will be held on the Mountain and Canyon nines -- but the most memorable is No. 7 on the Canyon, a 445-yard par 4 that drops 30 yards from the tee to a ravine that sits about 250 yards away. From there, the incline to the green is at least 50 yards, and any approach shot short has a good chance of rolling all the way back down the hill before stopping just short of the ravine.

In other words, it's the perfect place for the Tucson Tour Championship.

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CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.062 million

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 12:50 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:

1 Jon Rahm -22 $1,062,000
2 Andrew Landry -22 $637,200
T3 Adam Hadwin -20 $306,800
T3 John Huh -20 $306,800
T3 Martin Piller -20 $306,800
T6 Kevin Chappell -19 $205,025
T6 Scott Piercy -19 $205,025
T8 Brandon Harkins -18 $171,100
T8 Jason Kokrak -18 $171,100
T8 Sam Saunders -18 $171,100
T11 Harris English -17 $135,700
T11 Seamus Power -17 $135,700
T11 Jhonattan Vegas -17 $135,700
T14 Bud Cauley -16 $106,200
T14 Austin Cook -16 $106,200
T14 Grayson Murray -16 $106,200
T17 Andrew Putnam -15 $88,500
T17 Peter Uihlein -15 $88,500
T17 Aaron Wise -15 $88,500
T20 Ricky Barnes -14 $57,754
T20 Stewart Cink -14 $57,754
T20 Brian Harman -14 $57,754
T20 Beau Hossler -14 $57,754
T20 Charles Howell III -14 $57,754
T20 Zach Johnson -14 $57,754
T20 Ryan Palmer -14 $57,754
T20 Brendan Steele -14 $57,754
T20 Nick Taylor -14 $57,754
T29 Lucas Glover -13 $36,706
T29 Russell Knox -13 $36,706
T29 Nate Lashley -13 $36,706
T29 Tom Lovelady -13 $36,706
T29 Kevin Streelman -13 $36,706
T29 Hudson Swafford -13 $36,706
T29 Richy Werenski -13 $36,706
T36 Jason Dufner -12 $27,189
T36 Derek Fathauer -12 $27,189
T36 James Hahn -12 $27,189
T36 Chez Reavie -12 $27,189
T36 Webb Simpson -12 $27,189
T36 Tyrone Van Aswegen -12 $27,189
T42 Bronson Burgoon -11 $18,983
T42 Ben Crane -11 $18,983
T42 Brian Gay -11 $18,983
T42 Chesson Hadley -11 $18,983
T42 Patton Kizzire -11 $18,983
T42 Hunter Mahan -11 $18,983
T42 Kevin Na -11 $18,983
T42 Rob Oppenheim -11 $18,983
T50 Alex Cejka -10 $14,025
T50 Corey Conners -10 $14,025
T50 Michael Kim -10 $14,025
T50 Kevin Kisner -10 $14,025
T50 Sean O'Hair -10 $14,025
T50 Sam Ryder -10 $14,025
T50 Nick Watney -10 $14,025
T57 Robert Garrigus -9 $13,039
T57 Tom Hoge -9 $13,039
T57 David Lingmerth -9 $13,039
T57 Ben Martin -9 $13,039
T57 Trey Mullinax -9 $13,039
T57 Brett Stegmaier -9 $13,039
T63 Scott Brown -8 $12,449
T63 Wesley Bryan -8 $12,449
T63 Brice Garnett -8 $12,449
T63 Sung Kang -8 $12,449
T67 Talor Gooch -7 $12,095
T67 Tom Whitney -7 $12,095
T69 Matt Every -6 $11,623
T69 Billy Hurley III -6 $11,623
T69 Smylie Kaufman -6 $11,623
T69 Keith Mitchell -6 $11,623
T69 Rory Sabbatini -6 $11,623
T69 Chris Stroud -6 $11,623
75 John Peterson -5 $11,210
76 Abraham Ancer -4 $11,092
77 Ben Silverman 4 $10,974
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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, 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.