Noh latest young gun to arrive on PGA Tour

By Ryan LavnerApril 28, 2014, 12:08 am

AVONDALE, La. – It’s never been harder to win on the PGA Tour, a belief reinforced Sunday as another talented yet unproven player stared down one of the game’s single-name stars.

Russell Henley clipped Rory McIlroy.

Matt Every undermined Adam Scott.

Steven Bowditch stiff-armed Matt Kuchar.

So this, it seems, was Keegan Bradley’s turn.

On a windy Sunday at TPC Louisiana, Seung-Yul Noh offered even more proof that tournament favorites are useful in barroom conversation, little else. The South Korean’s unflinching, unyielding play in the final round gave him a two-shot victory at the Zurich Classic – a tournament that, in recent years, has churned out as many maiden winners as bowls of jambalaya.

Zurich Classic: Articles, videos and photos

Seven of the past 10 winners here have been of the first-time variety, Noh the most heralded. At 22, he is the fourth under-25 winner this season – following Harris English, Patrick Reed and Henley – as the Tour transitions from an era of Tiger-led domination to one rife with young, hungry, talented kids with no scar tissue.

Noh’s old swing coach, Sean Foley, used to joke that his pupil’s nickname was "Soon You’ll Know" – as in, how good he is.

In 2010, Noh became the second-youngest winner on the European Tour when the then-18-year-old captured the Malaysian Open. That year he topped the Asian Tour money list, and the next fall he earned his PGA Tour card via Q-School.

After an auspicious 2012 debut, in which he finished inside the top 50 in earnings, Noh was sent back down to golf’s Triple-A to earn back his card, which he did, in the Tour’s Final Series.

Likewise, his 2014 form has been largely uninspiring, but his four days here reaffirmed why so many, for so long, have been gushing about his superstar potential. He led the field in proximity to the hole and was 11th in strokes gained-putting.

“People knew he was gonna be good,” said Scott Sajtinac, Noh’s caddie, “and to finally get a win under your belt will send him in the right direction.”

Already possessing one of the sweetest swings in the game, Noh matched that ball-striking prowess with a steady hand in the 30-mph winds Sunday at TPC Louisiana.

Two shots clear of Bradley at the start of the day, Noh had the chance to become the first player in 40 years to win a tournament while going bogey-free. That bid ended rather abruptly, when he pumped his tee shot way right on the first hole and made his first bogey of the week. By the third hole, Noh had regained the lead by himself, an advantage he never relinquished.

Indeed, nearly every time he stumbled, he soon regained his footing:

His bogey on 1 was followed by seven consecutive pars.

His short miss on 12 was negated by a follow-up birdie on 13.

Another missed tiddler on 15 was erased by a kick-in birdie on 16.

The Tour keeps such a statistic – bounce back – that measures how often a player is over par on a hole and then under par on the following hole. Essentially, it measures a player’s ability to withstand a few punches to the gut. Noh doesn’t have a gut – he’s generously listed at 165 pounds – but don’t let his slight frame fool you.

The leader in bounce back this season, the guy who rebounds better than any other player on Tour ... is Seung-Yul Noh, at 30.77 percent.

So, yes, add it all up, and it was good enough Sunday for a 1-under 71 and a two-shot victory over Andrew Svoboda (69) and Robert Streb (70). In the process, Noh also stared down Bradley, one of the game’s grittiest competitors, and beat the 2011 PGA champion by four strokes.

“He’s just steely,” Sajtinac said of Noh, with whom he has just begun working. “These young guys that are winning right now, they’re just rock-solid under the pump. It’s hard to do, being in control of everything.

“He was unflappable. He just stays the same. You look at the guys who are contending week-in, week-out on the PGA Tour, they’re unflappable.”

After tapping in for the win, Noh was bum-rushed on the final green by Y.E. Yang and Charlie Wi, both of whom were wielding Bud Light bottles. Noh didn’t fight the beer barrage, tilting back his head and basking in the suds.

Said Wi, who has known Noh for the past five years: “His game always has been very strong, solid. I thought his demeanor today was awesome. I would have been rattled and nervous, but he sure didn’t look that way.”

Because he wasn’t, or so he says. Since his “very disappointing” 2013 season, Noh insists that he’s mentally stronger, that he doesn’t get nervous. Not anymore.

“He’s wise beyond his years for a 22-year-old,” Sajtinac said. “It was hard out there. You had to mind your Ps and Qs, and he did it the whole way around essentially. The kid is gonna be good.”

Ask Keegan and Co. Noh is already there.

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Key stats from Woods' historic win at East Lake

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 23, 2018, 10:47 pm

Tiger Woods won his 80th career PGA Tour title on Sunday with a two-stroke victory at the Tour Championship. Here are the key stats from the final round at East Lake.

• 80th career PGA Tour win; first since 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

• Two wins behind Sam Snead for most in PGA Tour history

• Snead was 47 years old when he won his 80th career PGA Tour title (Woods is 42)

• 43-for-45 converting outright 54-hole leads in PGA Tour career

• 24-for-24 converting 54-hole leads of three or more shots

• First win in 1,876 days; 118 players won on PGA Tour between Woods' wins

• Third career Tour Championship victory (most all-time)

• Has won Tour Championship in three different decades (1999, 2007, 2018)

• Fifth PGA Tour event won in three different decades (1990s, 2000s, 2010s)

• Projected to move to 13th in World Ranking with victory

• Was ranked 1,199 before beginning of 2017 Hero World Challenge

• Snead won 11 times after turning 43 (Woods turns 43 in December)

• Eighth PGA Tour win in Georgia; fourth-most of any state (Fla., Calif., Ohio)

• Extended lead to four strokes with birdie on first hole of round

• Second in field in strokes gained: putting this week

• First in field in scrambling this week (17-for-24)

• Finished second in FedExCup; was making first Tour Championship start since 2013

• Led field in one-putt percentage this week (51.4%)

• Finishes season first on PGA Tour in strokes gained: approach

(Stats provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit.)

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Social media explodes over Tiger's 80th win

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 23, 2018, 10:45 pm

After a five-year hiatus, Tiger Woods made his triumphant return to the winner's circle on Sunday at the Tour Championship.

As evidenced by a quick look at social media, Woods' win set the golf world on fire, with everyone from Jack Nicklaus to Michelle Wie sending their congratulations to the 42-year-old.

Here are the best reactions from a wild Sunday at East Lake, where Woods claimed PGA Tour victory No. 80:

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Rose captures FedExCup, $10 million

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 23, 2018, 10:45 pm

ATLANTA – Like the “Price is Right” big wheel, $10 million spun around and around on Sunday, waiting to land on someone. It rolled past Dustin Johnson, looked like it was going to settle on Tiger Woods, and then made a final tick to rest on an ecstatic Justin Rose.

Rose won the FedExCup title on Sunday at the Tour Championship, two-putting for birdie on the par-5 18th to secure the big bonus. Woods, who won the tournament, finished second, with Bryson DeChambeau third.

Rose entered the final round as the projected winner, tied for second in the event, three shots back of Woods. However, it was a struggle from the start for the – now former – world No. 1. Rose made four bogeys and one birdie over his first 15 holes, and when he bogeyed the par-4 16th, the scenario became clear: Play the last two in 1 under or lose the cup.

Final FedExCup results and payout breakdown

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Johnson had an outside shot at claiming the $10 million, but parred the last. He finished in solo third place, four back of Woods.

Woods, meanwhile, was in command of the tournament from the start on Sunday. He played steadily, for the most part, and no one provided a challenge. In order to win the cup, he needed to win the event – which was close to a lock all day – and Rose needed to finish in a three-way tie for fifth or worse.

So, here he was, Rose, tied for SIXTH place on the 18th hole. A birdie and he’d jump into a three-way tie for fourth – as well as into a mountain of cash.

Rose hit the par-5 18th in two and successfully two-putted to clinch the cup. He didn’t win a playoff event, but his MC-2-2-T4 results were good enough, points wise, to capture the season-long race.

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Highlights: Tiger's final round at East Lake

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 23, 2018, 10:40 pm

Tiger Woods won the Tour Championship on Sunday by two strokes. Here are the highlights from the final round.

Woods got off to a great start with a birdie on No. 1.

He then made eight straight pars to close out the front nine in 1 under par. Woods started the back nine with a bogey at 10, but he rebounded with this birdie at No. 13.

Woods leaked some oil coming in with bogeys at 15 and 16, but this par putt on 17 gave him a crucial two-stroke lead heading to 18.

For the fourth straight day, Woods smoked his drive on 18.

A huge gallery followed Woods up the 18th hole.

Woods missed his birdie putt on 18, but it was an easy par for a two-stroke victory and win No. 80.