Sunday’s press conference following the Farmers Insurance Open had the feel of a postoperative briefing.
San Diego native Xander Schauffele, tied for 25th at 9-under, revealed that he was suffering from illness Saturday and Sunday.
And Tiger Woods, storming back to tie for 20th at 10-under, was asked how his body was performing, compared with his return from back surgery a year ago.
Said Woods, 43: “I didn’t have to try and learn a golf swing and learn equipment and figure out some way to play golf again.”
In fact, he spoke of weight training.
“This year I have a much better plan,” he said. “We have a lifting schedule, we have my practice routines, so everything’s geared up for the big events instead of getting enough reps and getting enough sharpness to be ready.”
Rose, who at 38 won his 10th PGA Tour title, showed his world No. 1 ranking was deserved.
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But so was his devotion to caddie Fulcher, recovering at home from mitral valve replacement in New York.
“We’ve been staying in close communication with Fooch, kind of dedicate this one to him,” said Rose, who relied on veteran sideman Gareth Lord in La Jolla.
Rose said he expects Fulcher will return for The Masters in April.
“Anything before that would be a bonus,” Rose said.
Scripps Ranch High School product Schauffele, 25, told the media that, physically, he was in “pretty bad shape” this weekend, feeling a “little queasy early on.”
He brushed if off as “a little bit of a bug” but confessed he had a rough go on Saturday and wasn’t feeling great.
“But my caddie and my whole family and everyone was keeping me kind of alive for today and I’m feeling much better,” he said. “Looking forward to moving on.”
Also, prize money has its own curative powers. The former San Diego State golfer won $56,622.50 for his efforts.
The $7.1 million tournament also saw Rose take home $1.28 million, Adam Scott (-19) $766,800, and $411,800 each to Talor Gooch and Hideki Matsuyama, both finishing at 16-under.
Woods summed up his whole week as “good, very positive. I didn’t quite start out the way I wanted to this week, wasn’t as sharp as I wanted to be, but each and every day it got a little better.”
And what plans did Rose have for the surfboard that went to the first-in-the-PGA-season event champion?
“I have never surfed,” he said. “Way too cold in England to grab surf in. It looks like a cool thing to do.”
But Rose noted he lives in the Bahamas right now.
“Unfortunately, the waves aren’t quite like they are over here,” he said. “That’s a pretty cool kind of little gift. It’s going to look fun somewhere in the house.”
Rose overcame a poor start Sunday to win on the South Course by two shots over Australian Scott.
Rose began play Sunday with a three-shot lead over Scott and a four-shot lead over Spaniard Jon Rahm. Rose bogeyed the first, fourth and fifth holes — and birdied the third — while Rahm parred each of the first five holes and birdied the sixth to pull within one shot.
But the birdie on the sixth hole would prove to be Rahm’s last. He parred all the remaining holes, except for the par-3 11th which he bogeyed.
Rose began rebuilding his lead with birdies on the seventh, ninth and 10th holes. He completed the round with birdies on the 16th and 18th holes for a 3-under-par 69. His four-round score of 21-under-par 267 was one off the tournament record, set by George Burns in 1987 and tied by Tiger Woods in 1999.
“A three-shot lead is never easy, and just the start was anything that could go wrong did go wrong,” said Rose, who is first on the Official World Golf Ranking. “So it felt like I had to work hard for this one today. I guess to win in the position I am in the world rankings, too … there’s a few little extra special pieces that make this win a fun one.”
Rose said his near-record score was a combination of “the rain last week softened everything up just enough, the fairways played a little bit wider” and less wind than usual.
The victory made Rose the first player from England with 10 PGA Tour titles since 1945. Nick Faldo had nine from 1984 to 1997.
Rose received $1.278 million, pushing his PGA Tour career winnings to over $50 million. Scott also surpassed $50 million for his PGA Tour career with the $766,800 runner-up check.
Scott completed the front nine in par with a bogey on the fifth hole and a birdie on the ninth. He parred each of the first five holes on the back nine, then birdied the final four.
“I just didn’t quite have the game on the front nine, and it’s a shame because Justin was a little shaky early with some bogeys and I just wasn’t solid tee to green on the front,” Scott said. “I played really good on the back, but just wasn’t quite where it was yesterday.
“I couldn’t really close the gap, so he kind of never was really under much pressure because when he made a bogey, so would I, and Jon wasn’t charging. He didn’t play good the front nine, either. By the time I got it sorted out, it was a bit too late.”
Rahm dropped into a three-way tie for fifth with Australian Jason Day and Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland at 14-under-par 274, seven shots off the lead following a par-72 for his final round.
Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and American Talor Gooch tied for third at 16- under-par 272, five shots off the lead.
Woods had his best round of the tournament Sunday, a 5-under-par 67, to be among five golfers tied for 20th, at 10-under-par 278, 11 shots off the lead. He began the round among 15 golfers tied for 48th at 5-under-par 211, 13 shots off the lead.
“It was nice to shake off some rust and see what I need to work on,” Woods said after his first official PGA Tour event. “Still need — I think I need to hit the ball a little bit better with my irons, hit the ball more pin high, which I normally do a pretty good job of.
“This week wasn’t as good as I would like to have it. If I can just continue improving, driving the ball just a little bit better. I know my putting will come around because (caddie) Joey (LaCava) and I were both struggling reading these things. I struggled on my own, I brought Joey in, we struggled together. It was just one of those weeks where I just didn’t quite see the lines quite right. My speed was good, but my lines were just not very good.”
Rose will next play in the European Tour’s Saudi International in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia, which begins Thursday.
Rose said he was “not really” concerned with any safety or political issues.
“I’m not a politician, I’m a pro golfer,” Rose said. “There’s other reasons to go play it. It’s a good field, there’s going to be a lot of world ranking points to play for, by all accounts it’s a good golf course and it will be an experience to experience Saudi Arabia.”
The tournament also begins to fulfill Rose’s commitment to the European Tour.
“Those types of trips are very difficult to make when you golf if you’re going to come straight back to the States and try and keep the momentum going,” Rose said. “But I’m taking three weeks off after it, so to have an international trip fit in the schedule really well, and also it gets one of my European Tour events out of the way very, very early.”
— City News Service contributed to this report.
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