Berger maintains 3-shot lead in Memphis; Phil T-2

By Associated PressJune 11, 2016, 11:11 pm

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Daniel Berger has yet to win on the PGA Tour. He's confident enough to believe that's just a matter of time, and he has put himself in position to make the FedEx St. Jude Classic his first title.

Having Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker just three strokes behind isn't shaking his self-assurance either.

''If it was Tiger Woods behind me, I would have the same mentality,'' Berger said Saturday after a 1-under 69 that left him with the same three-stroke lead he had after 36 holes. ''It doesn't matter. It's golf. The golf course doesn't know who is playing it, so I'm just going to go out there and be aggressive and have some fun, and that's all I can do.''

Berger, the 2014-15 rookie of the year, had led after a round on Tour only once before this event, back in 2014. Now he has led consecutive rounds, and Berger had four birdies, a bogey and a double bogey on a hot, sticky day to reach 10-under 200.

Mickelson (68), Stricker (66) and Points (64) were 7 under.

Seung-yul Noh (67), Colt Knost (67) and Brooks Koepka (69) were 6 under.

Mickelson has 42 career wins and is looking for his first win since the 2013 British Open. Berger, who refused to concede a 1-foot putt to Mickelson in March at the WGC-Dell Match Play, said Woods was the player he admired growing up. The 23-year-old Floridian also calls Mickelson by his full name Phillip.


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''He says only his wife calls him that, I can't call him that until I win on the PGA Tour,'' Berger said. ''But I still call him that anyway.''

Mickelson played two groups ahead of Berger on Saturday and will be in the group ahead of the leader in the final round.

''That's always an advantageous spot if you can get off to a good day,'' Mickelson said. ''It's much more difficult to follow birdies than it is to lead by them.''

With so many experienced players and big names chasing him on a day where the temperature felt close to 100 degrees, Berger hit 13 of 18 greens playing conservatively enough with six straight pars at one point that he finished Saturday with the same three-stroke lead he had after the second round.

Berger couldn't hold on to the lead after the opening round of the 2014 OHL Classic at Mayakoba and wound up tied for 51st. He already has three top-10s this season and is looking for more before heading to Oakmont for the U.S. Open.

He kept his three-stroke lead with a birdie on No. 3. After a bogey on No. 5, Berger came right back with a birdie before running into trouble on the par-3 14th. He hit his tee shot into the water in front and two-putted from 16 feet for bogey, trimming his lead down to a stroke.

Mickelson, who had strung together seven straight pars of his own, birdied the par-5 16th to tie Berger atop the leaderboard at 8 under.

Berger took the lead back to himself by taking advantage of the par-5 at No. 16. He hit his approach onto the fringe of the long green and two-putted from 33 feet for birdie. Berger then pushed his lead back to three strokes with his second straight birdie. After putting his approach into the rough beside the green, Berger chipped in from 26 feet to go back to 10 under.

Mickelson hit his third shot 22 feet past the hole on the par-4 17th. He missed the par putt just right and wound up with his first bogey in 22 holes. Mickelson hit his tee shot on No. 18 into a fairway bunker and had to roll in an 18-footer to save par after his first putt attempt came up short of the green.

Now he only wants to hit his irons a bit closer Sunday.

''Hopefully, I'll find it for tomorrow's round because it's only going to take a few more fairways hit and a few more birdie opportunities the way I'm putting to try to get this done,'' Mickelson said.

Stricker, 49, hasn't won since the 2012 Hyundai Tournament of Champions, but he tied for seventh at the Valspar Championship in March. The captain of the U.S. team for the 2017 Presidents Cup had a four-birdie, bogey-free day to keep close to Berger. He'll play with Mickelson on Sunday.

''I'll be nervous,'' Stricker said. ''It's been awhile since I've been up there and have an opportunity to win. I'm excited for the challenge. That's what we want to be out here for is to get into that position.''

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.