Knox edges Kelly to win Travelers

By Associated PressAugust 7, 2016, 10:39 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. - Russell Knox nicknamed himself ''The Beast'' after playing two good rounds at the Travelers Championship.

He doubled down on that Sunday after sinking a 12-foot putt on the final hole to save par and beat hometown favorite Jerry Kelly by a stroke, hours after Jim Furyk shot the first 58 in PGA Tour history.

''I felt like the Incredible Hulk when it went in,'' Knox said. ''I could have ripped my shirt off.''

Knox closed with a 2-under 68 for a 14-under 266 total at TPC River Highlands. The 31-year-old Scot won for the second time on the tour, following his breakthrough victory in China in November in the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions.

Kelly, the 49-year-old former University of Hartford player, finished with a 64.

Furyk tied for fifth at 11 under. He opened with rounds of 73, 66 and 72.

Knox opened with consecutive 67s and had a 64 on Saturday. He took the lead with birdies at 13 and 14. He bogeyed the par-3 16th, and missed a chance to seal it on the par-3 17th when his 20-foot birdie putt stopped an inch right of the hole.

The Scot hit his tee shot on the par-4 18th right and into the crowd, and his second shot into a green-side bunker below the hole. He pitched out short of the hole, setting up a putt that went straight into the hole. He didn't tear his shirt off, but did send his hat flying in celebration.


Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


''Everybody dreams of making a putt on the last hole to win a tournament,'' he said. ''I just kept telling myself, this is your chance to make a putt to have a great celebration and hear the roars. I'm glad it went in.''

Justin Thomas was almost an afterthought despite shooting a 62 and stringing together five straight birdies to close out the front nine. He finished with nine birdies on the day and at 12 under for the tournament, tied with Patrick Rodgers for third place. Rodgers shot a 68.

Furyk, already one of six PGA Tour players to shoot 59, took advantage of soft, clean greens during the morning after Saturday afternoon rains.

The 46-year-old American bounced in an eagle from 135 yards on his third hole, ran off seven straight birdies around the turn and picked up his final birdie on the 16th hole with a putt from just inside 24 feet.

He rolled in a short par putt on the final hole, thrust his arms in the air and waved his cap to salute thousands of fans who had rushed to the amphitheater around the 18th green to catch a stunning slice of history.

''No one else can say they've done that out here on the PGA Tour,'' he said. ''It's really special.

It was tougher for the leaders in the afternoon.

Daniel Berger, who shot a 62 on Saturday, began the day at 15 under with a three-stroke lead. But he struggled, making four consecutive bogeys to start his back nine. He finished with a 74 to tie with Furyk, Robert Garrigus and Tyrone Van Aswegen at 11 under.

Kelly began the day at 7 under. He shot 32 on the front nine, then went to 5 under for the day when his second shot on the 13th hole found the cup for an eagle from 113 yards. Headed to the PGA Tour Champions in November, he acknowledged the fans were chanting ''Jerry! Jerry!'' by pounding his heart with his fist as he walked up the 18th fairway.

''The love that they showed me this week, that's about the best of any year,'' he said about the fans. ''But, this is about the best I've played of any year too.''

Kelly won the last of his three PGA Tour titles in 2009.

Knox made back-to-back birdie putts inside 7 feet after great approach shots on 13 and 14. After a par on 15, he just missed the water by a few inches with his tee shot on 16. He bounced his next shot over the hole and had to settle for a bogey, before surviving the final two holes.

Irish Olympian Padraig Harrington shot a 75, finished at 1 under. He's 131st in the FedEx Cup standings, putting him in jeopardy of missing the playoffs. He won't have a chance to earn points next week in Rio.

Patrick Reed had the best tournament of the three members of the U.S. Olympic team, shooting a 66 on Sunday to finish at 9 under. Matt Kuchar finished with a 65 and was 8 under, and defending champion Bubba Watson followed at 7 under after a 68.

''It was one of those weeks where you could easily see playing great next week or the week after,'' Watson said, before getting on a plane for Rio de Janeiro. ''Next week might help me get even further in the right direction or it could happen next week.''

Getty Images

What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

Getty Images

Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

Getty Images

Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

Getty Images

Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.