Simpson hopes to atone for Greenbrier blown leads

By Associated PressJuly 3, 2013, 9:30 pm

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – Webb Simpson hopes to have another late lead at The Greenbrier Classic – and this time hang on to it.

Phil Mickelson might have a simpler goal: make the cut and go from there.

They'll try to improve on past performances on the Old White TPC course when the tournament starts Thursday in West Virginia.

With the British Open two weeks away, Mickelson and Simpson are among only four golfers in the top 20 of the world rankings entered in West Virginia. The others are Louis Oosthuizen and Bubba Watson.

More than half of the top 20 in the FedEx Cup standings aren't here, either. Still, there's a dozen major champions entered.

Also in the field is Bill Haas, who's coming off a win last week at Congressional. He's come close, too, at The Greenbrier, having lost in a three-way playoff two years ago.

This week will have a special meaning for Haas. He and his wife, Julie, have brought their 7-week-old son, William Jr.

''We certainly packed more stuff for this road trip than we've ever packed,'' Haas said. ''It's a different week than I've ever experience on Tour, but all for great reasons.''

Their playground is the 6,500-acre Greenbrier resort, which welcomes Tour families and advertises relaxed fun with its 721-room hotel, casino, spa and dozens of amenities.

No one seems to have taken more advantage of those than Bubba Watson.

He arrived late last week and shared photos on social media of his escapades in falconry, hanging out at the pool with his young son and during a flyover of the resort.

Watson was in a playful mood during Wednesday's pro-am, hitting a 4-iron between the legs of an amateur partner standing a few feet in front of him. One group behind, Simpson hobnobbed with NBA great and West Virginia native Jerry West.

''It's a laid-back week,'' Simpson said. ''They really cater toward the families at this golf tournament with player parties, family parties, pizza night, bowling night.''

Even New Orleans Saints football coach Sean Payton wanted to get in on the action.

Payton was planning to spend a week of down time at The Greenbrier. It turns out he's carrying the bag of friend Ryan Palmer, who gave his regular caddie the week off.

''I know what game week feels like for me in the fall, and I know what it will feel like for him and what it does feel like for all these golfers,'' Payton said. ''Just to be invisible as a caddie and do your job and be supportive, those are the things that I look at as being important for me this week.''

To which Palmer added jokingly: ''Just shut up and keep up. That's it.''

Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Open winner, would like to keep up on another front.

Two years ago, he made the turn in the final round of the Greenbrier Classic with a one-stroke lead before finishing two strokes out of a playoff won by Scott Stallings. Last year Simpson lost a one-shot lead on the back nine again with three straight bogeys and tied for seventh.

Simpson, Brendon De Jonge and Jimmy Walker are the only players to have two top-10 finishes at The Greenbrier.

''(You) can't really afford a bad nine holes when you win,'' Simpson said. ''I think it's just me continuing to keep playing well, and hopefully I'm in that position on Sunday where I do have a chance to win.''

The last two Greenbrier Classics have gone to playoffs, and Stuart Appleby needed a birdie on the final hole for a 59 to beat Jeff Overton by a stroke in the inaugural tournament in 2010.

Mickelson is coming off top-five finishes in three of his last four tournaments. But he has yet to shoot an under-par round at The Greenbrier, missing the cut each of the past two years.

Last year marked the first time that Mickelson and Tiger Woods missed the cut in a tournament as professionals.

Woods isn't entered this year. He has a sore left elbow and isn't playing again until the British Open.

Among others in the field are Jordan Spieth, the 19-year-old Texan in search of an elusive win that would give him his PGA Tour membership and make him eligible for the FedEx Cup playoffs. He finished sixth at the AT&T National. He's won more than $1.1 million this year and is assured of a Tour card when the new season starts in October.

Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 19, 2017, 5:30 pm

Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.

He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.

Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:

Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 4:22 pm

Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.

Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.

Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.

"I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.

The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.

Matsuyama was a runner-up to Koepka at the U.S. Open earlier this summer, and the 25-year-old seems headed back to the drawing board before defending his title at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.

"I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said. "It seems there are many issues to address."

McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.

Rahm wins finale, Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 1:42 pm

Jon Rahm captured the final tournament on the European Tour calendar, a result that helped Tommy Fleetwood take home the season-long Race to Dubai title.

Rahm shot a final-round 67 to finish two shots clear of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shane Lowry at the DP World Tour Championship. It's the second European Tour win of the year for the Spaniard, who also captured the Irish Open and won on the PGA Tour in January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

"I could not be more proud of what I've done this week," Rahm told reporters. "Having the weekend that I've had, actually shooting 12 under on the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, it's really special."

But the key finish came from Justin Rose, who held the 54-hole lead in Dubai but dropped back into a tie for fourth after closing with a 70. Rose entered the week as one of only three players who could win the Race to Dubai, along with Sergio Garcia and Fleetwood, who started with a lead of around 250,000 Euros.


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With Fleetwood in the middle of the tournament pack, ultimately tying for 21st after a final-round 74, the door was open for Rose to capture the title thanks to a late charge despite playing in half the events that Fleetwood did. Rose captured both the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, and was one round away from a two-trophy photo shoot in Dubai.

Instead, his T-4 finish meant he came up just short, as Fleetwood won the season-long race by 58,821 Euros.

The title caps a remarkable season for Fleetwood, who won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship as well as the French Open to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes and a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Open.

"I find it amazing, the season starts in November, December and you get to here and you're watching the last shot of the season to decide who wins the Race to Dubai," Fleetwood said at the trophy ceremony. "But yeah, very special and something we didn't really aim for at the start of the year, but it's happened."