Expert picks: AT&T Pebble Beach

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 7, 2012, 6:00 pm

This is another double week for fantasy players! GolfChannel.com experts offer up their fantasy choices below for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-AM, and their selections for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic can be seen here. Each week a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel consists of: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin; RotoWorld.com's Rob Bolton; 'Morning Drive' hosts Gary Williams and Erik Kuselias; and Golf Talk Central contributor Ryan Ballengee.


Win McMurry

Group 1: Phil Mickelson: It's going to be an interesting week with Tiger rounding back into form as well, but I give Lefty the upper hand to make the most of this week.

Group 2: Bryce Molder: He tied for sixth last year, a finish that should have been better without the disappointing 74 on Sunday. Closed in style with a 66 last week en route to a T-15 finish.

Group 3: Rod Pampling: He enters this week off two top-15s in a row this year. The Australian has only played Pebble once dating back to 2005, but in 2010 he finished T27.

Group 4: James Driscoll: For a player in this final group, he has had a good year with three made cuts, two of them top-30 finishes. He tied for 13th a year ago at Pebble and 14th in 2008.


Ryan Ballengee

Group 1: Tiger Woods: This just seems like the week. He's been in the top three in his last starts and, you know, he kind of likes Pebble.

Group 2: D.A. Points: Does anybody respect the defending champion? Points is in great form to start the season.

Group 3: Bob Estes: Estes has started out the year well and can get a big bump in priority with a modest finish this week.

Group 4: Jeff Maggert: Had a great chance at Sony to start his season and is quietly playing some of the most consistent golf on the PGA Tour.


Jay Coffin

Group 1: Tiger Woods: Don't feel great about any of the names here, so go with the one who played well two weeks ago.

Group 2: Rickie Fowler: At some point, he has to win. Right?

Group 3: Brendan Steele: Name jumped out at me in this group.

Group 4: William McGirt: Just looking for someone to make a cut in this group.


Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Tiger Woods: Forget that balky iron play in Abu Dhabi and a victory schneid that has extended past two years. There are only two numbers that count this week - 15 (Woods' margin of victory at the '00 U.S. Open at Pebble) and 24 (the number of putts he needed on Sunday in Abu Dhabi).

Group 2: Spencer Levin: Your scribe scored big last week going with the rebound pick of Kyle Stanley. It's worth seeing if karma has any more magic left for Levin.

Group 3: Harris English: The rookie has quietly climbed to 42nd in earnings this year and is starting to look like a less-animated version of Webb Simpson.

Group 4: Greg Owen: One of the Tour's best ballstrikers has had limited success at Pebble Beach and the poa annua greens should help mitigate his often-pedestrian putting.


Rob Bolton

Group 1: Tiger Woods: First opportunity to capitalize on a highly-anticipated return to success.

Group 2: Bryce Molder: Has finished inside the top-15 in six of his last seven starts. Top-10s in his last two starts at Pebble Beach.

Group 3: D.J. Trahan: Turned a corner last week with his putter. Top-10s at Pebble in 2009 and 2010.

Group 4: John Huh: Shared sixth at the Farmers and 12th at the WMPO. It's about time I hopped aboard.


You can watch complete coverage of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Thursday-Friday live on Golf Channel from 3PM-6PM ET.

Getty Images

Thomas: Winning hometown Honda would 'mean a lot'

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 24, 2018, 11:53 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Justin Thomas is trying to join Rickie Fowler as a winner of his hometown event.

Thomas will play in the final group alongside Luke List on Sunday at the Honda Classic after matching the low round of the week with a 5-under 65. He is at 6-under 204, one shot back of List.

The reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year is one of several residents of nearby Jupiter. After Fowler won last year, Thomas (who missed the cut) returned to the course to congratulate his neighbor on his fourth Tour title.

“I hope I give him the opportunity or the choice to come back,” Thomas said. “But I’ve got a lot of golf in front of me before I worry about him coming here.”


Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


More important to Thomas, however, is winning this event, which is played at PGA National, one of the most difficult non-major courses on Tour.

“It would mean a lot,” he said. “It means a lot to win any golf tournament, but it would mean more because of how prestigious this golf tournament is and the list of winners that have won this event, how strong of a field it is, how difficult of a golf course.

“A decent number of my wins have been on easier golf courses, so it would be cool to get it done at a place like this.”

Getty Images

Woods paired with hotshot rookie Burns at Honda

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 24, 2018, 11:38 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Rookie Sam Burns will be in the biggest spot of his career Sunday – playing alongside Tiger Woods.

Burns, the reigning Nicklaus Award winner who turned pro after two standout years at LSU, will go off with Woods at 12:45 p.m. at the Honda Classic.

Burns, 20, who earned his Web.com Tour card via Q-School, is playing this week on a sponsor exemption, his fourth of the season. He is 13th on the Web.com money list this year, after a tie for second two weeks ago in Colombia.

Burns and Woods are tied for 11th, at even-par 210.

Sunday is an important round for Burns, who can earn a spot into the Valspar Championship with a top-10 finish here.

Getty Images

List leads Honda; Thomas one back

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 24, 2018, 11:25 pm

Luke List, one of a legion of PGA Tour players who live in Jupiter, just two exits up I-95 from PGA National, shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to take a one-shot lead after three rounds of the Honda Classic. Here's how things stand going into the final round at PGA National:

Leaderboard: Luke List (-7), Justin Thomas (-6), Webb Simpson (-6), Tommy Fleetwood (-5), Jamie Lovemark (-5), Alex Noren (-4) 

What it means: Leader List has played well this season, with no finish lower than T-26 in six starts. Thomas, of course, is the reigning Player of the Year. The next best pedigree among the leaders belongs to Simpson, winner of the 2012 U.S. Open and three other PGA Tour titles.

Round of the day: Thomas and Noren both shot 5-under 65s. Thomas made two of his six birdies in the Bear Trap (at the par 3s, Nos. holes 15 and17), while Noren played that stretch (15-17) in 1 over. Noren made his hay elsewhere, including an eagle at the last that canceled out his two bogeys.


Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


Best of the rest: List, Simpson and Kelly Kraft all shot 66.

Biggest disappointment: After an opening 76, Jimmy Walker probably thought he was back on track with a 68 that allowed him to make the cut. Alas, the improvement was temporary, as he ballooned back to a 74 on Saturday.

Shot of the day: Tommy Fleetwood hit a fairway wood from 282 yards to within 8 feet of the cup on the 18th hole. He then made the putt for his second eagle of the day.

Quote of the day: "The course played a fair bit easier with not as much wind." - Thomas

Biggest storyline going into Sunday: List may be in the lead, but most eyes will be on Thomas, a five-time winner last year who has yet to lift a trophy in 2018. And of course, more than a few people will be keeping tabs on Tiger Woods. He'll begin the day seven shots back, trying to channel Tiger of 2012 - when he posted a 62 on Sunday at PGA National (which was good only for a runner-up finish to Rory McIlroy).

Jason Dufner in the third round of the 2018 Honda Classic. Getty Images

Dufner wears "BOSS" hat while playing with Tiger

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 24, 2018, 11:20 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Jason Dufner doesn’t have a hat sponsor this year, freeing him up to wear whatever lid he wants.

That’s why he’s already worn caps with camouflage, American flags and The Notorious B.I.G.’s face.

He saved his most audacious look for Saturday at the Honda Classic – a blue cap with “BOSS” and five gold stars on the front.

“Perfect time,” Dufner said with a smile, “playing with Tiger (Woods).”

And where did he find the cap, which generated plenty of buzz on social media?

At Rickie Fowler’s house, of course.

“There’s not much behind it,” Dufner said. “I don’t have a sponsorship this year, so I’m doing whatever I want to do. This one was laying in Rickie’s house last night, so I grabbed it.”