Expert Picks: Qatar Masters

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 31, 2012, 8:30 pm

This is another double week for fantasy players! experts offer up their fantasy choices below for the CommercialBank Qatar Masters, and their selections for the Waste Management Phoenix Open 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;'s Rob Bolton; 'Morning Drive' hosts Gary Williams and Erik Kuselias; and Golf Talk Central contributor Ryan Ballengee.

Win McMurry

Group 1: Sergio Garcia: Believe it or not, he is looking for his sixth top-12 finish in a row dating back to the PGA Championship. Plus, he was in the top-10 here a year ago.

Group 2: Thomas Bjorn: He shared third place last week and won it all in Qatar last year.

Group 3: Stephen Gallacher: T-12 last year and comes in off a solid finish last week in Abu Dhabi.

Group 4: Soren Hansen: The Dane finished T-6 last year and has consistently played the weekends in Qatar for the past five years.

Jay Coffin

Group 1: Lee Westwood: Two top-fives in the last four years works for me. 

Group 2: Francesco Molinari: He seems to pop up on big leaderboards from time to time.

Group 3: Tom Lewis: This is a shot in the dark, but we know he has major game.

Group 4: Simon Khan: Couldn't pick him out of a lineup. Not many people could.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Sergio Garcia: El Nino 2.0 continues to evolve and he's always played wellin Qatar. In six starts he has three top-10s and just a single missed cut.

Group 2: Thomas Bjorn: The Dane has the perfect combination of good form (he finished tied for third last week in Abu Dhabi) and history (he won in Qatar last year).

Group 3: Henrik Stenson: The Swede continues to struggle but he always plays well in the desert - pick a desert, any desert will do - and Ryder Cup years bring out the best in him.

Group 4: Peter Uihlein: The former U.S. Amateur champion makes his European Tour debut as a professional this week in what may turn out to be a trailblazing path to global status.

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Robert Karlsson: Lost in the Tiger/Rory/Rock hoopla last week was yet another solid performance by Karlsson.

Group 2: Nicolas Colsaerts: This man from Belgium is on the verge of winning a big one - and soon.

Group 3: Jbe Kruger: Relatively unknown in the U.S., but finds his way onto leaderboards almost every week.

Group 4: Peter Uihlein: Why not? In a group that includes retreads like Michael Campbell and Todd Hamilton, go for some young blood.

Ryan Ballengee

Group 1: Alvaro Quiros: Runner-up here the last two years and a lover of desert golf.

Group 2: Thomas Bjorn: The defending champion had a good week in Abu Dhabi last week and should play well again.

Group 3: Tom Lewis: He likes desert golf and is among the best in form in a sparse Group 3.

Group 4: Gareth Maybin: He was in the top-15 last week to start the season, and can represent the Ulster front.

Randall Mell

Group 1: Lee Westwood: Despite a MC last year, Westwood has come close at Doha before, with a T-3 and 5th over the last four years.

Group 2: Thomas Bjorn: Defending champ should enjoy good vibes. He got his three-win season started in Doha last year.

Group 3: Bradley Dredge: The Welshman has finished T-12 and T-5 in Doha the last two years.

Group 4: Victor Dubuisson: The 21-year-old Frenchman and former European Amateur champ made some noise here with a T-9 last year.

Rob Bolton

Group 1: Lee Westwood: Unlike a year ago when he missed the cut, there's no rust now. Two wins in his last four starts worldwide.

Group 2: Retief Goosen: Back in a groove with four top-20s in his last five starts, including a runner-up two weeks ago in South Africa.

Group 3: Ricardo Gonzalez: Top-20s here each of the last two years. Nine top-25s in the last 13 months.

Group 4: David Drysdale: Cashed in nine of his last 10 starts, including a T-3 at the Joburg Open. Finished T-12 here last year.

You can watch complete coverage of the CommercialBank Qatar Masters Thursday-Friday on Golf Channel from 9AM-1PM ET and Saturday-Sunday from 8:30AM-12:30PM ET.

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.