Expert picks: Transitions Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 13, 2012, 6:00 pm

The PGA Tour heads to Innisbrook in Tampa this week for the Transitions Championship as the Florida Swing hits the homestretch. 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: Nick Watney: After a lackluster California swing, he finished T-9 in the Match Play and T-17 at Doral, including two sub-70 rounds over the weekend. He tied for 13th here last year, one of three straight top-15 finishes on this track.

Group 2: Peter Hanson: He enters this week with great form. He finished T-4 at Doral and shared 15th at Innisbrook last year.

Group 3: Brendon de Jonge: Had a strong finish here a year ago (T-5). While he's struggled some of this year, the Charlotte resident plays well on the Copperhead course that more resembles a Carolina layout than one you'd see in Florida.

Group 4: Blake Adams: He tied for ninth last week in Puerto Rico and while he's a streaky player, he can get hot - as evidenced by his T-2 in 2010 at the Byron Nelson and his T-3 in Reno last year.

Ryan Ballengee

Group 1: Charl Schwartzel: The Masters champion is getting no respect and has been on fire in his last dozen worldwide starts.

Group 2: Martin Laird: In the fight last year, Laird is a long hitter and accurate. He should have a great week at Innisbrook.

Group 3: John Huh: Huh hung in at PGA National, usually a week where a winner slacks off a bit. He'll find a way to make some money.

Group 4: Rod Pampling: The Aussie has a pair of top-15 finishes this season, cashed last week and finished T-8 at Innisbrook in 2008. 

Gary Williams

Group 1: Charl Schwartzel: Masters champion has not finished out of the top 17 in five worldwide starts in 2012 and has top-5 finishes each of the last two weeks. I see no reason why he won't be in contention this weekend.

Group 2: Paul Casey: Made his first start of 2012 last week and it was good to see him back on the course. Has had previous fast starts at Innisbrook; if he can break 70 on Thursday I can see Casey contending this weekend.

Group 3: John Rollins: Three top-10 finishes in 2012, including a 3rd place finish at Torrey Pines. This could be a quiet Group 3 pick that works out well.

Group 4: Jamie Lovemark: While injured much of the last year or so, we know how good he can play. Finished T-20 last week in Puerto Rico after tweeting that he felt lost with his golf game, hopefully he will keep the momentum going this week.

Erik Kuselias

Group 1: Luke Donald: Finished T-6 at Doral and will return to the world No. 1 ranking with a win this week. He finished T-6 in his last Tampa appearance and I can see a switch at the top of the rankings this week.

Group 2: Bo Van Pelt: Bit of a quiet pick but the fact is, BVP is having a great 2012 and has finished T-8 in 3 of his last 4 starts. He has also played well at Innisbrook, finishing T-3 in 2005 and T-8 in 2009.

Group 3: Padraig Harrington: Three top-10 finishes in 2012, including a 3rd place finish at Torrey Pines. This could be a quiet Group 3 pick that works out well.

Group 4: Jamie Lovemark: 2010 Nationwide Tour Money List winner has struggled with injuries and bad play since joining the PGA Tour in 2011. Showed signs of life in Puerto Rico with a T-20 finish; I'm rooting for him to continue his good play this week.

Randall Mell

Group 1: Webb Simpson: Gotta like that runner-up finish at Innisbrook last year. It's about time for another run.

Group 2: Peter Hanson: Strong showing at Doral last week (T-4), and good showing at Transitions last year (T-15).

Group 3: George McNeill: Just riding the hot hand here after last week's win in Puerto Rico.

Group 4: Chris Couch: The big man from Florida is off to a rough start this season, but he was T-5 at Innisbrook last year. Good memories will get him going again. 

John Hawkins

Group 1: Webb Simpson: Strong finish at Doral, lost in a playoff here last year.

Group 2: Ernie Els: Playing for a spot in the Masters; needs a very high finish or perhaps even a win to qualify.

Group 3: John Huh: My new philosophy with lower classes is to take guys who have already won. Huh qualifies.

Group 4: Matt Jones: Squandered opportunity late in Puerto Rico, should be hungry to atone for the lapse.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Luke Donald: Improved with each round at Doral and his T-6 finish suggests the Englishman's slow start to the season was not a trend. Donald will only be motivated by the added intrigue of retaking the top spot in the World Golf Ranking.

Group 2: Charles Howell III: A cash machine this season, CH3 has missed just one cut in eight starts but has yet to put together a solid Sunday. Howell is one good Sunday away from his first Tour victory since 2007.

Group 3: Harris English: Just two of the rookie's last 12 Tour rounds have been at or over par, and he seems to have the ideal combination of power and precision. He's ninth on Tour in driving distance and eighth in greens in regulation.

Group 4: Boo Weekley: The man from Milton, Fla., has been on a competitive slide but his tie for third at last week's Puerto Rico Open was his best finish since he won the 2008 Heritage. Innisbrook is a good fit for the solid ball striker.

Rob Bolton

Group 1: Charl Schwartzel: The first-timer at Copperhead is on a crazy kind of run, with top-5 finishes in seven of his last 11 starts worldwide.

Group 2: John Senden: Decision to curtail schedule and devote more time to family has paid dividends with three top-10s already this season. Runner-up finishes at this event in 2007 and 2008.

Group 3: Harris English: In his only start in the last four weeks, he played in the final group at the Honda but faded to T-18 with a 77. Chalking it up as a learning experience. Three top-20s, zero missed cuts this year.

Group 4: Garrett Willis: The resident of nearby Dade City finished T-15 in last year's edition. Held the 18-hole lead at Copperhead in 2010.

You can watch complete coverage of the Transitions Championship Thursday-Friday live on Golf Channel from 3PM-6PM ET.

Getty Images

Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

Getty Images

Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm