Fact Pack: Tour Championship

By Will GraySeptember 18, 2012, 8:00 pm

This week the FedEx Cup playoffs head to East Lake outside Atlanta, where a champion will be crowned on Sunday. Players can expect to find a lengthy course with slick greens, one that should play softer and even longer due to rains earlier in the week. Bill Haas won last year's event, but is not among the field of 30 that will tee it up this week. With that in mind, here is a look inside the numbers to see which players may contend for the title and help your Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge team in the process:

John Huh becomes just the fifth Tour rookie to advance to the Tour Championship since the playoff format began in 2007. Already a winner earlier this year at the Mayakoba Golf Classic, Huh was among 11 rookies in the field at The Barclays but the only one to make it to the fourth stage of the playoffs. He currently ranks sixth on Tour in total birdies and eighth in driving accuracy.

Bill Haas improbably won the FedEx Cup last year despite starting the Tour Championship in 25th place on the points list. Entering this week, that position belongs to Webb Simpson, whose role will be reversed from 2011. The U.S. Open champion will need lots of help to claim the $10 million prize, whereas last year he came to East Lake atop the points list, only to finish 22nd out of 30 players.

• Last year, Haas was able to tame the slick greens of East Lake en route to victory, leading the field in putts per GIR. The man entering this year's event with arguably the hottest flat stick is Brandt Snedeker, who leads the Tour in strokes gained putting, ranks second in putts per round and fourth in total putting. A winner earlier this year at Torrey Pines, Snedeker was third in the field in strokes gained putting at The Barclays and tenth in the same category at TPC Boston.

• Seven players will be making their first appearance at East Lake this week, including points leader Rory McIlroy. The Ulsterman has taken each of the last two playoff events, averaging only 26.4 putts per round in the process. For perspective, that's a full 1.5 putts fewer per round than Greg Chalmers has averaged this year while leading the Tour in putts per round - the same amount separating Chalmers from a group tied for 124th in the category.

• Still reeling from the disappointment of missing out on next week's Ryder Cup, Hunter Mahan returns to a place where he missed out on last year's top prize by the slimmest of margins. He will be looking for his first top-30 finish since the British Open, a struggle that can largely be traced back to issues on the green. While Mahan finished 2011 ranked 13th on Tour in strokes gained putting, he now finds himself ranked 119th in the same category for 2012.

• With rain in the forecast early in the week, players can expect softer course conditions and viewers may get treated to a birdie barrage similar to those seen at TPC Boston and Crooked Stick. Six of the top seven players in approach proximity to the hole will be firing at the East Lake pins this week, led by Steve Stricker who sits atop the metric for 2012.

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.