Fantasy Island: RBC Canadian Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2011, 1:00 pm experts offer up their picks for the RBC Canadian Open. Each week a panel of experts will offer up their picks from three 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 Charlie Rymer; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' hosts Gary Williams and Erik Kuselias; contributor Win McMurry; writer for's ProGolf Talk, Ryan Ballengee; and's Rob Bolton.

You can battle the experts and play along as well. Just click here to get into the game.Compete against the experts and other fans in our Fantasy Challenge.

In parentheses, next to the names, are the participants' 2011 points earned and ranking among the 17 Fantasy Challenge 'experts.'

Rex Hoggard

Rex Hoggard (8,680,226; 5th)

Group A: Matt Kuchar: That missed cut at Royal St. George’s likely didn’t sit well with the Englishman.

Group B: Lucas Glover: Few are driving the ball better than the former U.S. Open champion.

Group C: Anthony Kim: The three-time PGA Tour winner has been telling anyone that would listen that he’s “close.”         

Randall Mell

Randall Mell (6,791,399; 11th)

Group A: Charl Schwartzel: Will make his debut in this event memorable.

Group B: Ryan Moore: Good memories last time he teed it up at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club (T-2).

Group C: Anthony Kim: Riding momentum, confidence from strong British.

Jason Sobel

Jason Sobel (N/A, N/A)

Group A: Luke Donald: Always go with a guy who's sponsored by the title sponsor.

Group B: Ryan Moore: It's a quick trip from his native Tacoma, Wash., to Vancouver.

Group C: Matt McQuillan: Best Canadian available? Maybe not, but the rookie has shown signs of life in recent weeks.

Charlie Rymer

Charlie Rymer (7,967,956; 6th)

Group A: Matt Kuchar: Shaughnessy is a very difficult golf course and I think his consistent ball striking will give him an edge.

Group B: Ryan Moore: Moore is from just down the road in Seattle so he is familiar with these parts..

Group C: Anthony Kim: For the first time this season, seems to be gathering momentum.

John Hawkins

John Hawkins (7,953,198; 7th)

Group A: Matt Kuchar: Should be motivated after last week.

Group B: Ryan Moore: Almost won here couple years back.

Group C: Anthony Kim: Are you sure he's spoda be in the C group?

Jay Coffin

Jay Coffin (9,949,064; 3rd)

Group A: Matt Kuchar: Surprised he didn't go better at the British Open. Will be surprised it he plays poorly 2 weeks in a row.

Group B: Lucas Glover: Hard to tell how much of a Hangover he'll have from Royal St. George's. He's had a great year though.

Group C: Anthony Kim: Good value in this group. Perhaps he found some momentum from a good British performance.

Erik Kuselias

Erik Kuselias (6,517,410; 12th)

Group A: Charl Schwartzel: Along with his win at Augusta National, he finished T9 at Congressional and T-16 at Royal St. George’s.

Group B: Rickie Fowler: Just two weeks after he held and lost the 54-hole lead at the AT&T National, he records his best major finish last week at Royal St. George’s with T-5.

Group C: Anthony Kim: Hey, I’m just following the rules. A.K. is a C Pick this week. Tends to play well in streaks, A.K. also finished T5 at Royal St. George’s last week.

Win McMurry

 Win McMurry (10,509,639; 2nd)

 Group A: Luke Donald: Look for him to contend in front of his RBC sponsors.

 Group B: Ryan Moore: The Seattle native is close to home playing in Vancouver. The last time the tournament was played here he tied for second.

Group C: Spencer Levin: He’s quietly inside the top-30 in the FedEx Cup with 10 top-10s in 21 starts.

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee (5,714,299; 15th)

Group A: Charl Schwartzel: Schwartzel was in the heat of it at the Open, which perhaps is a sign he is the pick of the A litter.

Group B: Blake Adams: Adams had a solid finish at the Canadian Open last year, but he also was on '59 Watch' last week at Annandale en route to a T-9.

Group C: John Mallinger: After a very rough start to the year for Mallinger, he has made big strides in each of his last three cuts made.

Rob Bolton

Rob Bolton (7,029,789; 10th)

Group A: Charl Schwartzel: Man of few mistakes should love challenging Shaughnessy..

Group B: Ryan Moore: Seattle native shared second here in 2005.

Group C: Spencer Levin: His consistency trumps Anthony Kim’s sudden T5 at the British in this group.

For more in-depth fantasy golf coverage, visit Rotoworld powered by NBC Sports.RotoWorld

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Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.