Fantasy Island: 2011 The Barclays

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 24, 2011, 11:00 pm

GolfChannel.com experts offer up their picks for The Barclays. 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 NBCSports.com's ProGolf Talk, Ryan Ballengee; and RotoWorld.com's Rob Bolton.

You can battle the experts and play along as well. Just click here to get into the game.Compete against the GolfChannel.com 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 (9,373,167; 4th)

Group A: Nick Watney: Plainfield will be a putting contest and few have putted better than Watney this season.

Group B: Ryan Palmer: Snubbed last year for a Ryder Cup captain's pick, he needs a solid playoff push to get Fred Couples' attention.

Group C: Brendon de Jonge: After Webb Simpson, de Jonge seems the next logical player destined to get off the victory schnied. 


Randall Mell

Randall Mell (7,211,379; 11th)

Group A: Steve Stricker: Whatever got off track at PGA, it's back on track for Playoffs.

Group B: Ben Crane: Despite bad back, there are signs he's ready to soar again.

Group C: Jerry Kelly: He made some nice runs at the PGA and Wyndham.  


Charlie Rymer

Charlie Rymer (8,721,935; 6th)

Group A: Luke Donald: No. 1 for a reason and this week we will see why.

Group B: Sergio Garcia: Has done everything but win this season and the Spaniard seems right at home in the New York area.

Group C: Heath Slocum: On occasion, been known to hole critical putts near the Big Apple and maybe the hole will be looking big to him this week.  


Jay Coffin

Jay Coffin (12,768,387; 2nd)

Group A: Steve Stricker: He may not win, but he'll contend, which is all I'm looking for.

Group B: Rickie Fowler: Different week, same story. Dude has to win sooner or later.

Group C: Ricky Barnes: Just a gut feeling. Another Ricky that needs a W soon. 


Gary Williams

Gary Williams (8,500,829; 8th)

Group A: Luke Donald: He has won three times worldwide and has been arguably the most consistent player in the world.

Group B: David Toms: A win at Colonial, runner-up in The Players, and a T-4 in the PGA Championship.

Group C: Kevin Streelman: Two best finishes in the PGA Tour Playoffs came in The Barclays, a T-3 in 2008 and T-4 in 2010.


Erik Kuselias

Erik Kuselias (7,234,433; 10th)

Group A: Steve Stricker: With his consistency this year and past playoff success, I have to pick him.

Group B: David Toms: He won at Colonial, runner-up at TPC Sawgrass, T-4 in the PGA, and T-9 at Firestone.

Group C: Jerry Kelly: Kelly enters the playoffs having finished T-4 in Greensboro last week.


Win McMurry

 Win McMurry (14,566,955; 1st)

Group A: Steve Stricker: Stricker is a constant in the playoffs and has gotten them off to a strong start with three top-3s in the last four years.

Group B: Gary Woodland: In addition to his length off the tee he ranks ninth in GIR and his form has continued with a T12 at the PGA Championship and T4 at The Greenbrier.

Group C: Ricky Barnes: His name frequently surfaces at “big” events. 


Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee (6,310,704; 12th)

Group A: Nick Watney: He has a win this year at a Donald Ross course when he took the AT&T National at Aronimink.

Group B: Ryan Moore: You'll notice a theme to the picks. Moore's lone PGA Tour win came at a Ross design at Sedgefield.

Group C: Jerry Kelly: Kelly's been playing well of late - nice start at the PGA, nice finish at the Wyndham.  


Rob Bolton

Rob Bolton (8,038,128; 9th)

Group A: Steve Stricker: Eleven consecutive top-20s. Two wins. Money in the postseason.

Group B: Webb Simpson: Wyndham win was merely part of his natural progression.

Group C: Chez Reavie: Healthy and dealin’. Five top-20s in his last six starts.  


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

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Stock Watch: Strange grumpy; Tiger Time again?

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 1:00 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Jon Rahm (+9%): This should put his whirlwind 17 months in the proper context: Rahm (38) has earned four worldwide titles in 25 fewer starts – or a full season quicker – than Jordan Spieth (63). This kid is special.

Tommy Fleetwood (+7%): Putting on a stripe show in windy conditions, the Englishman defended his title in Abu Dhabi (thanks to a back-nine 30) and capped a 52-week period in which he won three times, contended in majors and WGCs, and soared inside the top 15 in the world.

Sergio (+3%): Some wholesale equipment changes require months of adjustments. In Garcia’s case, it didn’t even take one start, as the new Callaway staffer dusted the field by five shots in Singapore.

Rory (+2%): Sure, it was a deflating Sunday finish, as he shot his worst round of the week and got whipped by Fleetwood, but big picture he looked refreshed and built some momentum for the rest of his pre-Masters slate. That’s progress.

Ken Duke (+1%): Looking ahead to the senior circuit, Duke, 48, still needs a place to play for the next few years. Hopefully a few sponsors saw what happened in Palm Springs, because his decision to sub in for an injured Corey Pavin for the second and third rounds – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard – was as selfless as it gets.


FALLING

Austin Cook (-1%): The 54-hole leader in the desert, he closed with 75 – the worst score of anyone inside the top 40. Oy.

Phil (-2%): All of that pre-tournament optimism was tempered by the reality of his first missed cut to start the new year since 2009. Now ranked 45th in the world, his position inside the top 50 – a spot he’s occupied every week since November 1993 – is now in jeopardy.

Careful What You Wish For (-3%): Today’s young players might (foolishly) wish they could have faced Woods in his prime, but they’ll at least get a sense this week of the spectacle he creates. Playing his first Tour event in a year, and following an encouraging warmup in the Bahamas, his mere presence at Torrey is sure to leave everyone else to grind in obscurity.

Curtis Strange (-5%): The two-time U.S. Open champ took exception with the chummy nature of the CareerBuilder playoff, with Rahm and Andrew Landry chatting between shots. “Are you kidding me?” Strange tweeted. “Talking at all?” The quality of golf was superb, so clearly they didn’t need to give each other the silent treatment to summon their best.

Brooks Koepka (-8%): A bummer, the 27-year-old heading to the DL just as he was starting to come into his own. The partially torn tendon in his left wrist is expected to knock him out of action until the Masters, but who knows how long it’ll take him to return to game shape.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.