Fantasy Island: Honda Classic

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 1, 2011, 8:21 pm

GolfChannel.com experts offer up their picks for the the Honda Classic. 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 and Randall Mell; 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.

2007 Honda Classic

*Ranking among the 14 GolfChannel.com experts (Ballengee and Bolton are new)

Rex Hoggard

Rex Hoggard
Score (Rank*):
3,149,477 (2)
Group A:
Matt Kuchar

Group B:
Spencer Levin

Group C:
Steve Marino

Won this event in a former life and on another golf course (2002), but the current version is a machine with just one finish outside the top 10 in his last seven starts.

Tough playoff loss last week in Mexico and he’s never played well in Florida (T-25 last year in Tampa is his best finish) but he’s been steady since last fall and is due for a breakthrough.

Neither his consistency nor his record at PGA National are much to look at, but he’s a ballstriker and that matters on the Champion Course.

Randall Mell

Randall Mell
Score (Rank):
1,590,341 (11)
Group A:
Lee Westwood

Group B:
Vijay Singh

Group C:
Brett Wetterich
Former No. 1 motivated to get his top spot back and create some momentum for Augusta National.

His game's coming back, and he's got some history working for him at this event.

Showed some signs of life last week, and he knows his way around those South Florida courses.

Charlie Rymer

Charlie Rymer
Score (Rank):
1,878,765 (8)
Group A:
Lee Westwood

Group B:
Rickie Fowler

Group C:
Charl Schwartzel

Losing that No. 1 ranking may be the wake up call Westwood's game needs.

Fowler now spends time in south Florida, and hey, he's gonna notch his first PGA Tour victory sometime.

Schwartzel has the game and confidence to win on the PGA Tour on any given week. Plus he almost has a really cool first name.
John Hawkins

John Hawkins
Score (Rank):
1,608,309 (10)
 Group A:
Matt Kuchar

Group B:
Heath Slocum

Group C:
Ben Curtis

Playing well, has won here before.

Just a flier pick. This is a good place to keep the ball in front of you.

Good tough-course player, and they don't get much tougher than this one.

Jay Coffin

Jay Coffin
Score (Rank):
1,869,932 (9)
Group A:
Graeme McDowell

Group B:
Rickie Fowler

Group C:
Chris Stroud
Banking that his strong play from the Match Play will carry over to PGA National, a place he didn’t play extremely well last year with a T-31. He should play well with all his Euro buddies watching.

The kid is going to win sooner or later, I just hope it’s a week when I pick him. Like McDowell, I’m hoping that his success last week will propel him to a strong finish here.

A risky pick, even for Group C. He had three consecutive missed cuts but rebounded with a fourth-place finish last week at Mayakoba. Just need him to collect a check this week.

Gary Williams

Gary Williams
Score (Rank):
1,558,119 (12)
Group A:
Graeme McDowell

Group B:
Vijay Singh

Group C:
Trevor Immelman

Fellow Europeans Kaymer, Donald and Casey have all won in 2011, and while G-Mac has been close, it is time to join them in the winnner's circle.

After a couple of years of injuries, has two top-3s in his last three starts and finished T4 at PGA National in 2010.

Showed signs of life at Riviera, but faded on the weekend. However, he is due for a good week as his injuries are hopefully behind him.

Erik Kuselias

Erik Kuselias
Score (Rank):
3,115,534 (3)
Group A:
Graeme McDowell

Group B:
Rickie Fowler

Group C:
John Rollins



Fourth in the world, three top-10s in three starts in 2011. He just seems to be knocking on the door for a win.

Recorded his first top-10 last week in Tucson and is having a solid 2011. He's ready for a win at PGA National

Has gotten off to a slow start in 2011, but finished runner-up at PGA National in 2009 with four sub-70 rounds.


Win McMurry

Win McMurry
Score (Rank):
3,422,053 (1)
Group A:
Graeme McDowell

Group B:
Vijay Singh

Group C:
Michael Connell
He made it through three rounds in Tucson, a good showing, but had the weekend off. That gave him time to travel back to Florida to prep for his second event after a four-week hiatus. He tied for 31st last year at PGA National after a 76 on Sunday, however he opened strong with rounds of 68-67.

He’s coming off a runner-up finish at Riviera and with last week off Singh is ready to get back at it. The last two times he teed it up in the event he tied for fourth in 2010 and was T2 in 2005. Singh is also a past champ, winning in 1999.

He tied for sixth here last year in his first start at The Honda. So far this season he has two top-30 finishes.

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee
Score (Rank):
NA (NA)
Group A:
Luke Donald

Group B:
Camilo Villegas

Group C:
Steve Marino

Donald just came off of a very impressive total game exhibition in the desert and the Honda was his last PGA Tour win before the match play. While it wasn't at The Bear Trap, Donald's precision should play well at Jack's place.

This guy can't seem to catch a break in 2011, but this event loves him. He won last year, should've won two years ago.

PGA National doesn't seem like a place where Marino might do well, but for some reason he does. He hovers around the top 25, which earns well.

Rob Bolton

Rob Bolton
Score (Rank):
NA (NA)
Group A:
Graeme McDowell

Group B:
Vijay Singh

Group C:
Charl Schwartzel
One victory and two third-place finishes in his last three stroke-play starts.

Investment in short game paying immediate dividends.

Five consecutive top-10s in stroke-play events entering this week.


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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com 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 Web.com 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 Web.com 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 Web.com 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.