Fantasy Island: The Players Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 10, 2011, 4:06 pm

GolfChannel.com experts offer up their picks for the The Players Championship. 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.

 

The Players Championship

*Ranking among the 16 GolfChannel.com experts

Rex Hoggard

Rex Hoggard
Score (Rank*)
5,944,631 (2)

Group A:
Phil Mickelson

Group B:
Lucas Glover

Group C:
Andres Romero
Lefty hung 20 birdies on Quail Hollow last week on his way to a tie for ninth and, more Importantly, he’s putting well heading into a tournament he’s won before.

G-Love’s third-place finish at TPC Sawgrass last year was his best of the season and he followed his last victory (2009 U.S. Open) with two solid finishes, a sign he doesn’t dwell on the past.

The talented Argentine has been an enigma since his breakthrough Tour victory in 2008, but he’s shown signs of life in his last two starts (T-8 in New Orleans and T-16 at Quail Hollow).

Randall Mell

Randall Mell
Score (Rank)
3,758,889 (14) 
Group A:
Luke Donald

Group B:
Hunter Mahan

Group C:
Heath Slocum
Strong iron game, hot putter, perfect temperament to dissect Pete Dye's puzzle.
 
The exacting nature of his ball striking will improve his record at TPC Sawgrass.
 
Time for Florida native to make another headline, building on last year's T-4 at TPC Sawgrass.

Charlie Rymer

Charlie Rymer
Score (Rank)
4,286,618 (12) 
Group A:
Matt Kuchar

Group B:
Lucas Glover

Group C:
David Duval
Kuchar is gonna turn his customary top 10 into a win this week. He needs the cash – taxes are due on all the other money he has been winning.

Glover has got some big time MO, drives it beautifully, and played well here last year.

Duval played well here one time, right? Maybe it's flashback week
John Hawkins

John Hawkins
Score (Rank)
4,314,793 (11) 
Group A:
Luke Donald

Group B:
David Toms

Group C:
Sean O'Hair



Career year continues with biggest win to date.

Quietly having a very nice year, still a great putter.

Unless he's paired with Sabbatini, he'll feel good on a course where he's played well before.

 

Jay Coffin

Jay Coffin
Score (Rank)
4,661,206 (8) 
Group A:
Matt Kuchar

Group B:
Francesco Molinari

Group C:
Fredrik Jacobson
I like Lefty this week, but thinking here is that Kuchar is so consistent that he's bound to win something big sooner or later. He plays well at Sawgrass, I'm hoping this is his week.

He's only had one crack at The Players and it was a ninth-place finish. He hasn't played well in the past month but he's too good a player to not snap out of his funk.

In this group you're just looking for good value. Don't know if Jacobson qualifies as good value but he did tie for 10th here last year and he fits the mold of unassuming champions at Sawgrass.

Gary Williams

Gary Williams
Score (Rank)
5,259,860 (4) 
Group A:
Matt Kuchar

Group B:
Adam Scott

Group C:
Matt Jones
Has finished T-14 and T-13 in the last two years at TPC Sawgrass and has not missed the cut all year while recording six top-10s in 10 starts. A win would take him to another level

The 2004 Players champion is playing well in 2011 and finished second at Augusta National. If he controls the long putter he will be in contention

Missed the cut in his only appearance at TPC Sawgrass in 2008, but is playing well right now, finishing sixth in New Orleans and T-21 in Charlotte. This win would change his life

Erik Kuselias

Erik Kuselias
Score (Rank)
5,092,819 (5)
Group A:
Jin Furyk

Group B:
Ben Crane

Group C:
Tommy Gainey
 

Five straight top-25 finishes on the PGA Tour,  lives in Ponte Vedra Beach, has made the cut 13 of 15 times at TPC Sawgrass. He is due for a big week

Has improved every year at TPC Sawgrass: MC, T-66, T-36, T-6, T-5, and T-4. Two top-20s in his last two starts and he is an under-the-radar contender

May be the feel good story of 2011 as he has four top-10s, including a pair of thirds in the past month. This is his first Players and a win could make him the story of the year.

Win McMurry

Win McMurry
Score (Rank)
7,748,433 (1)
Group A:
Matt Kuchar

Group B:
Ben Crane

Group C:
Pat Perez

Last year’s PGA Tour money winner would be a stellar Playerss champion. He’s been incredibly consistent this year with six top-10s in ten starts. Add that to his resume from the last two years at The Players where he finished T-13 and T-14, and he’s a strong pick.
 
This tournament is always unpredictable, but for the last three years Crane has been a staple on the first page of the leaderboard Sunday afternoon.
 
Despite a rocky start to 2011 Perez has turned things around since the beginning of April. Since then he has three top-6 finishes in four starts, including a T-6 last week in Charlotte. And Perez has played well at TPC Sawgrass in the past, tying for third in 2006.

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee
Score (Rank)
1,650,559 (16) 
Group A:
Luke Donald

Group B:
Jason Day

Group C:
Davis Love III
The Englishman finished second at the Heritage, played on a course that is very similar to the rigors of TPC Sawgrass' Stadium Course. His game should carry over.

TPC Sawgrass takes a little bit of acclimation before success. A missed cut here last year might be just enough to get the Aussie comfortable on Dye's design. He has the complete game to win a tournament of this magnitude, this young.

The C group is a great chance to take a flier. DL3 had a really nice week in Charlotte and won this event in first in 1992, then in 2003, which was the first Players that I ever saw in person.

Rob Bolton

Rob Bolton
Score (Rank)
3,600,173 (15) 

Group A:
Luke Donald

Group B:
Ben Crane

Group C:
Fredrik Jacobson

Six straight top-10s. Eleven consecutive rounds under par. Sold.
 
Finished T-6, T-5 and T-4 in the last three years here, respectively. Arguably the only current horse for TPC Sawgrass.
 
Six top-25s in 12 starts this year. Ranks 19th in scrambling. Finished a career-best T-10 here last year in seventh career appearance. Experience matters.

Compete against the GolfChannel.com experts and other fans in our Fantasy Challenge.

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

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PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

PGA Tour:

The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

LPGA:

We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

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Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm
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Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.