Fantasy Island: Memorial Tournament

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 30, 2011, 8:26 pm experts offer up their picks for the Memorial Tournament. 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 (6,538,230; 4th)

Group A: Luke Donald: Simply put, the newly crowned world No. 1 is playing better than anyone else and he’s been close at the Memorial before (T-6 in 2008).

Group B: Justin Rose: The Englishman ignited here last year on his way to a torrid first-T-9-first run and his swing coach Sean Foley likes where his pupil is at.

Group C: Arjun Atwal: The ultimate “under the radar” player, Atwal is 15th in the Tour’s new strokes gained putting statistic, which seems to be important at Muirfield Village.

Randall Mell

Randall Mell (4,304,889; 15th)

Group A: Phil Mickelson: Comfortable at Muirfield Village now (T-9, T-4, T-5 among last five starts there), he’s got to be feeling left out of the mix in this year’s biggest events and stories.

Group B: Rickie Fowler: Finishes off what he started last year, when he was runner-up to Justin Rose.

Group C: Pat Perez: Terrible early history at Jack’s place, but he seems to have found a plan there the last couple years.

Jason Sobel

Jason Sobel (N/A, N/A)

Group A: Steve Stricker: When in doubt, go with the best putter available.

Group B: Ricky Barnes: Shared third place last year and first win is coming soon.

Group C: Kenny Perry: If he's ever going to reclaim the magic for one week, it'll be at this tournament.

Charlie RymerCharlie Rymer (5,744,188; 8th)

Group A: Matt Kuchar: I'm getting back on the Kuchar bandwagon. He's gotta pick up a trophy at some point.

Group B: Vijay Singh: Singh has always looked very comfortable at Mr. Nicklaus' golf course and he's showing signs of being ready to win again.

Group C: Trevor Immelman: How about a blast from the past in a now healthy Immelman?

 John HawkinsJohn Hawkins (6,016,454; 6th)

Group A: Nick Watney: Got back in the mix last week. Should have a better weekend at Muirfield this week.

Group B: Lucas Glover: The bearded one has been playing well lately and we like guys on a hot streak.

Group C: Kenny Perry: Perry plays certain courses very well. This is one of them.

Jay CoffinJay Coffin (6,689,953; 3rd)

Group A: Luke Donald: If Keegan Bradley could capture the victory for me last week, surely Luke Donald can make it two in a row, right?

Group B: Justin Rose: Did I mention that Bradley won for me last week? If he can do it, the guy who torched the place last year should have another chance to be in contention.

Group C: Vaughn Taylor: Bradley's win vaulted him intro Group B, so I'll go with a guy who I have a gut feeling about. It worked out well last week, if you didn't notice.

Gary Williams

Gary Williams (5,802,607; 7th)

Group A: Hunter Mahan: Mahan is playing great golf in 2011 and we have seen several times this year that players can win, regardless of the track, when they are playing well.

Group B: Rickie Fowler: We keep waiting for Fowler to get that first win. He was runner-up here last year and could be one better this week.

Group C: Pat Perez: He has three top-6 finishes in the last six weeks and while he has not played great at Jack’s place, Perez had his best finish in 2010 (T-19).

Erik Kuselias

Erik Kuselias (5,343,659; 12th)

Group A: Matt Kuchar: With his tie for sixth last week, he enters an event where he has four top-13 finishes in the last four years.

Group B: Rickie Fowler: Fowler has shown he likes Muirfield Village, having finished runner-up finish in 2010. He can definitely contend again.

Group C: Fred Couples: Couples in contention would be the top story of the week. He won at Muirfield Village in 1998 and finished runner-up in 2004 and 2005.

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee (3,983,992; 16th)

Group A: Matt Kuchar: The guy loves this place. He's not finished outside of the top-10 in his last three Memorial starts and is ranked 7th in the world right now.

Group B: Steve Marino: It's time to get back on board the Marino Express. This guy is going to win sometime and, if he doesn't, he will finish inside the top-20. Eventually, this pick will pay off big.

Group C: Kenny Perry: For whatever reason, Kenny Perry gets excited to play Memorial. He's in excellent shape, likes the course, and is scrambling well on the Champions Tour.

Rob Bolton

Rob Bolton (4,443,473; 13th)

Group A: Luke Donald: I’m in no position to get cute. I’ll take his nine consecutive top-10s and sleep well. And jet lag is of zero concern.

Group B: Stewart Cink: He’s cashed in his last 13 starts here, six of which were top-10s, including his last two.

Group C: Brandt Jobe: Coming off his fifth top-25 of the year. Ranks seventh in total driving and 23rd in greens hit. Placed T-4 here in 2006.

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McCoy earns medalist honors at 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 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 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 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.