Fantasy Island: Travelers Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 21, 2011, 5:30 pm

GolfChannel.com experts offer up their picks for the Travelers 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, 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 (7,100,865; 5th)

Group A: Zach Johnson: Tough weekend at Congressional aside (72-74) he’s playing as well as anyone with an American passport at the moment.

Group B: Brandt Snedeker: Another American certainly trending in the right direction.

Group C: Kyle Stanley: If Bubba Watson’s victory last year was any indication, the biggest asset at the Travelers is a big driver..             


Randall Mell

Randall Mell (4,535,889; 16th)

Group A: Nick Watney: Americans have plenty of motivation to shut up detractors. Watney is hope for red, white and blue future.

Group B: Padraig Harrington: Irish eyes are smiling, why not Paddy? He will keep the party going over there.

Group C: Patrick Cantlay: Just became the first amateur to finish at or under par in a U.S. Open since Jack Nicklaus in 1960. Riding his momentum and confidence.


Jason Sobel

Jason Sobel (N/A, N/A)

Group A: Ian Poulter: Interesting choice to play in this event, but those 'interesting' ones often pay off.

Group B: Bo Van Pelt: Your current leader in U.S. Ryder Cup points? None other than BVP - through two events.

Group C: Justin Leonard: He rarely makes headlines anymore, but Leonard is enjoying a nice season so far.


Charlie Rymer

Charlie Rymer (6,576,613; 7th)

Group A: Bubba Watson: I predict a repeat ... or one might say, a 'Dubba-Bubba!'

Group B: Padraig Harrington: Trying to steal a little limelight from the Northern Irish guys.

Group C: >Boo Weekley: He's due, as long as he doesn't have to stop and ask for directions.


John Hawkins

John Hawkins (6,158,288; 9th)

Group A: Zach Johnson: Made some weekend noise at Congressional.

Group B: Brandt Snedeker: Quietly having a pretty good year.

Group C: Kenny Perry: Seems to stick out among the Cs


Jay Coffin

Jay Coffin (7,142,793; 4th)

Group A: Nick Watney: Got some rest after an MC at the U.S. Open. May be the best player in the field.

Group B: Padraig Harrington: If there is a three-time major winner in Group B, I'll take him nearly every time.

Group C: Tim Herron: Tied for third two weeks ago at the FedEx. I'll take my chances.


Gary Williams

Gary Williams (6,104,549; 10th)

Group A: Hunter Mahan: He wins or he contends. How can you not pick Hunter?

Group B: Bendon de Jonge: Shot a second-round 63 here last year en route to a T-9.

Group C: Kris Blanks: Was T-26 in '09 and T-9 in '10 at TPC River Highlands.


Erik Kuselias

Erik Kuselias (6,089,347; 11th)

Group A: Hunter Mahan: He won in '07 and has four top-4s in his last five starts here.

Group B: Bo Van Pelt: Good finishes in big events this year and a couple of top-10s here.

Group C: Kenny Perry: Won in 2009 and has five top-10s here in his last nine starts.


Win McMurry

Win McMurry (9,251,359; 1st)

Group A: Hunter Mahan: He missed the cut a year ago, but before that was money here with four consecutive top-4 finishes.

Group B: Brandt Snedeker: Took him last week at Congressional where he finished T-11 and am riding his momentum into Connecticut.

Group C: Nick O'Hern: Returns after a year away from the Travelers to a site where he finished solo third in 2007.


Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee (4,601,820; 16th)

Group A: Bubba Watson: Defending champion and this Hartford course should be one he simply can overpower at will.

Group B: Fredrik Jacobson: Seems like the Swedes are starting to turn things around on the PGA Tour of late.

Group C: Kenny Perry: The 2009 champion of this event did so in unbelievable fashion, which might be a good sign of things to come this week.


Rob Bolton

Rob Bolton (6,254,719; 8th)

Group A: Hunter Mahan: All-time money leader at Travelers.

Group B: Webb Simpson: Leads the PGA Tour in All-around.

Group C: Tim Herron: Six top-20s here. Coming off a T-3 in Memphis.



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

 

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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry