Fantasy Island: WGC-Accenture Match Play

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 22, 2011, 9:31 pm

GolfChannel.com experts offer up their picks for the WGC-Accenture Match Play 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.

2005 WGC Accenture Match Play

*Ranking among the 16 GolfChannel.com experts (Ballengee and Bolton are debuting this week)

Rex Hoggard

Rex Hoggard
Score (Rank*):
2,869,477 (1)
Group A:
Paul Casey

Group B:
Geoff Ogilvy

Group C:
Henrik Stenson

The last time the Englishman failed to make it to the weekend at golf’s only one-and-done event was 2006 and he’s advanced to the finals the last two years. Funny that European skipper Colin Montgomerie still didn’t think he was worthy of a captain’s pick.
 
Australian is on-form, familiar with the sprawling Dove Mountain layout and a former two-time Match Play winner.

Toru Taniguchi’s injured neck may end up hurting world No. 1 Lee Westwood the most. The Swede, No. 65 in the world ranking when the field was set, replaced Taniguchi in the field and will face Westwood in the most likely first-round upset.

Randall Mell

Randall Mell
Score (Rank):
1,265,341 (12)
Group A:
Graeme McDowell

Group B:
Geoff Ogilvy

Group C:
Bill Haas
With an impressive record over his last eight starts, wouldn't want to draw him.

Former champ's due for another win, match play and desert golf suit him.

Strong start to the season pointing to something big again.

Charlie Rymer

Charlie Rymer
Score (Rank):
1,598,765 (8)
Group A:
Graeme McDowell

Group B:
Alvaro Quiros

Group C:
Thomas Bjorn

My impartial Twitter poll indicates a strong confidence in McDowell and I concur.

I really dig Quiros’ sideburns, and I really dig how far he hits the pelota, and I really dig his chances if he survives the second round which will either be against Stewart Cink or Ian Poulter.

Bjorn took down Tiger Woods when Tiger was on top of his game in 2001 in Dubai. If he can do it again in the first round that may give Bjorn the confidence boost he needs to go all the way.
John Hawkins

John Hawkins
Score (Rank):
928,309 (14)
 Group A:
Lee Westwood

Group B:
Bubba Watson

Group C:
Stewart Cink

Westwood's gotta start winning tournaments sooner or later

Watson's length should be a real advantage at this venue

Cink has an excellent history in this event and is a steal among the Cs
Jay Coffin

Jay Coffin
Score (Rank):
1,539,932 (9)
 Group A:
Paul Casey

Group B:
Rickie Fowler

Group C:
Stewart Cink
Couldn’t get past the first round the first four years, but the last four years he’s been as steady as anyone and been in the final twice. He’s a match-play stud.

It’s a bit of a stretch, but if he gets past his first two rounds he could be hard to beat. A potential match-up with Phil Mickelson in Round 2 is key.

I really like Cink for Group C value. He’s played here 11 times and he’s won more than two matches six times. Winning two matches here collects a lot of dough.

Gary Williams

Gary Williams
Score (Rank):
1,278,119 (11)
Group A:
Paul Casey

Group B:
Hunter Mahan

Group C:
Bill Haas

Runner-up the last two years, third round or better in the last four years, and won in Bahrain in 2011. Need I say more?

Has played on last four U.S. Cup teams and has top-6 finishes at Torrey Pines and Pebble Beach in 2011

Two wins in 2010, playing great in 2011, and could win in his first appearance like Geoff Ogilvy in 2006

Erik Kuselias

Erik Kuselias
Score (Rank):
2,835,534 (3)
Group A:
Rory McIlroy

Group B:
Nick Watney

Group C:
Bill Haas
He has seven top-12 finishes in his last seven worldwide starts and he made it to the quarterfinals in his first appearance in 2009

Reached the third round in his first appearance in 2010 and has three top-6 finishes in three starts in 2011

Has four top-12 finishes in his first five starts in 2011 and is making first appearance in an event where experience matters the least

Win McMurry

Win McMurry
Score (Rank):
2,837,053 (2)
Group A:
Ian Poulter

Group B:
Miguel Angel Jimenez

Group C:
Ryan Moore
The defending champion has no intention of giving back this title. Poults consistantly excels in the match play format. He's raring to go too after some time off.

This Ryder Cup stalwart knows match play and regularly impresses. While we don't see him much in the States, this is a very comfortable week for the Spainard with all the international flavor at Dove Mountain.

Although we haven't seen him compete in match play much as a professional, as an amateur he was tough to beat. Moore has some West Coast swing momentum coming into the WGC event as well.

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee
Score (Rank):
NA (NA)
Group A:
Paul Casey

Group B:
Geoff Ogilvy

Group C:
Bill Haas
The Englishman is playing well, has a win in Bahrain in 2011 and has consecutive runner-up finishes in this event. Seems like the perfect storm of conditions for him to go deep again this year.

Until proven otherwise, Geoff Ogilvy is the gold standard in this tournament. He's twice a winner and nearly invincible in the format.

Not sure what my life would be like if I didn't say to myself, 'Bill Haas is in contention again this week.' Taking a bit of a flier, though, since Haas has never played in this event.

Rob Bolton

Rob Bolton
Score (Rank):
NA (NA)
 Group A:
Paul Casey

Group B:
Justin Rose

Group C:
Martin Laird
Twice a bridesmaid at the Ritz-Carlton. Comes out of the bottom half of the Snead bracket, where three of the eight are returning from various maladies (Ernie Els, neck; Tim Clark, elbow; Camilo Villegas, back).

Epitome of consistency at a high level for months now, with seven consecutive top 25s, including a T9 at Riviera, where he was under par in every round.

Toyed with Bill Haas here, but he’s in the same bracket as Casey. Laird has all the tools, not to mention three top-25s in four starts this season. He’s in the Jones bracket, which is arguably the most difficult.


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Vegas lists Woods at 20-1 to win a major in 2018

By Will GrayNovember 22, 2017, 12:53 pm

He hasn't hit a competitive shot in nearly a year, but that hasn't stopped on Las Vegas outlet from listing Tiger Woods among the favorites to win a major in 2018.

The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook published betting odds this week on dozens of players to win any of the four majors next year. Leading the pack were Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth at 3/2, with Rory McIlroy next. But not far behind was Woods, who has been sidelined since February because of a back injury but was listed at 20/1.

Woods will make his much-anticipated return next week at the Hero World Challenge, and next month he will turn 42. Next summer will mark the 10-year anniversary of his last major championship victory, a sudden-death playoff win over Rocco Mediate at the 2008 U.S. Open.

Here's a look at the odds for several marquee players on winning any of the four biggest events in golf next year:

3/2: Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth

5/2: Rory McIlroy

7/2: Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day

9/2: Justin Rose

5/1: Brooks Koepka

15/2: Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey

10/1: Adam Scott

12/1: Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Marc Leishman, Thomas Pieters, Patrick Reed

15/1: Daniel Berger, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Patrick Cantlay, Branden Grace, Kevin Kisner, Alex Noren, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Charl Schwartzel, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson

20/1: Tiger Woods, Francesco Molinari, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Tony Finau, Martin Kaymer

25/1: Ryan Moore, Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Lee Westwood, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Chappell, Bryson DeChambeau, Bill Haas, Jason Dufner, Charley Hoffman

30/1: Pat Perez, Gary Woodland, Bernd Wiesberger, Brian Harman, Padraig Harrington, Emiliano Grillo, Ross Fisher, Si Woo Kim, J.B. Holmes

Open Qualifying Series kicks off with Aussie Open

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 4:24 pm

The 147th Open is nearly eight months away, but there are still major championship berths on the line this week in Australia.

The Open Qualifying Series kicks off this week, a global stretch of 15 event across 10 different countries that will be responsible for filling 46 spots in next year's field at Carnoustie. The Emirates Australian Open is the first event in the series, and the top three players among the top 10 who are not otherwise exempt will punch their tickets to Scotland.

In addition to tournament qualifying opportunities, the R&A will also conduct four final qualifying events across Great Britain and Ireland on July 3, where three spots will be available at each site.

Here's a look at the full roster of tournaments where Open berths will be awarded:

Emirates Australian Open (Nov. 23-26): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

Joburg Open (Dec. 7-10): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

SMBC Singapore Open (Jan. 18-21): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

Mizuno Open (May 24-27): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

HNA Open de France (June 28-July 1): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

The National (June 28-July 1): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (July 5-8): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

The Greenbrier Classic (July 5-8): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (July 12-15): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

John Deere Classic (July 12-15): Top player (not otherwise exempt) among top five and ties

Stock Watch: Lexi, Justin rose or fall this week?

By Ryan LavnerNovember 21, 2017, 2:36 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%): Just imagine how good he’ll be in the next few years, when he isn’t playing all of these courses for the first time. With no weaknesses in his game, he’s poised for an even bigger 2018.

Austin Cook (+7%): From Monday qualifiers to Q-School to close calls on the Web.com, it hasn’t been an easy road to the big leagues. Well, he would have fooled us, because it looked awfully easy as the rookie cruised to a win in just his 14th Tour start.

Ariya (+6%): Her physical tools are as impressive as any on the LPGA, and if she can shore up her mental game – she crumbled upon reaching world No. 1 – then she’ll become the world-beater we always believed she could be.  

Tommy Fleetwood (+4%): He ran out of gas in Dubai, but no one played better on the European Tour this year than Fleetwood, Europe’s new No. 1, who has risen from 99th to 18th in the world.   

Lexi (+1%): She has one million reasons to be pleased with her performance this year … but golf fans are more likely to remember the six runners-up and two careless mistakes (sloppy marking at the ANA and then a yippy 2-footer in the season finale) that cost her a truly spectacular season.


FALLING

J-Rose (-1%): Another high finish in Dubai, but his back-nine 38, after surging into the lead, was shocking. It cost him not just the tournament title, but also the season-long race.  

Hideki (-2%): After getting blown out at the Dunlop Phoenix, he made headlines by saying there’s a “huge gap” between he and winner Brooks Koepka. Maybe something was lost in translation, but Matsuyama being too hard on himself has been a familiar storyline the second half of the year. For his sake, here’s hoping he loosens up.

Golf-ball showdown (-3%): Recent comments by big-name stars and Mike Davis’ latest salvo about the need for a reduced-flight ball could set up a nasty battle between golf’s governing bodies and manufacturers.

DL3 (-4%): Boy, the 53-year-old is getting a little too good at rehab – in recent years, he has overcome a neck fusion, foot injury, broken collarbone and displaced thumb. Up next is hip-replacement surgery.

LPGA Player of the Year (-5%): Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu tied for the LPGA’s biggest prize, with 162 points. How is there not a tiebreaker in place, whether it’s scoring average or best major performance? Talk about a buzzkill.

Titleist's Uihlein fires back at Davis over distance

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 12:59 am

Consider Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein unmoved by Mike Davis' comments about the evolution of the golf ball – and unhappy.

In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, the outlet which first published Davis' comments on Sunday, Uihlein took aim at the idea that golf ball distance gains are hurting the sport by providing an additional financial burden to courses.

"Is there any evidence to support this canard … the trickle-down cost argument?” he wrote (via Golf.com). “Where is the evidence to support the argument that golf course operating costs nationwide are being escalated due to advances in equipment technology?"

Pointing the blame elsewhere, Uihlein criticized the choices and motivations of modern architects.

"The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate," he wrote.

The Titleist CEO even went as far as to suggest that Tiger Woods' recent comments that "we need to do something about the golf ball" were motivated by the business interersts of Woods' ball sponsor, Bridgestone.

"Given Bridgestone’s very small worldwide market share and paltry presence in professional golf, it would seem logical they would have a commercial motive making the case for a reduced distance golf ball," he added.

Acushnet Holdings, Titleist's parent company, announced in September that Uihlein would be stepping down as the company's CEO at the end of this year but that he will remain on the company's board of directors.