Power Rankings: 2014 Greenbrier Classic

By Will GrayJuly 2, 2014, 12:16 am

This week marks the 34th event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, as the Tour heads to West Virginia for the Greenbrier Classic. A full field of 156 players will tee it up this week at The Old White TPC, where scores are expected to average below 70 for the third straight year.

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Jonas Blixt returns to defend the title he won here a year ago by two shots over a quartet of players. Here are 10 names to watch this week in White Sulphur Springs:

1. Jimmy Walker: The FedEx Cup points leader all season long, Walker was a runner-up here a year ago and tied for fourth in both 2010 and 2011, not to mention his Web.com Tour win in West Virginia in 2007. It seems he feels comfortable in the Mountain State, a trend that should continue this week as he currently ranks second in birdie average and fourth in strokes gained putting.

2. Bubba Watson: Watson has made Greenbrier into a part-time residence, giving him a little extra motivation to play well this week. He's still in the midst of a career year, with two wins and multiple other title contentions. The southpaw is currently fifth in birdie average, sixth in scoring and 11th in GIR percentage this season.

3. Bill Haas: A runner-up in a playoff here in 2011, Haas added a tie for ninth last year and has been quietly solid this season, with 11 top-25 finishes in 18 starts. Haas contended last week in defense of his title at Congressional before fading with a Sunday 77, but he hasn't finished worse than T-35 in his last six starts.

4. Brendon Todd: Basically the hottest player on the PGA Tour right now. Todd has five straight top-20 finishes to his credit, a streak sparked by his win in Dallas and capped by his tie for fifth at Congressional. He has been powered by a strong short game, and now ranks fifth in scrambling and sixth in strokes gained putting.

5. Webb Simpson: Simpson notched top-10 finishes at Greenbrier in both 2011 and 2012, and last year opened with 64 before fading back to the pack. He tied for third in Memphis last month and added a solid week at Congressional last week, and Simpson now ranks ninth on Tour in strokes gained putting and 15th in birdie average.

6. Brendon de Jonge: Still in search of his first PGA Tour win, de Jonge nabbed his second top-10 finish of the season last week at Congressional. He has made eight straight cuts, with six top-30 finishes across that stretch, and finished inside the top five at Greenbrier in both 2010 and 2011.

7. Kevin Na: In his first start after his playoff loss at Memorial, Na notched a respectable T-12 at the U.S. Open and continues to have a remarkably successful season in his return from injury. Na has 10 top-25 finishes in 2013-14, six of which have come since March, and he tied for seventh at Greenbrier in 2012 in his most recent appearance.

8. Marc Leishman: After a bit of a lull earlier this year, Leishman has found his groove with six straight cuts and five top-25 finishes highlighted by his T-8 result last week at Congressional. Leishman tied for 16th in his Greenbrier debut in 2010, and it seems this year you can't go a week without an Aussie in contention on Tour.

9. Steve Stricker: You know it's truly summer when Stricker is actually playing golf. Despite a limited schedule, the veteran has had some solid results of late, with four top-25 finishes in his last five starts dating back to March. He tied for 22nd in 2012 in his lone Greenbrier appearance, shooting four straight rounds in the 60s.

10. Daniel Summerhays: The only player in the field with top-10 finishes at Greenbrier each of the last two years. Summerhays was fifth in 2012 and T-9 last year, and he enters with some momentum, having cracked the top 30 in four of his last six starts. He's inside the top 25 on Tour in both strokes gained putting (16th) and fairways hit (24th).

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Snedeker starts slow in effort to snag Masters invite

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."