Power Rankings: 2014 Wyndham Championship

By Will GrayAugust 12, 2014, 8:02 pm

This week marks the 41st event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, as the Tour heads to North Carolina for the Wyndham Championship. A field of 156 players will tee it up this week at Sedgefield Country Club in the final event of the 2013-14 FedEx Cup regular season.

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Patrick Reed returns to defend the title he won here a year ago in a playoff over Jordan Spieth. Here are 10 names to watch this week in Greensboro:

1. Brandt Snedeker: It's a special event for Snedeker, who got his first win in Greensboro in 2007, and he is quietly heading up with six top-25 finishes in seven starts dating back to the U.S. Open. Snedeker closed with 66-67 over the weekend at the PGA Championship, and now returns to a course where he was T-5 in 2009 and T-8 in 2010.

2. Webb Simpson: Taking past history over current form. Simpson has been erratic this summer, but when he's been good the results have followed: T-3 in Memphis and third at Greenbrier. Simpson won at Sedgefield in 2011, tied for 11th last year and hasn't finished worse than T-22 in his last four trips to Greensboro, near his former stomping grounds at Wake Forest.

3. Bill Haas: Another North Carolina guy, and one who has only missed a single cut all year long, that coming when he withdrew from the RBC Heritage after the first round. Haas tied for 27th at Valhalla and has six top-30 finishes in his last nine starts, a stretch that dates back to the Players Championship. He has three top-20 finishes in the last five years at Sedgefield, including a T-7 result in 2012.

4. Patrick Reed: The defending champ has won twice more since his breakthrough victory at Sedgefield last year, and just last week locked up a spot on his first Ryder Cup team. After a slow summer, Reed began to show signs of life with a T-11 finish at Congressional, then tied for fourth two weeks ago at Firestone. He should benefit from a return to friendly confines, and a course where he shot 66 or better three times last year.

5. Ernie Els: The Big Easy was a late addition to the field, and after a T-7 finish at the PGA now has strung together three good starts in a row (T-12 RBC Canadian Open, T-26 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational). While he has struggled to contend somewhat this season, Els did tie for 20th a year ago at Sedgefield on the heels of a final-round 65.

6. Hideki Matsuyama: At No. 18 in the world, Matsuyama is the highest-ranked player in the field this week and he has played well all summer long, highlighted by a breakthrough victory at the Memorial. Matsuyama has strung together eight straight top-40 finishes, and he tied for 15th last year in his Wyndham debut.

7. Brooks Koepka: The long hitter had another strong effort last week, tying for 15th at the PGA Championship after a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open in June. Koepka is not eligible for the FedEx Cup playoffs without a win at Sedgefield, so this may be his last start in the U.S. for several weeks. He has made eight of his last nine cuts on Tour, with four top-25 finishes among that stretch.

8. Tim Clark: Clark hasn't played exceptionally well since his win at the RBC Canadian Open, but now he gets a course that better suits his game than did Firestone or Valhalla. The South African was a runner-up at Sedgefield in 2012 and had a respectable T-26 showing a year ago, which included a final-round 64. Expect a barrage of accurate drives to set up Clark with more than his fair share of birdie chances.

9. Carl Pettersson: The Swede won here in 2008 and tied for fourth in both 2011 and 2012, so he clearly feels comfortable in Greensboro. While this season hasn't exactly gone as planned, Pettersson did have a pair of high finishes on courses where low numbers were required: T-3 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic and T-7 at the Travelers Championship.

10. Brian Harman: Harman got his first PGA Tour win last month at the John Deere Classic, and he will head into the FedEx Cup playoffs in comfortable position. He has a chance to boost his point total this week, though, on a course where he tied for third last year after four straight rounds in the 60s. Harman ranks second on Tour in total birdies, so expect plenty of circles on his scorecard.

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

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.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

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.