Power Rankings: 2016 Quicken Loans National

By Will GrayJune 22, 2016, 11:58 am

The 2016 fantasy golf season rolls right along, as the PGA Tour heads to the nation's capital this week for the Quicken Loans National. A field of 120 players will tackle Congressional Country Club, which is again hosting the event after a one-year hiatus.

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Troy Merritt won this event last year by three shots over Rickie Fowler. Here are 10 players to watch in Maryland:

1. Patrick Reed: Reed held the 54-hole lead at this event in 2014, the last time it was held at Congressional, and his nine top-10 finishes this season lead the PGA Tour. He'll get back to the winner's circle sooner rather than later.

2. Jim Furyk: The veteran contended last week for the first time since returning from his wrist injury, finishing second at Oakmont. There's a good chance he'll contend again this week, considering the field strength and the fact that he reeled off three straight top-10 finishes at Congressional from 2007-2009.

3. Charley Hoffman: A winner earlier this season in San Antonio, Hoffman has been remarkably consistent since, with only one missed cut in his last 15 starts. He has three straight top-30 results at Congressional, including 2014 when he missed a playoff by a shot.

4. Brendan Steele: Steele appears to be trending in the right direction, with top-20 finishes in four of his last five starts. That includes a T-15 finish at the U.S. Open, and Steele has finished T-5 and T-16 in his two most recent trips around this week's layout.

5. Justin Thomas: Thomas flashed some form with a T-3 finish at the Players Championship, and he played well for large stretches last week at Oakmont where he tied for 32nd. Offered a friendly early-round grouping, he has the length to capitalize on Congressional and could make some noise this weekend.

6. Rickie Fowler: Fowler will play the first two rounds alongside Thomas and Smylie Kaufman, but he remains in need of a spark after three straight missed cuts. He was a runner-up at this event a year ago at RTJ Golf Club, and his best result at Congressional was a tie for 21st in 2013.

7. Byeong-Hun An: An remains in search of his first PGA Tour win after losing a playoff earlier this year in New Orleans, but he has top-25 finishes in his two most recent starts. An is sixth on Tour this season in birdie average and showed last year at the BMW PGA Championship that he can win against the best.

8. Marc Leishman: The Aussie finished T-18 last week, which actually served as the worst result in his last three starts. Leishman was T-8 at this event in 2014 at Congressional and currently ranks inside the top 20 in strokes gained putting (16th) and total strokes gained (17th).

9. Roberto Castro: Castro is in the midst of a resurgent season, highlighted by a playoff loss at another burly layout - Quail Hollow. He finished T-11 in his most recent start at the Memorial and in three trips to Congressional from 2012-2014, he never finished outside the top 30 including a runner-up showing in 2013.

10. Gary Woodland: Woodland narrowly missed qualifying for the U.S. Open, but prior to a missed cut in Memphis he had finished T-28 or better in each of his last five starts. Woodland certainly has the length off the tee to have an advantage this week at Congressional, where he finished T-16 back in 2013.

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com 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 Web.com 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 Web.com 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 Web.com 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.