Power Rankings: 2016 WGC-Dell Match Play

By Will GrayMarch 22, 2016, 5:48 pm

The 2016 fantasy golf season rolls right along, as the PGA Tour heads to Texas this week for the WGC-Dell Match Play. A field of 64 players will tackle Austin Country Club in the hopes of making it through golf's most unpredictable format.

Be sure to join the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to test yourself against our panel of experts, including defending champion Ryan Lavner. Click here for full fantasy assistance, including stats and picks.

Rory McIlroy won this event last year by one shot over Gary Woodland. Here are 10 players to watch in Austin:

1. Rickie Fowler: An unpredictable format yields an unusual favorite. But Fowler has been strong this season and has thrived previously in both this format and event. Outside of a missed cut at Torrey, he's been T-8 or better in every start this year.

2. Jordan Spieth: The world No. 1 will have plenty of fans clad in burnt orange this week as he plays in his former stomping ground. He doesn't have the easiest group, but if he makes it to knockout stage he could be tough to stop.

3. Bubba Watson: The southpaw's aggressive style lends itself well to match play, and ACC could be a course that rewards his risk-taking. A potential quarterfinal match with Fowler looms, but expect Watson to make the weekend.

4. Paul Casey: The Englishman needs to crack the OWGR top 15 to make the Olympics, and a big week in Austin would help. Casey fared well in this event last year and could potentially face a fatigued Jason Day in Friday's match with the group on the line.

5. Branden Grace: The South African starred at the Presidents Cup, and he should find similar success this week. He could be in great position in the bracket should Group 6 headliner Adam Scott fail to advance.

6. Patrick Reed: Reed leads a thoroughly intriguing group that also includes Phil Mickelson, but he remains a favorite to advance. From there he could clash with Spieth in the quarters, but Reed's penchant for match-play success is well-established.

7. Rory McIlroy: The defending champ had an up-and-down week at Bay Hill. While his inconsistent game could suit the match-play format, he'll need to tighten up the mental miscues if he's going to extend his title defense into the weekend.

8. Jason Day: Day could reach world No. 1 this week, and after capturing the API title he is full of confidence. But how much energy does he have left? It's a question he'll need to answer quickly with an opening match against the formidable Graeme McDowell.

9. Danny Willett: Continues to solidify his stock as a future Ryder Cup stud. Willett was a surprise semifinalist last year at TPC Harding Park but has only grown more comfortable in the spotlight since, including a T-3 finish at Doral.

10. Charl Schwartzel: Schwartzel finally got that elusive second PGA Tour win in Tampa, and now has won three of his last six worldwide starts. When his swing is on, as it appears to be, he's a tough out.

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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.