Power Rankings: 2016 Zurich Classic of New Orleans

By Will GrayApril 26, 2016, 9:13 pm

The 2016 fantasy golf season rolls right along, as the PGA Tour heads to Louisiana this week for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. A field of 156 players will tackle TPC Louisiana, where the winning score can sometimes eclipse 20 under par.

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Justin Rose won this event last year by four shots over Cameron Tringale. Here are 10 players to watch in the Big Easy:

1. Jason Day: The world No. 1 has only finished outside the top 25 once this season, and even his bad rounds - like a Saturday 79 at Harbour Town - don't prevent him from contending. Day already has two wins to his credit this season and has a great chance to pick up a third on a course where he finished fourth last year.

2. Justin Rose: Rose has finished T-15 or better each of the last four years at TPC Louisiana, highlighted by last year's win where he played the final 66 holes without a bogey. Rose hasn't fallen outside the top 20 in a stroke-play event since Torrey Pines, including a T-10 finish at the Masters.

3. Daniel Berger: The reigning Rookie of the Year is still in search of his first win, but it could come this week. Berger finished T-6 here a year ago on a course that should ideally suit his game, and he enters with top-10 finishes in each of his last two events after shaking off a wrist injury in Austin.

4. Rickie Fowler: Fowler cracked the top 10 at this event back in 2012, but he has missed the cut each of the last two years. Still, he remains a threat in a field without a ton of top-flight names, and Fowler has four top-10 finishes in his last six starts dating back to a playoff loss in Phoenix.

5. Billy Horschel: Horschel broke through for his maiden victory at this event in 2013, which remains a lone bright spot on his Zurich record. But a T-4 finish last week at Valero was just the latest solid result for the former FedEx Cup champ, who also finished T-17 at the Masters and appears to be adjusting to his new equipment.

6. Chris Kirk: Kirk was slow to rebound after a hand injury late last season, but he appears to have found his groove again with top-25 finishes in four of his last five starts. That includes a T-13 finish last week in San Antonio, and Kirk finished T-21 the last time he teed it up in New Orleans.

7. Charley Hoffman: Hoffman enters on a tear, with four top-20 finishes in his last seven starts highlighted by a dramatic victory at TPC San Antonio. Hoffman effectively ironed out the final-round scoring issues that had plagued him, and he finished T-5 here in 2014 in his most recent appearance.

8. Patton Kizzire: The reigning Web.com Tour Player of the Year will get a win soon; it's just a matter of when. Kizzire went to school at Auburn and knows all about playing golf in this part of the country, and his record includes a T-9 finish at the WGC-Match Play and a T-14 finish in HIlton Head. He ranks eighth on Tour in strokes gained putting.

9. Smylie Kaufman: The former LSU standout will have a hearty rooting section this week in the bayou, and he proved both with his win in Las Vegas and his performance at the Masters that he has what it takes to both contend and win. He has finished T-29 or better in three of his last four starts and should be well-rested after a rather public trip to the Bahamas.

10. David Hearn: The Canadian has had some pretty solid success at this event, with three top-25 finishes in six appearances highlighted by last year's T-6 result. He has found his footing after abandoning the long putter in the fall, as Hearn finished T-13 last week in San Antonio.

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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.