Power Rankings: 2017 The Northern Trust

By Will GrayAugust 22, 2017, 8:41 pm

The PGA Tour heads north to New York this week for The Northern Trust. A field of 120 players will tackle Glen Oaks Club, which is hosting a playoff event for the first time.

Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to www.playfantasygolf.com to submit your picks for this week's event.

Patrick Reed won this event last year by two shots over Rickie Fowler when it was played at Bethpage Black. Here are 10 names to watch in Old Westerbury:

1. Jordan Spieth: With so many new variables tied to an unknown layout, don't overthink it. Spieth's form has not especially slipped since his back-to-back wins earlier this summer, and his prowess on quick, poa annua greens like the ones expected at Glen Oaks is well-established.

2. Rickie Fowler: Fowler came up short in his major quest at Quail Hollow, but he was nonetheless solid en route to a T-5 finish that included a 32 on the back nine on Sunday. Fowler has been remarkably consistent all season, with five top-10 finishes over his last six starts, and is likely to contend again this week.

3. Dustin Johnson: The world No. 1 should have a little more room off the tee this week on a 7,300-yard, par-70 layout that could favor the bombers. While he hasn't won since March, Johnson has notched three straight top-20 finishes to show the form with which he dominated in the spring isn't too far off.

4. Justin Thomas: Thomas will be making his first start since his breakthrough win at the PGA Championship, his fourth victory of the season and one that vaulted him to the top of the Player of the Year race. Thomas is second on Tour in birdie average this season and sixth in total strokes gained.

5. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama blew away the field at Firestone, but he couldn't keep pace with Thomas down the stretch two weeks ago in Charlotte. He's likely to challenge for what would be his sixth straight top-15 finish this week, given that he's the only player ahead of Thomas this season in terms of birdie frequency.

6. Henrik Stenson: The Swede made a last-minute decision to play the Wyndham Championship, and it paid off as he won for the first time since the 2016 Open Championship after recording four straight rounds of 66 or better. Stenson's ball-striking prowess should be rewarded this week as he fifth straight finish of T-17 or better.

7. Brooks Koepka: Koepka has played sparingly since his U.S. Open win, but he has played well with three straight top-20s. He should once again be able to lean on his driver this week on a burly layout that includes only one par-4 under 400 yards.

8. Rory McIlroy: Perhaps the ultimate wild card in this week's field. Based on his comments at Quail Hollow, it's surprising to see him even make the trip to Long Island, but we saw last year just how quickly the Ulsterman can catch fire come playoff time. Should his rib injury cooperate, we could see him start his season-long title defense in style.

9. Jason Day: Day has been close in recent weeks, but his bid for a second major was derailed by a costly quad during the third round in Charlotte. The Aussie appears to be turning things around, and he remains hungry for what would be his first win in nearly 16 months.

10. Charley Hoffman: Hoffman has had a solid season that has yet to yield a win, but he enters the playoffs clinging to the final automatic qualifying spot on the U.S. Presidents Cup team. Hoffman should have plenty of motivation to remain on the right side of the bubble, and he's only a couple weeks removed from a playoff loss in Canada and a T-3 finish in Akron.

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."

Move over Lydia, a new Ko is coming to LPGA

By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 5:11 pm

Another gifted young South Korean will be joining the LPGA ranks next year.

Jin Young Ko, the Korean LPGA Tour star, informed the American-based LPGA on Sunday night that she will be taking up membership next year. Ko earned the right by winning the LPGA’s KEB Hana Bank Championship as a nonmember in South Korea in October.

Ko, 22, no relation to Lydia Ko, first burst on to the international spotlight with her run into contention at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Turnberry two years ago. She led there through 54 holes, with Inbee Park overtaking her in the final round to win.

With 10 KLPGA Tour titles, three in each of the last two seasons, Ko has risen to No. 19 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings.

Ko told GolfChannel.com Sunday afternoon that she was struggling over the decision, with a Monday deadline looming.

“It’s a difficult decision to leave home,” Ko said after the final round of the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, when she was still undecided. “The travelling far away, on my own, the loneliness, that’s what is difficult.”

Ko will be the favorite to win the LPGA’s Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award next year. South Koreans have won that award the last three years. Sung Hyun Park won it this year, In Gee Chun last year and Sei Young Kim in 2015. South Korean-born players have won the last four, with New Zealand’s Lydia Ko winning it in 2014. Ko was born in South Korea and moved to New Zealand when she was 6.

Ko released this statement through the LPGA on Wednesday: 

"It has been my dream since I was young to play on the LPGA Tour and I look forward to testing myself against the best players on a worldwide stage. I know it is going to be tough but making a first win as an LPGA member and winning the Rolex Rookie of the Year award would be two of the biggest goals I would like to achieve next year."