Power Rankings: Greenbrier Classic

By Will GrayJuly 2, 2013, 8:16 pm

As the calendar turns to July, many of the best players have made the short trek from Congressional Country Club to White Sulphur Springs, W.V., for this week's Greenbrier Classic. Phil Mickelson headlines the field this week in an event that has seen high drama in each of its first three years of existence.

Be sure to join the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to test yourself against our panel of experts, including former champion Win McMurry.

Ted Potter, Jr., will return as defending champion, a title he won last year in a playoff over Troy Kelly. Here are 10 players to watch this week in West Virginia:

1. Webb Simpson: The former U.S. Open champion has two straight top-10s here, beginning the week with a 5-under 65 each time. Simpson led after both 36 and 54 holes last year before fading into a tie for seventh and enters off a tie for fifth in his most recent start in Hartford.

2. Phil Mickelson: Mickelson is making his first start since a runner-up finish at the U.S. Open. Though his history at Greenbrier isn't memorable (MC in both 2011 and 2012), his recent form overall certainly is. His tie for second at Merion was his third top-three finish in his last four starts, including a T-2 finish in Memphis and third-place result at Quail Hollow.

3. Graham DeLaet: The Canadian is playing the best golf of his career this summer and has the results to show for it. His tie for eighth at Congressional was his second straight top-10 finish, and DeLaet's worst result since the calendar hit May was a T-26 at The Players. It doesn't hurt that he also tied for 12th in this event a year ago.

4. Billy Horschel: Though his finish was disappointing, Horschel did lead after one round at Congressional. He's in the midst of a sensational season where he sits inside the top 10 in birdie average, total driving and the all-around ranking. Made the cut in each of his first two Greenbrier starts and was inside the top 25 after each of the first three rounds a year ago.

5. Bubba Watson: In his first start since nearly winning at TPC River Highlands, Watson heads to Greenbrier for the first time also looking to rebound from an unfortunate war of words with caddie Ted Scott two weeks ago. Though he's yet to win since the 2012 Masters, the southpaw is in the midst of a solid 2013 campaign, with six top-15 finishes in 13 starts.

6. Jimmy Walker: Though he missed the cut here last year, Walker tied for fourth in both 2010 and 2011. Though he's missed his first two cuts of 2013 in each of his last two starts, the Texan currently ranks ninth on Tour in birdie average and 18th in the all-around. His first PGA Tour win could come as soon as this week.

7. Bill Haas: Haas heads to West Virginia after emerging from a crowded leaderboard Sunday at Congressional for his fifth career PGA Tour victory. The former Wake Forest standout lost in a playoff here in 2011 and entered the final round inside the top 10 a year ago before fading to T-33. Six of his eight career rounds at Old White have been in the 60s.

8. Brendon de Jonge: Though he struggled a year ago, de Jonge notched top-five finishes at Old White in both 2010 (third place) and 2011 (T-4). Still in search of his first win, de Jonge has a stat line that shows another successful week may be in store, ranking inside the top 25 in GIR percentage (22nd), total driving (24th) and the all-around ranking (17th).

9. Roberto Castro: Known this year for fast starts, notably an opening 63 at TPC Sawgrass, Castro was able to keep it together over the weekend at Congressional for a career-best runner-up finish. It marked the fourth top-25 finish in his last six starts, and now Castro heads back to the site of his lone top-10 finish in 2012 (T-7).

10. David Hearn: Not to be outdone by fellow Canadian DeLaet, Hearn has made eight of his last nine cuts, with five resulting in T-26 finish or better. The Ontario native has had success at Greenbrier, tying for 12th last year after a T-18 finish the year prior, and ranks 20th on Tour in strokes gained putting.

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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry