Power Rankings: McGladrey Classic

By Will GrayNovember 5, 2013, 9:16 pm

This week marks the fifth week of the PGA Tour's new 2013-14 wraparound season, as the Tour returns to the U.S. after two weeks in Asia. Sea Island Club's Seaside Course plays host this week to The McGladrey Classic, the penultimate official event of the 2013 calendar year.

Be sure to join the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to test yourself against our panel of experts, including defending champion Charlie Rymer.

Tommy Gainey returns to defend the title he won last year by one stroke over David Toms. Here are 10 players to watch this week along the Georgia coastline:

1. Zach Johnson: A resident of nearby St. Simons Island, Johnson finished the 2013 season as one of the hottest golfers on Tour, a stretch that he capped with a win at the BMW Championship in September. Dating back to last season, Johnson has seven top-10 finishes in his last nine starts overall and should benefit from the friendly confines this week at Sea Island.

2. Webb Simpson: A winner his last time out at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, Simpson is clearly carrying some momentum into this week's event in Georgia. He's also familiar with Sea Island, having lost to Ben Crane in a playoff here in 2011 in his most recent McGladrey appearance.

3. Matt Kuchar: One of many players in this week's field with ties to the Peach State, and at No. 8 is the highest-ranked player in this week's field. He's notched a pair of top-25 finishes in his previous two McGladrey appearances and has shot par or better in each of his eight prior competitive rounds at Sea Island.

4. Brendon de Jonge: The Zimbabwean remains on the short list of most talented players without a PGA Tour win, though he nearly got one here a year ago when he tied for fourth. A course like Sea Island that demands tee-to-green accuracy while yielding a high number of birdies will usually be in de Jonge's wheelhouse.

5. Charles Howell III: Howell continues his quest to earn a Masters invite, and may find an elusive victory this week after a pair of top-10 finishes in his two most recent starts. The Augusta native also has a pair of top-10 finishes in three career McGladrey appearances, including a T-7 result last year after carding 68 or better in each of the four rounds.

6. Boo Weekley: Weekley is making the long trip from China to Georgia this week, having tied for 11th at the WGC-HSBC Champions. The veteran finished the 2013 season ranked sixth on Tour in GIR percentage and seventh in total driving, two trends that should bode well this week on a course where Weekley tied for 27th a year ago.

7. Jeff Overton: Overton tied for sixth here in 2011 and in two career appearances has shot in the 60s in seven of eight competitive rounds. Already with three starts under his belt in 2013-14, the former Hoosier has finished T-16 or better each time he's teed it up this season, including a T-9 in Las Vegas after opening with a 63.

8. John Peterson: Though Peterson has cooled since his torrid run through the Web.com Tour Finals, he now returns to a course where he finished second during the 2011 SEC Championship. A former NCAA champion while at LSU, Peterson tied for 21st at the Frys.com Open and has the ability to go low on nearly any PGA Tour venue.

9. Luke Guthrie: Guthrie is currently riding a hot hand, having parlayed his tie for fifth in Las Vegas into a fourth-place finish at the BMW Masters in China two weeks ago. Now back in the States, the former University of Illinois product will look to keep up his momentum, having shot 71 or better in each of his first eight rounds to start the 2013-14 PGA Tour season.

10. Harris English: A former standout at the University of Georgia, English will certainly have some crowd support this week at Sea Island and has already shown the ability to win on the PGA Tour. The 24-year-old tied for seventh in his most recent start at the CIMB Classic and tied for 15th at McGladrey a year ago. 

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Watch: Daly makes birdie from 18-foot-deep bunker

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 11:14 pm

John Daly on Friday somehow got up and down for birdie from the deepest bunker on the PGA Tour.

The sand to the left of the green on the 16th hole at the Stadium Course at PGA West sits 18 feet below the surface of the green.

That proved no problem for Daly, who cleared the lip three times taller than he is and then rolled in a 26-footer.

He fared just slightly better than former Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill.

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Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

“I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.

Made Cut

Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

September can’t get here quick enough.

Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

“I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

“My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.

Missed Cut

Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

Tweet of the week:

It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.