Power Rankings: Omega Dubai Desert Classic

By Will GrayJanuary 28, 2014, 10:22 pm

While the PGA Tour contests the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Arizona (our Power Rankings for that event can be viewed here), some of the top talent in Europe heads east to Dubai for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Emirates Golf Club serves as the final venue of the three-week Desert Swing and will welcome a field that includes current world No. 1 Tiger Woods.

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Stephen Gallacher returns to defend the title he won last year by three shots over Richard Sterne. Here are 10 players to watch this week in the Middle East:

1. Rory McIlroy: Of the three-highest ranked players in this week's field, the Ulsterman (somehow) enters with the fewest questions tied to his game. After a "foot fault" cost him a shot at winning two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi, McIlroy enters this week as the favorite to win an event where he recorded his first professional win at age 19.

2. Tiger Woods: Last year, Woods missed the cut in Abu Dhabi and then won at Torrey Pines the next week. After a rare MDF result last week in San Diego, he hopes to bounce back quickly once again, this time in Dubai.

3. Henrik Stenson: The Swede missed the cut two weeks ago in the desert and is still showing signs of a man who played more than his fair share of golf down the stretch in 2013. His run of five straight top-10 finishes here from 2006-2010 included a win in 2007, but Stenson's best finish since that streak ended is T-20.

4. Rafael Cabrera-Bello: The Spaniard led through 54 holes in Abu Dhabi before finishing T-4, then backed that up with a tie for third last week in Qatar. Cabrera-Bello has experienced some past success at Emirates, winning in 2012 and cracking the top 20 each of the past three years.

5. Joost Luiten: Luiten's fourth-place showing at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship was just the start of a solid run, which has now included two more worldwide top-10 finishes. His record in Dubai includes just one made cut in four appearances, but his current form indicates that tide may reverse itself this week.

6. Branden Grace: Grace began 2014 with a runner-up finish at the Volvo Golf Champions and was in contention all week in Qatar. After earning a spot on the Presidents Cup last fall, he appears eager to continue the lineage of great golfers from South Africa.

7. Thomas Bjorn: The Dane continues his resurgence and is now back inside the top 25 in the latest world rankings. He's been feast or famine in Dubai lately, alternating a T-15 (2010) and T-9 (2012) with a pair of missed cuts. After winning the Nedbank, Bjorn notched back-to-back top-10 finishes before stumbling to a missed cut last week in Qatar.

8. Ernie Els: The Big Easy hasn't played this event since 2009, but his results in the middle of the decade were superb: two wins, three runner-up finishes and a pair of T-3 results from 2002-2008. Few players in this week's field can match the pedigree of the four-time major champion when it comes to Emirates GC.

9. Peter Hanson: The Swede faded a bit during the latter half of 2013 but is returning to form, having recorded five straight top-25 finishes worldwide dating back to October. Hanson has four top-30 finishes in Dubai since 2007, including a ninth-place showing in 2011.

10. Peter Uihlein: After missing the cut in Abu Dhabi, Uihlein fired four rounds of 70 or better en route to a T-16 showing last week in Qatar. Tabbed as one of the game's rising stars, the American has struggled to get his ground off the game in 2014 but has a high ceiling on potential once things start to click.

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.