Power Rankings: WGC-Cadillac Championship

By Will GrayMarch 5, 2013, 4:08 pm

This week the PGA Tour heads farther south down the Florida Turnpike to Miami for the season's second WGC event. Doral plays host to an elite field for the WGC-Cadillac Championship, with most of the top 50 players in the world looking to hone their skills with The Masters just over a month away.

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Justin Rose returns to defend the title he won last year by a shot over Bubba Watson. Here are 10 players to watch this week as the game's best try to tame the Blue Monster:

1. Matt Kuchar: Doesn't get any better if trying to combine current form and past history. Kuchar is coming off his Match Play win two weeks ago, and has recorded top-eight finishes each of the last three years at Doral, including a tie for third in 2010.

2. Justin Rose: Rounding into form just in time to defend his Doral title, having notched a T-4 finish at Honda last week in his first stroke-play event of the year in the States. Rose also nearly won in Abu Dhabi earlier this year, finishing T-2 in January behind Jamie Donaldson.

3. Keegan Bradley: Quietly finished in a tie for fourth at PGA National, his third straight top-25 finish in a stroke-play event this year. Bradley has carded 71 or better in 11 of his last 12 stroke-play rounds, and finished T-4 here a year ago.

4. Charl Schwartzel: Bounced back from an early exit at Dove Mountain to finish T-9 at Honda, his second top-10 in as many stroke-play starts. The South African was a runner-up here in 2010 and tied for fourth last year, having broken par in 11 of his last 12 competitive rounds at Doral.

5. Bubba Watson: Last year, Watson used a runner-up finish at Doral to help propel him to a win at Augusta a month later. The southpaw was especially able to capitalize on the par-4s at Doral, playing them in 9 under for the week - three shots better than the next-best player in the field.

6. Robert Garrigus: Garrigus is making his first appearance in this event, but has yet to finish outside the top 25 in any of his five starts in 2013. He brings two factors to the table - long drives and the ability to make birdies in bunches - that make him ideally-suited for this course.

7. Tiger Woods: Last year's unexpected withdrawal was the first time he was outside the top 10 since this event moved to Doral. Last week's T-37 was largely a product of lost balls and penalty shots, both of which Woods should be able to minimize on a course where he's won three times before.

8. Luke Donald: The Englishman has finished T-6 here each of the past two years, and was T-16 at Riviera in his only other stroke-play start on Tour this season. He made only seven bogeys here in 2011, and only three last year (along with a pair of doubles).

9. Graeme McDowell: Backed up his quarterfinal run at Dove Mountain with a tie for ninth at PGA National. Bounced back from an opening 75 to finish T-13 here a year ago, and also tied for sixth in 2010.

10. Rickie Fowler: His T-13 finish at Honda was his third top-15 showing in four stroke-play starts this year. Fowler was solo eighth here in 2011, shooting 68-66 over the weekend, and may receive a boost this week from the release of the latest 'Golf Boys' video.

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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.