After Further Review: Firestone lacking sizzle

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 7, 2017, 12:44 am

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

On the lack of buzz at Firestone ...

Back in its traditional spot on the schedule, one thing is clear: the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational lacks sizzle.

Yes, Firestone Country Club is a storied venue with major history and a favorite among many players. But it’s also a dud on television, with one tree-lined fairway after the next and little fear of players ever making a big number.

The no-cut WGC tournaments offer players a chance to relax a bit, and many took advantage of that this week with a major on deck. Post-round comments each day were split between the golf being played in Akron and the test that looms just on the horizon in Charlotte.

In short, the tournament felt flat even while Hideki Matsuyama was busy turning in one of the best rounds of the year. The PGA Tour is in no rush to leave Firestone behind, but it might be a good idea if they want to inject some intrigue into a staid event that is once again lodged between two majors where emotions are often at their highest. – Will Gray

On Rory McIlroy being the PGA favorite ...

Rory McIlroy never had a chance on Sunday at Firestone, not with Hideki Matsuyama putting on a show to win his fifth PGA Tour title, but the Northern Irishman’s performance at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational was a clear statement.

McIlroy finished tied for fifth place for his second top-5 finish in his last two starts and will arrive at Quail Hollow for this week’s PGA Championship the clear favorite.

“I would say Rory’s probably the guy to beat at this point next week,” said Jordan Spieth, who will be vying to complete the career Grand Slam at Quail Hollow. “I played with him the first two days, and the way that he is driving the golf ball, if he continues to do it there he just has a massive advantage over the field at that point.”

In seven starts at the Wells Fargo Championship, which is played at Quail Hollow, he’s won twice and finished outside the top 10 just once. Every event has a favorite, but few are as clear-cut as McIlroy. – Rex Hoggard

On McIlroy splitting with his caddie ...

I loved what I heard out of Rory McIlroy at Firestone. In his first start since splitting with caddie J.P. Fitzgerald, McIlroy said that he was trying to take “ownership” of his game and “responsibility” for what he was doing on the course.

How refreshing.

PGA Tour stars are often criticized for being spoiled, selfish brats who are quick to blame everyone but themselves, but here was McIlroy, one of the most famous golfers on the planet, recognizing that HE was the one that needed to change, that HE needed to go back to the basics, crunch the numbers, visualize the shot and accept responsibility for whatever happened next.

Hopefully his peers were paying attention. – Ryan Lavner

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm