Def. champ Stenson grouped with Spieth at Open

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2017, 12:15 pm

SOUTHPORT, England – The R&A announced Monday the first- and second-round groupings for the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

Here are some of the featured groups (all times Eastern):

4:47 a.m. Thursday, 9:48 a.m. Friday: Jordan Spieth, Henrik Stenson, Si Woo Kim

Stenson hasn’t won since his record-breaking performance last year at Royal Troon, though he does have 11 top-10s worldwide. Spieth, who hasn’t played since his thrilling victory at the Travelers, has just one top-30 in four Open appearances. Kim, The Players champion, is making his Open debut.

4:58 a.m. Thursday, 9:59 a.m. Friday: Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Louis Oosthuizen

Thomas started strong at last year’s Open, but he faded the rest of the week and tied for 53rd. Rose tied for fourth at Birkdale as an amateur in 1998, but he tied for 70th when The Open was last held here, in 2008. Oosthuizen, the 2010 champion, missed the cut last year after his playoff loss in 2015.

5:09 a.m. Thursday, 10:10 a.m. Friday: Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood, Hideki Matsuyama

Koepka hasn’t played since his major breakthrough at the U.S. Open. He will be paired, once again, with Fleetwood, the local product with whom he spent the weekend rounds at Erin Hills. Matsuyama followed his tie for second at the U.S. Open with a tie for 14th at the Irish Open.  

8:04 a.m. Thursday, 3:03 a.m. Friday: Sergio Garcia, Jason Day, Zach Johnson

Garcia, the Masters champion, has finished in the top 30 in all five starts since Augusta, including a tie for second in his most recent start, at the BMW International Open. Day was the runner-up at the Byron Nelson in May, but he enters this week off consecutive missed cuts. Johnson, the 2015 champion, tied for fifth last week at the John Deere.

8:26 a.m. Thursday, 3:25 a.m. Friday: Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott, Paul Casey

Fowler has played in a late-Sunday pairing each of the past two majors, and he arrives at Birkdale with four top-10s in his last five starts. Scott has made all but one cut at The Open since 2003, including top-5s from 2012-14. Casey tied for seventh here in 2008.  

9:48 a.m. Thursday, 4:47 a.m. Friday: Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Charl Schwartzel

DJ hopes to correct a recent trend, as he hasn’t played the weekend at a major since last year’s Open. He missed the cut at the PGA, didn’t play the Masters and missed the cut at the U.S. Open. McIlroy also enters The Open in a bit of a lull, after missing his second consecutive cut last week at the Scottish Open. Schwartzel has finished in the top 20 in five of his last seven Open appearances.

9:59 a.m. Thursday, 4:58 a.m. Friday: Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed, Lee Westwood

Rahm rolls into Birkdale after his dominant victory at the Irish Open. He tied for 59th in his debut last year. Westwood is seemingly always in the hunt at the year’s third major, with four top-5 finishes, but he hasn’t been better than 64th in two starts here. Reed, meanwhile, missed the cut last week at the Scottish Open to end his run of four consecutive top-20s. 

Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

Updated at 11:14 a.m. ET

An Instagram user known as hwalks posted photos to her account that included images of Tiger Woods, President Trump and Dustin Johnson Friday at Trump National, as well as video of Woods' swing.

Original story:

Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''

Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open

Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

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.