Woods (69) three behind Fleetwood at Hero

By Will GrayNovember 30, 2017, 9:26 pm

There are 18 players in the field this week at the Hero World Challenge, but the brunt of the attention is focused squarely on one individual. Here's how things look after the first round at Albany, where Tommy Fleetwood leads and Tiger Woods got off to a solid start:

Leaderboard: Tommy Fleetwood (-6), Matt Kuchar (-5), Rickie Fowler (-5), Dustin Johnson (-4), Justin Rose (-4), Jordan Spieth (-4), Tiger Woods (-3)

What it means: Fleetwood won the European Tour's Race to Dubai only two weeks ago, so it's no surprise to see him holding the top spot. But the spotlight all day fell on Woods, who made his first competitive start since February and largely exceeded expectations despite displaying plenty of rust. With Fowler, Spieth and the current world No. 1 also in contention, it's already shaping up to be an entertaining weekend in the islands.

Round of the day: Fleetwood made it around the sand-laden venue without dropping a shot, rolling in a 12-foot par putt on the last hole to preserve a clean sheet. The Englishman rattled off four birdies in a seven-hole stretch on the front nine, then grabbed the lead with birdies on Nos. 14 and 15. He's in search of what would be his third worldwide win during a banner 2017 campaign.

Best of the rest: Fowler has only one win this year but it's been a remarkably solid season, one that he continued with a 5-under 67 at Albany that included a stellar up-and-down from the face of a greenside bunker on No. 18. Fowler birdied each of his first three holes and made seven birdies in total on a course where he has broken par in each of his nine competitive rounds.

Biggest disappointment: Last year Hideki Matsuyama blitzed the field at Albany, but he appears unlikely to repeat after a 1-under 71 on a day when only two players in the 18-man field failed to break par. Matsuyama appeared headed for a far worse fate after playing his first 12 holes in 3 over, but four straight birdies on Nos. 14-17 at least helped him get into red figures.

Main storyline heading into Friday: It should come as no surprise that Woods remains the biggest topic of discussion. Playing his first competitive round in 301 days he had plenty of bright spots, and he managed to better last year's opening effort by four shots despite a series of flubbed chips and a few errant tee shots. While it's the smallest of sample sizes, it was still an opener that did plenty to stoke the flames of optimism.

Shot of the day: Justin Thomas seemed destined for a mess on No. 7 before chipping in from behind the green. While he still left with a bogey, it turned the round around for Thomas who played his final 11 holes in 4 under to tie his playing partner Woods with a 3-under 69.

Quote of the day: "I didn't know what I could do. I've been playing golf, playing a lot of holes at home, but it's a little different when you have to tee it up in a tournament." - Woods

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


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

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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