Internationals rally to cut U.S. lead to just one

By Nick MentaOctober 9, 2015, 6:55 am

The United States lost the second session nearly as dramatically as it won the first, with the Internationals staging a Day 2 surge to reinvigorate the Presidents Cup. The Internationals won three and a half of the five points available Friday, leaving the United States hanging on to just a one-point lead at 5 ½ -4 ½. Here's where things stand through two sessions in South Korea, where the drama has heightened and a Phil Mickelson rules snafu looms large (matches posted in order of finish):

Match 6: Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace def. Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson, 4 and 3

After winning 4 and 3 on Day 1, Spieth and Johnson found themselves walking off the 15th green under different circumstances on Day 2. After those two took a 1-up lead through seven, Oosthuizen swung the match with a 72-foot putt for birdie on No. 8, and Grace followed up with two birdies to put the Internationals 2 up through 10. Spieth and Johnson never got back into the match, with Spieth showing frustration on the 14th green after going 3 down, mocking his own poor putt. The match was over a hole later. Oosthuizen and Grace, who produced the only point for the Internationals on Day 1, moved to 2-0.

Score: 4-2, United States

Match 7: Sangmoon Bae and Danny Lee def. Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker, 1 up

The Internationals never led in this match – until it was over. After trailing by two holes for the majority of the front nine, Bae halved the match with a birdie pitch-in at the par-4 10th. The match remained all square, with Lee struggling and Walker and Fowler missing multiple putts to regain control, until Bae, the native South Korean who will be stepping away from golf to fulfill his military conscription, jarred a 12-foot putt for birdie at the par-5 18th to put the Internationals' second point of the session on the board.

Score: 4-3, United States

Match 10: Charl Schwartzel and Thongchai Jaidee def. Chris Kirk and Bill Haas, 2 and 1

Three of the four players in this match sat out on Day 1, with Kirk and Haas healthy scratches and Schwartzel battling illness. The Internationals grabbed the lead on the third hole and never trailed. Schwartzel put the U.S. in an especially difficult spot with a 23-foot birdie at the par-3 13th that gave his side a 3-up lead.  Though Kirk and Haas battled back to just 1 down with two holes to play, another Schwartzel birdie at the par-3 17th sealed it, giving the Internationals their third full point of the day, tying the overall matches.

Score: 4-4

Match 8: Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson halved Jason Day and Adam Scott, 18 holes

All square through six, Mickelson and Johnson went a seemingly impossible 2 down through seven when Mickelson violated the one-ball rule and was then given an improper ruling, resulting in the U.S. losing the same hole twice. The U.S. quickly rallied to win three of the next five holes and reclaimed the lead via a Mickelson hole-out for eagle from the bunker at No. 12. All square through 17, the match was finally halved with birdies on the par-5 18th. Had Mickelson been allowed to finish the seventh hole and not improperly disqualified from doing so, this match could have turned out differently.

Score: 4 ½-4 ½

Match 9: Bubba Watson and J.B. Holmes def. Marc Leishman and Steven Bowditch, 2 up

This was the third match of the day and the second in which the Internationals did not lead while it was in progress. The Americans took an early advantage and led this match just 1 up for 14 of 18 holes played. With the Americans having just lost their sizable Day 1 lead, Watson and Holmes earned a concession on the closing hole to retake the lead at the end of a decidedly International session. In the process, Watson and Holmes improved to 2-0.

Score: 5 ½ -4 ½, United States

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Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

“While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

“What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

“I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”

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Videos and images from Tiger's Tuesday at Torrey

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 7:45 pm

Tiger Woods played a nine-hole practice round Tuesday at Torrey Pines South, site of this week's Farmers Insurance Open. Woods is making his first PGA Tour start since missing the cut in this event last year. Here's a look at some images and videos of Tiger, via social media:

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Power Rankings: 2018 Farmers Insurance Open

By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:59 pm

The PGA Tour remains in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open. A field of 156 players will tackle the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines, with weekend play exclusively on the South Course.

Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge - including a new One & Done game offering - to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to to submit your picks for this week's event.

Jon Rahm won this event last year by three shots over Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan. Here are 10 names to watch in La Jolla:

1. Jon Rahm: No need to overthink it at the top. Rahm enters as a defending champ for the first time, fresh off a playoff win at the CareerBuilder Challenge that itself was preceded by a runner-up showing at Kapalua. Rahm is perhaps the hottest player in the field, and with a chance to become world No. 1 should be set for another big week.

2. Jason Day: The Aussie has missed the cut here the last two years, and he hasn't played competitively since November. But he ended a disappointing 2017 on a slight uptick, and his Torrey Pines record includes three straight top-10s from 2013-15 that ended with his victory three years ago.

3. Justin Rose: Rose ended last year on a tear, with three victories over his final six starts including two in a row in Turkey and China. The former U.S. Open winner has the patience to deal with a brutal layout like the South Course, as evidenced by his fourth-place showing at this event a year ago.

4. Rickie Fowler: This tournament has become somewhat feast-or-famine for Fowler, who is making his ninth straight start at Torrey Pines. The first four in that run all netted top-20 finishes, including two top-10s, while the last four have led to three missed cuts and a T-61. After a win in the Bahamas and T-4 at Kapalua, it's likely his mini-slump comes to an end.

5. Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker has become somewhat of a course specialist at Torrey Pines in recent years, with six top-10 finishes over the last eight years including wins in both 2012 and 2016. While he missed much of the second half of 2017 recovering from injury and missed the cut last week, Snedeker is always a threat to contend at this particular event.

6. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama struggled to find his footing after a near-miss at the PGA Championship, but he appears to be returning to form. The Japanese phenom finished T-4 at Kapalua and has put up solid results in two of his four prior trips to San Diego, including a T-16 finish in his 2014 tournament debut. Matsuyama deserves a look at any event that puts a strong emphasis on ball-striking.

7. Tony Finau: Finau has the length to handle the difficult demands of the South Course, and his results have gotten progressively better each time around: T-24 in 2015, T-18 in 2016 and T-4 last year. Finau is coming off the best season of his career, one that included a trip to the Tour Championship, and he put together four solid rounds at the Sony Open earlier this month.

8. Charles Howell III: Howell is no stranger to West Coast golf, and his record at this event since 2013 includes three top-10 finishes highlighted by last year's runner-up showing. Howell chased a T-32 finish in Hawaii with a T-20 finish last week in Palm Springs, his fourth top-20 finish this season.

9. Marc Leishman: Leishman was twice a runner-up at this event, first in 2010 and again in 2014, and he finished T-20 last year. The Aussie is coming off a season that included two wins, and he has amassed five top-10s in his last eight worldwide starts dating back to the Dell Technologies Championship in September.

10. Gary Woodland: Woodland played in the final group at this event in 2014 before tying for 10th, and he was one shot off the lead entering the final round in 2016 before Mother Nature blew the entire field sideways. Still, the veteran has three top-20s in his last four trips to San Diego and finished T-7 two weeks ago in Honolulu.

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Davis on distance: Not 'necessarily good for the game'

By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:28 pm

It's a new year, but USGA executive Mike Davis hasn't changed his views on the growing debate over distance.

Speaking with Matt Adams on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, Davis didn't mince words regarding his perception that increased distance has had a negative impact on the game of golf, and he reiterated that it's a topic that the USGA and R&A plan to jointly address.

"The issue is complex. It's important, and it's one that we need to, and we will, face straight on," Davis said. "I think on the topic of distance, we've been steadfast to say that we do not think increased distance is necessarily good for the game."

Davis' comments echoed his thoughts in November, when he stated that the impact of increased distance has been "horrible" for the game. Those comments drew a strong rebuke from Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein, who claimed there was "no evidence" to support Davis' argument.

That argument, again reiterated Tuesday, centers on the rising costs associated with both acquiring and maintaining increased footprints for courses. Davis claimed that 1 in 4 courses in the U.S. is currently "not making money," and noted that while U.S. Open venues were 6,800-6,900 yards at the start of his USGA tenure, the norm is now closer to 7,400-7,500 yards.

"You ask yourself, 'What has this done for the game? How has that made the game better?'" Davis said. "I think if we look at it, and as we look to the future, we're asking ourselves, saying, 'We want the game of golf to be fun.' We want it to continue to be challenging and really let your skills dictate what scores you should shoot versus necessarily the equipment.

"But at the same time, we know there are pressures on golf courses. We know those pressures are going to become more acute."