McIlroy, Reed, Spieth grouped at Masters

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 8, 2014, 4:28 pm

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Defending champion Adam Scott received a traditional grouping, Phil Mickelson was given a familiar one and three of the game’s brightest young stars will play together in the opening two rounds of the Masters.

Teeing off at 10:41 a.m. ET on Thursday, Scott will begin his title defense alongside PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner and U.S. Amateur champion Matthew Fitzpatrick.

Three-time Masters champion Mickelson is no stranger to a late Thursday tee time and he received one yet again, playing at 1:48 p.m. ET with a pair of familiar faces in Justin Rose and Ernie Els. Mickelson defeated Els down the stretch of his first Masters victory in 2004.

Perhaps the most highly anticipated group comes in the form of a trio of young stars who are a combined 67 years old: Rory McIlroy (24), Patrick Reed (23) and Jordan Spieth (20).

The opening round will begin once again with Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus as the three honorary starters at 7:40 a.m. ET. They will be followed by the twosome of Stewart Cink and Tim Clark at 7:45.



The final group of the day will tee off at 1:59 p.m. ET and it includes former University of Georgia teammates Harris English and Russell Henley along with Lee Westwood.

First-round tee times for the Masters: 

7:45 a.m.: Stewart Cink, Tim Clark

7:56: Ian Woosnam, John Huh, Kevin Stadler

8:07: Ben Crenshaw, Y.E. Yang, Jonas Blixt

8:18: Mark O’Meara, Steven Bowditch, Jordan Niebrugge

8:29: John Senden, Boo Weekley, David Lynn

8:40: Craig Stadler, Scott Stallings, Martin Kaymer

8:51: Tom Watson, Billy Horschel, Brendon de Jonge

9:02: Mike Weir, Matt Every, Roberto Castro

9:13: Angel Cabrera, Gary Woodland, Ian Poulter

9:24: Fred Couples, Webb Simpson, Chang-woo Lee

9:35: Graeme McDowell, Rickie Fowler, Jimmy Walker

9:57: Zach Johnson, K.J. Choi, Steve Stricker

10:08: Miguel Angel Jimenez, Bill Haas, Matteo Manassero

10:19: Hideki Matsuyama, Brandt Snedeker, Jamie Donaldson

10:30: Charl Schwartzel, Jim Furyk, Thorbjorn Olesen

10:41: Adam Scott, Jason Dufner, Matt Fitzpatrick

10:52: Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Rory McIlroy

11:03: Kevin Streelman, D.A. Points

11:14: Larry Mize, Branden Grace, Michael McCoy

11:25: Sandy Lyle, Matt Jones, Ken Duke

11:36: Jose Maria Olazabal, Lucas Glover, Garrick Porteous

11:47: Nick Watney, Stephen Gallacher, Darren Clarke

12:09 p.m.: Vijay Singh, Thomas Bjorn, Ryan Moore

12:20: Matt Kuchar, Louis Oosthuizen, Thongchai Jaidee

12:31: Trevor Immelman, Graham DeLaet, Oliver Goss

12:42: Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Derek Ernst, Sang-moon Bae

12:53: Bernhard Langer, Francesco Molinari, Chris Kirk

1:04: Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson

1:15: Bubba Watson, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia

1:26: Joost Luiten, Marc Leishman, Hunter Mahan

1:37: Keegan Bradley, Victor Dubuisson, Peter Hanson

1:48: Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Justin Rose

1:59: Harris English, Lee Westwood, Russell Henley


Second-round tee times: 

7:45 a.m.: Kevin Streelman, D.A. Points

7:56: Larry Mize, Branden Grace, Michael McCoy

8:07: Sandy Lyle, Matt Jones, Ken Duke

8:18: Jose Maria Olazabal, Lucas Glover, Garrick Porteous

8:29: Nick Watney, Stephen Gallacher, Darren Clarke

8:40: Vijay Singh, Thomas Bjorn, Ryan Moore

8:51: Matt Kuchar, Louis Oosthuizen, Thongchai Jaidee

9:02: Trevor Immelman, Graham DeLaet, Oliver Goss

9:13: Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Derek Ernst, Sang-moon Bae

9:24: Bernhard Langer, Francesco Molinari, Chris Kirk

9:35: Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson

9:57: Bubba Watson, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia

10:08: Joost Luiten, Marc Leishman, Hunter Mahan

10:19: Keegan Bradley, Victor Dubuisson, Peter Hanson

10:30: Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Justin Rose

10:41: Harris English, Lee Westwood, Russell Henley

10:52: Stewart Cink, Tim Clark

11:03: Ian Woosnam, John Huh, Kevin Stadler

11:14: Ben Crenshaw, Y.E. Yang, Jonas Blixt

11:25: Mark O’Meara, Steven Bowditch, Jordan Niebrugge

11:36: John Senden, Boo Weekley, David Lynn

11:47: Craig Stadler, Scott Stallings, Martin Kaymer

12:09 p.m.: Tom Watson, Billy Horschel, Brendon de Jonge

12:20: Mike Weir, Matt Every, Roberto Castro

12:31: Angel Cabrera, Gary Woodland, Ian Poulter

12:42: Fred Couples, Webb Simpson, Chang-woo Lee

12:53: Graeme McDowell, Rickie Fowler, Jimmy Walker

1:04: Zach Johnson, K.J. Choi, Steve Stricker

1:15: Miguel Angel Jimenez, Bill Haas, Matteo Manassero

1:26: Hideki Matsuyama, Brandt Snedeker, Jamie Donaldson

1:37: Charl Schwartzel, Jim Furyk, Thorbjorn Olesen

1:48: Adam Scott, Jason Dufner, Matt Fitzpatrick

1:59: Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Rory McIlroy

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.