Punch Shot: Who will win the 2014 FedEx Cup?

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 18, 2014, 2:00 pm

He's won his last three starts, including two majors and a a WGC event. So is Rory McIlroy the consensus pick to run through the playoffs and win the 2014 FedEx Cup? Our Golf Channel staff weighs in ahead of The Barclays:

By JASON SOBEL

We often hear players contend after a round that they played great but didn't get anything out of it.

Rickie Fowler could say that about his entire season. Not that top-five finishes in each of the four majors is "nothing," but his trophy case still holds just one career PGA Tour trophy.

That could change very soon.

Since its inception, the FedEx Cup has often had a karmic way of maybe not rewarding the year's best player, but allowing for a champion who is overdue to win something big.

The last part of that statement couldn't define Fowler any better. He'll enter this week's Barclays as the 16th-ranked player on the points list, but as we've found in recent years, that's hardly too much ground to overcome.

Fowler has played his best golf on tough venues under high-pressure situations this season. Continuing to do that could reap a $10 million prize very soon. 


By REX HOGGARD

The $10 million season-long jackpot of (largely) deferred cash and prizes will go to Rory McIlroy, but not for the reasons that have made the world No. 1 the betting favorite for the better part of two months.

That McIlroy cruises into the FedEx Cup playoffs as the regular-season points leader would make him an easy choice for this year’s season-long race. Despite the looming point reset, the Northern Irishman is the undisputed hottest player on the planet right now having won his last three starts.

But it’s McIlroy’s checkered history with the PGA Tour’s post-season party that gives him the advantage.

In short, karma owes the four-time major champion.

Back in 2012 the 25-year-old was fresh off a similarly dominant run when he entered the playoffs.

McIlroy finished tied for 24th at The Barclays, won the Deutsche Bank Championship and BMW Championship and closed out the season with a tie for 10th at the Tour Championship.

For all his hard work McIlroy finished second in the FedEx Cup race to Brandt Snedeker, the victim of the ultimate pencil whipping.

McIlroy should win the playoffs because he is the best player in the game at the moment. That the FedEx Cup math owes him a cosmic make-good, however, makes him a lock.


By RANDALL MELL

Rory McIlroy is a human landslide when he’s playing like this. You’ve just got to get out of the way. His confidence is rolling downhill again, building momentum, wrecking whatever’s in his path.

This is how McIlroy rolls. He wins in giant swaths, and with so many big FedEx Cup events left, don’t expect the landslide to bottom out until after the Ryder Cup and Race to Dubai.

Back in 2012, he made a late-season run like this, winning four times worldwide over four months. He has won his last three starts now, and he seems so much wiser for wear, with hard lessons learned making him capable of even a larger swath of wins.


By WILL GRAY

Listen, we’ve been through this exercise before.

Rory McIlroy entered the FedEx Cup playoffs on top of his game after a major title back in 2012. He even added not one, but two playoff victories that season. Did he leave East Lake with the FedEx Cup? No, that one went to Brandt Snedeker.

While McIlroy is playing the best golf on the planet right now, the volatility of the points race means he’s far from a lock to take home the season-long trophy in four weeks. So don’t be surprised when Jim Furyk takes the FedEx Cup title for the second time.

I know, I know. Furyk isn’t exactly a closer, and he hasn’t won in close to four years. But at No. 5 in points he’s essentially a lock to make it to the Tour Championship, and there’s reason to think he’ll pick up a few good results along the way: he has three runner-ups this year, leads the Tour in scrambling, sits fifth in scoring average and hasn’t finished outside the top 15 since the Memorial.

Furyk knows what it takes to survive this gauntlet, and he’ll do it once again as the victory drought ends at East Lake, where he last lifted a trophy back in 2010.

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook played a six-hole stretch in 6 under and shot an 8-under 64 in breezy conditions Saturday to take the lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook began the run at La Quinta Country Club with birdies on Nos. 4-5, eagled the sixth and added birdies on No. 7 and 9 to make the turn in 6-under 30.

After a bogey on the 10th, he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 15 and saved par on the 18th with a 20-footer to take a 19-under 197 total into the final round on PGA West's Stadium Course. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player is making his first start in the event. He won at Sea Island in November for his first PGA Tour title.

Fellow former Razorbacks star Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were a stroke back. Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 on the Stadium Course. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. They are both winless on the PGA Tour.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Jon Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium Course to reach 17 under. The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3, Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

Scott Piercy also was two strokes back after a 66 at the Stadium.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Harkins shot 68 on the Stadium Course.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium Course to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time.

The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. The Southern California recruit had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over for the week.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine – and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Mickelson misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

“I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.