Punch Shot: Who will win Tour Rookie of the Year?

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 26, 2015, 8:00 pm

Two events into the new PGA Tour season, two rookie winners. That's already one more rookie champion than the entirety of the previous season. So, looking very far ahead, who will take home Rookie of the Year honors? Our writers weigh in.


Emiliano Grillo was an emerging star even before he won the season-opening Frys.com Open.

The 23-year-old Argentine was a heralded part of the high school class of 2011, as much of a talent in those days as Jordan Spieth or Justin Thomas or Patrick Rodgers or Ollie Schniederjans. They went their separate ways – to the pros, to college, to Europe – but now have reconnected on the PGA Tour.

Grillo apprenticed on the European circuit for the past few years, and was in position to win the PGA Tour's Puerto Rico Open last season before blowing a 3-footer on the 72nd hole. A few months later, he ripped through the Web.com Tour Finals, a run that saw him win the Tour Championship with a cold-blooded 25-footer on the last.

Keep in mind that he’s had three major life changes recently – he got married, earned his card and won on Tour in a matter of weeks – so he’s due for a letdown at some point. But once he settles into a rhythm, he’ll be a weekly contender, just like the old days, with Spieth, Thomas and Rodgers. 


Emiliano Grillo is tough to bet against, but Smylie Kaufman came from seven strokes back and won in the betting capital of the world Sunday taking the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas with that brilliant 61.

Kaufman, 23, is yet another big-hitter, but he’s also a terrific putter. It’s a tough combination to beat these days. Kaufman was sixth in driving distance on the Web.com Tour this past season, but he ranked even higher with the flat stick. He was fifth in putting average and third in birdies. Sunday’s victory combined with his T-10 finish at the season-opening Frys.com makes Kaufman the early – yes, very early – man to beat in the Rookie of the Year race. He’s also atop the FedEx Cup standings.


Emiliano Grillo and Smylie Kaufman have gotten off to impressive head starts in the race for the 2015-16 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, but fellow first-timer Patton Kizzire has proven he has the consistency to claim the title.

Kizzire finished second to Kaufman on Sunday at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open after skipping the season-opening Frys.com Open, which was won by Grillo, to get married.

But it’s what the 29-year-old did in 2015 on the Web.com Tour that makes him the favorite among a particularly strong list of rookies this season.

In his first full season on the secondary circuit, Kizzire finished in the top 10 in 12 of 23 starts, including two victories (Utah Championship and News Sentinel Open) and a pair of runner-up showings.

The former Auburn University standout won the regular and Finals combined money list on the Web.com Tour to secure his first trip to the PGA Tour and, more importantly, full status this season.

Kizzire will be able to play a full schedule, at least relative to this year’s other rookies, free from the worries of the priority list that dictates what events newcomers can play.

Kizzire may have spotted Grillo and Kaufman an early victory but he still has the time and the track record to emerge as this year’s top rookie.


It’s hard to pass on Emiliano Grillo, especially after his season-opening win, but I’ll side with the player who nearly followed Grillo to the winner’s circle last week: Patton Kizzire.

It took some time for Kizzire to find his footing in the professional game, but the 29-year-old experienced a breakthrough season last year on the Web.com Tour that was marked by impressive consistency. Kizzire won twice en route to challenging the circuit’s all-time, single-season earnings record, and his 12 top-10 finishes in 23 starts showed that his results were the product of steady play throughout the year.

Kizzire took a week off earlier this month to get married, then promptly finished T-2 in Las Vegas in his first start as a member, highlighted by a Sunday 63. PGA Tour courses aren’t the same as on the Web.com, but Kizzire hits it plenty long and should his putter remain reliable – he led the tour last year in birdie average, scoring average and total putting – he could challenge for a spot at the Tour Championship.

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. 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.

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


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


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

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.