Spieth-Thomas headlines WGC-Dell Match Play groups

By Will GrayMarch 22, 2016, 12:20 am

The ping-pong balls have finally settled, and the groups for the WGC-Dell Match Play have been set. Here's a look at a few intriguing matchups that will occur during pool play:

Jordan Spieth vs. Justin Thomas: The two friends and former college rivals were drawn together and will meet Friday at Austin Country Club. Spieth notably beat Thomas in their match during the 2012 NCAA final.

Patrick Reed vs. Phil Mickelson: The two former Ryder Cup teammates will meet Friday in a compelling match that certainly won't lack any confidence among the participants.

Sergio Garcia vs. Lee Westwood: Speaking of former Ryder Cup teammates, Garcia and Westwood will meet during Wednesday's opening match.

Bubba Watson vs. J.B. Holmes: Lovers of the long ball, grab a seat. Watson and Holmes will play Friday in a match that could decide the group - and likely will include plenty of 300-plus yard drives.

Jason Day vs. Graeme McDowell: Fresh off his win at Bay Hill, Day gets a tricky opening matchup with McDowell, who has regained his form this season and has plenty of match-play experience.

Players will face each of the other three members in their group during pool play, with match winners earning a point and ties resulting in a half-point for each participant. The player with the most points from each group will advance to single-elimination knockout play.

The top-ranked player will face the lowest-ranked player in his group on Wednesday, followed by the third-ranked player Thursday and finally the second-ranked player Friday. Here's a look at each of the 16 groups:


WGC-Dell Match Play: Day 1 tee times

WGC-Dell Match Play: Full bracket


Group 1: Jordan Spieth (1), Justin Thomas (31), Victor Dubuisson (39), Jamie Donaldson (51)

Group 2: Jason Day (2), Paul Casey (23), Thongchai Jaidee (36), Graeme McDowell (62)

Group 3: Rory McIlroy (3), Kevin Na (26), Smylie Kaufman (46), Thorbjorn Olesen (64)

Group 4: Bubba Watson (4), J.B. Holmes (21), Emiliano Grillo (33), Patton Kizzire (63)

Group 5: Rickie Fowler (5), Byeong-Hun An (27), Scott Piercy (47), Jason Dufner (58)

Group 6: Adam Scott (6), Bill Haas (30), Chris Wood (41), Thomas Pieters (55)

Group 7: Justin Rose (7), Matt Kuchar (28), Anirban Lahiri (48), Fabian Gomez (57)

Group 8: Dustin Johnson (8), Jimmy Walker (22), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (37), Robert Streb (49)

Group 9: Patrick Reed (9), Phil Mickelson (17), Matthew Fitzpatrick (42), Daniel Berger (53)

Group 10: Danny Willett (10), Brooks Koepka (18), Billy Horschel (40), Jaco Van Zyl (50)

Group 11: Branden Grace (11), Russell Knox (32), David Lingmerth (38), Chris Kirk (54)

Group 12: Hideki Matsuyama (12), Kevin Kisner (20), Soren Kjeldsen (43), Rafael Cabrera-Bello (52)

Group 13: Sergio Garcia (13), Marc Leishman (25), Ryan Moore (45), Lee Westwood (59)

Group 14: Zach Johnson (14), Shane Lowry (24), Martin Kaymer (44), Marcus Fraser (60)

Group 15: Brandt Snedeker (15), Charl Schwartzel (19), Danny Lee (34), Charley Hoffman (56)

Group 16: Louis Oosthuizen (16), Andy Sullivan (29), Bernd Wiesberger (35), Matt Jones (61)

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Rahm focusing on play, not shot at No. 1

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 9:06 pm

SAN DIEGO – Jon Rahm’s meteoric rise in the world rankings could end with him reaching No. 1 with a win this week at Torrey Pines.

After winning last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his fourth title in 51 weeks, Rahm has closed the gap on Dustin Johnson – less than 1.5 average points separates them.

With Johnson not playing this week, the 23-year-old Spaniard has a chance to reach the top spot for the first time, but only if he defends his title at the Farmers Insurance Open.


Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


“Beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task. It’s no easy task,” he said Tuesday. “We still have four days of golf ahead and we’ll see what happens. But I’ll try to focus more on what’s going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win.

“I’ll try my best, that’s for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”

Rahm has already become the fourth-youngest player to reach No. 2 in the world, behind Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. 

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Rahm: Playoff wasn't friendly, just 'nervous'

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:53 pm

SAN DIEGO – Too chummy? Jon Rahm says he and Andrew Landry were just expending some nervous energy on the walk up to the fairway during the first playoff hole of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

“I wouldn’t have been that nervous if it was friendly,” Rahm said with a smile Tuesday. “I think it was something he said because we were talking going out of the first tee.

“I didn’t know Andrew – I think it was a pretty good time to get to know him. We had at least 10 minutes to ourselves. It’s not like we were supporting each other, right? We were both in it together, we were both nervous together, and I felt like talking about it might have eased the tension out of both of us.”


Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


On Sunday, two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange saw the exchange on TV and tweeted: “Walking off the tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me? Talking at all?”

Strange followed up by saying that, in a head-to-head situation, the last thing he’d want to do was make his opponent comfortable. When his comments went viral, Strange tweeted at Rahm, who won after four holes: “Hopefully no offense taken on my comment yesterday. You guys are terrific. I’m a huge fan of all players today. Made an adverse comment on U guys talking during playoff. Not for me. A fan.”

Not surprisingly, the gregarious Rahm saw things differently.

“We only talked going out of the first tee up until the fairway,” he said. “Besides that, all we said was, ‘Good shot, good putt, see you on the next tee.’ That’s what it was reduced to. We didn’t say much.” 

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Tiger grouped with Reed, Hoffman at Torrey Pines

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:35 pm

SAN DIEGO – Tiger Woods will make his 2018 debut alongside Patrick Reed and Charley Hoffman.

The threesome will go off Torrey Pines’ South Course at 1:40 p.m. ET Thursday at the Farmers Insurance Open. They begin at 12:30 p.m. Friday on the North Course.

Woods is an eight-time winner at Torrey Pines, including the 2008 U.S. Open, but he hasn’t broken 70 in his last seven rounds on either course. Last year, he shot rounds of 76-72 to miss the cut.


Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


Reed, who has grown close to Woods after being in his pod during the past two international team competitions, is coming off a missed cut last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Hoffman, a San Diego native, has only two top-10s in 20 career starts at Torrey.

Other featured groups for the first two rounds include:

• Jon Rahm, Jason Day and Brandt Snedeker: 1:30 p.m. Thursday off South 1, 12:20 p.m. Friday off North 10

• Rickie Fowler, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele: 12:30 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:30 p.m. Friday off South 1

• Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama: 12:40 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:40 p.m. Friday off South 1

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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.”