Stock Watch: Nothing can stop Langer

By Ryan LavnerAugust 1, 2017, 12:00 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Bernhard Langer (+8%): His many successes in the post-anchoring world have created suspicion, but can we stop and appreciate his greatness? Since 2008, he is a whopping 179 strokes better (!) than any other player in the senior majors.

Jhonny Vegas (+6%): Consistency will never be his strong suit, but the charismatic Venezuelan remains as explosive as ever, aggressively hunting down the leaders with a Sunday 65 and then taking the RBC Canadian Open in a playoff after a gutsy shot from the bunker.

Erica Shepherd (+5%): The sweet-swinging left-hander looks like a future force, and her drama-filled run to the U.S. Girls’ title – a non-concession, a fitful night of sleep, a pre-round breakdown – should serve her well in the future. She’s tough.

Ian Poulter (+3%): His summer revival continued with a third-place showing in Canada. Though Poults is still looking for a drought-busting victory, he’s in the midst of his best season since 2012 – amazing, considering a few months ago he thought he’d lost his card.

Elizabeth Moon (+1%): Rather than criticize her for a mindless mistake, think about her week this way: The 2,246th-ranked amateur in the world was 4 feet from a spot in the U.S. Junior finals! Yes, it was a heartbreaking way to lose, especially after she was 2 up with four to play, but she showed class in defeat and won’t make that silly blunder again.


FALLING

Charley Hoffman (-1%): The Hoff dropped to 0-4 with a 54-hole lead, and this playoff loss was particularly costly, since the 40-year-old is desperate to make a U.S. team competition for the first time.

Ryan Ruffels (-2%): This kid has all the makings of a star, so it stung to watch his final-round 76 – the only over-par score among the top 30 on the board. That clunker cost him valuable points and cash, which will make his path to a Tour card that much harder.

Canadian drought (-3%): No Canadian has won his home open since Pat Fletcher in 1954, and the player most likely to end that streak soon is, um …

Karrie Webb (-4%): It’s the big leagues, so the 18th hole should feature a fixed leaderboard, but that confusion had nothing to do with her bogey-double bogey stretch late on the back nine. Winning is hard, even for Hall of Famers.

Rory (-5%): Hey, give McIlroy this: He isn’t afraid to change things up – managers, girlfriends, clubs and, now, reportedly, caddies. The timing is questionable, with an important stretch upcoming, but clearly the former Boy Wonder is ready to turn another page.

Getty Images

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."