Taylor the latest Hogan Award recipient to win on Tour

By Ryan LavnerNovember 10, 2014, 7:01 pm

The newest winner on the PGA Tour needed to shoot 63 in the final round of the Web.com Tour season just to punch his ticket to the big leagues. A few weeks later, Nick Taylor is a PGA Tour winner, the culmination of a circuitous journey for the former No. 1-ranked amateur in the world.

There are no guarantees in pro golf, of course, a fact reinforced by the notable names in this week’s second stage of Web.com Tour Q-School. (Hello, David Gossett and Jeff Quinney!) Before he secured his playing privileges through the 2016-17 season, Taylor, 26, toiled on mini-tours, begged for sponsor exemptions and made the most of his opportunities on the Canadian circuit.

Five years ago, the route to stardom seemed much more direct. After all, he was an All-Everything at Washington, a two-time Pac-12 Player of the Year, a NCAA runner-up, a McCormack Medal winner as the top-ranked amateur in the world. In May 2010, he was named the winner of the Ben Hogan Award, the prestigious honor given to the top performer in college and amateur events over a 12-month span.

Consider: With Taylor’s victory at the Sanderson Farms, every Hogan Award winner from 2004-2010 has now won at least once on the big tour: Bill Haas, Ryan Moore, Matt Every, Chris Kirk, Rickie Fowler and Kyle Stanley. Some experienced success right away. Others were late bloomers.

The question now is whether the four most recent winners (2011-2014) of the award will follow suit and break through on the PGA Tour. History suggests they will ... eventually.

Here’s a look:

Peter Uihlein (2011): Conveniently, he finished T-4 in Mississippi for his career-best result on Tour. At the tail end of last season, he missed his last four cuts on Tour and earned only one top 25 in his maximum seven starts allowed. Rather than leaving school to earn his card the conventional route via the Web.com circuit, Uihlein blazed a trail to Europe that saw him win a Euro Tour event and rise as high as No. 60 in the world. Still just 25, he remains immensely talented, but an awful summer (13 missed cuts in 14 starts) has tempered expectations for now.

Patrick Cantlay (2012): This week marks his 2014-15 debut. He’s playing on a medical extension and has 11 starts to earn more than $630,000 and get promoted to the top medical category. When healthy, the 22-year-old is among the game’s brightest up-and-comers. A back injury, though, essentially cost him all of 2014 and jeopardizes his immediate playing future.

Chris Williams (2013): The 23-year-old notched four top 10s this past season in Canada (worth $28,565), but he’ll need to apprentice for at least one more year before he’s ready to join the big boys. He’s entered in this week’s second stage of Web.com Q-School. 

Patrick Rodgers (2014): Rodgers, 21, authored one of the best college careers in recent memory, his 11 wins tying Tiger Woods’ career mark at Stanford. But success hasn’t been as easy to come by in the pro ranks, mostly because of an oblique injury that robbed him of a chance to earn his card through spot starts. Now, he’s scrapping for sponsor invites while turning his attention to the 2015 Web.com season.  

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.

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Wie takes shot at LPGA dress code in crop top

By Grill Room TeamDecember 10, 2017, 5:33 pm

The new LPGA dress code got mixed reviews when it was announced in July, and Michelle Wie is taking full advantage of her offseason with no restrictions.

The 28-year-old former U.S. Women's Open champion is keeping her game sharp while back in her home state of Hawaii, but couldn't help taking a shot at the rules while doing it, posting a photo to Instagram of her playing golf in a crop top with the caption, "Offseason = No dress code fine."

Offseason = No dress code fines #croptopdroptop

A post shared by Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) on

Wie isn't the first to voice her displeasure with the rules. Lexi Thompson posted a similar photo and caption to Instagram shortly after the policy was announced.