U.S. Presidents Cup team capsules

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 2, 2015, 6:00 pm

Here is a breakdown of United States captain Jay Haas’ 12-player roster for the 11th Presidents Cup, which will be Oct. 8-11 at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Incheon City, South Korea. Click here for International team capsules. The Americans are the reigning champion, having won, 18 ½ to 15 ½, at Muirfield Village Golf Club in 2013.

Rickie Fowler (Audio: Captain Haas' analysis)Rickie Fowler

Age: 25

Record: Rookie

World ranking: 5

PGA Tour victories: 3

The lowdown: Earned his second victory of 2015 by edging Henrik Stenson by one shot to win the Deutsche Bank Championship. Fowler’s other win this year was The Players, where he prevailed in a playoff over Sergio Garcia and Kevin Kisner.

Bill Haas (Audio: Captain Haas' analysis)Bill Haas

Age: 33

Record: 3-5-2 (3rd appearance)

World ranking: 29

PGA Tour victories: 6

The lowdown: At No. 11 on the U.S. Presidents Cup points list, was just one spot out of automatic qualification. Was a captain’s pick by his father, Jay Haas. Bill Haas’ most recent win was this year’s Humana Challenge in January.

J.B. Holmes J.B. Holmes

Age: 33

Record: Rookie

World ranking: 18

PGA Tour victories: 4

The lowdown: Holmes is replacing Jim Furyk, who withdrew from the competition because of an injured wrist. Holmes won this year's Shell Houston Open in a playoff that included Spieth and was 12th on the final points standings. He went 2-0-1 in the 2008 Ryder Cup.

Dustin Johnson (Audio: Captain Haas' analysis)Dustin Johnson

Age: 31

Record: 1-3-1 (2nd appearance)

World ranking: 8

PGA Tour victories: 9

The lowdown: Most recent win was this year’s WGC-Cadillac Championship in March. Finished T-2 by one shot in this year’s U.S. Open when he three-putted the 72nd hole at Chambers Bay.

Zach Johnson (Audio: Captain Haas' analysis)Zach Johnson

Age: 39

Record: 7-6-0 (4th appearance)

World ranking: 10

PGA Tour victories: 12

The lowdown: Won this year’s Open Championship in a four-hole playoff over Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman. It was his second major (he also won the 2007 Masters). Has nine other top-10 finishes this season, including a T-4 in The Barclays in August.

Chris Kirk (Audio: Captain Haas' analysis)Chris Kirk

Age: 30

Record: Rookie

World ranking: 27

PGA Tour victories: 4

The lowdown: Most recent win was this year’s Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial in May. Highest finish in four events since then was a T-29 in the Deutsche Bank Championship. One of the Tour’s several former University of Georgia players

Matt Kuchar (Audio: Captain Haas' analysis)Matt Kuchar

Age: 37

Record: 4-5-1 (3rd appearance)

World ranking: 16

PGA Tour victories: 7

The lowdown: Most recent win was 2014 RBC Heritage. Has four top-10 finishes in last seven events (T-7 in RBC Canadian Open, T-7 in PGA Championship, T-9 in the Deutsche Bank Championship, T-10 in the Tour Championship).

Phil Mickelson (Audio: Captain Haas' analysis)Phil Mickelson

Age: 45

Record: 20-16-11 (11th appearance)

World ranking: 24

PGA Tour victories: 42

The lowdown: At 30th on the Presidents Cup points list, Mickelson became the lowest-ranked player ever to be tabbed as a captain’s pick. The selection ensured that he will be the only player to have participated in all 11 Presidents Cups.

Patrick Reed (Audio: Captain Haas' analysis)Patrick Reed

Age: 25

Record: Rookie

World ranking: 19

PGA Tour victories: 4

The lowdown: Most recent win was this year’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions in January. In the 2013 Ryder Cup, Reed was the only U.S. player to go undefeated (3-0-1) as he teamed with Spieth for two wins and a halve and beat Henrik Stenson in singles.

Jordan Spieth (Audio: Captain Haas' analysis)Jordan Spieth

Age: 22

Record: 2-2-0 (2nd appearance)

World ranking: 1

PGA Tour victories: 6

The lowdown: Five wins this year – Valspar Championship, Masters, U.S. Open, John Deere Classic and Tour Championship – helped him ascend to world No. 1 and FedEx Cup champion. He also finished T-4 in the Open Championship and second in the PGA.

Jimmy Walker (Audio: Captain Haas' analysis)Jimmy Walker

Age: 36

Record: Rookie

World ranking: 17

PGA Tour victories: 5

The lowdown: Walker has two wins in 2015 – the Sony Open in Hawaii in January and the Valero Texas Open in March. In the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles he scored 2 ½ points, with a singles win, plus three halves and a loss in team matches.

Bubba Watson (Audio: Captain Haas' analysis)Bubba Watson

Age: 36

Record: 3-2-0 (2nd appearance)

World ranking: 4

PGA Tour victories: 8

The lowdown: Watson’s most recent win was the 2015 Travelers Championship in June, but since late July, he has two seconds (RBC Canadian Open, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational) and a third (The Barclays).

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

"It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

"This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."