Willett may not win, but can another Englishman?

By Ryan LavnerApril 4, 2017, 3:58 pm

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Danny Willett is the first to admit that the past 12 months haven’t gone according to plan.

A major victory is supposed to be a springboard to even more success. For Willett, however, it was just about the only highlight of the past year.

“You can’t change your game just like that because you come in and you feel better about it,” he said Tuesday at the Masters. “But definitely the feelings of being back here are ones that are happy. It’s a great place to be.”

Last Saturday, Willett drove down Magnolia Lane with his green jacket in the car, registered for the tournament, received the No. 1 badge reserved for the defending champion, and headed out to walk the back nine and hit a few shots alongside his caddie, Jonathan Smart. It was the first time they’d been back since his victory – Willett has been too busy. 

There were only 20 members and a few pros on the property. Willett recreated the nervy chip shot he hit on the 17th hole to seal his victory. “It was nice and serene to walk around,” he said.

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Willett, who has only a handful of top-10s since last April, says his game still isn’t where he wants it heading into the year’s first major. Though a title defense might be unlikely, in his place is a wave of countrymen ready to break through. This year’s Masters field welcomes a record 11 Englishmen.

“Golf in England is in great hands at the moment,” he said. “I don’t think it will be long before you see the guys starting to step it up again in major championships.”

It’s a significant achievement that brings a smile to the face of Nick Faldo, the only other Englishman to don a green jacket.

“That’s why we started the Faldo Series back in 1996,” he said. “That was the question: Where is the next Nick Faldo coming from?”

The answer, apparently, is everywhere. Rory McIlroy is the biggest star to emerge from that program, but Willett, Chris Wood and several others played the circuit as a junior player.

Now there are seven Englishmen ranked in the top 50 in the world.

“It shows how strong the players are,” Tommy Fleetwood said. “I think it shows how good our system is at the moment, and I think it’s very motivating for younger guys playing.”

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. 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.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. 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. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.