Woods grouped with Scott, Stenson at Doral

By Will GrayMarch 4, 2014, 7:35 pm

Should Tiger Woods' back limber up before the start of the WGC-Cadillac Championship Thursday, he will play the first round alongside the two players closest to him in the world ranking.

Woods is slated to begin his first round at 12:39 p.m. ET Thursday, alongside world No. 2 Adam Scott and reigning FedEx Cup champ Henrik Stenson, currently third in the world.

Woods enters this week as the event's defending champion, but was forced to withdraw from the Honda Classic after 13 holes Sunday because of back spasms.

This event will mark the first time in months that Woods' top spot in the rankings will be up for grabs. Based on unofficial projections, Scott can become the top-ranked player in the world with a win this week at Trump Doral, assuming Woods finishes somewhere outside the top 5-7.

Each of the top 24 players in the world will be grouped Thursday in order based on their world ranking. As a result, world No. 4 Jason Day will make his first start since winning the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship alongside Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy, who will look to bounce back from Sunday's disappointing playoff loss at PGA National. The trio will tee off at 11:44 a.m. Thursday.

The other threesome consisting entirely of players ranked inside the top 10 will begin play at 12:28 p.m. Thursday and includes Justin Rose, Zach Johnson and Sergio Garcia. Rose has missed three scheduled starts this year while battling tendinitis in his right shoulder, while Johnson and Garcia both already have a win under their belts in 2014.

Here is a full list of first- and second-round tee times this week at the newly-renovated Blue Monster (all times ET):

Thursday 11 a.m. (No. 1 tee), Friday 12:06 p.m. (No. 10 tee): Kevin Streelman, Scott Hend, Darren Fichardt

Thursday 11 a.m. (No. 10 tee), Friday 12:06 p.m. (No. 1 tee): Harris English, Jonas Blixt, Brendon de Jonge

Thursday 11:11 a.m. (No. 1 tee), Friday 12:17 p.m. (No. 10 tee): Hyung-Sung Kim, Boo Weekley, D.A. Points

Thursday 11:11 a.m. (No. 10 tee), Friday 12:17 p.m. (No. 1 tee): Hideki Matsuyama, Victor Dubuisson, Luke Donald

Thursday 11:22 a.m. (No. 1 tee), Friday 12:28 p.m. (No. 10 tee): Russell Henley, Richard Sterne, Miguel Angel Jimenez

Thursday 11:22 a.m. (No. 10 tee), Friday 12:28 p.m. (No. 1 tee): Charl Schwartzel, Jason Dufner, Ian Poulter

Thursday 11:33 a.m. (No. 1 tee), Friday 12:39 p.m. (No. 10 tee): Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Gary Woodland, George Coetzee

Thursday 11:33 a.m. (No. 10 tee), Friday 12:39 p.m. (No. 1 tee): Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar

Thursday 11:44 a.m. (No. 1 tee), Friday 12:50 p.m. (No. 10 tee): Jamie Donaldson, Hunter Mahan, Peter Uihlein

Thursday 11:44 a.m. (No. 10 tee), Friday 12:50 p.m. (No. 1 tee): Jason Day, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy

Thursday 11:55 a.m. (No. 1 tee), Friday 11 a.m. (No. 10 tee): Bill Haas, Ernie Els, Francesco Molinari

Thursday 11:55 a.m. (No. 10 tee), Friday 1:01 p.m. (No. 1 tee): Louis Oosthuizen, Keegan Bradley, Martin Kaymer

Thursday 12:06 p.m. (No. 1 tee), Friday 11:11 a.m. (No. 10 tee): Brandt Snedeker, Jim Furyk, Webb Simpson

Thursday 12:06 p.m. (No. 10 tee), Friday 11 a.m. (No. 1 tee): Brett Rumford, Chris Kirk, Dawie van der Walt

Thursday 12:17 p.m. (No. 1 tee), Friday 11:22 a.m. (No. 10 tee): Steve Stricker, Bubba Watson, Graeme McDowell

Thursday 12:17 p.m. (No. 10 tee). Friday 11:11 a.m. (No. 1 tee): Thongchai Jaidee, Ryan Moore, Kevin Stadler

Thursday 12:28 p.m. (No. 1 tee), Friday 11:33 a.m. (No. 10 tee): Justin Rose, Zach Johnson, Sergio Garcia

Thursday 12:28 p.m. (No. 10 tee), Friday 11:22 a.m. (No. 1 tee): Patrick Reed, Jin Jeong, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano

Thursday 12:39 p.m. (No. 1 tee), Friday 11:44 a.m. (No. 10 tee): Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson

Thursday 12:39 p.m. (No. 10 tee), Friday 11:33 a.m. (No. 1 tee): Nick Watney, Roberto Castro, Stephen Gallacher

Thursday 12:50 p.m. (No. 1 tee), Friday 11:55 a.m. (No. 10 tee): Jimmy Walker, Lee Westwood, Matteo Manassero

Thursday 12:50 p.m. (No. 10 tee), Friday 11:44 a.m. (No. 1 tee): Rickie Fowler, Graham DeLaet, Joost Luiten

Thursday 1:01 p.m. (No. 10 tee), Friday 11:55 a.m. (No. 1 tee): Branden Grace, Billy Horschel, Thomas Bjorn

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.