You Oughta Know: Reed set to defend TOC title

By Golf Channel Digital, Nick MentaJanuary 5, 2016, 3:00 pm

Defending champion Patrick Reed will defend his Hyundai Tournament of Champions title this week against a field of PGA Tour winners from the last calendar year. Here's what You Oughta Know as the 2016 slate kicks off at Kapalua (stats courtesy Golf Channel research department):

• Reed, fueled by a late eagle hole-out and a birdie on the 72nd hole, managed last year to chase down Jimmy Walker and top him in a playoff for his fourth career Tour victory. The last player to repeat as TOC champion was Geoff Ogilvy in 2009-10. Reed closed 2015 with a stretch of six consecutive top-10 finishes, including runner-ups at the BMW Masters and Hero World Challenge. 

• Walker rebounded to win the following week at the Sony Open. Over the last three PGA Tour events played in Hawaii, Walker is a combined 61 under par. That's 23 shots better than the next lowest player, Chris Kirk at 38 under. Walker's results over that stretch: Win, second, win.

• That said, no one has played better at the Hyundai over the last two years than 2014 champion Zach Johnson, who is a combined 36 under par.

Hyundai Tournament of Champions: Articles, photos and videos

• World Nos. 1 and 2, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day, headline this week's field.  This is the first time the No. 1 player in the world will tee it up in this event since Vijay Singh did so in 2005. Day shot a course-record 62 in the final round last year. 

• Speaking of the strength of this year's field, six of the top 10 players in the world - Spieth, Day, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed - are playing the TOC, compared to just two last year.

• Dustin Johnson's length has allowed him to take advantage of the par-73's sprawling layout. The 2013 winner has recorded the second-most sub-60 rounds at Kapalua (11) and has the most par-breakers on average per round (6.16).

• Kapalua routinely ranks as one of the easiest courses on the Tour's schedule. The Plantation Course has yielded the lowest scoring average in relation to par in three of the last six seasons, including last year when the field was an average 3.08 shots under par.

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.