Power Rankings Full Strength

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 11, 2011, 11:16 am
Here are GolfChannel.com’s Power Rankings, the top 10 favorites for this week's Sony Open in Hawaii:

2011 Power Rankings: Week 2

Steve Stricker1Steve Stricker

Stricker has three top-4 finishes in this event over the last four years. He also got his 2011 campaign off to a good start with a T-4 at Kapalua. 

Ernie Els
 Ernie Els

Els won at Waialae in 2003 and 2004, and finished runner-up in 2005. He also has a pair of other top-5 finishes here in his career.

Jonathan Byrd
Jonathan Byrd
Byrd has won each of his last two starts on Tour, dating back to last year. He's never finished in the top 20 at the Sony, but past performances mean little to a hot player.
Robert Allenby
 Robert Allenby
Allenby is still winless on Tour since 2001, but is coming off a very competitive 2010. This event has been hit or miss for the Aussie as he has gone T-4-MC-T-8-MC-2 in his last five go-arounds.
Ryan Palmer
 Ryan Palmer
The defending Sony Open champion tied for 15th at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.  Els, Corey Pavin (1986-87) and Hubert Green (1978-79) are the only players to repeat as champions here.
Robert Garrigus
 Robert Garrigus
The big hitter bombed his way to a near win at Kapalua. In four trips around Waialae, he hasn't had much success with nothing better than a T-28 finish. But he's never had this much confidence either.
Zach Johnson
 Zach Johnson
Johnson and his banged up right big toe finished in the bottom half of the pack last week, but he won this event in 2009 and tied for 12th last year.
Jim Furyk
 Jim Furyk
Furyk is always among the favorites in Hawaii – really, most any week in which he tees it up. He has five career top-10s at the Sony, including a victory in 1996.
Matt Kuchar
Matt Kuchar
Last year's top money earner collected more than $200K for a T-6 last week. He has six missed cuts in eight tries at this event. But like Byrd and Garrigus, he's now the best he's ever been.
Charles Howell III
Charles Howell
Howell has played the Sony nine times and has five top-5 finishes. The only thing keeping him from being higher on this list, is the fact that he never wins.

Also receiving votes: Jason Day, Justin Rose, Carl Pettersson, Davis Love III, Tim Clark, Steve Marino, Stuart Appleby, Chad Campbell and Camilo Villegas.

Compete against the GolfChannel.com experts and other fans in our Fantasy Challenge.

Note: This list is compiled from rankings submitted by members of GolfChannel.com's editorial team, based on who is most expected to contend in each upcoming event

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.