Power Rankings Phils Playground

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 5, 2011, 5:33 pm
Here are GolfChannel.com’s Power Rankings, the top 10 favorites for the Masters Tournament:


2011 Power Rankings: Week 14

RANKNAMECOMMENTS
Phil Mickelson1Phil Mickelson

Already considered a favorite heading into Augusta before last week's win in Houston, Lefty is officially on form and now becomes the clear favorite to defend last year's victory.

Nick Watney
2
 Nick Watney

'Rube' has shown he can play with the best in 2011 and do it consistently. In six starts this year, he's finished no worse than T-13 and a big-time win at Doral says he's not afraid to step up to the spotlight.

Paul Casey
3
Paul Casey
Casey's got major game and always seems a part of the picture at major championships in recent years. With a European Tour win under his belt this year, perhaps Augusta is where he'll break through in a major way.
Lee Westwood
4
 Lee Westwood
The 2010 runner-up at the Masters reached the pinnacle of the world rankings at the end of last year. But Westy's multiple near misses at majors keep us wondering if it will ever happen for the Englishman. Regardless, he's a bet to contend.
Martin Kaymer
5
 Martin Kaymer
With three victories since winning the PGA Championship last summer, the latest world No. 1 in the rankings shuffle has proved he's worthy of donning that honor and has the goods to win anywhere. Period. 
Dustin Johnson
6
 Dustin Johnson
DJ's had and up and down 2011 heading, but his thrilling duel with Watney at Doral shows he can turn it on at any moment. Johnson's had Augusta on his mind ever since the PGA Championship, so look for a strong showing from the easy-going long-bomber.
Tiger Woods
7
 Tiger Woods
Woods received varied rankings from our experts because, frankly, like the rest of the world, we don't know what to expect anymore. But this is Augusta and the four-time champ comes alive every time he drives down Magnolia Lane.o.
Hunter Mahan
8
 Hunter Mahan
Three top-10s in his last four starts say Mahan is on form and many think he's got the game to contend anywhere. The three-time Tour winner could be ready for a green jacket this week.
Matt Kuchar
9
 Matt Kuchar
Kuch is like money in the bank ... to contend – but not win. He's finished in the top-8 in six of eight starts this year, but hasn't been able to close the door on the field completely since his Barclays win last August.
Bubba Watson
10
 Bubba Watson
Watson's got all the shots and a win under his belt this year to boot. Can a third lefty since 2003 wear the green jacket come Sunday afternoon? He'll entertain in answering that question, regardless.

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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McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.