Deutsche Bank hopes for a storm-free finish

By Rex HoggardSeptember 4, 2016, 11:41 pm

NORTON, Mass. – While the vast majority of the United States enjoys BBQs, football, fireworks and the swan song for white shorts, the PGA Tour and those in the traveling circus’ radius will be enduring a quintessential manic Monday.

There will be a champion crowned at the Deutsche Bank Championship, some clarity added to the U.S. Ryder Cup picks race, a potentially dramatic FedEx Cup shuffle and a dead sprint to beat Post-Tropical Cyclone Hermine to the clubhouse.

So much for holidays.

Of course, all of those plans could get blown off course if Hermine, which is forecast to turn to the northeast and just brush New England, blows the best-laid plans into a Tuesday finish.

Officials made the proactive move to send players off earlier than scheduled in threesomes from the first and 10th tees with the hope of finishing at 2 p.m. (ET), but with gusts expected to reach 45 mph around brunch time it promises to be an eventful day whether they complete the second playoff stop as scheduled or not.

But the forecast, and the prospect of a Tuesday finish, was the last thing on most players’ minds, not with so many other moving parts to track.

For the likes of Kevin Chappell, who is tied for third place heading into Monday’s tempest, the final turn at TPC Boston represents yet another chance to break through the grass ceiling after finishing second three times this season.

“I have stuff to pull from in my past so in that sense it's easier,” said Chappell, who shot a third-round 71. “Answering these questions every week doesn't make it any easier though. I look forward to getting [a win] tomorrow and hopefully having it stop.”

Or Smylie Kaufman, the rookie who is tied for third with Chappell and Jimmy Walker, to pick up where he left off when he won his second start as a Tour member last October.

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Both will be chasing Paul Casey, your 54-hole leader at 15 under par and three strokes clear of the field following a torrid finish that included an eagle at the last hole. The endearing Englishman has three consecutive rounds of 66 in his search for his first Tour victory since 2009, if not the final chapter of a comeback that has been ongoing for the better part of two years.

“There were many a times that I questioned not if I was going to play golf but certainly to what level I would play golf,” said Casey, who leads Brian Harman by three strokes. “Sometimes I believed I could get back to a certain level and other times I didn't see much hope.”

It’s been a strange year for Casey, who turned down his European Tour membership this season and with it a potential spot on the Continent’s Ryder Cup team. He replaced the lingering drive to play for country and cup with a different goal – advance to the Tour Championship with a chance to win the FedEx Cup.

A victory on Monday would vault Casey from 59th on the points list to fourth with two stops remaining on the 2015-16 schedule.

“I've been to the Tour Championship before and you just want to be there in the top 5 and control your own destiny,” he said. “Being outside that top 5 and having other guys in control is not something you really want to be part of.”

Jim Furyk will also have an eye on the FedEx Cup algorithms, but for vastly different reasons.

Furyk is 84th on the points list and unless he finishes inside the top 20 this week his season, and perhaps his Ryder Cup hopes, are over. U.S. captain Davis Love III has repeatedly mentioned Furyk, who is currently scheduled to serve in the role of vice captain at Hazeltine National, as a potential pick, but if the veteran failed to advance to the final two postseason events it would be difficult to justify him as a selection.

If the math and leaderboard holds, there are currently six players projected to play their way into the top 70 and next week’s BMW Championship, including Billy Hurley III and Steve Stricker, adding an entirely different level of intrigue to an already busy and blustery day at TPC Boston.

And if all that wasn’t enough, Rory McIlroy moved to add a measure of star power to the proceedings with a third-round 66 that moved him to within six strokes of the lead and into a tie for seventh place.

The guy who teamed with a new putting coach last week and has repeatedly said it’s going to be a process – adding that he hopes to be back to his old self by next April – has rolled in 178 feet of putts the last two days to post his first back-to-back sub-pars rounds on Tour since June.

Not bad for a player who started his week 4 over par through his first three holes.

“The way I'm looking at it is how good a tournament would this be to win being 4 over through three,” said McIlroy, who is 9 under. “It's a great opportunity to do something that I've never done before.”

It’s all part of a potentially frenzied day at TPC Boston. That is, of course, if Hermine cooperates.

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Snedeker starts slow in effort to snag Masters invite

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta 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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LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."