Stock Watch: Tiger's old coach; Tiger's next coach

By Ryan LavnerAugust 26, 2014, 2:35 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Hunter Mahan (+7%): Well, at least somebody has contracted FedEx Cup fever. The only player to compete in all 29 playoff events, he’s now in line for the biggest payday of his career.

U.S. Ryder Cup drama (+5%): With Mahan now a virtual lock, it looks like six players are vying for two spots. Keegan Bradley and Brandt Snedeker would seem the most likely to be selected, but Bill Haas, Ryan Moore, Webb Simpson or Brendon Todd could flip the script with a big week in Beantown.  

Carlos Ortiz (+4%): This rookie season may have exceeded the 23-year-old’s wildest expectations, but the trifecta was no fluke. He represents the new breed of long-hitting, hard-swinging, fearless young players who are flooding the big leagues.   

Jamie Donaldson (+3%): On a squad littered with bright stars and big personalities, the 38-year-old Welshman earned a spot on his first European Ryder Cup team the hard way, traveling all the way to Prague to get the necessary W.

Sean Foley (+2%): Sure, he might forever be known as the swing coach who couldn’t push Tiger to 15 majors and beyond, but he’s a smart guy doing fine work with Justin Rose (two wins last month) and Mahan (Barclays). At least now he can go about his business without the nagging criticism.   


FALLING

Jim Furyk (-1%): It’s abundantly clear that his next victory will have to come from behind, not from the pole position. That said, Furyk has handled this four-year oh-fer with class, facing the music (and the microphones) after every disappointment. Respect.

Deutsche Bank (-2%): The early WDs (so far) include Sergio, J-Rose, G-Mac and Duf, and frankly we’re surprised there aren’t more. With the short week between Boston and Denver, this is the event to skip, which is a shame, because the tournament is always good, clean, holiday fun.

Tiger’s next swing coach (-3%): Job candidates must be: a.) thick-skinned, with all of the armchair instructors; b.) cautious, in dealing with an oft-injured player; and c.) ambitious, because here is an opportunity to resurrect the career of a soon-to-be 39-year-old stuck on 14 majors and in the final act of his career. That gig isn’t for everyone.

Reset Cup (-4%): Nice hot streak, Rory – you’re now Nos. 2 in the FedEx Cup. Mahan’s Barclays victory was an annual reminder that playoff events shouldn’t be worth five times the usual points.

Euro Ryder Cup drama (-5%): Does anyone actually think that Paul McGinley will NOT select Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald? The Europeans are huge favors on paper, but that’s no reason to get cute with the picks. (Sorry, Miggy.)

Chella Choi (-8%): Even the visually impaired could see that her infraction was egregious. That Choi “did not agree” with the ruling, per an LPGA official, makes the shady situation even worse.

National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

“I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

“He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''

Bubba (64) fires his lowest round of 2017

By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:12 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Bubba Watson’s plan when he left the Dell Technologies Championship in September was to take a few months off and come back fresh in 2018

Those plans changed after a few weeks.

“What we figured out was the mental side, preparing for kindergarten - not for me, for my son - preparing for [wife] Angie's knee surgery. It's been a tough go,” Watson said.

“Being home and being with the family and everything, I realized how much I missed the game of golf, and that's why I wanted to come and play in these tournaments.”


RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


The plan has paid off this week at the RSM Classic, where Watson is tied for 12th place after a second-round 64 on the Seaside course moved him to 7 under par.

Watson, who tied for 51st two weeks ago in Las Vegas, got off to a quick start on Day 2, playing the opening nine in 29. Despite a miscue at the 14th hole, when his tee shot wedged into a tree, he was solid coming in for his best individual round this year.

The left-hander was particularly sharp with his ball-striking after what has been a difficult year.

“I want to play golf now and right now I'm swinging at it pretty nicely,” he said.