AP source: McIlroy, Fowler set for exhibition match

By Doug FergusonFebruary 16, 2016, 12:46 am

For the first time in more than a decade, golf is getting another prime-time exhibition. Except this one will be live - under the lights.

Quicken Loans is finalizing details for a match involving Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler a week before the U.S Open, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Monday.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the match has not been announced.

The match would be at Detroit Golf Club on June 7, the Tuesday before U.S. Open week begins at Oakmont outside of Pittsburgh.

The first two hours would be televised live by Golf Channel, followed by the 9-11 p.m. slot shown live on CBS. It was not clear how many holes would be broadcast under the lights.

Unlike the Monday night matches involving Tiger Woods in 1999 and 2000, there would be a celebrity component with this exhibition. The person said it would be ''Team Rory'' against ''Team Rickie.''

Still to be determined are the celebrities and the format.

Quicken Loans, the Detroit-based mortgage company, is no stranger to offbeat sporting challenges. It already has staged the first college basketball game on an active aircraft carrier, and two years ago offered $1 billion to anyone who completed a perfect bracket in the NCAA college basketball bracket.

In golf, it became title sponsor of the Quicken Loans National, hosted by Woods, in 2014 and has a personal endorsement deal with Fowler. As part of its PGA Tour involvement, Quicken Loans has a sweepstakes in which it pays someone's mortgage for a year when a PGA Tour player makes a hole-in-one.

McIlroy, who is No. 3 in the world going into the Northern Trust Open this week at Riviera, and Fowler (No. 4 in the world) are two of the most popular figures in golf.

Both live in South Florida, and Fowler last year played in the Irish Open to help out McIlroy because of McIlroy's involvement.

Golf has a heritage of such exhibitions. A century ago, the value of winning a major was to be selected to compete in such exhibitions, where the prize money was greater than anything won at a major.

Woods resurrected that concept in 1999 with the ''Showdown at Sherwood'' against David Duval (they were No. 1 and No. 2 in the world at the time), and a year later against Sergio Garcia.

Those Monday night exhibitions got away from head-to-head matches and switched to team events that included women and seniors. They stopped in 2005.

The rating peaked in 2000 at 7.6, and dropped to 3.0 in 2005 when Woods and John Daly played Phil Mickelson and Retief Goosen at the Bridges on Rancho Santa Fe. Lights were only used at those matches when it got too dark.

Woods and McIlroy played a stroke-play exhibition in 2012 in China that was available through live streaming in America.

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”