Expert Picks: 2014 Shriners Open

By Will GrayOctober 15, 2014, 6:43 pm

This week marks the second event of the 2014-15 PGA Tour season, as players head to TPC Summerlin for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players, based on Golf Channel's fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and John Antonini; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; host Charlie Rymer and defending fantasy champion Ryan Lavner.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Ryan Moore: The Las Vegas resident was on Tom Watson's short list for a captain's pick thanks to his play this summer, and the 2012 champion lives by the local credo - what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. In Moore's case, the trophy that is awarded in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Group 2: Brooks Koepka: He battled through jetlag last week to finish tied for eighth at the Open, and fatigue may be an issue this week but until he slows his prolific pace, it's hard not to pick him.

Group 3: Martin Laird: Although he endured the second-worst season of his career in 2013-14, he opened with a solid T-3 last week in Napa and has finished first or second in Las Vegas in 2009 and '10, respectively.

Group 4: Andres Gonzales: Although he stumbled with a second-round 74 in the season opener last week, the product of UNLV is another local favorite who may be in form at the perfect time.

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Ryan Moore: He lives in Vegas, he went to school in Vegas. If there's one player who won't be distracted by the glitz and glam of Sin City this week, it's Moore.

Group 2: Kevin Na: After enjoying one of the best seasons for any player who didn't win in 2013-14, it would be surprising if Na didn't tally a victory this time around.

Group 3: Martin Laird: Sticking with the hot hand here, as Laird is fresh off a strong performance at last week's season-opening Open.

Group 4: Jhonattan Vegas: Sorry, I couldn't resist. It would be too good. Just think of the marketing possibilities, and remember: What happens to Vegas, stays with Vegas.

John Antonini

Group 1: Ryan Moore: The former UNLV player still lives in Las Vegas, and townies have shown a tendency to play well in the Shriners. Moore won in 2012 and also had a top-10 finish at TPC Summerlin a year ago.

Group 2: Charles Howell III: In seven of the eight previous seasons, Howell has had at least one top-10 finish in his first or second start of the year. The only time he missed was 2011, when he was T-68 and T-13 in his first two events. Given that he was T-71 at the Open last week, he's a good bet to bounce back in Las Vegas, where he has four previous top 10s and was T-5 in 2013.

Group 3: Martin Laird: Laird didn't have a very good season in 2014, but he did open the new season with a T-3 finish in Napa a week ago. Couple that with a strong history in Las Vegas - a win in 2009 and a playoff loss in 2010 - and he's a player to watch.

Group 4: Jon Curran: If you're going to gamble on someone from this group, why not a player who began his PGA Tour career on a solid note at the Fry's (T-8). He shouldn't have too much trouble with TPC Summerlin the first time around, even if he can't get any pointers from his buddy Keegan Bradley, who has never played Vegas.

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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.