Expert picks: BMW PGA Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2012, 4:30 pm

This week the European Tour holds their flagship event at Wentworth GC. Last year, Luke Donald won both the title and the world No. 1 ranking in a playoff over Lee Westwood, and is back this week to defend against a strong field of contenders. Each week a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel consists of: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin; RotoWorld.com's Rob Bolton; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; and Golf Talk Central contributor Ryan Ballengee.


Win McMurry

Group 1: Lee Westwood: Tough pick between Lee and Luke, but Lee is ready to flex his muscles this week and get redemption from a playoff loss to Donald a year ago.

Group 2: Padraig Harrington: He finished T-6 in 2010, showing he can perform at Wentworth after his major run of 2007-2008. Add to it an eighth place finish at the Masters and a T-15 showing last week at the Byron Nelson and he could be a threat to his fellow Europeans ranked No. 1-3 in the world.

Group 3: Ross Fisher: He finished seventh last month at the Ballantine's Championship and 10th here in 2010.

Group 4: Anders Hansen: The two-time winner of this event (2002, 2007) tied for 18th a year ago. In his last four starts (which includes the Masters and two WGC events) he has not finished worse than T-29.


Ryan Ballengee

Group 1: Luke Donald: The defending champion is a stud in this event.

Group 2: Ben Curtis: Will lead the American charge; he's in great form and finished T-6 here in 2009.

Group 3: Ross Fisher: The Englishman was runner-up in 2009, T-10 in 2010 and has never missed a cut here.

Group 4: Thorbjorn Olesen: The next great Dane is a winner this year and ready to break out on a big stage.


Jason Sobel

Group 1: Lee Westwood: Last year's runner-up has displayed some fine form already this season.

Group 2: Miguel Angel Jiminez: At 48, still very much in his prime. Must be the stretching routine.

Group 3: Tom Lewis: Hasn't played his best golf lately, but he's a former member at Wentworth.

Group 4: Joel Sjoholm: Georgia State product owns three top-25 finishes already this year.


Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Luke Donald: Last year's champion isn't as sharp as he was in 2011, but the Englishman is still one of the game's most consistent performers and always plays well at the circuit's flagship event.

Group 2: Paul Lawrie: After being adrift completely since his breakthrough victory at the British Open, the Scot has found his form the last six months and is fresh off a solid week at the Volvo World Match Play where he finished tied for third.

Group 3: Ross Fisher: Although he's still not as explosive as he was earlier in his career, Fisher has been showing signs of life in recent months and could use a good week close to home.

Group 4: Thorbjorn Olesen: Because it would be the week's best headline: 'Thor thumps BMW PGA field.'


Randall Mell

Group 1: Luke Donald: Defending champion; also has a T-2 and T-3 finish to his name in this event.

Group 2: Miguel Angel Jiminez: Despite back-to-back missed cuts at Wentworth, The Mechanic has gotten a lot of mileage out of this event with a win, runner-up and T-3 finish all in the not-too-distant past.

Group 3: Ross Fisher: Finished runner-up and T-10 in his last three starts at this event.

Group 4: Pablo Martin: Three-time European Tour winner has too much talent not to get something going again.


Rob Bolton

Group 1: Luke Donald: No reason to over-think this selection. The defending champion has enjoyed success before and after the redesign at Wentworth.

Group 2: Matteo Manassero: Two starts at the BMW PGA; two top-20 finishes. He's also posted top-10s in four of his last five starts worldwide entering this week.

Group 3: Thongchai Jaidee: In a sea of also-rans, I'll take his 8-for-9 record and four top 25s at Wentworth. In his last nine starts worldwide, he's logged three top-25s (including his last two starts) and missed just one cut.

Group 4: Anders Hansen: The two-time champion of this event has seven top-25s in 12 starts at Wentworth. Arrives on the heels of consecutive top-25s dating back to the Masters.

 **Join Fantasy Expert Rob Bolton for a live golf chat Wednesday at 12:00p ET at www.rotoworld.com**


Tune in to Golf Channel this Thursday-Sunday from 9AM-12PM ET for live coverage of the BMW PGA Championship.

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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.


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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.