Expert Picks: Open

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 9, 2013, 3:56 pm

This week marks the first event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season as CordeValle Golf Club plays host to the 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 Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams and staff writer Ryan Lavner. They are joined by former 'Saturday Night Live' star Norm Macdonald, who will serve as a celebrity guest.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Billy Horschel: Just to prove we are not going to cling to the world ranking line like we did last season. Besides, after getting his first Tour victory last season and finishing strong (T-18 at the BMW Championship and T-7 at the Tour Championship), the fourth-year Tour player seems destined for big things in 2013-14. 

Group 2: Gary Woodland: Finished last season on a torrid pace, winning the Reno-Tahoe Open and finishing second at The Barclays. And well, let's be honest, last season was just two weeks ago. 

Group 3: Bud Cauley: After retaining his Tour card through the Tour Finals, he seems poised to live up to the potential he showed in 2012 when he finished 38th in FedEx Cup points. 

Group 4: Paul Goydos: As healthy as he's been in years and playing on a hard and fast golf course, the veteran showed signs of life during the Tour Championship (T-17) and could be this season's comeback surprise.

Ryan Lavner

Group 1: Billy Horschel: One of last year's breakout stars, he got things going in the right direction again with consecutive top 20s in the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

Group 2: Gary Woodland: Game seems to be trending upward after a win in Reno, T-2 at The Barclays and two other top-25 finishes. He was T-9 here a year ago.

Group 3: Bryce Molder: One of the Tour's best putters, he had eight top 25s in 2013. The 2011 champion followed that up with a tie for 11th last year.

Group 4: Max Homa: Taking a flier with the 2013 NCAA champ, who is making his first pro start. When his putter is hot, he can contend. 

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Billy Horschel: I spoke with Horschel at the Tour Championship, where he told me he's playing the not because he needs to, but because he's excited about the direction of his game right now. That's good enough for me.

Group 2: John Peterson: Stick with the hot hand. In four starts during the Tour Finals, Peterson had four top-five finishes. No reason to think he won't still be playing well now that he's got a PGA Tour card.

Group 3: Brendan Steele: Gotta go with a Cali guy in the home state. In an otherwise mundane field, Steele is a, um, steal in Group 3. Expect a better season than he produced in 2013.

Group 4: Jamie Lovemark: At one point on the fast track to stardom, Lovemark was derailed for a spell but seems intent on getting back there again. With his PGA Tour card back, don't expect him to lose it again for a while.

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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.