Expert Picks: Honda Classic

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 26, 2014, 3:14 pm

This week marks the 15th event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season as many of the game's best tee it up at PGA National for the Honda Classic, as the PGA Tour heads into its annual Florida Swing. 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; staff writer Ryan Lavner and defending fantasy champion Charlie Rymer.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Tiger Woods: Although he wasn’t his best to start the season, the world No. 1 has had a few weeks to shake off the rust and his Sunday 62 at PGA National proved he could play the course.

Group 2: Rickie Fowler: After a difficult start to 2014, Fowler rebounded with his trip to the semifinals last week at Dove Mountain and he finished T-13 last year at the Honda Classic.

Group 4: Brian Harman: He already has three top-10 finishes this season, including a T-3 at the Northern Trust Open, and if the wind blows he is a good enough ball-striker to weather the storm.

Group 4: Jason Allred: In the ultimate feel-good story, Allred only made it into the field thanks to his top-10 finish at the Northern Trust Open but wasn’t sure he could play PGA National because his wife was due this week. Allred’s third child was delivered on Monday and he could make it a career week at the Honda Classic.

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Sergio Garcia: He’s been the unfortunate victim of some negative karma over the years; perhaps a little positive karma is due this week.

Group 2: Rickie Fowler: It would be pretty cool if we could get Rickie and Sergio in the final pairing come Sunday. No concessions allowed.

Group 3: Matt Every: I think he wins one this year and he tends to play his best golf in Florida, so that sort of narrows the options.

Group 4: Ted Potter, Jr.: Love when the Tour hits the Florida Swing, because I can pencil in Teddy for a few fantasy starts on home soil.

John Antonini

Group 1: Rory McIlroy: Even though he lost on the second day of the Match Play, Rory played well last week. His 13 birdies in two rounds are a sign his game is rounding into form, and what better place to showcase his resurgence than at the Honda Classic, which he won in 2012 before an ignominious withdrawal a year ago.

Group 2: Rickie Fowler: Fowler's young enough to bounce back quickly after playing six rounds at the Match Play (as McIlroy did in 2012). Plus, he was T-7 and T-15 at PGA National the last two years, and has a history at Jack Nicklaus courses. He was second at Muirfield Village in 2010 to go with his third-place finish last week at Dove Mountain.

Group 3: Brian Harman: Staying with another hot hand in the 27-year-old Georgian, who was T-3 at the Northern Trust Open two weeks ago. Remember, too, that he shot a course-record 61 in round two of the 2012 Honda (T-12 finish).

Group 4: Erik Compton: If there is a place for the Compton story to take it's most Hollywood-esque turn, it's at the Honda Classic, where the south Florida native was T-4 a year ago with four rounds of 70 or better.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.