Expert picks: Tour Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 17, 2013, 7:31 pm

This week marks the final event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs as East Lake Golf Club plays host to the Tour Championship. 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: Tiger Woods: Didn’t have his best stuff on Monday at the BMW Championship, but his record at East Lake speaks for itself – two wins and not a single finish outside the top 10 since 2004.

Group 2: Justin Rose: His runner-up finish at The Barclays seemed to suggest he was emerging from his post-U.S. Open chill, but he broke par just once last week in Chicago and needs a big week in Atlanta to remain in the FedEx Cup picture.

Group 3: Sergio Garcia: East Lake seems to be the type of ball-striker’s ballpark that suits the Spaniard – he’s finished runner-up at the finale twice – and he played better than his T-18 would suggest at the BMW Championship.

Group 4: Dustin Johnson: One of the first players spotted on the East Lake practice tee early Tuesday – working with Butch Harmon, no less – and he has something to prove after being passed over for a captain’s pick by Freddie Couples.


Win McMurry

Group 1: Tiger Woods: He controls his own destiny this week. And when Tiger is in control of something with $10 million on the line, I’m not betting against him. As the leader again in the rankings after overtaking Henrik Stenson for the position thanks to his tie for 11th at Conway Farms, he needs a win this week to somewhat validate his major-less season and put an exclamation point on his Player of the Year title. Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson are the only ones who can possibly take it from him, and I don’t see that happening at East Lake.

Group 2: Jim Furyk: He won the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup here in 2010 and after that 59 he fired on Friday at the BMW Championship, he has the boosted confidence to carry that momentum into East Lake. Take that, Fred Couples.

Group 3: Hunter Mahan: He tied for fourth last week and set off some fireworks at the BMW Championship with his hole-in-one Saturday on 17. That good omen paired with his T-8 finish at East Lake a year ago and his playoff loss in 2011 to Bill Haas, and he sticks out more than anyone else’s resume in Group 3.

Group 4: Webb Simpson: He finished T-5 here last year and while he’s winless this season, he’s finished inside the top 25 in five of his last six starts.


Jason Sobel

Group 1: Matt Kuchar: The Georgia Tech product still thinks of Atlanta as home, and this track should be right up his alley.

Group 2: Luke Donald: With three top-three finishes at East Lake in the last three years, he should be primed for another contention.

Group 3: Jason Day: It just feels like it's time for Day to finally win an upper-level event - and this may finally be the one.

Group 4: Webb Simpson: I know there are only 30 players in this week's field, but Simpson in Group 4?! Yes, please.

Getty Images

Schauffele just fine being the underdog

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

“All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Jordan Spieth: 7/4

Xander Schauffele: 5/1

Kevin Kisner: 11/2

Tiger Woods: 14/1

Francesco Molinari: 14/1

Rory McIlroy: 14/1

Kevin Chappell: 20/1

Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

Alex Noren: 25/1

Zach Johnson: 30/1

Justin Rose: 30/1

Matt Kuchar: 40/1

Webb Simpson: 50/1

Adam Scott: 80/1

Tony Finau: 80/1

Charley Hoffman: 100/1

Austin Cook: 100/1

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Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

“I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”

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Kisner not expecting awkward night with Spieth

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:33 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It might get awkward in that star-studded rental house Saturday night.

Two of the three Open co-leaders, Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner, are sharing a house this week near Carnoustie. Though it’ll be late by the time they both get back to the house Saturday night, they’ll have plenty of time to kill Sunday morning, with their tee times not until nearly 3 p.m. local time.

“Everybody is probably going to get treatment and eating and trying to find a bed,” Kisner said. “I’m sure there’ll be some conversations. There always are. Everybody has a few horror stories or good laughs over something that happened out there. That will probably be the end of it.”

One thing they’re almost certain to discuss is the weather.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


After three days of mostly benign conditions, Sunday’s forecast calls for warm temperatures and wind gusts up to 25 mph.

“When you watch any TV, that’s all they talk about – how Sunday’s coming,” Kisner said. “It’s going to be a true test, and we’ll get to see really who’s hitting it the best and playing the best.”

Zach Johnson is also in the house – along with Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker and Jason Dufner – and he rode to the course Saturday with Kisner, with whom he played in the final group, at 4 p.m. It’s unclear whether the co-leaders Sunday will have a similar arrangement.

This is the third year that Spieth and Co. have shared a house at The Open, though Kisner is a new addition to the group.

“It’s the end of the week,” Kisner said. “Everybody’s got a lot of stuff going on. Everybody’s going their separate ways tomorrow. Tomorrow morning we’ll all sit around and laugh on the couch and talk about why that guy’s making so many birdies.”