Fact Pack: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Will GrayMarch 19, 2013, 9:48 pm

This week the PGA Tour heads to the home of The King, Bay Hill, for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. A strong field will tee it up in Orlando, where weekend weather forecasts indicate an already long course could play even longer, with showers expected both Saturday and Sunday. With that in mind, here is a look inside the numbers to see which players may contend for the title and help your Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge team in the process:

• With his runner-up finish in Tampa, Boo Weekley has now recorded three straight top-25 finishes, having also played well at both the Honda Classic (T-25) and Puerto Rico Open (T-8) earlier this month. The last time the veteran was able to string together three straight such results was nearly three years ago, when he finished T-25 at Bay Hill in March 2010, followed by a T-12 showing at Hilton Head and a tie for 10th in New Orleans.

• Players have only two more events to make the top 50 in the world ranking in order to qualify for the Masters next month, which is of particular importance to Geoff Ogilvy. The Aussie, who was a runner-up at the Honda Classic earlier this month, was No. 51 in the world at the end of 2012, when a spot in the top 50 would have earned an invite to Augusta. Now Ogilvy is back on the bubble, ranked No. 50 heading into Bay Hill. Others hoping to play their way into Augusta this week and next via the rankings system include Charles Howell III (No. 57) and Henrik Stenson (No. 58).

• With four missed cuts and a withdrawal through seven starts in 2013, Brian Davis may not be on the fantasy radar for many participants. The Englishman has finished inside the top 25 each of the last three years at Bay Hill, though, including just last year. In fact, his 2012 season was off to a similarly slow start - Davis came to Orlando with only one top-30 finish in seven starts - but he managed a tie for fourth, his best career result in this event.

Bud Cauley returns this week to Bay Hill in hopes of ending his sophomore slump on a course where he has had past success. Just a year ago, Cauley was busy finishing tied for fourth, the first of four top-five finishes the former University of Alabama standout would accrue in 2012. This year, though, Cauley has struggled; through seven starts he has made only two cuts, and last week he was forced to withdraw in Tampa due to illness. The issues may be rooted in his short game; after finishing eighth on Tour in scrambling and 83rd in strokes gained putting last year, Cauley has dropped to 89th and 163rd, respectively, in those categories for 2013.

• Over the past two decades, Bob Estes has played sparingly at Bay Hill, but he has certainly made the most of his (relatively) few appearances. The veteran has teed it up just eight times in Orlando since 1994, but he converted five of those starts into top-20 finishes, including a runner-up in 1998 and a tie for fifth the following year. This year the Texan has been quietly consistent, notching four straight top-30 results before a missed cut last week in Tampa.

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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.