Fact Pack: Honda Classic

By Will GrayFebruary 28, 2012, 7:30 pm

The PGA Tour begins its Florida Swing this week at famed PGA National, one of the more difficult courses Tour players will encounter outside of the four majors. Gusty winds, numerous water hazards and one of the toughest three-hole stretches around will test the mettle of some of the world's best throughout the week. A strong field will tee it up in Palm Beach Gardens, so deciding your fantasy picks for the week will be no easy task. 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:

• Unlike many Tour events that have been played across the same course for decades, the Honda Classic has been a bit of a nomad - played on five different South Florida courses in the last 20 years. The Champion Course at PGA National has hosted the event since 2007.

• 2009 champion and 2011 runner-up Y.E. Yang has shown an ability to conquer the Bear Trap consistently, completing 12 of 14 career rounds at PGA National in 71 strokes or fewer. The two outliers, though, proved costly - a third-round 80 in 2008 and an opening 79 in 2010 that led to T-72 and MC finishes, respectively.

Robert Allenby will head to friendly confines as he looks to rebound from his playoff loss at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. Allenby posted three straight top-5 finishes here from '07-'09 and finished T-21 last year.

• Despite an early exit last week, Ben Crane seems poised for a strong finish on a course that is especially demanding around the greens. Crane currently ranks first on Tour in strokes gained putting, par breakers and average distance of putts made. He is currently second in birdie average, third in scoring average and has posted three top-10 finishes in five starts this year.

• For the second consecutive week, all four 2011 major champions will be in the field. While Rory McIlroy is receiving much of the attention as he approaches the World No. 1 ranking, Keegan Bradley has quietly put together a strong start to 2012. Through six starts, his worst finish is T-22 at Torrey Pines, and Bradley currently leads the Tour in the all-around ranking.

• Recently, this even has served as a springboard from obscurity to major champion for a pair of golfers. In 2004, Todd Hamilton captured the Honda and followed it up by claiming the Claret Jug four months later - to date his only two Tour victories. Five years later, Y.E. Yang pulled off a similar feat, making the Honda his first win on Tour and winning the PGA Championship later that summer for his second - and to date most recent - victory on Tour.

Fresh off his third-place WGC finish, Mark Wilson returns to the site of his first Tour victory. The 2007 Honda champion currently ranks 4th on Tour in greens hit in regulation - an important stat, as last year players hit the green at PGA National less than 60% of the time. Wilson also leads the Tour in par 4 birdie percentage.

• While the 15th, 16th and 17th holes will receive much attention this week as the infamous the 'Bear Trap,' the par-4 6th contains just as much bite. At better than a 4.5 stroke average, it ranked as the hardest par-4 outside of the four major venues in 2011.

• Swede Fredrik Jacobson looks to continue his strong play at the Champion Course this week. In three career starts on the course, he boasts a stroke average below par at 69.7. Making his third straight start after missing nearly four months due to a thumb injury, Jacobson will be looking for his third top-10 finish at the Honda in four years.

Jeff Overton will look to get his 2012 season on track as he returns to a course that he knows well. In addition to top-10 finishes here at the Honda Classic in 2009 and 2011, Overton also has fond memories of PGA National from his junior golf days. In 2001 as an 18-year-old, he shot a second-round 65 on the Champion Course en route to winning the Boys' 16-18 age group at the Optimist International Junior Golf Championship.

You can watch complete coverage of the Honda Classic Thursday-Friday live on Golf Channel from 3PM-6PM ET.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 12:55 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)

1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch.

Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.

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Fleetwood, with his fancy umbrella, fires 65 on Day 2

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 12:34 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood looked like an Open rookie when he set out on Friday under gray skies and a cold, steady rain.

Because the Englishman doesn’t have an equipment sponsor he made a quick turn through the merchandise tent for an umbrella – but at least he didn’t have to pay for it.

“We stole it,” he laughed when asked about his Open-brand umbrella. “We got one given for free, actually. We didn't steal it. We don't always carry an umbrella. So it just so happens this week that we've got a nice Open Championship [umbrella]. It looked quite nice, the yellow and the course.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

It was Fleetwood’s only rookie move on Day 2 at Carnoustie, posting a flawless 65 to move into an early tie for second place at 5 under par.

Fleetwood holds the competitive course record at Carnoustie, a 9-under 63 he shot last fall during the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship, but given Friday’s conditions and the difficulty of this course during The Open, his 65 on Friday might have been better.

“It's not a course record, but it's pretty good,” said Fleetwood, who was stroke behind leader Zach Johnson. “If you went out, you wouldn't really fancy being 6 under out there. So I think that's a good indication of how good it was.”

It was a dramatic turnaround for Fleetwood on Friday. He said he struggled with his ball-striking, specifically his tee shots, on Day 1, but he was able to turn things around with an hour-long session on the range following his opening round.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.

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McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

Said Harmon:

“Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

“This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

“Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.