Fantasy Island: 2011 Tour Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 20, 2011, 1:43 pm

GolfChannel.com experts offer up their picks for the Tour Championship. Each week a panel of experts will offer up their picks from three groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel consists of: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Charlie Rymer; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' hosts Gary Williams and Erik Kuselias; contributor Win McMurry; writer for NBCSports.com's ProGolf Talk, Ryan Ballengee; and RotoWorld.com's Rob Bolton.

In parentheses, next to the names, are the participants' 2011 points earned and ranking among the 17 Fantasy Challenge 'experts.'


Rex Hoggard

Rex Hoggard (10,294,955; 3rd)

Group A: Luke Donald: Runner-up at East Lake last year and fresh off top-5 finishes in Chicago and Boston.

Group B: Webb Simpson: Forget that this week is the rookie’s first start at East Lake. Since early August he’s finished first, T-10, first and fifth. See the trend?

Group C: Gary Woodland: Needs a big week if he’s going to draw the attention of Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples.    


Randall Mell

Randall Mell (9,219,243; 8th)

Group A: ???: ???.

Group B: ???: ???

Group C: ???: ???    


Charlie Rymer

Charlie Rymer (9,571,508; 5th)

Group A: Luke Donald: Was in the mix last year and this year he brings home all the bacon.

Group B: David Toms: Atlanta has been kind to Toms and he should feel very comfortable on the Bermuda greens.

Group C: Mark Wilson: Played great early last week. A win at East Lake would bookend the best year of his career.


John Hawkins

John Hawkins (8,879,178; 9th)

Group A: Luke Donald: A win gets him in the Player of the Year picture and a whole bunch more.

Group B: Webb Simpson: The best and hottest player from this group.

Group C: John Senden: My wife likes him and that is good enough for me this week.


Jay Coffin

Jay Coffin (13,394,707; 2nd)

Group A: Luke Donald: He's been the most consistent player this year and there is no reason to believe it won't continue.

Group B: Webb Simpson: He's been the best player in recent months and there is no reason to believe it won't continue.

Group C: Bo Van Pelt: Let's be hones: this is BVP's tournament to lose. 


Gary Williams

Gary Williams (9,480,686; 6th)

Group A: Luke Donald: How can you not pick the No. 1 player in the world?

Group B: Webb Simpson: Don't see his great form trailing off this week.

Group C: Charles Howell III: May be the happiest person in the field this week as he made his way back to East Lake and also the Masters in 2012. 


Erik Kuselias

Erik Kuselias (???; ??)

Group A: Luke Donald: He controls his own destiny this week and could cap off a stellar season with a win.

Group B: Webb Simpson: FedEx Cup leader needs one more great week to claim the big prize.

Group C: Bill Haas: Needs to great finish to convince U.S. captain Fred Couples to take him as a Presidents Cup wildcard. 


Win McMurry

 Win McMurry (15,129,310; 1st)

 Group A: ???: ???.

Group B: ???: ???

Group C: ???: ??? 


Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee (???; ???)

Group A: Luke Donald: Was second here a year ago. Told me he needs to get his driver straightened out, but that shouldn't be a problem.

Group B: Geoff Ogilvy: He's a streaky player and is coming off a good performance in Chicago.

Group C: Vijay Singh: Didn't play well last week, but Cog Hill doesn't fit his eye. East Lake, however, does. 


Rob Bolton

Rob Bolton (10,207,932; 4th)

Group A: Luke Donald: Last year’s runner-up leads the PGA Tour in adjusted scoring and bogey avoidance.

Group B: Webb Simpson: Tour leader in the all-around ranking for the last three months; finished fifth at the BMW, his fourth straight top-10.

Group C: Chez Reavie: Investing in a calculated flier in our final event. Top-10s in three of last four starts. A ball-striker’s ball-striker.


For more in-depth fantasy golf coverage, visit Rotoworld powered by NBC Sports.RotoWorld 

Getty Images

Football coach hates golf: Don't need practice swearing

By Jason CrookApril 20, 2018, 10:15 pm

Some football coaches are a little more talkative than others. On one side of the spectrum, there's Bill Belichick. On the other sits Washington State football coach Mike Leach.

Leach always delivers the goods, and when asked recently if he liked golf, he didn't hold back:

As wrong as the 57-year-old is on the topic (golf is awesome), the man makes some hilarious points:

• “It’s boring. I don’t care where that ball goes.”

• "Golfers are always practicing their swing. But you know what I never did? I never practice fishing in my living room.”

• "They'll line up over the ball and they'll say they're going to do something that you can't do with a sniper rifle and a scope, but they're going to do it with a stick and a ball."

• “Golf’s pretty much for people that don’t swear effectively enough or need practice. And so there are people that need golf, and I don’t think I do.”

So in conclusion, it's confirmed: Mike Leach - not a golf guy.

Getty Images

Quiros takes 1-shot lead in Morocco

By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 8:22 pm

RABAT, Morocco - Alvaro Quiros shot a solid 2-under 70 in windy conditions to push into a one-shot lead after two rounds of the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco on Friday.

Quiros fought the elements, carding seven birdies and five bogeys to move to 7 under overall and take the outright lead at the halfway point of the European Tour event.

The Spaniard was one clear of Andrew Dodt, who moved into contention with a 4-under 68 at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam course. Dodt dropped two shots in his first six holes but the Australian recovered from that shaky start to collect four birdies and an eagle.


Full-field scores from the Trophee Hassan II


Erik van Rooyen of South Africa was another shot back in third on 5 under after his 71.

Bradley Dredge of Wales, who shared the first-round lead with Quiros, slipped off the pace with a 1-over 73. He's tied for fourth with Austin Connelly of Canada (71), 4 under par and three shots behind Quiros.

Getty Images

Bogey-free Moore shares Valero lead

By Will GrayApril 20, 2018, 8:20 pm

Amid the swirling winds on a difficult track at the Valero Texas Open, Ryan Moore has yet to blink.

Moore was one of only two players among the 156-man field to go bogey-free during the opening round at TPC San Antonio, and he's now the only player still boasting a clean scorecard after a second-round 67 that included five birdies and the rest pars. At 9 under, the veteran shares the lead with Zach Johnson and was three shots clear of any other player at the end of the morning wave.

"Really, around this golf course what matters is the right distance," Moore told reporters. "You can get in some pretty tough spots if you're long and short. So I kind of hit it the right distance all day, gave myself plenty of good birdie opportunities and didn't stress myself out too much with too many up-and-downs."

While many players struggle to find a true offseason, Moore took nearly three months off between starts at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba and Waste Management Phoenix Open. During that time he shed nearly 20 pounds thanks to changes to his diet and teamed up with a new swing coach, Drew Steckel, in December.

The results have been solid if not spectacular, as Moore tied for fifth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and finished T-16 last week at the RBC Heritage.

"It's been solid golf, especially the last few weeks. I haven't got a ton out of it," Moore said. "The putter just wasn't there. So this week, just got a little more comfortable with the putter and knocked a few putts in that kind of matter early in my rounds, and it's going in. That's kind of what's been missing lately."

Moore had a breakthrough season in 2016 that included his victory at the John Deere Classic and spot on the Ryder Cup team, but he hasn't sniffed career win No. 6 since a T-3 finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions 16 months ago. Should he keep a clean card this weekend in San Antonio, his chances to end that victory drought appear bright.

"I played some really nice golf yesterday, I just controlled the ball nicely all the way around and was bogey-free yesterday, so thought, 'Let's go try and do that again,'" Moore said. "So to play in tough, windy conditions, to go bogey-free (again), it was some good solid golf."

Getty Images

Former champ Z. Johnson surges at Valero

By Will GrayApril 20, 2018, 7:31 pm

Midway through his opening round at the Valero Texas Open, Zach Johnson appeared far closer to a missed cut than a spot on the leaderboard.

Johnson initially struggled in the winds at TPC San Antonio, playing his first 13 holes in 3 over. But he eagled No. 14 and closed with three more birdies to post a 2-under 70, then went unconscious during a second-round 65 where he made six birdies over his first 10 holes.

It added up to a 9-under total at the halfway point, and instead of packing his bags the two-time major champ now shares the lead with Ryan Moore.

"You just never know. That's the beauty of this game," Johnson told reporters. "I didn't have anything going putting-wise. I felt like I was hitting some solid shots and wasn't getting rewarded, and you've just got to stay in it. You've got to persevere, grind it out, fight for pars. Shoot, I made some good pars all while being 3 over. You just never know."

Johnson won this event in both 2008 and 2009, but that was when it was held across town at La Cantera Golf Club. Since the switch to TPC San Antonio in 2010, he has only one top-10 finish and two missed cuts, including last year's early exit with consecutive rounds of 74.

But Friday he played like a man unaware of the venue shift, with four straight birdies on Nos. 12-15 and a hole-out eagle from the greenside bunker on the par-4 fifth hole. His closing bogey on No. 9 was his first dropped shot in the last 25 holes.

"The confidence is there, and when you can step on the tee with this kind of wind, you trust your clubs and trust your ball, that's pretty important," Johnson said. "I felt good. It was hard, I'm not going to deny that. That was one of the better 27-hole stretches that I've had in a long time."

Johnson's 65 was his first sub-70 score since an opening-round 69 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a span of 12 stroke-play rounds. The veteran has made every cut in 11 starts this season, but his T-8 finish at the RSM Classic in November remains his only top-10 finish.

"I felt really good coming into the week," Johnson said. "Confidence was there, it just wasn't showing up on the scorecard."