Power Rankings: 2014 The Barclays

By Will GrayAugust 19, 2014, 7:21 pm

This week marks the 42nd event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, as the Tour begins the playoffs with The Barclays. A field of 122 players will tee it up this week at Ridgewood Country Club, which is hosting the event for the first time since 2010.

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Adam Scott returns to defend the title he won at Liberty National a year ago over a quartet of players. Here are 10 names to watch this week in New Jersey:

1. Rory McIlroy: No reason to start anywhere else. McIlroy is at an all-time high, coming off three straight wins that included two major titles. His record in this event isn't stellar - and McIlroy tied for 56th at Ridgewood in 2010 - but if he can continue the level of play on display at Hoylake, Firestone and Valhalla, he could be in line for yet another trophy presentation.

2. Adam Scott: The Aussie "only" managed a T-15 finish at the PGA Championship, which is his worst result since May. While he lost his top ranking to McIlroy, he's still playing some of the most consistent golf of anyone on Tour and will be eager to defend his title, albeit at a different venue. Scott tied for ninth at Ridgewood in 2010, highlighted by an opening-round 66.

3. Jim Furyk: While he's still without a win this year - or since 2010 - it's a drought that likely will end soon. Furyk has been one of the most consistent performers on Tour in 2014, with three runner-ups among eight top-10 finishes, and he leads the Tour in scrambling. Ridgewood's setup should favor his tee-to-green accuracy, and he tied for 12th in Paramus back in 2008.

4. Brandt Snedeker: Don't look now, but Snedeker is heating up just in time for a potential Ryder Cup pick. His tie for fifth at the Wyndham Championship was his seventh top-25 finish since the U.S. Open, and after a slow start to the year he is all the way up to 15th in strokes gained putting. Expect another above-average week on the putting surfaces at Ridgewood.

5. Rickie Fowler: Like Furyk, Fowler has had a strong year but still lacks a win. That may change in the postseason, as Fowler is riding a string of four straight top-10 finishes and hasn't finished outside the top 15 since the Memorial. After top-five finishes in each of the four majors, he's clearly comfortable playing against elite fields and now heads to a course where he was in the mix before a Sunday 74 back in 2010.

6. Justin Rose: Another player who has displayed consistency this season. Rose has finished outside the top 25 just once since the Masters, a stretch that also includes three top-five results and a win at Congressional. The Englishman is fifth on Tour in the all-around ranking and tied for 15th at Ridgewood in 2010 when he made some noise with a 65 in the third round.

7. Sergio Garcia: The Spaniard underwhelmed at the PGA Championship, but he still could be poised for a strong playoff run. Garcia lost in a playoff to Vijay Singh at Ridgewood in 2008 and has five top-three finishes to his credit this summer, including three straight runner-ups at the Travelers Championship, Open Championship and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

8. Henrik Stenson: The defending FedEx Cup champ comes in a little under the radar, but he tied for fourth at the U.S. Open and challenged down the stretch at Valhalla before tying for third. Stenson is strong off the tee and ranks fourth on Tour in total driving, a skill that should especially come in handy at Ridgewood.

9. Nick Watney: It looked for much of the year like this would be a lost season for Watney, but he's turned things around in the last month with three top-15 finishes in his last four starts, including a T-5 at Wyndham when he appeared to have one hand on the trophy during the final round. Watney won this event at Bethpage in 2012 and has four top-10 finishes in the last five years, although the lone outlier to that trend was a T-36 finish at Ridgewood in 2010.

10. Jimmy Walker: Hard to leave out the man that topped the FedEx Cup standings for nearly the entire season. Walker has three wins among his nine top-10 finishes this season, a list that includes a T-7 finish at the PGA. That was his third top-10 in a major this year, which is a pretty good run for a guy not named McIlroy or Fowler. Walker is second on Tour in birdie average and seventh in strokes gained putting.

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Aiken, Waring tied at Nordea; Olesen three back

By Associated PressAugust 18, 2018, 5:45 pm

MOLNDAL, Sweden – Paul Waring of England and Thomas Aiken of South Africa share the lead, three shots clear of their rivals, after the third round of the Nordea Masters on the European Tour on Saturday.

Waring was tied for first place with Scott Jamieson after the second round and shot a 1-under 69.

While Jamieson (75) slipped down the leaderboard, Aiken caught up Waring after shooting 67 - despite three straight bogeys from No. 15. He bounced back by making birdie at the last.

Thorbjorn Olesen (67) and Marc Warren (66) are tied for third.

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Koepka: 'Surreal' Woods waited to say congrats at PGA

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2018, 3:47 pm

Brooks Koepka was moved by the respect shown when Tiger Woods waited for a half hour at scoring last Sunday to congratulate Koepka for his PGA Championship victory at Bellerive.

While Koepka stands as an example of the new athletes Woods has attracted to the game, he laughs hearing people compare his body to an NFL player’s.

Those were among the observations Koepka shared Friday on "The Dan Patrick Show."

“That was surreal,” Koepka said of Woods waiting to congratulate him. “To hang around on 18, I wasn’t expecting it. It was probably the coolest gesture he could have done.”

Koepka credits Woods for drawing him to the game.

“He’s the reason I am playing,” Koepka said.

Koepka said playing with Woods in contention was a noisy experience that went beyond the roars Woods created making birdies in front of him.

“Even when he makes contact, you know what shot he’s hitting,” Koepka said. “That’s how loud people are.

“When they are putting [his score] up on the leaderboard, you hear it three holes away.”

About those NFL player comparisons, Koepka said his parents wouldn’t let him play football when he was growing up.

“I wasn’t big enough,” he said.

Koepka said he marveled meeting former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

“To be compared to them, it makes me laugh,” Koepka said. “I’m about the size of a cornerback, maybe a free safety.”

Koepka said he’s just over 6 feet tall and weighs 208 pounds.

“I saw Brian Urlacher give an interview,” Koepka said. “It was kind of funny. He said he was impressed at how big I wasn’t ... If I stand next to Justin Thomas, I’m going to look big. Golf doesn’t really have many big guys.”

Koepka told Patrick he is impressed at the athletes just now coming into golf.

“I see the young guys coming out of college,” Koepka said. “They are bombing it past me. They hit it so far, they are leaving me in the dust. It’s hard to think of, because I’ve been one of the longest hitters on tour.”

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McIlroy skipping first FedExCup playoff event

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2018, 3:19 pm

Rory McIlroy committed to playing the FedExCup Playoffs opener at The Northern Trust, the PGA Tour announced after The Open Championship last month.

But McIlroy left the PGA Championship last week saying he might need to skip the opener to regroup, and that’s just what he is doing.

McIlroy wasn’t on The Northern Trust field list published Friday on the PGA Tour’s website.

“I need to assess where I'm at,” McIlroy said leaving Bellerive last week. “I think the best thing for me to do right now is just sort of take a couple days off, reflect on what I need to do going forward.

“The best thing might be to take that first FedExCup week off and work on my game and come back, hopefully, in a better place for Boston.”

McIlroy also skipped the FedExCup opener in 2015, choosing to make his start in the playoffs at Boston that year. It appears he will do the same this year.

“Historically, the first FedEx playoff event hasn't been my best event of the four,” McIlroy said. “I've played well in Boston. I've played pretty well in the other two.”

McIlroy left Bellerive saying he would do some work on his game and see if he felt ready for the playoffs opener as part of a run of big events leading into the Ryder Cup.

“There's a lot of room for improvement,” McIlroy said. “My swing really hasn't been where I want it to be. It was pretty good at the start of the year. I had a couple of months to work on it, but it's just sort of regressed as the season went on and you start to play tournaments, you start to fall back into some of the habits that you don't want to fall back into."

McIlroy has won once over the last two seasons – at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last March – but he has given himself other chances this year with some frustrating finishes. Overall, he has five finishes of third or better in 2018. He got himself in the final pairing with Patrick Reed at the Masters but stumbled to a T-5 finish. He tied for second at The Open last month.

“Inconsistency with the swing has been the big area,” McIlroy said. “If you look at my statistics, especially with approach play on my irons, and even my driving, even though it's been OK, there's been a two-way miss, with sort of everything throughout the bag, and that obviously isn't a good thing. So that's something I need to work on.”

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Watch: Wagner saves season with walk-off eagle dunk

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 18, 2018, 2:45 am

Johnson Wagner kept his FedExCup Playoff hopes alive on Friday at the Wyndham Championship ... and he did it in dramatic fashion.

Needing a birdie on his final hole of the day to make the cut on the number, Johnson used a 9-iron from 153 yards out to dunk his approach for eagle to get inside the cut line.

Johnson's eagle at the last gave him a 66 for the day and earned him two more rounds to try and get inside the FedExCup top 125 for next week's start of the postseason, The Northern Trust.