Power Rankings: 2015 Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Will GrayMarch 17, 2015, 3:49 pm

The PGA Tour concludes the Florida swing with the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the 18th event of the wraparound season. A field of 132 will tackle Bay Hill Club & Lodge this week, where the winner will receive a three-year Tour exemption.

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Matt Every won this event a year ago by one shot over Keegan Bradley. Here are 10 players to watch in Orlando:

1. Henrik Stenson: The Swede has finished fourth in back-to-back weeks, first at Doral and again at Innisbrook. He has also cracked the top 15 each of the last three years at Bay Hill, highlighted by a T-5 finish last year, and could become the latest high-profile player to enter the winner's circle.

2. Bubba Watson: Watson had an early exit from Bay Hill last year, but he has been remarkably consistent this season: four top-10 finishes in five starts, including a WGC victory, and no finish worse than T-14. Prior to last year's withdrawal, Watson had put together three straight top-25 results at Bay Hill, including T-4 in 2012.

3. Rory McIlroy: McIlroy makes his API debut in what is expected to be his final pre-Masters start. While his club throw grabbed headlines at Doral, he still cobbled together a T-9 finish to rebuild some momentum after his surprising missed cut at PGA National. Another top-10 finish this week would surprise no one.

4. Adam Scott: Scott had one hand on the trophy here a year ago, turning an opening-round 62 into a seven-shot lead at the halfway point. He faltered badly on Sunday en route to a third-place finish, but has a chance for redemption this week. While his streak of made cuts ended at Innisbrook, he was T-4 at Doral just two weeks ago.

5. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama has had a top-five finish in alternating starts this year, which means he's due to contend this week in Orlando. The Japanese phenom is third on Tour in total strokes gained and second in total driving, and his tee-to-green consistency should provide plenty of birdie opportunities at Bay Hill.

6. Jason Day: The Aussie already has a win under his belt this year, and his T-31 finish at Doral was his first result outside the top 20 all season. Day is making just his second start in Orlando since 2011, but he leads the Tour in birdie average and ranks second in GIR percentage.

7. J.B. Holmes: Holmes let a five-shot lead slip away at Doral, but he remains on a tear: T-2, T-10, T-22 and second in his last four starts dating back to a playoff loss at Torrey Pines. Holmes finished T-10 last year at Bay Hill and three of his last four starts in Orlando have gone for top-30 finishes.

8. Kevin Na: Na has quietly thrived at Bay Hill, with four top-15 finishes in his last five starts dating back to 2009. He is once again in the midst of another successful Florida swing, with a T-9 finish at Doral followed by a T-10 result in Tampa where he closed with a 66.

9. Brooks Koepka: A winner earlier this year in Phoenix, Koepka got back on track with a T-17 finish at Doral and now heads to a course where he finished T-26 last year in his debut, highlighted by a Sunday 69. Koepka is currently fourth on Tour in scoring average and will look to use this week as a springboard into his first Masters appearance next month.

10. Keegan Bradley: Bradley has yet to emerge from the middle of the pack this month, but that usually changes at this event, where he was T-3 in 2013 and second a year ago. Each of his last seven rounds at Bay Hill have gone for par or better, including 66s in the third round each of the last two years.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 146th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Royal Birkdale, broken down into daily segments:

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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Knox relishes round with 'mythical figure' Woods

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 8:48 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Russell Knox was expecting the worst and hoping for the best Thursday at The Open.

Playing with Tiger Woods tends to have that effect.

The native Scot received a treat earlier this week when he saw his name on the tee sheet alongside his boyhood idol, Woods.

“Felt good out there, but obviously my swing, it was just like I had too much tension,” Knox said after an opening 73. “I just wasn’t letting it go as normal. First round with Tiger, I expected to feel a little bit different. The way I felt was better than the way I swung.”

Knox said that he was nervous playing alongside Woods, a player he’d only encountered on the range. “He’s almost like a mythical figure,” he said.

But after a while, he settled into the rhythm of the round at Carnoustie.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I thought it would be worse,” he said, “I feel like I should know what I’m doing. It’s cool playing with Tiger, but I’ve got to get over that. I’m here to win, not just enjoy my walk around the course.”

Knox probably had more interaction with Woods than he anticipated, if only because the third member of the group, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, keeps to himself because of the language barrier.

“It’s kind of a blur,” Knox said. “It’s like, Oh, I’m chatting away with Tiger here like normal. I don’t even remember what I was saying.”

There have been countless stories from this year as the next generation of players – guys who grew up watching Woods dominate the sport – get paired with Woods for the first time.

It was no less special for Knox on Thursday.

“It’s nice for him to say things like that,” Woods said, “and we enjoyed playing with each other. Hopefully we’ll play a little bit better tomorrow.”

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Rain expected to shower Carnoustie Friday morning

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:43 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – By the end of the day Friday, we’ll be able to determine which side of The Open draw ended the first two rounds at Carnoustie with more favorable conditions. With rain expected for most of Friday morning, it seems those who played early/late may be more pleased.

According to Weather.com, there is a 75 percent chance of rain beginning at 2 a.m. local time Friday here in Scotland. That percentage vaults up to 95 percent by 7 a.m., with the first tee time scheduled for 6:35. At 11, the number drops to 55 percent. After 2 p.m., the percentage chances of rain are 25 percent and below for the remainder of the day.

Temperatures during the day are expected to be from the low 50s to the low 60s and winds will vary between 14-18 mph, again per Weather.com.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


This is The Open’s official weather report for the weekend:

Saturday: A dull start with some drizzle possible. Staying cloudy for much of the day but gradually becoming brighter with a chance of some sunny intervals during the afternoon and evening. Winds light and variable in direction but should predominantly settle in to a SSE 8-12mph during the afternoon. Max temp 20C (68F).

Sunday: Often cloudy but mainly dry. A better chance of some decent sunny spells compared to Saturday. Most likely the windiest day of the Championship; SW 12-18mph with gusts 20-25mph. Feeling warm, especially in any sunshine with a max temp of 23C (73F).

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Bandaged Woods 5 back after even-par 71

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 8:38 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods arrived Thursday with therapeutic tape on the back of his neck.

Carnoustie’s back nine inflicted even more pain.

Playing in the most difficult conditions of the day, Woods’ progress was stalled by two late bogeys as he settled for an even-par 71 that left him five shots off the lead at The Open.

“I played better than what the score indicates,” he said. “It certainly could have been a little bit better.”

Woods created a stir when he showed up with black kinesiology tape on his neck. Afterward, he said that his neck has been bugging him “for a while” and that Thursday was merely the first time that the tape was visible.

“Everyone acts like this is the first time I’ve been bandaged up,” he said, smiling. “I’ve been doing this for years.”

Woods said that the discomfort didn’t really affect his swing, other than a few shots “here and there.” It didn’t seem to affect his score, either, as he went out in 2 under before a few stumbles on the back nine.

On the fast, baked-out turf, he played conservatively off the tee, using driver only once and 3-wood just twice. Apparently he didn’t need the added distance, not with his 6-iron traveling 240 yards. He tried to play to his spots, even if it routinely left him more than 200 yards for his approach.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


That’s the strategy he employed at Hoylake in 2006, where he hit driver just once and captured the third of his Open titles. Despite some of the similarities in firmness, Woods said that Carnoustie presents a different challenge off the tee.

“These fairways are very small,” he said. “They’re hard to hit right now. They’re so fast, and they’re so moundy.”

Finding the fairway wasn’t the chief problem for Woods on Day 1, however. He missed just four fairways but found only 11 greens.

More damaging to his score was his play on the par 5s. Despite having only an 8-iron in, he failed to birdie each of the two par 5s and then bogeyed Nos. 10, 13 and 15 to squander his early momentum.

Though the draw here won’t be a significant factor – or at least not like in recent years, with a wide range in scores from morning to afternoon – it’s clear that Woods (in game 47 of 52) encountered the most difficult of the conditions Thursday, with the wind gusting to 20 mph and the fairways running even faster after another sun-splashed afternoon.

Still, his opening 71 was one of the better scores in the late wave.

“He hit it good,” said playing partner Russell Knox. “He plotted his way around, which I expected him to do, and he was very conservative off the tee. It’s kind of fun to watch him do that, to be honest.”

Even more fun would be a major with Woods in contention.

He hasn’t broken par in the opening round of his last eight majors. Indeed, for Woods, these slow starts have been the real pain in the neck.