Power Rankings: 2015 FedEx St. Jude Classic

By Will GrayJune 10, 2015, 3:48 pm

The 31st event of the wraparound season is upon us, as the PGA Tour heads to Tennessee for the FedEx St. Jude Classic. A field of 156 will tackle TPC Southwind, where low scores are expected in droves.

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Ben Crane won this event a year ago over Troy Merritt. Here are 10 players to watch in Memphis:

1. Dustin Johnson: Johnson enters this week as a clear-cut favorite, with six top-10 finishes in 12 starts this season including a win in Miami. He has three top-20 finishes in his last four starts, notably a T-13 finish last week at the Memorial, and his three trips to Memphis include a win in 2012 and no result outside the top 25.

2. Ryan Palmer: Palmer is among the Tour's best when it comes to making birdies in bunches, and scores tend to go low each year in Memphis. Palmer finished T-10 in Dallas in his most recent start, currently sits fifth on Tour in scoring average and contended at this event in both 2012 (T-3) and 2013 (fourth). 

3. Billy Horschel: Horschel quietly left Memorial with a T-11 finish, his third straight top-20 result. He appears to be comfortable at TPC Southwind, with top-10 finishes each of the last two years, and as his run to the FedEx Cup showed last season, he is prone to hot streaks that can stretch for weeks.

4. Phil Mickelson: Lefty has shown a recent knack for peaking just ahead of the U.S. Open, chasing his T-2 finish in 2013 at this event with a T-11 result last year. While he only has two top-10 finishes this season and struggled at Muirfield Village, Mickelson is looking to knock the rust off in advance of the U.S. Open and seems to enjoy the steamy challenge of TPC Southwind.

5. Brooks Koepka: Koepka won earlier this year in Phoenix, another ballpark with plenty of room and one that required going low. He finished T-19 last year in his Memphis debut, carding bookend rounds of 67, and he is seventh this season in the all-around ranking and 12th in scoring average.

6. Harris English: English notched his maiden win here in 2013, and he returns in need of another big result to earn one of the last spots in the field for the U.S. Open. English has six top-25 finishes this season, including a trio of top-10 results, and he finished T-18 last week at the Memorial with four straight rounds of par or better.

7. Webb Simpson: Simpson is teeing it up for the first time since a runner-up finish at the Wells Fargo Championship, and he finished T-3 at this event last year in his first appearance since 2010. His lone missed cut this season came back in February and he has cracked the top 25 in exactly half of his 12 starts. 

8. Charles Howell III: Howell finished T-31 last week at the Memorial, highlighted by a second-round 66, and his record at this event includes three top-30 finishes over the last four years. Howell is 20th on Tour in GIR percentage and should create plenty of birdie opportunities this week,

9. Camilo Villegas: Villegas has struggled this year but always seems to find his form in Memphis. He has four top-11 finishes over the last five years at TPC Southwind, highlighted by a T-3 finish in 2011, and he did get back into the winner's circle last year in Greensboro.  

10. Luke Donald: Donald is making his first appearance at this event, buoyed by his result Monday in U.S. Open qualifying. While he has been on a downward slide over the last year and a half, the Englishman may have found an extra bit of confidence and appears to possess the game of a player who can capitalize on TPC Southwind. 

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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.