Power Rankings: 2015 PGA Championship

By Will GrayAugust 12, 2015, 2:01 am

The 42nd event of the wraparound season is upon us, as the PGA Tour heads to Wisconsin for the PGA Championship. A field of 156 will tackle Whistling Straits Golf Club, which last hosted the season's final major in 2010.

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Rory McIlroy won this event a year ago over Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler. Here are 10 players to watch in Sheboygan:

1. Bubba Watson: Don't sleep on the world No. 3. Watson enters off back-to-back runner-up finishes, including last week at Firestone, and he leads the Tour this season in total strokes gained. Watson lost in a playoff here in 2010 and should again find Whistling Straits to his liking.

2. Justin Rose: After a near-miss at Bridgestone, the Englishman offered a rare bit of bold self-assessment when he said he was currently the best player in the world, tee to green. Should the putter cooperate this week, he might be able to remove that distinction. Rose enters with four top-six finishes in his last five starts.

3. Jordan Spieth: Spieth has been the best player this year, but his PGA Championship credentials are lacking: missed cuts in both 2013 and 2014. He'll likely make the weekend this time, especially after five straight top-10 finishes and a Sunday 66 at Firestone.

4. Jason Day: The Aussie couldn't get past the 16th hole at Firestone, but he still contended deep into the final round. Day was surprisingly in the mix at Whistling Straits back in 2010 and has now compiled four straight top-12 finishes, including a win in Canada. 

5. Rory McIlroy: The world No. 1 returns from injury in his first start since the U.S. Open. McIlroy will likely face some rust in the early rounds, but he missed a playoff by only one shot here in 2010 and has feasted on the season's final major ever since. 

6. Brooks Koepka: Koepka cooled off after his breakthrough win in Phoenix, but he is clearly back on track after five straight top-20 finishes that included four straight rounds in the 60s at Firestone. Koepka's length off the tee will be a huge asset, especially if conditions remain soft.

7. Dustin Johnson: Johnson returns to the scene of the crime, fresh off another major heartbreak earlier this summer. As we saw at Chambers Bay and St. Andrews, he has the game to grab the lead at majors. His closing efforts at both the Old Course and Firestone, though, raise a red flag.

8. Zach Johnson: The most recent major winner returns to a course where he, like McIlroy, fell one shot short in 2010. Johnson doesn't seem to fit the mold of a contender at Whistling Straits, but he has seven top-20 finishes in his last nine starts. Plus, players seem to be winning majors in pairs as of late.

9. Robert Streb: He isn't flashy, but he sure is effective. Streb finished fifth at Firestone and now has eight top-10 finishes this season, including a win and a playoff loss. Now up to fifth in the FedEx Cup standings, Streb has seven top-20 finishes in his last eight starts and has shown an ability to contend on a variety of venues.

10. Rickie Fowler: Fowler chased his runner-up in Virginia with a T-10 finish in Akron, and once again carries momentum into a major. Fowler made his PGA Championship debut here in 2010 and after contending on the big stages a year ago, he could be poised for another breakthrough.   

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Woods: New putter should help on slower greens

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:35 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods’ ice-cold putting showed at least a few signs of heating up earlier this month at The National, where he switched putters and ranked seventh in the field on the greens.

The mallet-style putter is still in the bag as Woods prepares for The Open, and he’s hoping the heavier model with grooves will prove valuable at Carnoustie.

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“To be honest with you, I’ve struggled on slower greens throughout my entire career,” Woods said Tuesday. “So for me, it’s going to help on these greens, for sure.”

To combat the slower greens, Woods usually applied a strip of lead tape to his putter. But this heavier model of putter doesn’t need the extra weight, and the grooves on the putter face allow the ball to get rolling faster and hotter.

“You don’t necessarily have to do that with the grooves,” he said of the lead tape. “When I putted with the Nike putter, I didn’t have to put lead tape on the putter to get a little more weight to it. I could just leave it just the way it was. This is the same type.”  

For all of the talk about his putting woes this season, Woods still ranks 56th in strokes gained: putting. More crucial this week: He’s 102nd in approach putt performance, which quantifies how well a player lag putts.

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Woods: Open best chance for long-term major success

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:26 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods is more than a decade removed from his last major title, but he said Tuesday that The Open is the major that gives him the best chance for long-term success.

“I would say yes, because of the fact that you don’t have to be long to play on a links-style golf course,” Woods said during his pre-tournament news conference. “It certainly can be done.”

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Woods pointed to the late-career success for both Greg Norman (2008) and Tom Watson (2009), both of whom challenged for the claret jug deep into their 50s.

“Distance becomes a moot point on a links-style golf course,” he said.

That’s certainly not the case, however, at the Masters, where bombers long have thrived, or the U.S. Open, which places a premium on long and straight driving.

“You get to places like Augusta National, which is just a big ballpark, and the golf course outgrows you, unfortunately,” he said. “But links-style courses, you can roll the ball. I hit a 3-iron that went down there 330. Even if I get a little bit older, I can still chase some wood or long club down there and hit the ball the same distance.”

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"Vantage Point with Mike Tirico" set to debut Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJuly 17, 2018, 10:15 am

Special Hour Complementing the Network’s Week-Long Golf Central Live From The Open News Coverage; Premiere Scheduled to Include Interview with 2014 Open Runner-Up Rickie Fowler On-Site from Carnoustie

Features Include Tirico and Curtis Strange Re-watching ’99 Open at Carnoustie & Jim “Bones” Mackay Facilitating Exclusive Conversation with Caddies Michael Greller, John Wood Recounting Final Round Pairing at 2017 Open

To help set the table ahead of The 147TH Open at Carnoustie, Golf Channel will premiere Vantage Point with Mike Tirico on Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET. An extension of the network’s week-long Golf Central Live From The Open comprehensive news coverage, Vantage Point will revisit landmark moments in The Open’s history, uncover personal stories relevant to the fabric of the week and feature a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year” on golf’s original championship.

“It’s a thrill to be going back to The Open again this year, which is a fitting setting to launch this new opportunity,” said Tirico, NBC Sports host who this week will celebrate his 22nd consecutive year covering The Open. “I love being a part of the Golf Channel team during golf’s biggest weeks, and anticipate contributing to our commitment to great storytelling with Vantage Point.”

Kicking off the premiere of Vantage Point will be Tirico’s exclusive interview with 2014 Open runner-up and 2015 PLAYERS champion Rickie Fowler on-site from Carnoustie. One of Fowler’s favorite events, he has missed just one cut in eight previous appearances at The Open. Other highlights within the show include:

  • Jim “Bones” Mackay facilitating an exclusive conversation between caddies Michael Greller (Jordan Spieth) and John Wood (Matt Kuchar) recounting the final round pairing at The Open last July.
  • Tirico hosting a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year”: David Duval, Tom Lehman and Justin Leonard.
  • A recollection of one of the most unforgettable collapses in major championship golf, when Jean van de Velde surrendered a three-shot lead on the 72nd hole in 1999 at The Open. Tirico and Curtis Strange – both on the live tournament broadcast that year for ABC/ESPN – recently re-watched the telecast together for the first time since calling it live.


“This is harder to watch than I thought it was going to be. I’ve never seen anything like

that in my life. I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like that again.” – Curtis Strange


“I think I got caught up in the whole deal and felt human for the guy.” – Mike Tirico


Vantage Point with Mike Tirico will complement the network’s Golf Central Live From The Open, which will feature nearly 60 hours of comprehensive news coverage from Carnoustie. In total, NBC Sports will dedicate more than 350 hours to showcasing the third men’s major championship of the year, including nearly 50 live hours of the network’s Emmy-nominated tournament coverage – annually the most live hours of coverage from any golf event – spanning from Thursday’s opening tee shot to Sunday’s final putt.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 17, 2018, 8:40 am

Tiger Woods is competing in his first Open Championship since 2015. We're tracking him this week at Carnoustie.