Power Rankings: 2016 Wells Fargo Championship

By Will GrayMay 3, 2016, 3:04 pm

The 2016 fantasy golf season rolls right along, as the PGA Tour heads to North Carolina this week for the Wells Fargo Championship. A field of 144 players will tackle Quail Hollow Golf Club, which will host the PGA Championship next year.

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Rory McIlroy won this event last year by seven shots over Patrick Rodgers and Webb Simpson. Here are 10 players to watch in the Charlotte:

1. Rory McIlroy: The defending champ is a clear No. 1 in this field, having earned his maiden PGA Tour victory here in 2010 and having won last year by a whopping seven shots. In between, McIlroy lost in a playoff in 2012 and added two other top-10 finishes, turning Quail Hollow into one of his favorite venues.

2. Rickie Fowler: Fowler has cooled somewhat since his torrid start to the year, but now he returns to the site of his breakthrough win back in 2012. He managed a T-20 finish last week in New Orleans and has four top-10 finishes over his last seven starts dating back to a playoff loss in Phoenix.

3. Phil Mickelson: This event is turning into U.S. Open Light for Lefty - a bevy of close calls, but no hardware. Mickelson has six top-5 finishes at Quail Hollow, including a runner-up in 2010 and a T-4 finish last year, but he has yet to find the winner's circle and now returns in search of momentum after missed cuts in both Augusta and San Antonio.

4. J.B. Holmes: The 2014 winner has been hit-or-miss at this event, but he tends to play well on big ballparks and he brings plenty of momentum with him to Charlotte. Holmes finished T-13 at Valero on the heels of a T-4 result at the Masters, and he has now strung together six top-15 finishes across his last eight starts dating back to Torrey Pines.

5. Daniel Berger: The reigning Rookie of the Year remains in search of his first victory, but he may find it soon. Berger finished T-20 at Zurich despite a lackluster closing round, his fourth straight top-20 in stroke-play events. Berger's ball flight and length off the tee should be conducive for Quail Hollow, where he finished T-28 in his debut last year.

6. Patrick Reed: Reed enters off a near-miss in San Antonio, a result that continued a run of four top-20 finishes over his last five starts. While he hasn't won in more than a year, Reed continues to put himself in contention on a consistent basis and has made the cut in each of his three prior starts at Quail Hollow - a clean sheet that few in the field can boast.

7. Justin Rose: The Englishman comes in off a surprising missed cut in defense of his Zurich title, but before that he had a stretch of five straight stroke-play results of T-17 or better. Rose has only played this event once in the last four years, but that appearance led to a T-5 finish in 2014.

8. Adam Scott: Scott is still in search of his first top-10 finish since back-to-back wins in Florida, but his ball-striking prowess merits a spot on this list for most events. Scott has a pair of top-10 finishes at Quail Hollow, but he has missed his last three cuts and hasn't played the weekend in Charlotte since a T-8 finish in 2008.

9. Henrik Stenson: While Stenson came close to victory in both Orlando and Houston, his worldwide victory drought now approaches 18 months. He has the tee-to-green game to end it on a burly track like Quail, but last year's T-58 finish was his first made cut in Charlotte since 2007.

10. Hideki Matsuyama: A winner earlier this year at TPC Scottsdale, Matsuyama has three finishes of T-11 or better in his six starts since. That includes a T-7 finish at the Masters in his most recent start, and his record at Quail Hollow shows signs of progress: T-38 in 2014 followed by a T-20 finish last year.

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Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.

Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.

Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.

The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.

On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.

Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.

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Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M

By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

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Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

“There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

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Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

“Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

“Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.