Power Rankings: 2016 Wyndham Championship

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2016, 6:31 pm

The 2016 fantasy golf season rolls right along, as the PGA Tour heads to North Carolina this week for the Wyndham Championship. A field of 144 players will tackle Sedgefield Country Club in the final event of the PGA Tour regular season.

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Davis Love III won this event last year but will not defend his title. Here are 10 players to watch in Moline:

1. Patrick Reed: Reed captured his first career win at Sedgefield back in 2013 in a memorable playoff against Jordan Spieth. He returns after a solid T-11 showing at the Olympics that extended a run of five straight finishes of T-13 or better in worldwide events.

2. Webb Simpson: How much does this event mean to Simpson? He and his wife named their daughter after this event's title sponsor. Simpson won here back in 2011, the highlight of a run of five finishes of T-11 or better over the last six years for the Charlotte resident.

3. Ryan Moore: Moore cruised to victory last week at the Deere, now returns to the site of his first PGA Tour win back in 2009. After a rocky summer, Moore is now taking advantage of a run of three straight events played across three of the tracks where he feels most comfortable, including Sedgefield where he was T-10 last year.

4. Bill Haas: Haas went to nearby Wake Forest and has three top-10 finishes over the last four years at this event, including a runner-up in 2014. He has played sparingly in recent weeks but does have two top-10 finishes in his last four starts overall and tends to bring his best to this de facto home game.

5. Jim Furyk: How do you follow up a 58? Furyk will give it a shot this week in Greensboro, where he has made only one start in recent memory. But that resulted in a T-9 finish in 2011 and Sedgefield is the type of ball-striker's layout that should favor an accurate player like Furyk as he continues a strong return from early-season injury.

6. Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker has made this event one of his favorite stops, with three top-10 finishes since 2009. That includes a T-5 finish two years ago, and Snedeker capped a run of three straight top-25 finishes with a T-5 result last month at the RBC Canadian Open.

7. Jimmy Walker: Walker hasn't had much success at this event outside of a T-4 finish in 2012, but he will head to Greensboro with unprecedented confidence after winning the PGA Championship three weeks ago. That victory at Baltusrol highlighted a run of three T-16 or better finishes over his last four starts overall.

8. Rickie Fowler: Fowler was a late addition to this week's field as he looks to make the Ryder Cup squad, with only one top-10 finish in his last eight PGA Tour starts. But a third-round 64 at the Olympics showed that the form he displayed en route to early-season success isn't lying very far beneath the surface.

9. Jon Rahm: Rahm quietly continued his impressive late-season run with a T-14 finish at the Deere, his fifth top-25 finish in his last seven starts. With his PGA Tour card for next season all but secure, Rahm seems a likely contender again at Sedgefield and could even possibly snag a victory that would qualify him for the postseason.

10. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama hasn't played since a T-4 finish at the PGA Championship, but his reliable ball-striking makes him a threat at nearly any venue. While he has missed the cut each of the last two years at Sedgefield, Matsuyama did finish T-15 in his tournament debut back in 2013.

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”