Power Rankings: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Will GrayMarch 19, 2013, 7:46 pm

With the season's first major now only three weeks away, the Florida swing concludes this week with the Arnold Palmer Invitaitional. Bay Hill will play host to a star-studded field, with many of the game's best playing in their final event before taking a trip down Magnolia Lane.

Be sure to join the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to test yourself against our panel of experts, including former champion Win McMurry.

Tiger Woods returns to defend the title he won last year, the seventh time he has won on this course during his career. Here are 10 players to watch this week in Orlando:

1. Tiger Woods: With two wins already under his belt this season, the 7-time Bay Hill champ is a clear-cut favorite. Only two weeks removed from an emphatic win at Doral, there's reason to think his winning ways will continue this week.

2. Graeme McDowell: The Ulsterman is now riding a streak of three straight top-10 finishes dating back to the WGC-Accenture Match Play. Now a resident of nearby Lake Nona, G-Mac was a runner-up to Woods last year in addition to his T-2 finish here in 2005.

3. Jim Furyk: Notched his first top-10 of the season in Tampa, and his strong history at Bay Hill includes top-11 finishes each of the last three years. Furyk has been finding the fairway early and often in 2013, ranking third on Tour in driving accuracy.

4. Sergio Garcia: His strong start to the 2013 season has continued in Florida, where he finished T-3 at Doral and T-7 at Innisbrook. The Spaniard has been remarkably consistent at Bay Hill, finishing inside the top 10 in six of 10 API appearances since 2001, including an eighth-place showing in 2011.

5. Phil Mickelson: A winner last month in Phoenix, Mickelson tied for third at Doral in his last start and has some positive memories at Bay Hill. After winning this event in 1997, Lefty carded three top-five finishes in a four-year stretch from 1999-2002, and he's also finished T-24 each of the past two years.

6. Ian Poulter: Poulter has played Bay Hill as well as just about anyone over the past two years, finishing T-12 in 2011 and third a year ago. Making just his fourth start of the year in the U.S., the Englishman ranks fourth on Tour in scrambling and seventh in strokes gained putting.

7. Justin Rose: Appears to be in good form, having followed his T-4 finish at Honda with a T-8 in defense of his title at Doral. Rose tied for 15th here a year ago and was T-3 at Bay Hill in 2011, showing that he knows how to get around at Arnie's Place. 

8. Brandt Snedeker: The hottest player over the first two months of the season, Snedeker returns to action after being sidelined for more than a month with a rib injury. His form this year has been stellar, but his best finish in six Bay Hill starts is just a tie for 14th in 2008.

9. Lee Westwood: The Englishman has only played here once since 2007, but three of his last four API appearances have resulted in top-20 finishes. He also has three top-25 finishes in four stroke-play starts this year, highlighted by a tie for ninth at PGA National three weeks ago.

10. Keegan Bradley: Bradley was seventh at Doral, his fourth straight top-25 in a stroke-play event. Though he missed the cut in his only prior Bay Hill appearance, he should fare considerably better this year on the heels of 13 straight stroke-play rounds at 71 or better, dating back to Phoenix.

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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.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

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.