Power Rankings: Crowne Plaza Invitational

By Will GrayMay 21, 2013, 6:32 pm

For the second consecutive week, the PGA Tour remains in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex. After a windy week at TPC Four Seasons, the game's best players shift to Fort Worth and the historic Colonial Country Club, host of this week's Crowne Plaza Invitational.

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

Zach Johnson returns to defend the title he won last year over Jason Dufner, his second win at Colonial since 2010. Here are 10 players to watch this week in the Lone Star State:

1. Zach Johnson: His last four starts in Fort Worth: T-9, win, fourth, win. The defending champ clearly enjoys Colonial's narrow confines and played well in his last start at another venue where he typically plays well, tying for 19th at TPC Sawgrass.

2. Kevin Streelman: Backed into a runner-up finish at The Players Championship that served as his third consecutive top-six finish. A winner earlier this year, Streelman has now cracked the top 40 in the world and with his schedule for the year largely secure, is playing with nothing to lose. Tied for 10th at Colonial in 2011.

3. Charl Schwartzel: Had his putter been remotely cooperative, the former Masters champ likely would have won last week in Dallas. Instead he settled for third place, his sixth top-25 finish in eight starts this year on the PGA Tour. Schwartzel is currently second in scoring average and leads the Tour in three-putt avoidance.

4. Jim Furyk: A veteran with plenty of experience at Colonial, Furyk has notched four top-10 finishes here since 2003, including a runner-up showing in 2007. Among the most accurate drivers on Tour, he should have no problem finding the narrow landing areas presented off the tee this week.

5. Matt Kuchar: Solid, though unspectacular, results since a T-8 at Augusta: T-35, T-48, T-33 each of the last three weeks for the former Players champion. Kuchar has made 16 straight cuts overall, and has played the weekend in each of his six starts at Colonial, with four of the last five resulting in top-30 finishes.

6. Marc Leishman: The Aussie kept up the momentum last week in Dallas, tying for 12th on the heels of three straight top-10 finishes. He's among the hottest players on Tour right now, and another strong finish will likely be enough to keep him inside the top 60 in the world rankings and earn him a spot in the field next month at Merion.

7. Tim Clark: Among the more successful 'target golf' players on Tour, Clark was a runner-up here in both 2008 and 2009. With anchoring now outlawed by the USGA, what better week would there be for the South African to ride his long putter to victory?

8. Henrik Stenson: In the midst of a remarkable comeback season, the Swede now leads the Tour in both driving accuracy and GIR percentage. Having tied for fifth at TPC Sawgrass in his last U.S. start, Stenson is clearly in great form but will have a mediocre Colonial track record – not to mention jet lag from his appearance last week in Bulgaria – potentially working against him.

9. Ben Crane: Another player with a strong record at Colonial, having finished inside the top 10 four times since 2006, including a T-10 result last year. The 'Golf Boy' has also been playing better of late, with a pair of top-10 finishes in his last five starts overall, highlighted by a T-8 finish at TPC Sawgrass.

10. Charley Hoffman: If every event was played in Texas, Hoffman might win Player of the Year. The Las Vegas native tied for 20th in Houston, tied for third in San Antonio and last week tied for eighth in Dallas. This week he'll go for a fourth straight high finish in the Lone Star State on a course whe he was T-13 a year ago.

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Hammer in position (again) to co-medal at U.S. Am

By Ryan LavnerAugust 14, 2018, 10:37 pm

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Cole Hammer is in position to go for a rare sweep in this summer’s biggest events.

Two weeks ago, Hammer, an incoming freshman at Texas, was the co-medalist at the Western Amateur and went on to take the match-play portion, as well.

Here at the U.S. Amateur, Hammer shot rounds of 69-68 and was once again in position to earn co-medalist honors. At 6-under 137, he was tied with 19-year-old Daniel Hillier of New Zealand.

“It would mean a lot, especially after being medalist at the Western Am,” Hammer said afterward. “It’s pretty special.”

No stroke-play medalist has prevailed in the 64-man match-play bracket since Ryan Moore in 2004. Before that, Tiger Woods (1996) was the most recent medalist champion.  


Match scoring from U.S. Amateur

U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos


On the strength of his Western Am title, Hammer, 18, has soared to No. 18 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He credited his work with swing coach Cameron McCormick and mental coach Bob Rotella.

“Just really started controlling my iron shots really well,” said Hammer, who has worked with McCormick since 2015, when he qualified for the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay as a 15-year-old.

“Distance control with my wedges and all my iron shots, playing different shots, has become really a strength in my game. I’ve really turned the putter on this year, and I’m seeing the lines and matching the line with the speed really well. I think that’s been the key to my summer.”

A two-time New Zealand Amateur champion, Hillier is ranked 27th in the world. He said that, entering the tournament, he would have been pleased just to make it to match play.

“But to come out on top, it’s amazing,” Hillier said. “Cole is a really good golfer and has been playing well lately. So, yeah, I’m in good company.”

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Tee times, TV schedule, stats for Wyndham Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 14, 2018, 9:55 pm

It's the last tournament of the PGA Tour's regular season as the top 125 in the FedExCup points list advance to next week's playoff event. Here's the key info for the Wyndham Championship. (Click here for tee times)

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.


Purse: $6 million

Course: Sedgefield Country Club (par 70, 7,127 yards)

Defending champion: Henrik Stenson. Last year he defeated Ollie Schniederjans by one stroke to earn his sixth career PGA Tour win.


Notables in the field

Henrik Stenson at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Henrik Stenson

• Missed the cut last week at the PGA Championship

• Six top-10 finishes this year, including T-5 at the Masters and T-6 at the U.S. Open


Sergio Garcia

• Eight missed cuts in last 10 PGA Tour starts

• Currently 131 in FedExCup standings (33 points back of 125th)


Webb Simpson

• Five top-10 finishes in this event since 2010 (won in 2011)

• 56 under par in last five years in this event (best of any player in that span)

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Faldo: Woods told fellow Masters champ 'I'm done' in '17

By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 7:42 pm

Fresh off his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship, it's easy to get caught up in the recent success and ebullient optimism surrounding Tiger Woods. But it was not that long ago that Woods even hitting another competitive shot was very much in doubt.

Six-time major champ Sir Nick Faldo shed light on those darker times during a recent appearance on the Dan Patrick Show when he relayed a story from the 2017 Masters champions' dinner. The annual meal is one of golf's most exclusive fraternities, as only the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club is allowed to dine with the men who have each donned a green jacket.

Last spring Woods had not yet undergone spinal fusion surgery, and Faldo explained that Woods at one point turned to an unnamed Masters champ and grimly assessed his future playing chances.


Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos


"I know he whispered to another Masters champion, two Masters dinners ago, 'I'm done. I won't play golf again,'" Faldo said. "He said, 'I'm done. I'm done, my back is done.' He was in agony. He was in pain. His leg, the pain down his legs, there was nothing enjoyable. He couldn't move. If you watched footage of him, he couldn't even get in and out of the golf cart at the (2016) Ryder Cup when he was a vice captain."

But Woods opted for fusion surgery a few weeks later, and after a lengthy rehab process he returned to competition in December. His 2018 campaign has been nothing short of remarkable, with a pair of runner-up finishes to go along with a T-6 result at The Open when he held the outright lead on the back nine on Sunday.

After apparently even counting himself out, Woods is back up to 26th in the latest world rankings and appears in line to be added as a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup next month.

"What he's been able to do is unbelievable," Faldo said. "To turn this aruond, to get this spine fusion, it's completely taken away the pain. To have this mobility is absolutely amazing. Great on him, and great for golf."

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McDowell needs Wyndham result to maintain status

By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 5:56 pm

For the first time in nearly three years, Graeme McDowell heads into an event with his PGA Tour status hanging in the balance.

The Ulsterman joined the Tour in 2006, and he has had nearly uninterrupted status since winning the 2010 U.S. Open. But McDowell's two-season exemption for winning the 2015 OHL Classic at Mayakoba only extends through this week, where he will start the Wyndham Championship at No. 143 in the season-long points race.

McDowell tied for fifth at Sedgefield Country Club in 2016, and he will likely need a similar result to crack the top 125 in the standings and retain his fully exempt status for the 2019 season. While he finished T-10 in Las Vegas in November, that remains his lone top-10 finish of the Tour season. The veteran's best results this year have come in Europe, where he tied for fifth at the Italian Open and finished T-12 at the BMW PGA Championship.


Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos


"I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I feel like it's not a do-or-die scenario for me," McDowell told reporters earlier this month at the Barracuda Championship. "I feel if I was 25 years old without a European Tour card to fall back on, it would be a do-or-die scenario. Certainly trying to put the pressure off, if I don't get myself into the top 125 it's not the end of the world for me. I still feel like I can play a great schedule next season."

By finishing Nos. 126-150 in points after this week, McDowell would retain conditional status that would likely ensure him at least 12-15 starts next season. He would also still have privileges as a past tournament champion.

But he's not the only winner from the 2015-16 season whose two-year exemption is on the verge of running out. Fabian Gomez (160th), Peter Malnati (164th) and Billy Hurley III (202nd) all need big results in Greensboro to keep their cards, while Shane Lowry, David Lingmerth and Matt Every all earned three-year exemptions for victories in 2015 but currently sit Nos. 139, 140 and 184 in points, respectively.

Last year four players moved into the top 125 thanks to strong play at Wyndham, with the biggest jump coming from Rory Sabbatini, who went from No. 148 to No. 122 after tying for fourth place.