Power Rankings: Humana Challenge

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2013, 4:07 pm

The PGA Tour heads to the continental U.S. for the first time in 2013 this week with the Humana Challenge. The Palmer Course at PGA West will host the final round, but players will also tackle the Nicklaus Private Course and La Quinta Country Club for one round each.

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

Mark Wilson is in the field to defend the title he won last year over a trio of players in the event's second year under a 72-hole format. Here are 10 names to keep an eye on this week in California:

1. Matt Kuchar: The ideal mix of recent form and past performance. Kuchar began his year with a pair of top-10 finishes in Hawaii after nine such finishes in 2012, and he has been inside the top 25 at Humana each of the last four years, including a runner-up finish in 2010.

2. Bill Haas: Few in this week's field have more experience in this event than Haas, who has played each year since 2005. Though he struggled last year, he won here in 2010 and followed that result with a T-2 showing the following year, and overall Haas has five top-25 finishes in eight Humana starts.

3. Webb Simpson: Somewhat fitting his personality, Simpson has gotten off to a solid - if unspectacular - start to 2013 with a pair of top-20 finishes. He has finished inside the top 15 twice in three Humana starts, including a T-5 showing in 2009, and his consistent ball-striking should yield plenty of birdies this week.

4. Brandt Snedeker: Started strongly in Kapalua with a third-place finish, and the reigning FedEx Cup champion has a pair of top 10s here since 2010. Arguably the best putter in an event that will put a high priority on making putts early and often.

5. Bo Van Pelt: This week will be about making birdies, and few players did that better in 2012 than BVP. Making his 2013 debut, Van Pelt will hope to pick up where he left off in closing the 2012 season with four straight top-10 finishes.

6. Tim Clark: Did everything but win last week at Waialae, closing with a 63 Sunday to show that when healthy, he is a threat on courses that emphasize shot-making. Expect more of the same this week on a rotation that will not push the South African past his comfort zone in terms of length.

7. Robert Garrigus: A runner-up here last year - one of five such finishes last year on Tour - Garrigus will look for a repeat performance this week. While known for his length off the tee, he was also 11th on Tour last year in birdie average and tops in par-3 birdies.

8. Phil Mickelson: Twice a winner here (2002 & 2004), Mickelson will be making only his second start at La Quinta since 2007. With the game's top two players beginning their years in Abu Dhabi this week, Lefty will be motivated to steal the headlines - or at least some of them.

9. Ben Crane: Co-led after 36 holes last year along with eventual winner Mark Wilson before fading to T-8 over the weekend. Crane clearly has a feel for the greens in the California desert, finishing in the top 16 in the field in putts per round in five of his last eight Humana appearances.

10. John Senden: Another player with significant experience in this event, Senden is making his 12th appearance here, having recorded four top-10 finishes since 2005. Last year he led the field in fairways hit and was second in greens in regulation en route to a T-6 showing.

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'The Golf Club 2019' adds Elvy to commentary team

By Nick MentaJuly 19, 2018, 4:45 pm

“The Golf Club 2019” is adding a new name to its commentary team.

Broadcaster Luke Elvy will join returning announcer and HB Studios developer John McCarthy for the title's third installment.

Golf fans will recognize Elvy from his recent work with CBS in addition to his time with Sky Sports, FOX Sports, TNT, PGA Tour Live and PGA Tour Radio.

A 25-year media veteran from Australia, he now works in the United States and lives with his family in Canada.

"Ian Baker-Finch was my right-hand man on Australian televison," Elvy told GolfChannel.com in an interview at the Quicken Loans National. "And Finchy said to me, 'What are you doing here? You should be with me in the States.’ He introduced me to a few people over here and that's how the transition has happened over the last five or six years."

Elvy didn't have any prior relationship with HB Studios, who reached out to him via his management at CAA. As for why he got the job, he pseudo-jokes: "They heard the accent, and said, 'We like that. That works for us. Let's go.' That's literally how it happened."

He participated in two separate recording sessions over three days, first at his home back in February and then at the HB Studios shortly after The Players Championship. He teased his involvement when the game was announced in May.

Although he doesn't describe himself as a "gamer," Elvy lauded the game's immediate playability, even for a novice.

“It’s exactly how you’d want golf to be,” he said.

"The Golf Club 2019" will be the first in the HB series to feature PGA Tour branding. The Tour had previously licensed its video game rights to EA Sports.

In addition to a career mode that will take players from the Web.com Tour all the way through the FedExCup Playoffs, "The Golf Club 2019" will also feature at launch replicas of six TPC courses played annually on Tour – TPC Summerlin (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open), TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course (Waste Management Phoenix Open), TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course (The Players Championship), TPC Southwind (FedEx St. Jude Classic/WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship), TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic), and TPC Boston (Dell Technologies Championship).

“I played nine holes at Scottsdale,” Elvy added. “It’s a very close comparison. Visually, it’s very realistic."

The Golf Club 2019 is due out this August on PlayStation 4, XBOX One, and PC.

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Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

“Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

The problem was an expired visa.

Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

“Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

“It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

“The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

“That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

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Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

“They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

“The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”