Power Rankings: Sony Open in Hawaii

By Will GrayJanuary 8, 2013, 8:41 pm

The 2013 season begins for many this week with the Sony Open in Hawaii, the first full-field event of the year. Waialae Country Club will welcome a field of 144 players, all eager to get a head start on the shortened season.

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

Johnson Wagner returns to defend his title from last year, when he won by two shots over a group of four players. Here are 10 names to keep an eye on this week in Honolulu:

1. Charles Howell III: A runner-up here last year, Howell now has three top-5 finishes in his last four starts at Waialae. After finishing the 2012 Fall Series with three straight top-15 results, he'll be eager to end a winless drought that dates back to 2007.

2. Dustin Johnson: Having gotten his season off to an ideal start at Kapalua, Johnson will again be a favorite even on a course that mitigates his advantage off the tee. Finished T-10 and T-16 in two career Sony starts, and he's a shoe-in if the event somehow gets shortened to 54 holes.

3. Carl Pettersson: Like Howell, Pettersson finished just behind Johnson Wagner here last year. That runner-up goes along with a T-5 showing in 2010, meaning the Swede has a pair of top-five finishes in his last three Sony Open appearances.

4. Keegan Bradley: Finished T-13 here last year, and a good result on the Plantation Course last week shows that Bradley's game has little, if any, early-season rust remaining.

5. Tim Clark: Was a runner-up in his last appearance here two years ago, when he co-led the field in greens hit in regulation (56/72 GIR). The South African has made the top 25 in each of his three career Sony starts, and broken par at Waialae in 9/12 rounds played.

6. Matt Kuchar: Struggled early at Kapalua but righted the ship somewhat on Tuesday. Consistently one of the Tour's best overall ball-strikers, a trait that will be of great importance this week on a layout that emphasizes hitting fairways and greens. Finished T-5 in his last appearance here (2011).

7. Brian Gay: Another player with a knack for playing well at Sony, having posted four straight top-25 finishes since 2009. Currently riding a streak of 16 straight tournament rounds in Honolulu at par or better.

8. Scott Piercy: Like Johnson, will find his length off the tee less of an advantage this week but remains a contender. Entered Sunday in eighth place here last year before fading to T-23 with a final-round 72.

9. Zach Johnson: A winner here in 2009, Johnson has the tee-to-green accuracy to make him a contender. Also finished T-12 at Waialae the year following his victory and should have no trouble with tight fairways this week after finishing 14th on Tour in driving accuracy in 2012.

10. Brendon de Jonge: Coming off a career year in 2012. The Zimbabwean ended the season eighth on Tour in GIR percentage and followed up a T-20 showing in 2011 with a T-10 finish here last year.

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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.

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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.