Power Rankings: Tampa Bay Championship

By Will GrayMarch 12, 2013, 4:36 pm

With the season's second WGC event in the books, the PGA Tour heads north for the third installment of the Florida Swing. The Copperhead Course at Innisbrook plays host to this week's Tampa Bay Championship presented by Everbank, where many of the game's best will look to hone their skills with the season's first major fast approaching.

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Luke Donald returns to defend the title he won last year on the first hole of a dramatic four-way playoff. Here are 10 players to watch this week in Tampa:

1. Webb Simpson: The reigning U.S. Open champ has finished inside the top 15 each of the last three years in Tampa, including a runner-up showing in 2011. Five of his seven starts this year have yielded top-20 finishes, and Simpson is currently sixth on Tour in scrambling.

2. Sergio Garcia: The Spaniard is coming off a T-3 finish last week and has been inside the top 20 each of the last two years at Innisbrook. His early-season form has clearly carried over from Europe to the States, as Garcia is currently ninth on Tour in scoring average.

3. Adam Scott: Like Garcia, Scott finished in a tie for third at Doral, firing the lowest score of the week with a closing 64. The Aussie has notched top-10 finishes in both of his stroke-play starts this year and appears to be rounding into form as Augusta approaches.

4. Luke Donald: The defending champ returns still in search of his first top-10 finish of 2013, but his stellar short game makes him an ideal candidate at Innisbrook. The Englishman led the field last year in strokes gained putting en route to victory, and also finished T-6 here in 2010.

5. Matt Kuchar: Kuchar was unable to get going last week at Doral but has still been one of the more consistent players thus far in 2013. Top-12 finishes in each of his last two Tampa starts, including a tie for 10th last year, make him a player to watch this week.

6. Jason Dufner: Having picked up some momentum with a T-12 finish at Doral, Dufner heads to Tampa where he has finished inside the top 30 each of the last four years. That includes a tie for 10th last year, when he led the field by two shots after 36 holes before fading over the weekend.

7. Jim Furyk: A winner here in 2010, Furyk was also among the playoff participants a year ago. Despite a pedantic finish at Doral, the former U.S. Open champ is currently fifth in driving accuracy, which should help him navigate the tree-lined fairways at Innisbrook.

8. Michael Thompson: Followed his maiden win at Honda with a solid T-8 finish at Doral. Thompson certainly has momentum on his side, and now returns to an event where he finished T-16 a year ago.

9. Retief Goosen: A two-time winner of this event (2003 & 2009), Goosen also finished fifth in 2010 and tied for 20th last year. Though he has yet to replicate the form that netted a top-10 finish at Pebble Beach last month, the South African clearly feels comfortable on the Copperhead Course.

10. Geoff Ogilvy: Two weeks after a runner-up finish at Honda, Ogilvy heads to Tampa where he has been inside the top 30 six of the last seven times he's teed it up, dating back to 2003. An all-Aussie pairing with Scott and Jason Day for the first two rounds should help make the first 36 holes especially comfortable. 

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Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.

This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

“I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”

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Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:32 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.

Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.

“I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.

To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.

“More punishment,” he said.

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DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:35 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.

Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.

Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.

It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.  

With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.

Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.

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TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 3:32 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:

• Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.

• This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.

• Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery

 


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


• In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”

• At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.

• Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.

• My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.