Power Rankings: U.S. Open

By June 12, 2012, 5:00 pm

This year's second major for the men is here with the U.S. Open this week at The Olympic Club in San Francisco. With the bulk of the game's top names having won at least once already this season, a top-heavy ranking might be expected. Given the history of underdog victories at the Lake Course, however, at least a few lesser-known names deserve consideration.

Take a look at our fantasy rankings for this week, then tweet out your picks using the hashtag #GCFantasy and send them to me @RyanBallengeeGC. Also be sure to join the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to test yourself against our panel of experts, including defending champion Win McMurry.

1. Tiger Woods: A winner twice this season including two weeks ago at the Memorial Tournament, Woods is tied for the most PGA Tour wins in 2012. He finished T-18 at this venue 14 years ago and his improved confidence off the tee will be critical to his success this week.

2. Lee Westwood: Players do not win the week before the U.S. open, then do it again the next week. Lee Westwood, however, is poised to do just that after winning last week's Nordea Masters on the European Tour. Among the top three in the world from tee to green, Westwood will find lots of greens and hover around par better than most.

3. Rory McIlroy: The reigning U.S. Open champion may have found a watery grave at the 72nd hole in Memphis, but McIlroy proved he can bounce back from a minor rut. His high ball flight should help this week on firm greens.

4. Luke Donald: The world No. 1 will come in with a world of confidence, having beaten a world-class field at the BMW PGA Championship last month for his second worldwide win of 2012. His short-game prowess is a big asset this week, which can help him partially overcome occasionally lackluster driving accuracy.

5. Matt Kuchar: The Players winner was an amateur at Olympic in 1998, but finished T-14. He has been in the top 15 in each of the last two U.S. Opens, and his happy-go-lucky demeanor will help him as he grinds through the tough stretches.

6. Phil Mickelson: Mickelson is a five-time runner-up at the U.S. Open. He always seems to contend int he year's first two majors more frequently than anyone. Without cell phones in the gallery to bother him, Phil can make a statement with his play - not the lack of it.

7. Jim Furyk: With the scaling back of the graduated rough at the U.S. Open, Furyk's driving accuracy - ranked second on the PGA Tour - will be important this week. His lone major title came in this championship in 2003 at the similarly named Olympia Fields, albeit under different scoring conditions.

8. Jason Dufner: Dufner has won twice and finished second in his last four PGA Tour starts. That's reason enough to earn a spot in the ranking. The fact that he has seriously contended in the last two majors played is another.

9. Peter Hanson: The Swede had a chance at the Masters, finishing T-3. He has just a pair of finishes outside the top 15 this season in seven PGA Tour starts.

10. Sergio Garcia: The Spaniard has shown flashes of brilliance this season, but has not built upon his Spanish double-dip to end 2011. He finished T-3 last week, however, at the Nordea Masters. He was in contention at the U.S. Open last year before finishing T-7 at Congressional.

**Remember to join GC Fantasy expert Rob Bolton for a live chat 12:00p ET Wednesday at www.rotoworld.com**

Tune in to Golf Channel all week long for Live From: U.S. Open coverage.

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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.