Power Rankings: Watney the Philly favorite

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 28, 2011, 12:00 pm

Here are GolfChannel.com’s Power Rankings, the top 10 favorites for the AT&T National:

1. Nick Watney: Watney's made over $3 million in 2011 via a win and six other top-10s, and he played well here last year, finishing tied for seventh. Our experts liked what they saw in his T-13 last week at the Travelers and a stern, par-70 test like Aronimink is right up his alley.

2. K.J. Choi: The 2007 AT&T champ has become a major player this year– or fifth major, as it may be, with his Players Championship win – and a favorite in events that require a well-rounded game.

3. Ryan Moore: A missed 4-footer on the 72nd hole at the Travelers was all that could have separated Moore from his second Tour tilt a mere shot secured the same fate last year in his solo second finish. Moore's playing well and history shows he plays well at this tournament.

4. Justin Rose: Rose comes into this week as the defending champ but he's also coming off of two straight missed cuts and lukewarm play before that since his T-11 at The Masters. Still, good memories count for a lot in golf and Rose has the skill to turn it around at any given moment.

5. Hunter Mahan: This 'Golf Boy' finished second here to the tournament host in 2009 and a second-round 63 last week in Hartford says the game is there. But he's been inconsistent of late – his MC at the U.S. Open and over par rounds to open and close the Travelers also say Mahan's a bit of a wildcard at the moment.

6. Lucas Glover: The man with a Facebook page devoted to his facial hair has lulled since his Wells Fargo win in May which says the early-season struggles of the '09 U.S. Open champ are more the norm than the exception this year. But, as evidenced by his major championship title, Glover plays difficult courses well so perhaps he'll get things back on track this week.

7. Webb Simpson: Simpson knocked on victory's door twice this year – at the Transitions Championship and Zurich Classic – but no one has yet to answer. A great all-around player (currently No. 1 on the PGA Tour's 'All-Around' ranking), a victory is sure to come soon.

8. Mark Wilson: Already a two-time winner this year on Tour, Wilson also had a pair of top-10s at both Arnie and Jack's events. And now this is Tiger's event.

9. Anthony Kim: By all accounts AK feels good about his game, but his results have yet to yield the kind of season the '08 AT&T champ is capable of. Could this be the week Kim becomes the kid of old?

10. Adam Scott: With the tournament host, Woods, sidelined still for an unknown period of time, Scott has the former world No. 1's caddie on loan. He's struggled since his T-2 at the Masters, but maybe the combo of Tiger's caddie at Tiger's tournament is enough to bring the player who copied Tiger's swing of old back into the limelight.

Note: This list is compiled from rankings submitted by members ofGolfChannel.com's editorial team, based on who is most expected tocontend in each upcoming event.

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Spieth, Reed in different groups during Tuesday practice

By Rex HoggardSeptember 25, 2018, 12:38 pm

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Tuesday’s U.S. groupings at the Ryder Cup may give a glimpse into what potential pairings we will see this week at Le Golf National.

In the day’s first foursome, Tiger Woods, Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson and Patrick Reed played together. The second group included Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas; and the anchor group was Bubba Watson, Tony Finau, Brooks Koepka and Webb Simpson.

Whether those groups will make up captain Jim Furyk’s version of the team’s pods, however, remains to be seen. Given that half of his team has never played Le Golf National, Furyk said he tried to match players on Tuesday with those who had some experience on the course.

Ryder Cup: Articles, photos and videos

“Today is really about trying to learn the golf course and hit some solid golf shots,” Furyk said. “There may be some pairings out there and there's some groups there isn't. Just want them concentrating on their own game right now. They are very aware of who they will be playing with this week and they are very aware of some of the options they have.”

Given the success of previous pairings and some relatively obvious choices, it seems there are some likely options for the U.S. Woods and DeChambeau have become regular practice-round partners and at the Tour Championship they experimented with the other player’s golf balls on Tuesday.

It also seems likely that Spieth-Thomas and Fowler-Johnson will be paired in some form this week.

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Le Golf National nothing like wide open Hazeltine

By Will GraySeptember 25, 2018, 12:00 pm

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – The layout at Le Golf National has a distinctly European feel, and captain Thomas Bjorn hopes to keep it that way at the Ryder Cup.

Gone are the wide fairways and short rough of Hazeltine, where the Americans bombed and gouged their way to their first team victory in nearly a decade. This week players will encounter one of the tightest and most demanding tracks on the European Tour, where water lurks around nearly every corner.

“Well this is a tough golf course, to start with,” Bjorn said Tuesday. “I like the idea of a golf course that’s set up like a championship golf course. You’ve got to identify guys that are hitting the golf ball well. Identify guys that are playing good golf that week.”

Ryder Cup: Articles, photos and videos

Unlike the other recent Ryder Cup host venues on this side of the Atlantic, Le Golf National is somewhat of a known entity in that it annually hosts the European Tour’s French Open. It’s a tournament that Ryder Cup rookies Tommy Fleetwood and Alex Noren have won each of the last two years, while teammates Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia both cracked the top 10 in June.

That should give the Europeans an advantage when it comes to familiarity, and Bjorn’s plans for course setup included a desire to ensure the experience factor for his players would still be relevant this week amid larger-than-normal grandstands.

“There’s guys on this team that have played a lot of French Opens. I don’t want them to show up and it’s a completely different golf course to what they are used to,” Bjorn said. “This is very similar to what it is normally.”

Despite the similarities in setup, there will still be plenty of adjustments for the American squad. Justin Thomas was the only U.S. player to make the trek for this year’s French Open, and captain Jim Furyk admitted that only six of his 12 players had seen the course at all prior to this week.

“We’re just trying to figure it out,” Furyk said. “Europe knows this golf course well. They have played the French Open here. We’re trying to figure out the setup and what they have in store for the week.”

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Bjorn '85 percent' done with Ryder Cup pairings

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 25, 2018, 11:45 am

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Practice-round groups at the Ryder Cup typically give fans a sense of what to expect when the Day 1 pairings are announced on Thursday afternoon.

Though European captain Thomas Bjorn said that “not too much” should be gleaned from his groupings during the first official practice round on Tuesday, he also doesn’t want to waste valuable time as players get adjusted to Le Golf National and each other.

Here were the three practice groups for the Europeans:

  • Sergio Garcia, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose
  • Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Paul Casey and Thorbjorn Olesen
  • Tommy Fleetwood, Francesco Molinari, Ian Poulter and Tyrrell Hatton

Ryder Cup: Articles, photos and videos

“You get some of the new guys out with somebody with a bit of experience so they can talk the way around," Bjorn said, "but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are pairing up together."

It's worth noting U.S. captain Jim Furyk made similar remarks, that each of his three groups had at least one player who had seen Le Golf National previously.

“I don’t feel like I’ve given away anything in what’s happening on the golf course today,” Bjorn said.  

Still, Bjorn said that he’s “80 or 85 percent” certain of the pairings he’d like to use this week.

“I’m pretty set in my mind,” he said.

Asked where he was in his own process, Furyk joked “86 percent” before saying that he has a “really good idea” of his plan for Day 1 fourballs and foursomes.

“I think coming in here we both were going to have a plan of exactly what we wanted to try to do,” Furyk said. “There’s always going to be a reaction to what you’re seeing on the golf course, what you’re feeling, options to branch off of, but I’ve got a really good idea of what I’d like to do for Day 1.”

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Six players named in the race for Tour Player of the Year

By Rex HoggardSeptember 25, 2018, 11:26 am

The PGA Tour announced six nominees for the PGA Tour Player of the Year Award on Tuesday; although, to many, it won’t be a competition.

Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Francesco Molinari, Justin Rose and Justin Thomas have been nominated for the Jack Nicklaus Award.

DeChambeau won three times this season, including the first two playoff events; Johnson was also a three-time winner and had 12 top-10 finishes; Molinari had two victories, including The Open; Rose won the FedExCup, and Thomas had three victories. But if player reaction last week at the Tour Championship was any indication, they are all vying for second place behind Koepka.

Although Koepka only had two victories they were both majors, the U.S. Open and PGA Championship, after missing a good portion of the season with an injury.

The Tour also released the five nominees for the Rookie of the Year Award, although that race appears to be a foregone conclusion as well. Aaron Wise was the only member of the rookie class to advance to the Tour Championship and also won the AT&T Byron Nelson.

Voting for both awards ends on Oct. 1.