Four big Euro names outside Ryder Cup picture

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2014, 2:29 pm

This could be the most hotly contested Ryder Cup ever – and we’re talking about just making the team.

Each Monday, will take an early look at the players who are vying for one of the 12 spots on the team. Nine players make the squad via their respective points list, and both captain Tom Watson and Paul McGinley will have three wild-card picks apiece.


The current top 12:

1. Bubba Watson, 6,828
2. Jimmy Walker, 5,510
3. Rickie Fowler, 5,403
4. Jim Furyk, 5,259
5. Dustin Johnson, 5,133
6. Jordan Spieth, 4,781
7. Matt Kuchar, 4,764
8. Jason Dufner, 3,516
9. Zach Johnson, 3,450
10. Patrick Reed, 3,301
11. Phil Mickelson, 3,252
12. Brendon Todd, 3,250

• Rickie Fowler and Jim Furyk are virtual locks for the team after their strong performances at the Open. Fowler played in his second consecutive final group on a major Sunday, tying for second, while Furyk finished fourth to record his sixth top 10 of the season. Furyk had been a part of every U.S. team competition since 1997 until he was not selected for the 2013 Presidents Cup team.

• Phil Mickelson felt encouraged by his T-23 finish at Hoylake, but he remains outside the top 10 in the standings heading into a critical portion of the season. Watson made headlines last week by saying that neither Mickelson (now No. 11) nor Tiger Woods (No. 70) were automatically going to be picked.


European Points List (top 4 qualify)

1. Victor Dubuisson, 2,490,346
2. Jamie Donaldson, 2,395,561
3. Henrik Stenson, 2,366,878
4. Thomas Bjorn, 2,303,207
5. Martin Kaymer, 1,953,042
6. Ian Poulter, 1,905,382
7. Rory McIlroy, 1,827,848
8. Justin Rose, 1,788,164
9. Joost Luiten, 1,564,816
10. Miguel Angel Jimenez, 1,530,675

World Points List (top 5)

1. Henrik Stenson, 343
2. Sergio Garcia, 267
3. Rory McIlroy, 258
4. Justin Rose, 255
5. Martin Kaymer, 244
6. Thomas Bjorn, 189
7. Victor Dubuisson, 172
8. Jamie Donaldson, 162
9. Luke Donald, 160
10. Ian Poulter, 147

• They were likely selections anyway, but Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy secured their spot on the European team by virtue of their finishes at Royal Liverpool. They are Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, on the World Points list.

• McGinley likely was pleased to see a return to form by Victor Dubuisson, whose T-9 finish at the Open was only his second top 10 worldwide since the WGC-Match Play in February.

• Among the players with work to do leading into the final few weeks of qualifying: Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter. Currently, none of those four players would be automatic qualifiers. 

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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.