By the numbers: Top stats of the year

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2016, 4:30 pm

Arnold Palmer’s golf bag from the 1975 Ryder Cup was placed on the first tee on Friday morning of the Ryder Cup Matches at Hazeltine. So, it was only fitting that the United States swept the opening session of the Ryder Cup for the first time since 1975, when Palmer was captain.

Palmer's team defeated Great Britain & Ireland, 21-11 that year at Laurel Valley in Pennsylvania. Forty-one years later Love's team rode an identical 4-0 start to a 17-11 win against Europe.

That's not the only similarity between those matches, either.

Every U.S. player won at least one match at Hazeltine. The last time that happened for the American side? In 1975.

Those Ryder Cup facts lead off our collection of stats of the year. Here are some more numbers to chew on:

• Although his team lost, Belgian Thomas Pieters put together arguably the greatest rookie performance in European Ryder Cup history, becoming the first European/GB&I rookie to win 4 points in a single Ryder Cup.

Palmer's storied career

As we remember Palmer, who died Sept. 25 at age 87, here are some numbers from the legendary career of the King:

• 1960s: Associated Press Athlete of the Decade

• 1960, 1962: PGA of America Player of the Year

• 1960: Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year

• 1974: Inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame

• 2004: Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

• 2009: Awarded Congressional Gold Medal

• Palmer is one of only three golfers to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, along with Jack Nicklaus (2005) and Charlie Sifford (2014).

• 7: Number of majors won by Palmer, all between 1958 and 1964. In that time period, the most majors won by anyone else was three (Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus).

Major accomplishments

• Henrik Stenson won The Open at Royal Troon with a score of 264, the lowest 72-hole total in major championship history. The next-lowest major-winning scores are 265 (David Toms, 2001 PGA) and 267 (Steve Elkington, 1995 PGA; Greg Norman, 1993 The Open).

• Stenson became the second player in major championship history to shoot 63 in the final round of a victory, joining Johnny Miller, who did it in the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont.

• Phil Mickelson’s 11th runner-up finish in a major championship (The Open) broke a tie with Arnold Palmer for second most in men’s golf history. Jack Nicklaus has the most, with 19. Mickelson has now finished runner-up to the two lowest total scores in the history of 72-hole major championships (Stenson, 264, The Open, 2016; and Toms, 265, PGA, 2001).

Golf in the Olympics

• In Rio de Janeiro, Justin Rose won the first Olympic gold medal in men’s golf in 40,867 days. Rose has spread his 16 professional victories across nine different countries: (U.S., 7; South Africa, 2; and Australia, Brazil, England, Hong Kong, Japan, Scotland and Spain, 1 each)

• Inbee Park became the second woman to win a golf major and an Olympic gold medal. Babe Didrikson Zaharias won 10 majors and 2 gold medals in track and field in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. 

Langer's three-peats

• Bernhard Langer won the Schwab Cup for the third consecutive season. However, it was not the only race Langer won for the third straight year. He also ranked first on the PGA Tour Champions in scoring average, earnings, greens in regulation, ball striing, birdie average and par breakers.

• For the third consecutive year, Langer finished first and Colin Montgomerie finished second in the PGA Tour Champions season cup standings:

On the college front

• For the second consecutive year, the 13th-ranked team according to Golfstat came to the Women’s NCAA Championships, eliminated a Pac-12 rival top seed, and won the program’s first national championship. This year it was Washington, which beat No. 1 UCLA in the semifinals. In 2015 it was Stanford, which beat No. 1 USC in the semis.

• The Oregon men became the second team to win both the individual (Aaron Wise) and team national championships as the host school in the men’s NCAA Championship. Ohio State also accomplished the feat in 1945, with John Lorms taking the individual title.

Ko makes history

• Lydia Ko won her second career major championship at the ANA Inspiration. With her victory, she became the youngest player - man or woman - to win multiple majors, since Tom Morris Jr. Morris was 18 years, 4 months and 27 days old when he won his second major, the 1869 Open Championship. Ko was 18 years, 11 months and 10 days old when she won the ANA Inspiration.

• Ko is closing in on matching her age (in years) with her career LPGA wins. A look at when some of the greatest of all time in men’s and women’s golf accomplished that rare (and obscure) feat:

Tiger Woods, 24 wins at age 24

Nancy Lopez, 25 wins at age 25

Mickey Wright, 26 wins at age 26

Kathy Whitworth, 27 wins at age 27

Jack Nicklaus, 29 wins at age 29

Lydia Ko: 14 wins at age 19 (will turn 20 on April 24)

Jutanugarn breaks through

• Ariya Jutanugarn became the first player in LPGA history to earn her first three career victories in three straight tournaments held. She also became the first player since Suzann Pettersen in 2007 to win five or more times in a season after never winning previously in the LPGA. Pettersen won five times that year. Other previous non-winners to break through with five or more wins in the last 40 years were Nancy Lopez (nine wins in 1978) and Debbie Austin (five wins in 1977).

Youth rules the LPGA

• 26 of the 33 official LPGA tournaments this season were won by a player 23 or younger. Seven were won by someone 19 or younger and only one was won by someone 30 or older. The Average age of an LPGA winner was 22.3 years.

Dustin Johnson wins the U.S. Open

• At Oakmont, Johnson became the fifth different player in the last 100 years to win the U.S. Open the year after finishing runner-up, joining Tiger Woods (2007-08), Payne Stewart (1998-99), Jack Nicklaus (1971-72) and Bobby Jones (did it three times).

• Shane Lowry became the third player in U.S. Open history to lose a lead of 4 strokes or more entering the final round. Payne Stewart led by 4 after 54 holes in 1998, and Mike Brady led by 5 in 1919. Both finished second. Lowry finished T-2.

Willett takes the Masters

• Danny Willett became the third Masters champion to shoot a bogey-free 67 or better in the final round, joining Phil Mickelson (67 in 2010) and Doug Ford (66 in 1957).

• Twice, a defending Masters champion has held the outright 54-hole lead. In neither instance did the player go on to win. Jordan Spieth led by one in April, shot 73 and finished tied for second. Ben Hogan also led by one in 1954, but he shot 75 and finished second.

McIlroy wins at East Lake

• Rory McIlroy's Tour Championship victory was the 13th PGA Tour win of his career. Over the last 30 years, only Tiger Woods (39) and Phil Mickelson (14) have more PGA Tour wins before age 28 than McIlroy.

• McIlroy also has three more wins than any other player currently in his 20s. Jason Day, 29, has 10, Jordan Spieth, 23, has eight and Patrick Reed, 26, has five.

Matsuyama's charge

• In the HSBC Champions in China, Hideki Matsuyama became just the second player to win a WGC event by 7 strokes or more. Tiger Woods is the other, having done it four different times.

• Matsuyama is now tied with Shigeki Maruyama for most PGA Tour wins by a player from Japan (3).

Compiled from information provided by the Golf Channel research unit.

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Golf Channel Ramps Up Six Weeks of Comprehensive College Golf Coverage Culminating With The NCAA Women's and Men's Golf Championships, May 18-30

By Golf Channel Public RelationsApril 24, 2018, 9:00 pm

Golf Channel to Announce NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships Regional Selections on Wednesday, April 25 and Wednesday, May 2

 Golf Channel to Expand Coverage of NCAA Women’s and Men’s Regional Championships  

Driven: Oklahoma State Cowboys, a Four-Part Docu-Series Executive Produced by Rickie Fowler, Premieres on Golf Channel Monday, May 7

 More than 100 News and Tournament Hours Planned for Women’s and Men’s Championships, Back-to-Back Weeks at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

 

ORLANDO, Fla., April 24, 2018 – With conference championships underway, golf fans will be able to follow their favorite college golf programs and alma maters as they attempt to qualify and compete in the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships in May at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla., as Golf Channel expands its comprehensive on-air and digital collegiate golf coverage the next six weeks.

“Through our new long-term partnership, the NCAA and Golf Channel are successfully raising the profile of college golf by shining a spotlight on the game’s future stars and the passion these programs have in competing for national championships,” said Molly Solomon, Golf Channel executive vice president of content and executive producer. “With our expanded coverage of the regional championships and partnering with OSU alum Rickie Fowler for Driven, our viewers will be treated to the most college golf coverage in network history leading into the NCAA Golf National Championships.”

REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS SELECTION ANNOUNCEMENTS: On Wednesday, April 25 at 5:30 p.m. ET (women) and continuing Wednesday, May 2 at 5:30 p.m. ET (men), Golf Channel will announce the teams and individuals selected by the NCAA to participate in the women’s and men’s regional championships, the first step on the road to the NCAA Golf Championships. Live streaming coverage of selection shows will be available through the Golf Channel Mobile App or GolfChannel.com, and Golf Channel will aggregate social content for the shows using the hashtag #NCAAGolf. 

  • Women’s Golf Championships Regional Selections, Wednesday, April 25, 5:30 p.m. ET: Golf Central will announce (live) the 72 teams and24 individuals selected to compete in the four NCAA Women’s Regional Championships, May 7-9 (18 teams and six individuals per regional). 24 teams and 12 individuals will advance from regional sites to the national championships.
  • Men’s Golf Championships Regional Selections, Wednesday, May 2, 5:30 p.m. ET: Golf Central will announce the 81 teams and 45 individuals selected to compete in the six NCAA Men’s Regional Championships, May 14-16 (13 teams and 10 individuals at three regionals and 14 teams and five individuals at three regionals). 30 teams and six individuals will advance from regional sites to the national championships.

GOLF CHANNEL TO EXPAND REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS COVERAGE: New for 2018, Golf Channel will feature expanded coverage of the final day of the NCAA women’s and men’s regional championships, Wednesday May 9 and Wednesday, May 16, respectively. Beginning within Morning Drive, Golf Channel’s daily lifestyle news show, and continuing hourly throughout the day via live Golf Central news updates from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. ET that will be published to Golf Channel Digital and Golf Channel’s social media handles. Coverage will conclude with live news segments, featuring highlights and interviews, announcing the teams and individuals who qualified for the women’s and men’s national championships.

RICKIE FOWLER AND NBC SPORTS COLLABORATE ON FOUR-PART DOCU-SERIES DRIVEN: OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS: NBC Sports Group is teaming up with PGA TOUR superstar Rickie Fowler to give viewers a dramatic behind-the-scenes look into Fowler’s alma mater in a four-part documentary series – Driven: Oklahoma State Cowboys. Driven, executive produced by Fowler, will premiere Monday, May 7 at 10 p.m. ET and continue Monday, May 14 (10 p.m. ET) and Monday, May 21 (8 p.m. ET). The finale will air on NBC on Saturday, June 16, recapping their season that culminates with a run at a potential 11th national championship, taking place on their home turf.

NCAA GOLF NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS COVERAGE: Contested in back-to-back weeks, May 18-30 at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla., Golf Channel will dedicate its full suite of production resources to the NCAA Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships, featuring nearly 30 combined hours of live tournament coverage. In addition, Golf Central will feature nearly 30 hours of combined pre-and post-event live news coverage produced on location, as well as daily news updates on Morning Drive and Golf Channel Digital.                                             

Golf Channel NCAA Women’s Golf Championships Coverage

Monday, May   21       

Individual National   Championship  

4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

Tuesday, May   22          

Quarterfinals, Team   Match Play  

11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. ET   (Live)

Tuesday, May   22                 

Semifinals, Team Match   Play 

4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

Wednesday, May   23            

Team National   Championship  

4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

 

Golf Channel NCAA Men’s Golf Championships Coverage

Monday, May   28      

Individual National   Championship  

4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

Tuesday, May   29          

Quarterfinals, Team   Match Play  

11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. ET   (Live)

Tuesday, May   29                 

Semifinals, Team Match   Play 

4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

Wednesday, May   30            

Team National   Championship  

4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

 

COLLEGE CENTRAL – GOLF CHANNEL DIGITAL COVERAGE: Golf Channel is providing comprehensive coverage leading up to and during the NCAA Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships as part of College Central,Golf Channel Digital’s home for college golf. Led by Jay Coffin, Ryan Lavner and Steve Burkowski, College Central will be the source for all things college golf, including tournament results and scores, features and columns, video highlights and breaking news.

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS NEWS COVERAGE: Golf Channel will cover the conference championships with scores and analysis across its on-air news platforms - Morning Drive and Golf Central – and online within College Central.

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With help from partner, Burns could secure Tour status

By Ryan LavnerApril 24, 2018, 8:33 pm

AVONDALE, La. – This week Sam Burns has yet another chance to secure special temporary membership for the rest of the PGA Tour season, but his partner may determine whether he’s ultimately successful.

In an interesting twist, Burns is burning one of his seven available sponsor exemptions this week at the Zurich Classic. He is 80 non-member points shy of securing special temporary membership, which would allow him to receive unlimited sponsor exemptions for the rest of the season.

Burns needs at least a two-way tie for fourth to earn the necessary points, but it won’t all depend on how he plays this week. The Zurich is a two-man game, with two rounds apiece of fourballs and alternate shot.

Burns' partner this week is William McGirt. Their games couldn’t be more different – Burns ranks eighth on Tour in driving distance, at 309 yards per pop, while McGirt is 143rd (290) – but they hope to compliment each other over four days at TPC Louisiana.


Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Articles, photos and videos


“I got a good pair of spurs sharpened up last week while I was in San Antonio,” joked McGirt, who is looking for his first top-10 since the fall. “I told him I was going to ride him hard this week. It’ll be fun.”

Burns will have at least two (and maybe three) more opportunities to earn status, with starts lined up next week at the Wells Fargo Championship and also at the Memorial. He doesn’t face quite as much pressure because he won earlier this month on the Web.com Tour and currently sits fourth on the money list, essentially locking up his PGA Tour card for next season.

“It’s obviously nice to have that win,” he said, “but at the same time you have to be careful and make sure you play enough out there to where you’re secure for sure. You don’t want to get at the end of the year and then have two or three events left and you have to make a certain amount of money to get your card.

“So I’m just going step by step, tournament by tournament, and trying to figure out what’s the best route.”   

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Spieth-Palmer draw Rahm-Bryan early at Zurich

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 24, 2018, 7:49 pm

AVONDALE, La. – The PGA Tour’s only team event gets underway Thursday at the Zurich Classic. Here are some featured groups to watch at TPC Louisiana.

Justin Thomas-Bud Cauley/Daniel Berger-Gary Woodland: 8:39 a.m. ET Thursday off 10 tee, 2:08 p.m. Friday off 1: 

The Bama boys, Thomas and Cauley, team up for the second consecutive year, after tying for fifth a year ago on the strength of a final-round 61. Berger teamed with Thomas Pieters a year ago but missed the cut, so he’ll try his luck with Woodland, who also shares a management team at Excel Sports.

Jordan Spieth-Ryan Palmer/Jon Rahm-Wesley Bryan: 8:52 a.m. Thursday off 10, 2:19 p.m. Friday off 1: 

Spieth and Palmer finished fourth a year ago, five shots back of the leaders. Spieth is making his first start since his epic Sunday run at the Masters. Rahm and Bryan have opposite strengths – Rahm is one of the game’s preeminent drivers, while Bryan, statistically, is one of the worst – but the Spaniard is coming off a European Tour victory at home. Another wrinkle here: Even though no world-ranking points are on offer this week, Rahm is set to supplant Spieth as the third-ranked player in the world.

Jason Day-Ryan Ruffels/Brooks Koepka-Marc Turnesa: 1:31 p.m. Thursday off 1, 9:42 a.m. Friday off 10: 

Two stars with questionable sidekicks. Ruffels is an up-and-coming Australian who has been playing primarily in Latin America. (He also shares a manager with Day.) Turnesa, meanwhile, got the call late last week from Koepka, who is finally ready to return from a 15-week layoff because of a wrist injury. They both play out of Medalist in South Florida, but Turnesa, 40, has turned his attention to real estate instead of professional golf.

Patrick Reed-Patrick Cantlay/Jonas Blixt-Cameron Smith: 1:44 p.m. Thursday off 1, 9:53 a.m. Friday off 10: 

Reed makes his first start as Masters champion after taking off the past two weeks. This duo tied for 14th last year, undone by a Saturday 75 in foursomes play. Blixt and Smith are the defending champions, after shooting 27 under par last year and holding off Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown in a playoff. Blixt doesn’t have a top-10 on Tour since then, while Smith tied for fifth at the Match Play and the Masters.

Justin Rose-Henrik Stenson/Bubba Watson-Matt Kuchar: 1:57 p.m. Thursday off 1, 10:04 a.m. Friday off 10:

Rose and Stenson, who have proved to be a formidable pairing in the Ryder Cup, were a stunning missed cut last year, after shooting 6 under par for two rounds. Watson teamed up with J.B. Holmes to finish fifth last year, while Kuchar is making his first start in this event since 2009.

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Zurich Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 24, 2018, 7:09 pm

The PGA Tour tries team competition for the second year in a row at the Zurich Classic. Here are the key stats and information for play at TPC LouisianaClick here for full-field tee times.

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2:30-6:30PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2:30-6:30PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.


Purse: $7,200,000 ($1,036,800 to each winner)

Course: TPC Louisiana (par 72; 7,425 yards)

Defending champions: Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt (-27) in a playoff over Scott Brown and Kevin Kisner


News and notes

• All four reigning major champions - Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed - are in the field this week. This is the first time all four reigning major winners have played this event since 1984 (Ben Crenshaw, Larry Nelson, Tom Watson, Hall Sutton).

 Both members of winning team this week will earn an official PGA Tour victory, two-year Tour exemptions, and exemptions into the Players and PGA Championships.

• That said, no Official World Golf Ranking points are awarded from this event and winners will not earn exemptions into the 2019 Masters.


Notable teams in the field 

Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson

 Rose won this event in 2014, when it was individual stroke play. From 2012-16, he was a combined 60 under at TPC Louisiana in stroke play, seven shots better than any other player.

 Rose has dramatically improved his performance on the greens from last season, moving from 123rd in strokes gained-putting to 10th.

 Stenson's last three starts look like this: solo 4th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, T-6 at the Houston Open, and T-5 at the Masters.

Jon Rahm and Wesley Bryan

 Rahm is coming off a victory at the Spanish Open, his second worldwide win in 2018 and fifth since Jan. 2017.

 Rahm outdrives Bryan by an average of 30 yards off the tee, 305.1 to 276.3.

 Rahm is second on Tour in the strokes gained-off the tee, while Bryan is 210th, last among qualifying players.

Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay

 Reed is just the fifth reigning Masters champ to play the Zurich since 2000, joining Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson (twice), and Bubba Watson.

 Reed has gone T-2, T-7, T-9, WIN in his last four starts.

 Cantlay broke through for his maiden PGA Tour win earlier this season at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.