Players on Solheim bubble making moves

By Randall MellJuly 24, 2015, 11:17 pm

Juli Inkster ventured into the Golf Channel booth at the Meijer LPGA Classic early Friday afternoon to talk about the potential difficult choices she may have to make as the U.S. Solheim Cup captain.

“It’s a headache waiting to happen,” Inkster told Golf Channel’s Tom Abbott and Karen Stupples.

A few hours later, she must have felt a migraine coming on, because a quartet of U.S. Solheim Cup hopefuls on the points-list bubble made impressive moves that can’t help but impress Inkster. Seriously, Inkster has to relish seeing Alison Lee, Lizette Salas, Gerina Piller and Kim Kaufman making bold moves with the Solheim Cup matches moving closer. The hotter her team is going to Germany, the better for Inkster.

Lee shot a 6-under-par 66 Friday to move into a three-way tie for first place at Blythefield Country Club in Grand Rapids, Mich. Salas posted a 69 to move into that tie atop the leaderboard. Piller shot a 65 to move one shot off the lead, and Kaufman posted a 67 to move two back.

All three are on the bubble in the points race to make the American team that will travel to meet the Europeans in the Solheim Cup matches in Germany Sept. 18-20. Qualifying for the teams ends at the conclusion of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open on Aug. 23.

Piller currently holds down the eighth and final qualifying spot on the U.S. points list. Salas is 10th. Lee, a rookie, is 19th on the points list but seventh on the Rolex world rankings list, where the top two will make the American team. Kaufman is 16th on the points list.

Inkster made a special effort to see Lee’s game up close in Michigan this week.

“I played a practice round with her, just to get to know her a little bit this week,” Inkster said. “She’s a great player. I’d love to have her on the team. I think I need to see a little more. Austin Ernst is playing well. Lizette Salas is playing well. I don’t know, it’s a cluster.”

American Kris Tamulis and Jaye Marie Green are far down the U.S. points list but would move into the conversation with a win this weekend. Tamulis (68) and Green (69) are both one shot off the lead.

U.S. Solheim Cup points list

1. Stacy Lewis 994.5

2. Lexi Thompson 606.5

3. Michelle Wie 463.5

4. Cristie Kerr 445.5

5. Brittany Lincicome 418

6. Morgan Pressel 380.5

7. Angela Stanford 326.5

8 Gerina Piller 288.5

9. Paula Creamer 277.5

10. Lizette Salas 261.5

11. Jessica Korda 259

12. Brittany Lang 253.5

13. Austin Ernst 191.5

14. Mo Martin 173

15. Christina Kim 132

*The top eight in points at the conclusion of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open (Aug. 23) earn automatic spots on the American team. A victory this week is worth 60 points, second place is worth 30, third 28.5, with points awarded down to 20th place (3 points).

Rolex World Rankings list

32. Paula Creamer

33. Jessica Korda

34. Lizette Salas

41. Brittany Lang

43. Mo Martin

*The top two Americans in the Rolex women’s world rankings who aren’t already qualified on points automatically make the team. 

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”