Punch Shot: Best Doral finish - Spieth, Day or McIlroy?

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 2, 2016, 1:00 pm

For the first time this year, the top three players in the world – Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy – will be teeing it up in the same event (and playing in the same group). Who will have the best week? Our writers weigh in:


Though none of the Big 3 should be tabbed as the favorite to win this week – that distinction belongs to recent winners and horses-for-courses Adam Scott and Bubba Watson – the guess here is that Rory McIlroy will have the best finish.

Doral has been toughened up in recent years, but it remains a haven for long hitters like McIlroy. Though he hasn’t shot a round in the 60s there in his last eight attempts, he remains the only member of the Big 3 who has a top-10 at this venue – he has four in the past five years, in fact, including a T-9 last year. Day, meanwhile, hasn’t placed better than 20th there in four tries. Spieth’s best showing is 17th last year, and he is at a significant disadvantage going up against the big hitters who can fly bunkers and cut corners.

McIlroy is coming off an uncharacteristically sloppy performance at the Honda Classic, which has proven to be both feast (win in 2012, playoff loss in ’14) and famine (withdrawal in ’13, missed cuts in ’15 and ’16) over the past few years. With only a pair of stroke-play starts remaining before the Masters, now is the time for the world No. 3 to start peaking for Augusta.


Jason Day is due for a good week at Trump Doral.

Yes, his record there doesn’t impress. In four starts at Doral, he has never finished better than T-20. That doesn’t make a lot of sense. This course rewards the game’s best drivers, its best long drivers. And Day’s one of the best.

The thing is, Day hasn’t been great in the state of Florida, either. In 23 PGA Tour starts in the Sunshine State, he has one top-10 finish, a T-6 at The Players in 2011.

Maybe it’s his high ball flight in the typically windy conditions. Jordan Spieth doesn’t set up well at Doral, either. Rory McIlroy is the best bet among this trio, but he’s coming off that rough Sunday at the Northern Trust and the missed cut at Honda. So put me down for the upset. Put me down for believing Day is at another level with all that success last year and he’s ready to show he can win anywhere.


Following his first missed cut on the PGA Tour since ... well, last year’s Honda Classic, Rory McIlroy probably wouldn’t be atop many lists to contend this week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, but that would be ignoring the facts.

Consider that after missing the cut last year at the Honda Classic, McIlroy finished tied for ninth place at Doral and would go on to win two of his next seven starts. In short, although McIlroy says all the right things about PGA National it’s clearly not his favorite ballpark. Also consider that the new and extended layout at Doral is a perfect fit for the Northern Irishman’s style of long ball.

Last year, Nos. 1, 2 and 3 on the leaderboard – Dustin Johnson, J.B. Holmes and Bubba Watson – also ranked third, second and first, respectively, in driving distance for the week. It’s a particular test that McIlroy is perfectly equipped for.

Although McIlroy hasn’t been at his best so far this year, he is still the game’s preeminent driver of the golf ball, and on one of the Tour’s most unique tests from the tee he’s an easy pick despite his recent form.


Rory McIlroy was leaking plenty of oil at the Honda Classic, but that doesn’t mean the trend will continue this week a few miles farther south.

After all, it was just last year that McIlroy followed a missed cut at PGA National with a top-10 at Trump National Doral (and that result came despite a watery parting with his 3-iron). McIlroy’s record at this week’s venue is even stronger when you consider how he played at Doral before Gil Hanse’s redesign, and his prowess off the tee – not only distance, but carry – means he’ll be able to take lines many in the field will have to avoid.

World No. 1 Jordan Spieth feels at home on many courses, but Doral does not seem to be one of them. Jason Day, meanwhile, boasts a middling record at this event and while he could be motivated by a chance to regain the top spot in the world rankings, he has yet to build momentum this season like many of his highly-ranked counterparts.

This event remains a difficult one to predict, but it’s safe to say that by week’s end the top name among the Big 3 will by McIlroy.

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”