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Spieth, Thomas paired at Tour Championship

By Will GraySeptember 19, 2017, 3:48 pm

They combined to win the last two majors of the year, and now they'll share the final pairing during the opening round of the season-ending Tour Championship.

Jordan Spieth will begin play at East Lake Golf Club as the top seed in the points race, followed closely by Justin Thomas. Spieth admitted last week at the BMW Championship that Thomas' five wins make him the leader for Player of the Year honors, but he also believes that a Spieth win this week - along with the FedExCup title - could make it a "difficult" choice.

Other notable duos on Thursday include Masters champ Sergio Garcia paired with rookie winner Xander Schauffele, while red-hot Marc Leishman will play the opening round alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. The five players who are guaranteed to win the FedExCup with a Tour Championship win this week are Spieth, Thomas, Johnson, Leishman and Jon Rahm.

Players will be re-paired for the second round based on score. Here's a look at the final opening-round tee sheet of the season (all times ET):

11:40 a.m.: Patrick Cantlay, Jason Dufner

11:50 a.m.: Russell Henley, Gary Woodland

12 p.m.: Sergio Garcia, Xander Schauffele

12:10 p.m.: Patrick Reed, Tony Finau

12:20 p.m.: Adam Hadwin, Kyle Stanley

12:30 p.m.: Kevin Chappell, Brian Harman

12:40 p.m.: Jhonattan Vegas, Kevin Kisner

12:50 p.m.: Jason Day, Webb Simpson

1 p.m.: Charley Hoffman, Daniel Berger

1:10 p.m.: Pat Perez, Matt Kuchar

1:20 p.m.: Brooks Koepka, Paul Casey

1:30 p.m.: Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose

1:40 p.m.: Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler

1:50 p.m.: Dustin Johnson, Marc Leishman

2 p.m.: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas

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Phil tries to negotiate a shot a side for Tiger match

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 25, 2018, 2:58 pm

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Phil Mickelson is probably thankful his long-awaited showdown with Tiger Woods isn’t next week.

He’s not sure it’d be a fair fight.

Last week at the Tour Championship, Woods won his first event in five years while Mickelson finished last in the 30-man field, a whopping 24 strokes behind.

The quality of Woods’ play of late (and Mickelson’s recent struggles) prompted Lefty to begin early negotiations Tuesday at the Ryder Cup.

“I’m trying to negotiate a shot a side,” Mickelson said, chuckling. “It didn’t go over well, but I’m still working on it. I’ve got some negotiating to do, given how well he played last week.”

Right now, Woods is significantly favored (-220) in the match at Shadow Creek.

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Woods: Huge TV ratings 'a big deal' for golf

By Jay CoffinSeptember 25, 2018, 2:56 pm

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Tiger Woods won. Television rating spiked.

The only person surprised about the latter fact was Woods himself.

“I didn’t see the ratings, so I don’t know,” he said Tuesday at the Ryder Cup. “Are they good?”

Well, yes, they were.

NBC Sports’ final-round coverage of Woods’ victory at the Tour Championship on Sunday earned a 5.21 overnight rating, making it the highest-rated telecast in the history of FedExCup Playoffs and the highest-rated PGA Tour telecast this year, excluding majors.

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The rating to watch Woods’ 80th-career PGA Tour win was up 206 percent over last year’s Tour Championship.

“Sorry, I’ve been a little busy, so I haven’t looked,” he said. “If the ratings are, as you said, huge, especially against football on Sunday, you know, in the States, that’s a big deal, and for us to be able to promote golf like that and for me to experience a scene like we had on 18, the people running behind us and getting that excited.”

Coverage peaked from 5:30-6 p.m. ET on Sunday just as Woods was putting the finishing touches on his first victory in over five years. The 7.19 rating during that span trailed only peaks for the Masters (11.03) and PGA Championship (8.28). Live streaming minutes across NBC Sports digital platforms were up 561 percent over 2017.

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Phil on pairing with Tiger: 'I think we'd both welcome it'

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 25, 2018, 2:46 pm

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Fourteen years later, Phil Mickelson said that he’d be open to teaming again with Tiger Woods at the Ryder Cup.

“I think we would both welcome it,” Mickelson said Tuesday. “I think we would both welcome it.”

Asked whether he thinks it’ll actually happen, Mickelson smiled. “I do have an idea of what Captain (Jim) Furyk is thinking, yeah.”

It’d be a remarkable pairing – again – for America’s two most popular players.

Captain Hal Sutton infamously put the pair together in 2004 at Oakland Hills, when they were Nos. 1 and 2 in the world and nowhere near as friendly as they are now. They failed spectacularly, going 0-2 en route to a blowout loss by the Americans.

Ryder Cup: Articles, photos and videos

Earlier this year, during an interview on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive,” Furyk shot down any prospect of a Tiger-Phil pairing. “I hope they’re both watching, because they just fell off the couch laughing,” he said. “I wouldn’t guess that would be a good idea as a captain, I’m just saying.”

The two stars’ relationship has improved dramatically over the past few years, beginning with the decision to put both on the Ryder Cup task force. During that time together, Mickelson said, “we realized that we both have a lot more in common than we thought, and I think we both have really come to appreciate working together to achieve things.”

They’ve worked together so well, and so often now, that Woods and Mickelson will now play in a pay-per-view, 18-hole match during Thanksgiving weekend in Las Vegas.

Though Furyk said that the practice-round groups Tuesday were focused more on putting players who hadn’t seen Le Golf National with at least one who has, there were some obvious partnerships who went out together.

Woods was grouped with Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed. Rounding out the foursome? Mickelson.

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Tiger Tracker: 42nd Ryder Cup

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 25, 2018, 1:15 pm

Fresh off his 80th PGA Tour victory at the Tour Championship, Tiger Woods is competing in his first Ryder Cup since 2012. We're tracking him.