Stock Watch: Rory rising, Open modernization falling

By Ryan LavnerJuly 22, 2014, 2:24 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Rory (+10%): At the moment there is nothing quite as exhilarating as McIlroy in full flight, which he was during another wire-to-wire major victory. He’s not the next Tiger, nor does he have to be. But by age 30 he’ll be one of the all-time greats.

Lydia Ko (+8%): After another W, the 17-year-old has just topped $1 million in career earnings. That’s really depressing, because at that age I made $5.25 an hour while driving the range picker.

Rickie (+6%): For years we criticized the Orange One for showing more style than substance. Not anymore. His major record this season – all top 5s – is awfully stout.

Sergio (+4%): He sent a charge through Hoylake with some inspired play on Sunday, but after a late bogey he ultimately fell short (again). Now that he’s learned how to lose with grace and humility, it’s just a matter of time before he gets off the major schneid … right?

Jim Furyk (+3%): Gotta appreciate how this aging warrior continues to grind. Back in the OWGR top 10 for the first time since February 2011, the 44-year-old has virtually played his way onto the Ryder Cup team.

Tom Watson (+1%): Last week the captain finished the Open tied with Duf and ahead of guys like Kooch, Tiger and Bubba. If he thought that was tough, just wait until he has to announce his wild-card picks.


FALLING

Bubba (-1%): His incredible shot-making would seem to fit the Open’s unique challenge, but Watson’s maddening lapses of concentration make you wonder if he’ll ever embrace the imperfections of links golf.

DJ (-2%): Speaking of maddening: Remember when Johnson was the most gifted 20-something player in golf? Rory has three majors; DJ has just as many letdowns.

Tiger (-4%): Look, it was a bonus that he even made the cut, given where he was four months ago, but no matter how you slice it, in the short-term, not much was accomplished at the Open: Woods posted his worst 72-hole finish in a major, made no dent in the FedEx Cup standings, and lost to the Ryder Cup captain.

Modernization of the Open (-7%): The R&A went to a two-tee start in anticipation of what apparently was the worst storm in the 143-year history of the event … and it proved to be the most benign conditions of the week. British media criticized Rory for ignoring a young boy’s autograph request after winning the Open … except signing something before his card would have been against the rules. And the fools who scream “Get in the HOLE!” and harass players during their rounds evidently made it across the pond. Too bad the wireless Internet hasn’t yet entered the 2000s.

Betting (-9%): The R&A says players have signed an anti-betting waiver each year since 2011. Players don’t recall ever signing one. There is no such mandate for golf writers, however, so I can kiss those hard-earned 3 £ goodbye.

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Simpson overtakes DeChambeau in Ryder Cup race

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:09 pm

A T-12 finish at The Open allowed Webb Simpson to move past Bryson DeChambeau into the eighth and final automatic qualifying spot in the U.S. Ryder Cup points race with just three weeks to go.

Simpson finished the week at 3 under, five shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. Adding another strong result to his win at TPC Sawgrass and T-10 finish at the U.S. Open, he's now edged in front of DeChambeau by less than 41 points. But with players earning one point per $1,000 each of the next two weeks and 1.5 points per $1,000 at the PGA Championship, the race is far from over.

Jordan Spieth's T-9 finish strengthened his position at No. 6, as the top six players are essentially assured of qualifying automatically. Rickie Fowler held onto his spot at No. 7, while Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner both moved onto the bubble following T-2 finishes at Carnoustie. After a T-6 finish, Tiger Woods jumped from 31st to 20th.

Here's a look at the updated American standings, with the top eight after the PGA qualifying automatically and captain Jim Furyk adding four picks in September:

1. Brooks Koepka

2. Dustin Johnson

3. Patrick Reed

4. Justin Thomas

5. Bubba Watson

6. Jordan Spieth

7. Rickie Fowler

8. Webb Simpson

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9. Bryson DeChambeau

10. Phil Mickelson

11. Xander Schauffele

12. Matt Kuchar

13. Kevin Kisner

14. Tony Finau

15. Brian Harman

On the European side, Molinari was already in position to qualify automatically but is now assured of a spot on Thomas Bjorn's roster this fall. Fellow major champs Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy also solidified their footing with runner-up performances.

Here's a look at how things look for the Europeans, with the top four from each list after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

European Points

1. Francesco Molinari

2. Justin Rose

3. Tyrrell Hatton

4. Tommy Fleetwood

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Thorbjorn Olesen

Russell Knox

Eddie Pepperell

World Points

1. Jon Rahm

2. Alex Noren

3. Rory McIlroy

4. Paul Casey

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Matthew Fitzpatrick

Sergio Garcia

Ian Poulter

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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.