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Stock Watch: No downside to Tiger vs. Phil

By Ryan LavnerJuly 10, 2018, 12:25 pm

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


$10 million exhibitions (+10%): It’s funny, those scoffing at the reported Tiger-Phil duel because 1.) it should have happened a decade earlier, so now it’s lame, or 2.) it isn’t interesting if they’re not putting up their own cash. Even if their relationship is now awkwardly warm and fuzzy, it’d still be a blast to watch (and hear) two legends go head to head, just like the old Wonderful World of Golf series. There is no downside to this.

Kevin Na (+8%): To most fans he’s an irritant, a head case who’s seemingly stuck in super-slo-mo, the epitome of what’s wrong with professional golf … but he’s also wildly entertaining, unafraid to show his emotions or his swagger or his vulnerability. Love him or loathe him, the Tour could use a few more interesting guys like Na.

Russell Knox (+5%): A short-but-straight knocker and sublime putter in a run of good form – that sounds like a winning formula at not just burned-out Carnoustie but also at Le Golf National, the Ryder Cup venue where two weeks ago he tied for second. Hmmm …

Sei Young Kim (+3%): Doesn’t matter how easy the course is – 31 under par for a 72-hole tournament is absolutely ridiculous. Considering Kim had previously tied the low 54-hole mark on tour, it’s safe to say she’s the most explosive player on the LPGA.

Jon Rahm (+1%): If he’s not on your short list of favorites for The Open, you’re doing it all wrong. In contention each of the past two weeks, he’s trending in the right direction and ready for his major breakout.


Henrik Stenson (-1%): With two majors, a WGC, the playoffs and the Ryder Cup upcoming, there couldn’t be a worse time for an elbow injury to pop up. Sigh.

Bubba (-2%): With a golden opportunity to leapfrog all of the inexperienced contenders at The Greenbrier – and create even more separation in the Player of the Year debate – Watson instead slumped to a 72 in the final round and plummeted to 13th.

John Peterson (-3%): Already dissatisfied with Tour life, Peterson won’t have fond memories of the Tour’s points system, either. He lost his playing privileges by less than a FedExCup point, expediting his retirement. Ouch.

Rory (-5%): He said last week – perhaps correctly – that he’d win “every week” if he could marry his typically excellent ball-striking with the lights-out putting he showed at Bay Hill. The problem is, he can’t, not yet anyway, and he remains easily the worst putter of today’s greats.

Phil (-6%): An admitted lack of focus led to another embarrassing two-shot penalty. Here’s hoping he locks in mentally, because with his current skill set, The Open represents his best chance to win a major.

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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.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.