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Stock Watch: Tiger Effect provides big boost

By Ryan LavnerMarch 13, 2018, 1:16 pm

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

RISING

Tiger (+9%): Five months after saying he was unsure about his future, and four starts into his comeback, Woods has already recorded his best finish since 2013. That it has all come together so quickly is exciting, inspiring, surprising and, yes, a bit surreal.

Paul Casey (+7%): His Valspar breakthrough was a long time coming – he had 22 top-5s on Tour between his two titles – and surely a welcome sight to Thomas Bjorn. Now 40, Casey is playing some of the best golf of his career. 

Tiger Effect (+5%): The final round of the Valspar Championship – normally a lower-tier Tour event – out-rated all but one of the 2017 majors, big-time events won by three of the game’s best young talents, Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas. That doesn’t bode well for golf’s future, but hey, let’s enjoy the present.

Martin Trainer (+3%): A wild route to the winner’s circle for the latest champion on the Web.com Tour: He played a Sunday qualifier, earned the final spot in the field and then held on to win. The definition of a life-changing victory.

New rules (+1%): Now that the USGA has finalized the rulebook – and we’re in favor of many of the changes, including no penalty for a moved ball, banning caddie assist with alignment and allowing players to tap down spike marks – it can turn its full attention to that pesky distance problem.   


FALLING

Sam Burns (-1%): The Snake Pit bit the promising up-and-comer, who needed a high finish to secure special temporary status for the rest of the season. Instead, he played the final three holes in 4 over, dropping into a tie for 12th, and will look to earn the necessary points this week at Bay Hill.

Sneds (-2%): The Tour should institute a new rule that keeps Woods and Snedeker apart for the rest of the season. They’ve already played together five (!) times, and Snedeker’s Sunday 78 cost him a spot in the Match Play and, possibly, the Masters.

Spieth’s putting (-3%): He can’t get comfortable with his setup … which makes us very uncomfortable with the Masters now only three weeks away.  

Presidents Cup timing (-4%): Tiger and Phil are back in the mix, a world-class field returns to pay homage to Arnold Palmer, the Masters is only a few weeks away … and so the Tour decides to make an announcement regarding the two captains for an event that is 18 months away? Buzzkill.  

Rory (-6%): Those four months off were supposed to cure all of McIlroy’s ails, but now he looks as far away from his best as he’s ever looked. Oy. 

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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.”