Woods grouped with Koepka, Matsuyama at Wyndham

By Will GrayAugust 18, 2015, 4:37 pm

The PGA Tour heads to Greensboro, N.C., this week for the Wyndham Championship, the final regular-season event of the 2014-15 season. Here are four featured groups to watch at Sedgefield Country Club (all times ET):

Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka, Hideki Matsuyama: 7:50 a.m. Thursday (No. 10 tee), 12:50 p.m. Friday (No. 1 tee)

Woods will be the big draw this week as he makes a surprise appearance in Greensboro for his first start in this event. Needing a win to make the postseason, he'll play the first two rounds alongside Koepka, who just finished T-5 at the PGA Championship, and Matsuyama, who rattled off 10 straight top-25 finishes earlier this season. Matsuyama finished 15th at Sedgefield back in 2013, while Koepka was T-38 last year but closed with a final-round 64.

Bill Haas, Martin Kaymer, Charl Schwartzel: 8 a.m. Thursday (No. 10 tee), 1 p.m. Friday (No. 1 tee)

This trio consists of Haas, a local product and fan favorite, and a pair of surprising bubble boys. Haas came up one shot short last year but has three straight top-20 finishes at Sedgefield, while Kaymer tied for 20th in his tournament debut in 2013. He'll need a better result this time around to make the playoffs, as the German is currently 149th in the FedEx Cup points race. Schwartzel rounds out the group, but enters this week in the precarious position of No. 125 in the standings.

Billy Horschel, Adam Scott, Luke Donald: 12:50 p.m. Thursday (No. 1 tee), 7:50 a.m. Friday (No. 10 tee)

The reigning FedEx Cup champ has quietly started to heat up, as Horschel has seven top-25 finishes in his last nine starts. He'll be joined by Scott, who surprisingly missed the cut last week at Whistling Straits and is making his first start in Greensboro since 2009. Donald is the third member of the group, and like Schwartzel he needs a strong result to clinch a playoff spot as the Englishman is currently No. 124 in FedEx Cup points.

Brandt Snedeker, Camilo Villegas, Webb Simpson: 1 p.m. Thursday (No. 1 tee), 8 a.m. Friday (No. 10 tee)

This group consists of three past champions, as Snedeker (2007) and Simpson (2011) both notched their first wins at this event while Villegas rallied to lift the Sam Snead Cup a year ago. Snedeker continues to have a strong summer after a T-12 finish at the PGA, while Simpson's past track record at Sedgefield includes five straight top-25 finishes. Villegas is again in need of a big week in the regular-season finale, as he is No. 129 in points as he begins his title defense. 

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Ball headed O.B., Stone (68) gets huge break

By Mercer BaggsJuly 19, 2018, 2:14 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Brandon Stone knew it when he hit it.

“I knew I hit it out of bounds,” the South African said following his opening round in the 147th Open Championship.

Stone’s second shot on the par-4 18th, from the left fescue, was pulled into the grandstands, which are marked as O.B. But instead of settling in with the crowd, the ball ricocheted back towards the green and nearly onto the putting surface.

Stone made his par and walked away with a 3-under 68, two shots off the early lead.

“I really didn’t put a good swing on it, bad contact and it just came out way left,” Stone said. “I feel so sorry for the person I managed to catch on the forehead there, but got a lucky break.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“When you get breaks like that you know you’re going to have good weeks.”

It’s been more than just good luck recently for Stone. He shot 60 in the final round – missing a 9-foot birdie putt for the first 59 in European Tour history – to win last week’s Scottish Open. It was his third career win on the circuit and first since 2016. It was also just his first top-10 of the season.

“A testament to a different mental approach and probably the change in putter,” said Stone, who added that he switched to a new Ping Anser blade model last week.

“I’ve been putting, probably, the best I have in my entire life.”

This marks Stone’s sixth start in a major championship, with his best finish a tie for 35th in last year’s U.S. Open. He has a missed cut and a T-70 in two prior Open Championships.

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Kang on cheating allegation: 'I did the right thing'

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 1:26 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three weeks after his playing partner claimed that he “cheated,” taking an improper drop at the Quicken Loans National, Sung Kang insisted Thursday that he did nothing wrong.

Joel Dahmen tweeted that Kang cheated after a lengthy dispute about where his ball had last crossed the line of a hazard. A PGA Tour official ruled in Kang’s favor. Kang made par on the hole, shot 64 and earned one of the available spots in the Open Championship.

Kang didn’t learn of the controversy until the next day, when he received an email from a PGA Tour communications official seeking comment. He researched online what the furor was about, then issued a brief statement through the Tour (which added its own statement, saying that there was “no clear evidence” to suggest that Kang dropped incorrectly).

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Kang said he tried to clear the air with Dahmen before the first round of last week’s John Deere Classic, but they never had the opportunity to discuss their differences.

“I followed the rules official and I think I did the right thing,” Kang told a handful of reporters Thursday following his opening round at Carnoustie, where he shot a 2-under 69 to sit three shots off the early lead.

Kang said he was hesitant to discuss the incident with reporters, because he said there clearly was a difference in opinions. He said he’d already told his side to South Korean news outlets but that “whatever I say, some people are going to trust it and some people are not going to trust it. Then I’ve got to think about it more and more when it’s not going to help my golf game.”

“I really want to say a lot of things about it, the truth about what happened,” he added, “but I’m not going to say anything.”

Kang said that he wouldn’t alter his approach when dealing with rulings in the future.

“No. Why?” he said. “I did the right thing. There’s no point in changing.”

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Kisner (67) enjoying 'frat' life, soccer matches with Jordan and Co.

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 12:49 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The frat house tradition continued this year at The Open, with a group of seven high-profile Americans rooming together for the week, including early first-round leader Kevin Kisner.

Kisner explained after his opening 5-under 66 that the group – which includes Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler – has spent the week talking about how demanding Carnoustie is playing and enjoying the summer weather.

“We're out there playing soccer at night and hanging out,” he said.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

To be clear, this isn’t a proper soccer match, but instead a penalty-kick situation with all but one player taking turns trying to score.

“I just try to smash [Dufner] in the face,” Kisner laughed. “He's the all-time goalie.”

Although Kisner said he’s always impressed with the athletic prowess of other players, Spieth has proven himself particularly adept on the impromptu pitch.

“Jordan scored when Duf tripped, it was hilarious,” Kisner smiled. “[Spieth] is good until he sends it over the goal four houses over, and we've got to go knock on a neighbor’s door for the soccer ball.”

The group is actually staying in two local houses that are next to each other, one with a large enough back yard and a soccer net, but perhaps not enough soccer balls.

“We’re going to have to Amazon Prime a couple new balls to replace the ones we lost,” Kisner said.