YOK: Watney trying to complete revival at Wyndham

By Will GrayAugust 17, 2014, 12:46 am

GREENSBORO, N.C. – With low scores expected once again in Greensboro, the Wyndham Championship remains up for grabs. Here’s what You Oughta Know heading into the final round at Sedgefield Country Club, where Nick Watney leads by one shot:

• Watney is searching for his sixth PGA Tour victory, but first since The Barclays in 2012. His lone top-10 finish of the season came two weeks ago, when he tied for eighth at the Barracuda Championship.

• Watney is a seasoned veteran, but his last attempt to close a 54-hole lead didn’t exactly go as planned. He carried a three-shot lead into the final round of the 2010 PGA Championship, only to shoot a 9-over 81 and fall into a tie for 18th.

• Brad Fritsch will begin the final round one shot behind Watney with plenty to play for. At No. 162 in the FedEx Cup standings, Fritsch needs at least a two-way tie for second to earn a spot in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, although he could earn a card for 2014-15 with a top-three finish via the season-long money list.

• Fritsch will look to extend a recent trend at Sedgefield, which has produced four first-time winners in the last five years. The only champions with a PGA Tour win already under their belt since the venue shifted from Forest Oaks in 2008 were Carl Pettersson (2008) and Sergio Garcia (2012).

• Heath Slocum has won four times on Tour, but he hasn’t cracked the top 10 since his last victory at the 2010 McGladrey Classic. He begins the final round tied for third, two shots behind Watney and likely needs at least a solo third-place finish to punch his ticket to The Barclays and secure a card for next season.

• J.J. Henry will likely see a notable streak of consistency come to a close Sunday. Henry is one of eight players to have finished inside the top 125 in season-long earnings every year since 2001, but he is No. 130 in FedEx Cup points and No. 139 on the money list entering this week. At 4-under 206, he’s unlikely to make a dent in either category.

• Jason Allred had no PGA Tour status this year, but he could become fully exempt for next season with a low round. Allred is currently $35,409 outside of the top 125 on the season-long money list, and at 8 under he is tied for 18th heading into the final round. A top-14 finish should earn Allred enough money to clinch a card for the 2014-15 season.

Getty Images

Aiken, Waring tied at Nordea; Olesen three back

By Associated PressAugust 18, 2018, 5:45 pm

MOLNDAL, Sweden – Paul Waring of England and Thomas Aiken of South Africa share the lead, three shots clear of their rivals, after the third round of the Nordea Masters on the European Tour on Saturday.

Waring was tied for first place with Scott Jamieson after the second round and shot a 1-under 69.

While Jamieson (75) slipped down the leaderboard, Aiken caught up Waring after shooting 67 - despite three straight bogeys from No. 15. He bounced back by making birdie at the last.

Thorbjorn Olesen (67) and Marc Warren (66) are tied for third.

Getty Images

Koepka: 'Surreal' Woods waited to say congrats at PGA

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2018, 3:47 pm

Brooks Koepka was moved by the respect shown when Tiger Woods waited for a half hour at scoring last Sunday to congratulate Koepka for his PGA Championship victory at Bellerive.

While Koepka stands as an example of the new athletes Woods has attracted to the game, he laughs hearing people compare his body to an NFL player’s.

Those were among the observations Koepka shared Friday on "The Dan Patrick Show."

“That was surreal,” Koepka said of Woods waiting to congratulate him. “To hang around on 18, I wasn’t expecting it. It was probably the coolest gesture he could have done.”

Koepka credits Woods for drawing him to the game.

“He’s the reason I am playing,” Koepka said.

Koepka said playing with Woods in contention was a noisy experience that went beyond the roars Woods created making birdies in front of him.

“Even when he makes contact, you know what shot he’s hitting,” Koepka said. “That’s how loud people are.

“When they are putting [his score] up on the leaderboard, you hear it three holes away.”

About those NFL player comparisons, Koepka said his parents wouldn’t let him play football when he was growing up.

“I wasn’t big enough,” he said.

Koepka said he marveled meeting former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

“To be compared to them, it makes me laugh,” Koepka said. “I’m about the size of a cornerback, maybe a free safety.”

Koepka said he’s just over 6 feet tall and weighs 208 pounds.

“I saw Brian Urlacher give an interview,” Koepka said. “It was kind of funny. He said he was impressed at how big I wasn’t ... If I stand next to Justin Thomas, I’m going to look big. Golf doesn’t really have many big guys.”

Koepka told Patrick he is impressed at the athletes just now coming into golf.

“I see the young guys coming out of college,” Koepka said. “They are bombing it past me. They hit it so far, they are leaving me in the dust. It’s hard to think of, because I’ve been one of the longest hitters on tour.”

Getty Images

McIlroy skipping first FedExCup playoff event

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2018, 3:19 pm

Rory McIlroy committed to playing the FedExCup Playoffs opener at The Northern Trust, the PGA Tour announced after The Open Championship last month.

But McIlroy left the PGA Championship last week saying he might need to skip the opener to regroup, and that’s just what he is doing.

McIlroy wasn’t on The Northern Trust field list published Friday on the PGA Tour’s website.

“I need to assess where I'm at,” McIlroy said leaving Bellerive last week. “I think the best thing for me to do right now is just sort of take a couple days off, reflect on what I need to do going forward.

“The best thing might be to take that first FedExCup week off and work on my game and come back, hopefully, in a better place for Boston.”

McIlroy also skipped the FedExCup opener in 2015, choosing to make his start in the playoffs at Boston that year. It appears he will do the same this year.

“Historically, the first FedEx playoff event hasn't been my best event of the four,” McIlroy said. “I've played well in Boston. I've played pretty well in the other two.”

McIlroy left Bellerive saying he would do some work on his game and see if he felt ready for the playoffs opener as part of a run of big events leading into the Ryder Cup.

“There's a lot of room for improvement,” McIlroy said. “My swing really hasn't been where I want it to be. It was pretty good at the start of the year. I had a couple of months to work on it, but it's just sort of regressed as the season went on and you start to play tournaments, you start to fall back into some of the habits that you don't want to fall back into."

McIlroy has won once over the last two seasons – at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last March – but he has given himself other chances this year with some frustrating finishes. Overall, he has five finishes of third or better in 2018. He got himself in the final pairing with Patrick Reed at the Masters but stumbled to a T-5 finish. He tied for second at The Open last month.

“Inconsistency with the swing has been the big area,” McIlroy said. “If you look at my statistics, especially with approach play on my irons, and even my driving, even though it's been OK, there's been a two-way miss, with sort of everything throughout the bag, and that obviously isn't a good thing. So that's something I need to work on.”

Getty Images

Watch: Wagner saves season with walk-off eagle dunk

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 18, 2018, 2:45 am

Johnson Wagner kept his FedExCup Playoff hopes alive on Friday at the Wyndham Championship ... and he did it in dramatic fashion.

Needing a birdie on his final hole of the day to make the cut on the number, Johnson used a 9-iron from 153 yards out to dunk his approach for eagle to get inside the cut line.

Johnson's eagle at the last gave him a 66 for the day and earned him two more rounds to try and get inside the FedExCup top 125 for next week's start of the postseason, The Northern Trust.