FedEx Cup Forward: Deutsche Bank primer

By August 28, 2011, 12:40 am

Dustin Johnson is one of the PGA Tour’s most aggressive players. Combine that with a softened track at Plainfield Country Club and a 54-hole time limit to make as many birdies as possible, and it was a recipe for a Johnson victory.

His fifth PGA Tour win and second in a 54-hole event shot him up to the top spot in the FedEx Cup standings heading into the Deutsche Bank Championship next week at TPC Boston. It also assures him of a spot in East Lake at the Tour Championship in four weeks.

Kuchar may have come up shy on the Sunday back-nine, in part to errant driving, but his runner-up effort has him in second in the FedEx Cup standings.

Regular season stalwarts were not particularly hurt by their efforts at The Barclays. Six of the players ranked in the top-10 remain there for the trip to TPC Boston. Dropouts, though, are significant for Phil Mickelson (T-43), Keegan Bradley (MC), Bubba Watson (MC) and David Toms (MC).

Two players in the top-10 at The Barclays made sizable moves to help their playoff positioning.

For the second straight week, Vijay Singh threw up a top-5 finish. His tie for third with Brandt Snedeker at Plainfield jolted him to eighth in the FedEx Cup. That’s a two-week improvement of 34 spots.

Even bigger is the move made by Camilo Villegas. Entering the Wyndham Championship at 125 in the standings, Villegas kept his playoff spot safe going into The Barclays. This week, he showed flashes of the Villegas in 2008 that won the final two playoff events in a September tear. A tie for sixth for Villegas catapulted him up 58 spots in the ranking to 51st.

The bubble boy to get into Boston is Ben Crane, who qualifies 100th despite a missed cut. Ernie Els, who has been on the outside looking in the last couple of weeks has found his way to Boston just one spot ahead of Crane.

William McGirt could become the compelling rags-to-riches story of the playoffs, though. McGirt qualified on the bubble for The Barclays but needed one more birdie in his last two holes to ensure his effort at Plainfield would not be in vain. With a 5-footer at the 17th hole on Saturday, he did just that. He comes in at 96th in the ranking, needing next week to improve just the same number of spots to get to the BMW Championship.

The Deutsche Bank Championship ends on Labor Day on Golf Channel on NBC, kicking off on Friday on Golf Channel with first round coverage. TPC Boston should be a little wet, but in great shape for the second leg of the PGA Tour Playoffs. The course is a big diversion from the Donald Ross-designed Plainfield, though, so who does it favor?

Not Dustin Johnson. He was T-57 there in 2010. Nick Watney, who entered the playoffs in pole position, does not like TPC Boston given his record there. Webb Simpson has missed the cut there in both of his appearances.

As for guys who like this track, Matt Kuchar has consecutive top-15 finishes in the event. Steve Stricker and Vijay Singh have wins here, as does Phil Mickelson, who stared down Tiger Woods in 2007 to take the second-ever playoff event.

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Ryu thriving again after simple advice from Inbee Park

By Randall MellJune 21, 2018, 7:07 pm

So Yeon Ryu shared Rolex Player of the Year honors last year.

She reigned as world No. 1 for almost five months.

So when she couldn’t keep her momentum going at year’s start, she got frustrated. She wasn’t happy with two top 10s in her first 11 starts.

“I lost a lot of confidence at the beginning of the year,” Ryu said Thursday as she prepared to lead a strong field as the defending champion in Friday’s start of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. “My expectation level was way too high.”

So she sought the counsel of her pal, world No. 1 Inbee Park, who gave her some plain-spoken advice.

Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship

“Get over it,” Park told her. “You know what to do. You’ve done it, so it’s not really a big deal. Don’t worry about it. You were No. 1. You’ve achieved a lot of things as a professional golfer. Just don’t be too hard on yourself.”

Ryu got over it winning the Meijer LPGA Classic last week, the sixth LPGA title of her career, her third in 15 months. She’s feeling good again leading a stellar field this week at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Ark., a strong tune up before next week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the year’s third major championship.

World No. 1 Park, No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn and No. 3 Lexi Thompson are among the top nine players in the world scheduled to compete this week. Twenty-four of the top 30 are in the field.

“When you come to defend your title, you obviously have a lot of pressure, but after I won last week, now I sort of think, maybe I have a chance to defend my title,” Ryu said. “So I've got total confidence, by last week.”

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Watch: Spieth, JT hole bunker shots in back-to-back groups

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 21, 2018, 6:57 pm

Jordan Spieth has a thing for holing bunker shots at the Travelers Championship, where he made one in a playoff to win last year.

He did it again in Round 1 at TPC River Highlands, knocking in this shot for eagle at the par-5 sixth to reach 4 under par for the tournament

In the next group, Justin Thomas did the same thing to reach 1 under. Keep an eye out for the best part of this highlight, when Thomas' caddie Jimmy Johnson tries to hand him his putter.

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River Highlands a 'breather' for Zach Johnson (63)

By Will GrayJune 21, 2018, 6:43 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – After enduring the pressure-cooker of the U.S. Open, Zach Johnson was more than happy to drift north to the friendly confines of TPC River Highlands.

Birdies were rare last week at Shinnecock Hills, but they’ll be plentiful all week long at the Travelers Championship. Browned-out and crispy conditions transitioned to lush and verdant, and players can attack flags without fear of turning a possible par into a struggle to avoid triple.

Johnson did just that in the opening round, carding eight birdies against a single bogey to take the early lead with a 7-under 63.

“It’s a different kind of breathing. It’s a different kind of exhaling, if you will, but they’re both good,” Johnson said. “You can put some red on the board here. We know that. We’ve seen it. You can go the other way in a hurry if you press it; it can keep going in the other way. So you kind of have to let it happen. This is one of those courses where you have to let it happen.”

Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Like many in this week’s field, Johnson took it easy after a grueling major championship, staying away from the course Monday and easing into his prep over the next two days. Those decisions paid off quickly as he rattled off six straight birdies on Nos. 11-16 to take sole possession of the lead.

While Johnson tied for 12th last week at Shinnecock Hills, that was just his second top-15 finish since the Sony Open in January. But the veteran is no stranger to fast starts at TPC River Highlands, having now opened with 65 or better four times in his last eight appearances dating back to 2011.

It’s a course where he continues to have success, even if his past consistency hasn’t lived up to expectations.

“I feel like every time I get here it feels like I should shoot nothing, and it bites me,” Johnson said. “The last couple years I’m like, ‘All right, you can’t have any expectations in that regard. You’ve just got to go out and execute, you know, put the ball in the fairway and you will have opportunities.’” 

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First photos from Norman's 'Body' shoot

By Grill Room TeamJune 21, 2018, 6:35 pm

It was revealed earlier this week that Greg Norman would be one of the athletes showcased in ESPN's "Body Issue," which features the models stategically posed in the nude.

Well, the first photos are out from Norman's shoot and ... here they are, if you want them.