Stroud, Fisher take Wyndham lead

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2013, 10:03 pm

Greeted by calm conditions and receptive greens, players were able to take advantage of Sedgefield Country Club during Thursday's opening round of the Wyndham Championship. Here's how things look after one round in Greensboro, where Chris Stroud and Ross Fisher cling to a slim advantage over several players:

Leaderboard: Chris Stroud (-6), Ross Fisher (-6), Sergio Garcia (-5), Jordan Spieth (-5), Trevor Immelman (-5), Matt Jones (-5), Robert Garrigus (-5), Andrew Svoboda (-5), Morgan Hoffmann (-5), Patrick Reed (-5).

What it means: Low scores were abundant Thursday in North Carolina, but no one compiled a better round than did Stroud and Fisher. After losing a playoff at the Travelers Championship in June, Stroud has his eyes on finishing one shot better this week in Greensboro. Fisher, a four-time winner on the European Tour and a PGA Tour rookie, was in the day's final threesome to start on the back nine. A large group of players are just one shot back after 18 holes, though, including Garcia, the defending champion, and Spieth, who won last month at the John Deere Classic and remains one of the hottest players on the PGA Tour.

Rounds of the day: A runner-up to Ken Duke at TPC River Highlands, Stroud carded eight birdies in his opening round en route to a 6-under 64. Starting on the back nine, the 31-year-old began with three birdies across his first six holes, adding five more during his inward trip across the front nine. Stroud made the most of things on the green, carding the day’s low score despite hitting just 11 of 18 greens in regulation Thursday at Sedgefield. Fisher started on the back nine, making birdies at Nos. 10 and 18, then made two more birdies and an eagle on his second nine. 

Best of the rest: After winning by three shots here a year ago, Garcia opened his title defense in fine fashion, carding a bogey-free 65 during the opening round. The Spaniard birdied each of his first two holes Thursday at Sedgefield, adding red numbers on holes 11, 13 and 15 to sit among a large group just one shot behind Stroud and Fisher after just 18 holes. It's Garcia's eighth sub-par round in nine tries at Sedgefield, where he now boasts a stellar 65.8 scoring average.

Biggest disappointment: At 129th in the latest FedEx Cup standings, Padraig Harrington needed a strong week in Greensboro to give himself a chance of making the first playoff event at Liberty National. Instead, the 3-time major champion stumbled to a 3-over 73 Thursday that included just two birdies and will struggle just to make the 36-hole cut. While Harrington’s playing privileges for the 2013-14 season are likely secure based on his standing on the season-long money list, his playoff chances took a big hit during the opening round at Sedgefield.

Main storyline heading into Friday: While Stroud continues his quest for a first career PGA Tour victory, several players will look to Friday's second round as an opportunity to secure playing privileges for next season. Stuart Appleby, Peter Hanson and Shawn Stefani are among the FedEx Cup bubble boys who began with a strong effort Thursday at Sedgefield and will look to continue that momentum, while players like Harrington, Bud Cauley and Chad Campbell will need low rounds Friday to simply have a chance to play the weekend.

Shot of the day: Three years ago, Arjun Atwal began the week in Greensboro at a Monday qualifier and ended it as the Wyndham champ. This week, the veteran got things started quickly Thursday morning with an eagle-2 at the par-4 13th hole. After his tee shot left him in the fairway 148 yards from the hole, Atwal fired an accurate approach to a back left pin that dropped for an eagle, a shot that spurred the former champ to a 1-under 69 Thursday.

Quote of the day: “I guess it’s just one of those places where, for the most part, I feel like I know where I want to be.” – Garcia, who hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation during Thursday’s opening round

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Watch: On 59 watch, Sneds dunks approach for eagle

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

Brandt Snedeker was having a good day in Round 1 of the Wyndham Championship. And then he reached the green a the par-4 sixth at Sedgefield Country Club and his day got even better.

Snedeker holed a 7-iron from 176 yards, on the fly, for an eagle-2. Playing his 15th hole of the day, Snedeker vaulted to 9 under par for the tournament.

With Sedgefield being a par 70, Snedeker needed two birdies over his final three holes to shoot 59 and he got one of them at the par-3 seventh, where he hit his tee shot on the 224-yard hole to 2 feet.

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Rosaforte Report: A tale of two comebacks

By Tim RosaforteAugust 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Comeback (noun): A return by a well-known person, especially an entertainer or sports player, to the activity in which they have formerly been successful.

Even by definition, the word comeback is subjective.

There is no question that Brooks Koepka has completed his comeback. With two major championship victories that encompassed wins over Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods, Player of the Year honors have already been locked up for the 2017-18 season.

But knowing Koepka, he wants more. A No. 1 ranking, topping his boy D.J., is a possibility and a goal. A Ryder Cup is awaiting. By all rights, Koepka could be Comeback Player of the Year and Player of the Year all in one, except the PGA Tour discontinued its Comeback honor in 2012. Even without an official award, it’s fun to compare the cases of Koepka and Woods.

What Woods has recovered from is remarkable, but not complete. He hasn’t won yet. With triumphs in the U.S. Open and PGA Championship, Koepka has completed his comeback from a pair of wrist injuries that could have been equally as career-ending as the physical issues that Woods had to overcome just to contend in the last two majors.

“There was a question on whether or not I’d ever be the same,” Koepka said Sunday night in the media center at Bellerive, following his third major championship victory in six tries. “Whether I could do it pain-free, we had no idea.”

The wrist traumas occured five months apart, with the initial issue, which occured at the Hero World Challenge in December (in which he finished last in the limited field), putting him in a soft cast with a partially torn tendon. That cost the reigning U.S. Open champion 15 weeks on the shelf (and couch), including a start in the Masters.

His treatment included injecting bone marrow and platelet-rich plasma. When he returned at the Zurich Classic in April, Koepka revealed the ligaments that hold the tendon in place were gone – thus a dislocation – and that every time he went to his doctor, “it seemed like it got worse and worse.”

Koepka’s second wrist injury of the season occurred on the practice grounds at The Players, when a cart pulled in front of Koepka just as he was accelerating into the ball with his 120-plus mph club-head speed. Abruptly stopping his swing, Koepka’s left wrist popped out. His physio relayed a story to PGA Tour radio in which he advised Koepka before he reset the wrist: “Sit on your hand and bite this towel, otherwise you’re going to punch me.”

Koepka admitted that he never dreamed such a scenario would threaten his career. He called it, “probably the most painful thing I’ve ever gone through, setting that bone back.” But, testament to Koepka's fortitude, four days later he made an albatross and tied a TPC Sawgrass course record, shooting 63.

Woods’ physical – and mental – recovery from back surgery and prescription drug abuse was painful and career threatening in its own way. As he said in his return to Augusta, “Those are some really, really dark times. I’m a walking miracle.”

As amazing as it has been, Woods, by definition, still hasn’t fully completed his comeback. While he’s threatened four times in 2018, he hasn’t won a tournament.

Yes, it’s a miracle that he’s gotten this far, swinging the club that fast, without any relapse in his back. As electric and high-energy as his second-place finish to Koepka was at the PGA, Woods has made this winning moment something to anticipate. As story lines go, it may be better this way.

Coming off a flat weekend at the WGC-Bridgestone, Woods was starting to sound like an old 42-year-old. But instead of ice baths and recovery time, the conversation was charged by what he did on Saturday and Sunday in the 100th PGA.

A day later, there was more good news. With Woods committing to three straight weeks of FedExCup Playoff golf, potentially followed by a week off and then the Tour Championship, that moment of victory may not be far away.

Scheduling – and certainly anticipating – four tournaments in five weeks, potentially followed by a playing role at the Ryder Cup, would indicate that Woods has returned to the activity in which he was formally successful.

There were times post-scandal and post-back issues, that Woods stuck by the lines made famous by LL Cool J:

Don’t call it a comeback
I’ve been here for years
I’m rocking my peers

Not this time. As he said Sunday before his walk-off 64 in St, Louis, “Oh, God. I didn’t even know if I was going to play again.”

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Actor/Comedian Kevin Nealon Joins "Feherty," Monday, Aug. 20 at 9 p.m. ET

By Golf Channel Public RelationsAugust 16, 2018, 1:15 pm

Actor/comedian Kevin Nealon (Saturday Night Live) will join David Feherty on his self-titled, Emmy-nominated series Feherty presented by Farmers Insurance®, Monday at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel.

Filmed at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles last month, the episode will focus on numerous topics, including:

  • Nealon discussing his start in comedy in Los Angeles, where he worked as a bartender and filled in for comics who failed to show up for their act.
  • Reminiscing about his appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1984.
  • Reflecting on his nine-year run as a cast member on Saturday Night Live.
  • Recounting the time when his golf ball struck Adam Sandler during a round they were playing with filming Happy Gilmore.
  • Recalling time spent with Arnold Palmer during the filming of a commercial a few years ago.

The following Monday (Aug. 27), Feherty will be joined by 20-time LPGA Tour winner Cristie Kerr at 9 p.m. ET, and then on Monday, Sept. 3 (9 p.m. ET), major champion Jimmy Walker will join as a guest for the series’ season finale.

A two-time Emmy-nominated host (Outstanding Sports Personality – Studio Host) Feherty has been described as “golf’s iconoclast,” by Rolling Stone, and “the last unscripted man on TV,” by Men’s Journal. His all-star lineup of golf-enthused and culturally relevant guests feature celebrities from across entertainment, sports and politics. To date, Feherty has sat down with four U.S. Presidents (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump); sports legends Charles Barkley, Nick Saban, Stephen Curry and Bobby Knight; Hollywood icons Matthew McConaughey, Larry David and Samuel L. Jackson; World Golf of Fame members Nancy Lopez, Jack Nicklaus, Annika Sorenstam, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson; and a host of current golf superstars including Paula Creamer, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Michelle Wie. Feherty is produced by Golf Channel’s original productions group, which also oversees production for Driver vs. Driver, Golf Films as well as the network’s instruction platforms.

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Thomas talks Tiger, plays 'Facebreakers' on 'Tonight Show'

By Grill Room TeamAugust 16, 2018, 1:14 pm

Justin Thomas didn't successfully defend his title at last week's PGA Championship, but he did get a guest spot on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon."

Thomas appeared on the talk show Wednesday night and, of course, a primary topic was Tiger Woods' run at the Wanamaker Trophy.

Thomas also played a game of "Facebreakers" with host Fallon, in which both men tried to break panes of glass emblazoned with the other's face with golf shots. Thomas nearly took out the real Fallon on his first shot, and after several uncessful attempts by both men, massive cheating ensued.