WGT, Golf Channel announce 2014 Virtual Tour

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 23, 2013, 4:24 pm

Pebble Beach, Merion, Bethpage Black and St. Andrews … all within the click of a mouse. Seem enticing?

World Golf Tour and Golf Channel are excited to announce the 2014 WGT Virtual Tour, the first-ever online golf season where players will be able to access a myriad of world-class venues in addition to those mentioned above.

The Virtual Tour is a year-long online competition, played on WGT and covered by Golf Channel. The tour is similar to other professional golf tours, but played online and open to all players regardless of ability or experience. Throughout the season, players will accumulate WGT credits by competing in monthly tournaments, in hopes of qualifying for the Virtual Championship and the live invitational event held in December.

WGT players in all countries are eligible to compete in the Virtual Tour at no charge. Each monthly event includes a free virtual item from the tournament sponsor, and tournament purses will be the largest ever – starting at 200,000 WGT credits and increasing throughout the season.

The first event is the IOA Open in January, a closest-to-the-hole tournament played on historic Pebble Beach. Players will post their best score in the first round any time from January 1-24, then add a single-play, second-round score from January 25-31. The top 70 combined scores in each WGT tier will split the 200,000 WGT credit purse.

The first three venues of the 2014 Virtual Tour sound like a dream golf vacation: Pebble Beach in January, followed by Royal St. George’s in February and Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course in March. Future tournament sites include Bethpage Black, Harbour Town, Merion, Olympic and St. Andrews, while WGT will also launch several brand new venues in 2014, including Bandon Dunes and Pinehurst No. 2.

Golf Channel will be covering the WGT Virtual Tour with weekly updates on the new Virtual Tour blog, including monthly video interviews with WGT players and winners. Virtual Tour scores (including WGT usernames) will be featured on the Golf Channel leaderboards and tickers, alongside scores from the PGA, Champions, LPGA, European and Web.com tours.

In December, top players from the season will compete in the WGT Virtual Championship, as well as the WGT Invitational, a live weekend event held near Golf Channel studios in Orlando, Fla. This will be the first time that the best WGT players will compete face-to-face in virtual golf, with highlights televised on Golf Channel.

Anyone can sign up for WGT via GolfChannel.com, and play on the Virtual Tour requires no previous experience. The first tee box is now open on many of the world’s greatest courses; click here to get started and remember to hit it straight!

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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.”