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Rickie Fowler and NBC Sports Group Collaborate on Four-Part Docu-Series Driven: Oklahoma State Cowboys, Premiering Monday, May 7 on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsApril 11, 2018, 2:00 pm

Driven Captures No.1 Ranked Oklahoma State’s Historic National Championship Run, and is Executive Produced by Rickie Fowler’s Main Event Productions;

Written and Produced by 20-Time Emmy-Winner Ollie Stokes

 Preview:Driven Trailer

Driven Website: Driven Website

 ORLANDO, Fla., April 11, 2018 – NBC Sports Group is teaming up with PGA TOUR superstar Rickie Fowler to give viewers a dramatic behind-the-scenes look into Fowler’s alma mater in a four-part documentary series – Driven: Oklahoma State Cowboys. NBC Sports will showcase Driven across its networks: with the first three premieres airing on Golf Channel (Mondays: May 7, 14, and 21), encores airing on NBCSN, and the finale on NBC, Saturday, June 16, recapping their historic season culminated by their run at a potential 11th national championship for the program. The announcement was made today by Fowler, executive producer of Driven and his Main Event Productions, and Mike McCarley, president, Golf, NBC Sports Group.

“As a proud Oklahoma State alum, Driven is a passion project of mine. I consider Stillwater my home away from home and I am excited to not only showcase my alma mater, but also provide fans with the unique insider perspective of what college golf represents,” said Rickie Fowler, executive producer, Main Event Productions. “With the Cowboys embarking on a record-setting year, our arch-rival Oklahoma Sooners as the reigning national champions and the NCAA National Championships being staged at OSU’s home course at Karsten Creek, we couldn’t have picked a better year to shine a spotlight on this storied rivalry and the unique team drama that fuels not only my beloved Cowboys, but also the tremendous stage of collegiate golf.”

Embedded for the duration of the 2017-18 season, Driven: Oklahoma State Cowboys will showcase the personal and competitive journey of the Oklahoma State men’s golf team, which is currently the unanimous No. 1 ranked team in the nation and riding a historic seven-tournament winning streak. This May, Oklahoma State also will be host of the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Golf National Championships at their home course, Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla. Adding to the drama, the Oklahoma Sooners, in addition to being the Cowboys’ in-state rival just 80 miles away in Norman, Okla., are the reigning NCAA National Champions and participated in the production of Driven.

“The rivalry and traditions of college sports are unmatched, and those same passions run deep in college golf. Rickie is a leader on the PGA TOUR in many ways, and his signature Sunday orange coupled with Pistol Pete proudly displayed on his bag embody the passion he exudes for his Cowboys,” said Mike McCarley, president, Golf, NBC Sports Group. “Rickie absolutely is the right partner for us to join forces with as we shine a spotlight and further elevate college golf, especially leading up to Golf Channel’s comprehensive coverage of the NCAA national championships this May.”

Driven will span Oklahoma State’s 2017-18 college golf season both on and off the golf course. Experiencing one of its best years in program history with eight victories in nine events this year, the team’s current run includes seven victories in a row, tying OSU’s single-season record by matching the 1986-87 team. Oklahoma State men’s golf program has won 10 NCAA golf national championships, and boasts more than 10 current players on the PGA TOUR, including Rickie Fowler, Morgan Hoffman, Charles Howell III, Hunter Mahan, Alex Noren and Peter Uihlein. Heading into the 2017-18 season, OSU was the preseason top-ranked team in the country with one goal in mind: to capture their 11th NCAA National Championship.

“It’s a credit to the history of the Oklahoma State golf program that Golf Channel chose to feature our team and this exciting season in their new series Driven,” said Alan Bratton, Oklahoma State men’s golf head coach. “We hope we make former coach Labron Harris, Athletic Director Mike Holder, all our former players and our supporters proud of how we represent them on and off the course through this series.”

Driven is written and produced by Ollie Stokes, a 20-time Emmy Award winner. Stokes has dozens of Emmy nominations, including Showtime’s ALL ACCESS: Mayweather vs. McGregor, which he wrote and produced as part of the Emmy-nominated team.

“Oklahoma State’s historic win streak as they look to dethrone their top rival Oklahoma has been playing out like a true Field of Dreams story as the Cowboys seek their 11th national championship at their home course this May,” said Stokes. “Driven showcases that same inherent passion Rickie has for his college, but what makes this show unique is we’ve captured that drama within the setting of golf, an often overlooked and underappreciated aspect of both college sports and the game of golf.”

One of Oklahoma State’s most-decorated players as the nation’s former top-ranked amateur, Fowler was the first freshman in NCAA history to win the Ben Hogan award as the NCAA’s top men’s golfer in 2008. Fowler, who turned professional in 2009, has recorded eight international wins in his career, including four PGA TOUR victories and the 2015 PLAYERS Championship, as well as contributing to winning Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams and representing Team USA in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Most recently, Fowler finished second in the 2018 Masters.

Golf Channel is the television home for college golf, including the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Division I Golf National Championships and East Lake Cup. The network has provided live coverage of the men’s national championships since 2014 and the women’s national championships since 2015, which now are hosted at the same venue in consecutive weeks in May. Golf Channel also presents the East Lake Cup collegiate match play championship, a three-day fall championship that invites the eight semifinalists from the previous NCAA men’s and women’s golf championships. The East Lake Cup is hosted at historic East Lake Cup Golf in Atlanta, Ga., and benefits the East Lake Foundation. In addition, Golf Channel deploys its comprehensive portfolio of news, digital and social media coverage year-round in covering collegiate golf, including specials for regional and national qualifying and on-site, wraparound news from golf’s biggest college events. At the 2017 NCAA Men’s Golf National Championships, the Oklahoma men’s golf team captured their first national championship in nearly 30 years. Oklahoma State, meanwhile, lost in the quarterfinals of team match play and watched their in-state rival win the national championship.

Driven: Oklahoma State Cowboys Programming Schedule

Episode 1:       Monday, May 7          10 p.m. ET      Golf Channel

Episode 2:       Monday, May 14        10 p.m. ET      Golf Channel

Episode 3:       Monday, May 21        9 p.m. ET        Golf Channel

Episode 4:       Saturday, June 16       5 p.m. ET        NBC

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.