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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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Garcia leads as Valderrama Masters extends to Monday

By Will GrayOctober 21, 2021, 3:52 pm

Weather continues to be the enemy at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters, where Sergio Garcia remains in front as the tournament heads for a Monday finish.

European Tour officials had already ceded the fact that 72 holes would not be completed this week in Spain, but players were not even able to finish 54 holes before another set of thunderstorms rolled in Sunday afternoon to once again halt play. Garcia remains in front at 10 under, having played seven holes of the third round in even par, while Lee Westwood is alone in second at 7 under.

Officials had previously stated an intention to play at least 54 holes, even if that meant extending the tournament to Monday, given that this is the final chance for many players to earn Race to Dubai points in an effort to secure European Tour cards for 2019. Next week's WGC-HSBC Champions will be the final event of the regular season, followed by a three-event final series.


Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters


Garcia, who won the tournament last year, started the third round with a four-shot lead over Ashley Chesters. He balanced one birdie with one bogey and remains in position for his first worldwide victory since the Asian Tour's Singapore Open in January.

Westwood, who has his son Sam on the bag this week, made the biggest charge up the leaderboard with four birdies over his first eight holes. He'll have 10 holes to go when play resumes at 9:10 a.m. local time Monday as he looks to win for the first time since the 2015 Indonesian Masters.

Shane Lowry and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano are tied for third at 6 under, four shots behind Garcia with 10 holes to play, while Chesters made two double bogeys over his first four holes to drop into a tie for sixth.

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Austin wins Champions tour's playoff opener

By Associated PressOctober 21, 2018, 9:35 pm

RICHMOND, Va. -- Woody Austin knew Bernhard Langer was lurking throughout the final nine holes, and he did just enough to hold him off.

Austin shot a 3-under 69 for a one-stroke victory Sunday in the PGA Tour Champions' playoff-opening Dominion Energy Charity Classic.

Langer, the defending tournament champion and series points leader, made the turn one shot off the lead, but eight straight pars kept him from ever gaining a share of the lead. Austin's birdie from 6 feet on the closing hole allowed him to hang on for the victory.

''It seemed like he couldn't quite get it over the hump,'' Austin said about Langer, who also birdied No. 18. ''I'm not going to feel bad for the guy. The guy's kind of had things go his way for the last 12 years. Now he sees what it's like to have it happen.''

The 54-year-old Austin finished with an 11-under total for three rounds at The Country Club of Virginia's James River Course. He won his fourth senior title and first since 2016, and said windy and cool conditions that made scoring difficult played to his advantage.

''I was happy to see it. I really enjoy a difficult test,'' he said. ''... I enjoy even par meaning something. That's my game.''

Langer closed with a 70. The winner last week in North Carolina, the 61-year-old German star made consecutive birdies to finish the front nine, but had several birdie putts slide by on the back.


Full-field scores from the Dominion Energy Charity Classic


''I made a couple important ones and then I missed a couple important ones, especially the one on 16,'' Langer said. ''I hit three really good shots and had about a 6-footer, something like that, and I just didn't hit it hard enough. It broke away.''

Austin dropped a stroke behind Jay Haas and Stephen Ames with a bogey on the par-3 14th. He got that back with a birdie from about 5 feet on the par-4 15th and then got some good fortune on the final hole when his firmly struck chip hit the flag and stopped about 6 feet away.

''I always say usually the person that wins gets a break on Sunday,'' he said. ''That was my break.''

The 64-year-old Haas, the second-round leader after a 65, had a 74 to tie for third with Fran Quinn (69) and Kent Jones (70) at 9 under. Haas was bidding to become the oldest winner in the history of the tour for players 50 and older.

''Disappointed, for sure,'' Haas said. ''Not going to get many more opportunities like this, but it gives me hope, too, that I can still do it.''

The top 72 players qualified for the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs opener. The top 54 move on to the Invesco QQQ Championship next week in Thousand Oaks, California, and the top 36 after that will advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.

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After Further Review: American success stories

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 21, 2018, 8:35 pm

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the global nature of Koepka's rise to No. 1 ...

Brooks Koepka is an American superstar, and a two-time winner of his national open. But his rise to world No. 1 in, of all places, South Korea, emphasizes the circuitous, global path he took to the top.

After winning the CJ Cup by four shots, Koepka was quick to remind reporters that he made his first-ever start as a pro in Switzerland back in 2012. He cracked the top 500 for the first time with a win in Spain, and he broke into the top 100 after a good week in the Netherlands.

Koepka languished on the developmental Challenge Tour for a year before earning a promotion to the European Tour, and he didn’t make a splash in the States until contending at the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst.

It’s a testament to Koepka’s adaptability and raw talent that he can handle the heights of Crans-Montana as well as the slopes of Shinnecock Hills or rough of Nine Bridges. And as the scene shifts to China next week, it highlights the global nature of today’s game – and the fact that the best in the world can rise to the occasion on any continent. - Will Gray


On the resurgence of American women  ...

American women are on a nice roll again. Danielle Kang’s victory Sunday at the Buick LPGA Shanghai was the third by an American over the last five events. Plus, Annie Park and Marina Alex, emerging American talents looking for their second victories this season, tied for second. So did American Brittany Altomare. Two years ago, Americans won just twice, their fewest victories in a single season in LPGA history. Overall, women from the United States have won seven times this season.

The Americans are making their move with Stacy Lewis on maternity leave and with Lexi Thompson, the highest ranked American in the world, still looking for her first victory this year. Yes, the South Koreans have won nine times this season, but with four LPGA events remaining in 2018 the Americans actually have a chance to be the winningest nation in women’s golf this year. With all the grief they’ve received the last few years, that would be a significant feat. - Randall Mell

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In Buick win, Kang overcame demons of mind and spirit

By Randall MellOctober 21, 2018, 3:33 pm

Danielle Kang beat three of the most formidable foes in golf Sunday to win the Buick LPGA Shanghai.

Anxiety.

Frustration.

Anger.

Kang overcame these demons of mind and spirit to win for the second time on tour, backing up her KPMG Women’s PGA Championship victory last year.

“I’ve been going through a lot mentally,” Kang said.

Kang birdied four of the last eight holes to close with a 3-under-par 69, coming from one shot back in the final round to win. At 13-under 275, she finished two shots ahead of a pack of seven players, including world No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn (71) and former world No. 1 Lydia Ko (66).

It hasn’t been easy for Kang trying to build on her major championship breakthrough last year. She started the fall Asian swing having missed three cuts in a row, five in her last six starts.

“I had to go through swing changes,” Kang said. “I had the swing yips, the putting yips, everything possibly you could think of.

“I was able to get over a lot of anxiety I was feeling when I was trying to hit a golf ball. This week I just kept trusting my golf game.”

Through her swoon, Kang said she was struggling to get the club back, that she was getting mentally stuck to where she could not begin her takeaway. She sought out Butch Harmon, back at her Las Vegas home, for help. She said tying for third at the KEB Hana Bank Championship last week felt like a victory, though she was still battling her demons there.

“Anxiety over tee balls,” Kang said. “People might wonder what I'm doing. I actually can't pull the trigger. It has nothing to do with the result. Having to get over that last week was incredible for me. Even on the first round, one shot took me, I think, four minutes.”

Kang, who turned 26 on Saturday, broke through to win last year under swing coach David Leadbetter, but she began working with Harmon while struggling in the second half this year.


Buick LPGA Shanghai: Articles, photos and videos


“I was actually very frustrated, even yesterday,” Kang said. “Things just weren't going my way. The biggest thing that Butch tells me is to stay out of my own way. I just couldn't do that. If I had a short putt, I just kept doubting myself. I couldn't putt freely.”

Kang said her anger and frustration built up again on the front nine Sunday. She made the turn at 1 over for the round. She said her caddie, Oliver Brett, helped her exorcise some anger. After the ninth hole, he pulled her aside.

This is how Kang remembered the conversation:

Brett: “Whatever you need to do to let your anger out and restart and refresh, you need to do that now.”

Kang: “Cameras are everywhere. I just want to hit the bag really hard.”

Brett: “Here's a wedge. Just smash it.”

Kang did.

“Honestly, I thank him for that,” Kang said. “He told me there are a lot birdies out there. I regrouped, and we pretended we started the round brand new on the 10th hole. Then things changed and momentum started going my way. I started hitting it closer and felt better over the putts.”

Kang said the victory was all about finding a better place mentally.

“I'm just so happy to be where I'm at today,” Kang said. “I'm just happy that I won.

“More so than anything, I'm finally at a place where I'm peaceful and happy with my game, with my life . . . . I hope I win more. I did the best I can. I'm going to keep working hard and keep giving myself chances and keep putting myself in contention. I'll win more. I'll play better.”