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Rosaforte Report: DJ's favorite stretch of the year

By Tim RosaforteFebruary 6, 2018, 4:10 pm

In this week's Rosaforte Report: Dustin Johnson's mini-vacation is about to end with his favorite part of the schedule coming up, Gary Woodland's gets a victory in Phoenix thanks to his "team" of coaches, Rickie Fowler blows another 54-hole lead and Hale Irwin is making a start on the PGA Tour Champions this week at 72 years old.

Unless you’ve been skiing in Aspen, or following Dustin Johnson and his fiancée Paulina Gretzky on social media, you’re probably wondering what the world’s No. 1 golfer has been doing for the past two weeks, since playing in Abu Dhabi.

The answer is - DJ has been getting ready, hoping to peak for his favorite part of the PGA Tour schedule. Over his next four starts, Johnson will be defending titles three times (Genesis Open, WGC-Mexico and WGC-Match Play) and playing a spot (Pebble Beach Golf Links) in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am where he has won twice, and where he gets to play with father-in-law Wayne Gretzky and Jordan Spieth.

The only tournament DJ will miss over the next month is technically a hometown event, the Honda Classic, but manager David Winkle knows better by now to intercede on Johnson’s favorite part of the schedule, especially the stop at Riviera for the Genesis, where he became No. 1 last year.

The Baller in Gary Woodland

As a high school and college basketball player, Gary Woodland is the type of golfer that is comfortable being coached in a team environment. His head coach is Butch Harmon. His assistant coaches are Pete Cowen (short game) and Brad Faxon (putting). That’s like having Mike Krzyzewski, John Calipari and Tom Izzo on your bench.

All of the elements for Team Woodland were at work in his playoff victory over Chez Reavie at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He was second in ball-striking, which is Harmon’s department, and 16th in strokes gained-putting after listening to Faxon’s advice last winter at Old Palm. For the week, he made almost 359 feet of putts.

Under pressure, Woodland was also adept at the short-game advice passed along by Cowen, who first worked with Woodland at the QBE Shootout in December. He chipped in for par at No. 6 and Cowen noted the delicate chip he made on No. 17, facing the water on a green that ran away from him, to set up his third straight birdie.

Cowen compared it to the work he did with Brooks Koepka - who works with Butch’s son, Claude III - that led to his victory in the 2017 U.S. Open. “Sometimes, two heads are better than one,” Cowen said.

In the case of Woodland, it was actually three heads.

Another close call for Fowler

At his home in Las Vegas, Butch Harmon watched the final round of the Waste Management Open with a vested interest in both Woodland and 54-hole leader Rickie Fowler.

“It’s an interesting day having two of your players on top of the leaderboard for most of the day,” Harmon said on Monday. “It’s what you want of your players.”

As was the case, Harmon came away with mixed emotions. While Woodland had the most important closing round of his career (64), Fowler experienced one of his most disappointing with a final-round 73 that left him 1-for-6 with a 54-hole lead and some mixed feelings about the spectators at TPC Scottsdale.

“Rickie didn’t have his best day on Sunday,” Harmon said of the 73 Fowler posted to finish T-11. “He talked about the putts not dropping, which his true. But the fact he missed fairways (at Nos. 15 and 17) is uncharacteristic, especially to the left. He got back into some of his old traits that we’ll have to clean up. It’s frustrating to go through that.”

The frustration showed on Thursday when Fowler said he was disappointed in some of the comments made at the 16th hole, but come Sunday there were no hard feelings. Just as there wasn’t after a tough loss to Hidecki Matsuyama in 2016.

“For sure I love this place,” Fowler said in his closing thoughts. “The course and I, most of the time we get along well.” He exited by saying he would “keep pushing.”

The Original Bernhard Langer

At 72 years young, Hale Irwin will be competing in this week’s first full-field tournament on the 2018 PGA Tour Champions schedule, the Boca Raton Championship. His last of a record 45 senior tour victories came 11 years ago, when he was the same age (61) as Bernhard Langer will turn in August. Coming off a seven-victory season that moved him up to 36 victories, Langer very much has the Irwin record in sight, and Irwin knows it.

“I’m very proud of it, and not necessarily with (Langer) getting closer to it,” Irwin said of the record. “I played as good as I could, had some great years, but my goal was not to win 45 (times).”

Irwin acknowledges that he started cutting back at this point in Langer’s career to spend time with his family and grandchildren. That’s when his focus started to wane and his body - specifically a hamstring in his late-60s -started to break down. That was his curtain call.

Noting that he has a long way to go, Irwin added that Langer “is about as focused as you can get,” but there will come a time - based on his professional experience - when Langer loses the focus. “Whenever it is,” Irwin said, “I don’t know."

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”

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After 36, new Open favorite is ... Fleetwood

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 7:49 pm

With a handful of the pre-championship favorites exiting early, there is a new odds-on leader entering the third round of The Open at Carnoustie.

While Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner share the 36-hole lead, it's England's Tommy Fleetwood who leads the betting pack at 11/2. Fleetwood begins the third round one shot off the lead.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at

Tommy Fleetwood: 11/2

Zach Johnson: 13/2

Rory McIlroy: 7/1

Jordan Spieth: 8/1

Rickie Fowler: 9/1

Kevin Kisner: 12/1

Xander Schauffele: 16/1

Tony Finau: 16/1

Matt Kuchar: 18/1

Pat Perez: 25/1

Brooks Koepka: 25/1

Erik van Rooyen: 50/1

Alex Noren: 50/1

Tiger Woods: 50/1

Thorbjorn Olesen: 60/1

Danny Willett: 60/1

Francesco Molinari: 60/1