March 25, 2017
The final four of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play was set on Saturday afternoon, with a pair of dominating performances by two of golf’s hottest players, an unlikely steady performer advancing over a legend and a potential breakout start putting his way to the semifinals.
Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm easily moved on to the Sunday morning semifinals, continuing their unbeaten streak to five matches.
Rahm dispatched of Soren Kjeldsen by a 7-and-5 count, marking a second dominating performance on the day, following a 6-and-4 drubbing of Charles Howell III in the morning Round of 16 session. The Spaniard, who can get into the world top 10 in just 21 professional starts by capturing the win on Sunday, played just 27 of a possible 36 holes in the two combined matches — three fewer than Johnson, who has dominated opponents all week.
The world No. 1 Johnson defeated Alex Noren in the quarterfinal round by a 3-and-2 margin, a seemingly comfortable win devoid of drama. And, for the first nine holes, it was a carbon copy of Johnson’s prior four matches through the week. Johnson won the first hole, as he has in all five of his matches this week, and he took a 3-up lead into the back nine. The Swede Noren, however, won three consecutive holes to start the final half of the match and pulled even, marking the first time all week that Johnson was not ahead in a match. From there, Johnson won three of the final four holes to set up a spot in the semifinals.
If Rahm and Johnson are to meet and deliver the kind of fitting final this championship deserves, they’ll each have to get past opponents that they underestimate at their own peril.
Going into the week, few people gave Hideto Tanihara a chance to even get out of the group he shared with Jordan Spieth, who went to the University of Texas near host Austin Country Club. However, Tanihara did that and then managed to use his impressive putting ability to beat a pair of Englishmen — first in Paul Casey, second in Ross Fisher. With the win over Fisher, Tanihara assured himself a spot in the Official World Golf Ranking top 50 after Sunday, which comes with a spot in the Masters. While Fisher had to be upset for his week to end, he also landed a spot in the Masters via the top 50 when he beat Bubba Watson in the Round of 16.
Tanihara’s reward for getting this far? Dustin Johnson on Sunday morning.
Then there’s Rahm’s opponent, Bill Haas, who advanced to the semifinal by beating Phil Mickelson by a 2-and-1 count. Haas jumped out to a 3-up edge through six holes, but Mickelson, who hadn’t seen the final three holes of the course all week until Saturday afternoon, battled back. Mickelson cut the margin to one hole but was unable for two consecutive holes to pull all square. In his first time there all week, Mickelson halved 16 with Haas and lost the 17th to end the match and his deepest run in the WGC-Match Play since 2004.
In the third year of the group-play twist to the WGC-Match Play, Johnson and Rahm could continue the trend of champions going 7-0-0 through the week.
March 07, 2017
The PGA Tour comes back to the United States this week, resuming the Florida Swing after a trip to Mexico for the first World Golf Championships event of the year. The Innisbrook Resort near Tampa will again host the Valspar Championship, with the Copperhead Course and its Snake Pit stretch testing a good chunk of the top 50 in the world, including defending champion Charl Schwartzel.
Here are our top five players for this week:
1. Justin Thomas — J.T. faded hard on Sunday in Mexico, but he’s clearly the class player in the field. Good finish here last year, though it’s easy to forget he hasn’t seen a lot of places more than twice.
2. Henrik Stenson — Stenson got food poisoning in Mexico City, so that’s why he’s No. 2 this week. Otherwise, he would be No. 1 as he has a good record and comes here often.
3. Matt Kuchar — Kuchar has been pretty effective since kicking off 2017, with T-22 and T-20 in his last two starts. His putting weakness isn’t a big liability.
4. Patrick Reed — Since the calendar turned to February, Reed has been a dud. A total dud. However, he’s a great ballstriker on a course that separates players by that skill.
5. Bill Haas — Haas was outclassed in Mexico, but he’s otherwise been great this season. This is a good track for him, and he should have won here last year.
January 18, 2017
After a little bit of will-he-won’t-he, Phil Mickelson is going to play in the CareerBuilder Challenge this week, the first year Mickelson is considered the ambassador (read: sort-of host) of the event.
There had been some doubt if Mickelson would play after the five-time major winner had a pair of off-season surgeries to repair a sports hernia he dealt with throughout 2016. Following an October procedure that had him on pace to start the year in the California desert, a second surgery in December led to some speculation Mickelson would be unable to compete. Then last Friday, Mickelson’s name remained on the list of tournament entries when the official deadline to commit was reached. Mickelson had said earlier in the week that it would be a last-minute decision.
Mickelson will play with two-time tournament winner and all-time event money leader Bill Haas for the first three rounds of the event as the professionals and amateurs in the event cycle through the three-course rotation of La Quinta Country Club, as well the Nicklaus Tournament and TPC Stadium courses at PGA West for the first three rounds. Mickelson and Haas will play with two amateurs on Thursday at 8:40 a.m. local time.
Had Mickelson been unable to play this week, he would have likely returned instead at next week’s Farmers Insurance Open near San Diego.
August 17, 2016
The PGA Tour gets back to its normal schedule, just in time for the end of the regular season. The Wyndham Championship is the cutoff to get into the FedEx Cup playoffs and lock up PGA Tour status for the season that starts immediately after the Tour Championship.
Davis Love III won at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., last year in a shocker, but surgery prevents him from defending a field headlined by a pair of American Olympic golfers in Patrick Reed and Rickie Fowler.
Here are our top five players for this week:
1. Patrick Reed — Reed is a former winner here, doing that in 2013 for his first PGA Tour win. He had a good finish in Rio (final-round wise), and he’s been a top-15 mainstay most of the summer.
2. Webb Simpson — Simpson is the ultimate horse for this course. He is a past winner and loves playing in his home state. Four top-15s in the last five years.
3. Bill Haas — Haas is another horse for course in his collegiate state. He’s got a trio of top-15s here in the last five years and knows how to go to low on this course.
4. Jim Furyk — Mr. 58 is in action for the first time since that historic final round at TPC River Highlands. Second appearance here; was T-9 in 2011.
5. Ryan Moore — RyMo won last week at the Deere, and he’s won here in the past (2009). This is RyMoTime on the schedule.
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July 16, 2016
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The 145th British Open at Royal Troon has reached its final day, and after all the wind and rain and bunkers and gorse, we’re in for a treat. We’ve got two of the game’s finest at the top of the leaderboard, and stars both new and old lurking right on the margins. Here’s what to watch for during Sunday’s final round.
Heavyweight Showdown: Call it “Brute Force In The Gorse.” In this corner, Phil Mickelson, the all-time great who could put an exclamation point on a signature career with a win. In the far corner, Henrik Stenson, the current Best Player Without A Major, an immensely popular Swede who’s never held a 54-hole lead in a major before. They’re both at least five strokes clear of the field, and Sunday’s showdown will have the feel of a Ryder Cup match play showdown. You won’t want to miss this one.
Big Names, Big Numbers: None of golf’s Fab Four (Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy) will figure in Sunday’s final in any way, barring a miracle. All four have had uncharacteristically mediocre outings all week, unable to get close to the leaders. The pressure and frustration have forced Spieth to snap that he’s not in a slump, and forced McIlroy to snap a club. At least they’ll all be able to get their rest during the Olympics.
Beef! Who’s Beef? Why, Andrew “Beef” Johnston, of course. The 27-year-old English golfer has been a jolly bearded journeyman for most of his career, but a win earlier this year at the Spanish Open vaulted him into this year’s British Open. He’s made the most of his chance, posting a 5-under card that’s good enough to get him into the penultimate pairing with Bill Haas. Beef’s smile while walking up the 18th at Troon on Saturday as crowds cheered his name was one of the best moments of the tournament.
Scottish weather: After wind and rain on Friday and a chill on Saturday, Sunday’s play shouldn’t be quite as dominated by the skies. But there’s still a 60 percent chance of rain throughout the day, and of course, Scottish weather changes faster than a Dustin Johnson drive flies, so take any and all predictions with a shakerful of salt.
Where to watch: For early risers or late partiers, Golf Channel will air the early part of the tournament from 4:30 to 7:30 a.m. Eastern. NBC will take over and air the tournament from 7:30 to its conclusion, expected to come around 2 p.m. ET. You can also stream the entire tournament right here on Yahoo Sports via NBC Sports.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at email@example.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.
The PGA Tour moves from Dallas to Ft. Worth for the Dean & DeLuca Invitational at Hogan's Alley, Colonial Country Club. Chris Kirk is the defending champion, while Jordan Spieth headlines the field in an event where he finished as a runner-up last year.
Yahoo Sports will stream PGA Tour Live's featured holes coverage from Colonial Country Club on our Golf page from 4-7 p.m. Eastern on Thursday and Friday.
Here are some of the featured groupings that will come through the the par-4 fifth and par-3 16th holes in that coverage window on Thursday and Friday.
Thursday, First Round
All times Eastern
Off No. 1
12:29 p.m. -- Charley Hoffman, Geoff Ogilvy, Steve Stricker
12:40 p.m. -- Brandt Snedeker, Jim Furyk, Bill Haas
12:51 p.m. -- Charl Schwartzel, Jordan Spieth, Matt Kuchar
Off No. 10
12:18 p.m. -- Tony Finau, Steven Bowditch, Ben Crane
12:29 p.m. -- Scott Piercy, Kevin Streelman, Keegan Bradley
12:40 p.m. -- Brendon Todd, Webb Simpson, Louis Oosthuizen
Friday, Second Round
Off No. 1
12:40 p.m. -- Jason Dufner, Smylie Kaufman, Emiliano Grillo
12:51 p.m. -- Adam Scott, Zach Johnson, Chris Kirk
1:02 p.m. -- Jim Herman, Patrick Reed, Hunter Mahan
Off No. 10
12:40 p.m. -- Danny Lee, Nick Taylor, Seung-Yul Noh
12:51 p.m. -- Kevin Kisner, J.J. Henry, Camilo Villegas
1:02 p.m. -- Marc Leishman, Ryan Palmer, Chad Collins
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World No. 1 Jason Day dominated the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on Thursday, surging to the Day 1 lead at The Players Championship with a course record-tying 9-under 63.
Day took advantage of friendly scoring conditions, including softer-than-usual greens and a lack of wind, and he carries a two-shot lead into Friday's second round over five players, including Justin Rose, Shane Lowry, Cameron Tringale, Bill Haas and Brendan Steele.
The reigning PGA champion is the fifth player to shoot 63 at the Stadium Course, and he's the third player to do it in the last four years. Roberto Castro opened with 63 in 2013, then Martin Kaymer did en route to a 2014 win. In 1994, Greg Norman also opened The Players with 63, back when the event was played in March, before winning by four shots at 24 under par.
It could have been even lower. Though Day played flawless golf, with nine birdies and no bogeys, he had an outside shot at 62. Playing the par-5 ninth as his final hole, Day found himself in a greenside bunker blasting out with a chance to set a new course record. He came within 18 inches of making the shot.
Nevertheless, Day will happily take 63, particularly after shooting 81 here in the second round last year to miss the cut.
"Yeah, I would have loved to shoot 10 under and be the only guy to hold that record, but I'm in pretty good company with the guys that have shot that, especially with Greg Norman and the way he played shooting 63 and three straight 67s," Day said.
The first-round result wasn't all that surprising. Day felt it coming, and, after finishing tied for fifth at the weather-shortened Zurich Classic of New Orleans, he said he intended to focus his energy on winning this tournament.
"I knew that I could -- the way I was feeling, the way I was playing, I knew that I could shoot a good score, especially with how the greens were so receptive today," Day said. "They were really nice, holding on a lot of shots."
More PGA Tour coverage
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April 13, 2016
The PGA Tour makes the short trek from Augusta, Ga., up into the Palmetto State for this week's RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island, S.C.
The Pete Dye & Jack Nicklaus design is radically different in look and style from Augusta National, but it makes for a fascinating contrast a week after the year's first major. Jason Day is the headliner this week, with 2015 playoff runner-up Kevin Kisner also in the field in his home state.
Yahoo Sports will stream PGA Tour Live's featured holes coverage from the Snake Pit on Thursday and Friday from 3-6 p.m. Eastern on our Golf page. In that coverage window, you'll be able to see Jason Day play on Friday.
Here are some of the featured groupings that will come through the par-3 14th and 17th holes in that coverage window:
Thursday, First Round
Off No. 1
12:40 p.m. -- Graeme McDowell, Billy Horschel, Webb Simpson
12:50 p.m. -- Jason Day, Brandt Snedeker, Bill Haas
Off No. 10
12:50 p.m. -- Matt Jones, Stuart Appleby, Paul Casey
1:00 p.m. -- Brendan Steele, Ricky Barnes, Steve Wheatcroft
Friday, Second Round
Off No. 1
12:40 p.m. -- Kevin Kisner, Justin Thomas, Zach Johnson
12:50 p.m. -- Jason Dufner, Davis Love III, Matt Kuchar
Off No. 1o
12:50 p.m. -- Nick Taylor, Geoff Ogilvy, Russell Henley
1:00 p.m. -- Charley Hoffman, Brian Gay, K.J. Choi
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April 09, 2016
Heading into the final round of the Masters, Jordan Spieth remains in the same position he has been in for each of the last seven Masters rounds: the lead.
However, Spieth's lead is just one shot, and with improved weather expected on Sunday, the 22-year-old can expect a slew of challengers to make a run at Augusta National. Spieth, looking to become the third player in Masters history to successfully defend the title, will play on Sunday with 24-year-old Smylie Kaufman, who got into his first Masters by virtue of a win in last year's Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. The final pairing starts at 2:45 p.m. Eastern.
The group going off in front of them by 10 minutes comprises the only other two players under par through 54 holes: 58-year-old, two-time Masters winner Bernhard Langer and Hideki Matsuyama.
Here are the final round Masters pairings and tee times:
9:45 a.m. -- Kevin Na
9:55 a.m. -- Cameron Smith, Romain Langasque (a)
10:05 a.m. -- Thongchai Jaidee, Ian Poulter
10:15 a.m. -- Larry Mize, Martin Kaymer
10:25 a.m. -- Hunter Mahan, Justin Thomas
10:35 a.m. -- Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson
10:45 a.m. -- Henrik Stenson, Kevin Streelman
10:55 a.m. -- Kevin Kisner, Victor Dubuisson
11:05 a.m. -- Bernd Wiesberger, Troy Merritt
11:15 a.m. -- Anirban Lahiri, Keegan Bradley
11:35 a.m. -- Shane Lowry, Patrick Reed
11:45 a.m. -- Adam Scott, Harris English
11:55 a.m. -- Davis Love III, Webb Simpson
12:05 p.m. -- Scott Piercy, Rafa Cabrera-Bello
12:15 p.m. -- Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Danny Lee
12:25 p.m. -- Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau (a)
12:35 p.m. -- Matt Fitzpatrick, Jamie Donaldson
12:45 p.m. -- Bill Haas, Charley Hoffman
12:55 p.m. -- Jimmy Walker, Chris Wood
1:05 p.m. -- Emiliano Grillo, Paul Casey
1:25 p.m. -- Matt Kuchar, Billy Horschel
1:35 p.m. -- J.B. Holmes, Louis Oosthuizen
1:45 p.m. -- Justin Rose, Angel Cabrera
1:55 p.m. -- Daniel Berger, Rory McIlroy
2:05 p.m. -- Brandt Snedeker, Soren Kjeldsen
2:15 p.m. -- Danny Willett, Lee Westwood
2:25 p.m. -- Jason Day, Dustin Johnson
2:35 p.m. -- Bernhard Langer, Hideki Matsuyama
2:45 p.m. -- Jordan Spieth, Smylie Kaufman
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The journey to the green jacket starts on Thursday with the first round of the Masters at Augusta National.
This top-heavy field may be one of the most difficult to navigate in recent memory, with anywhere from a dozen to 15 players coming into the year's first major in great form. The Masters patrons and golf fans are beneficiaries, with some fascinating groupings for the first two days of the tournament.
Here's a look at the five best groups for the first two days of the Masters:
Jordan Spieth, Paul Casey, Bryson DeChambeau (a) -- 9:48 a.m. Thursday/12:55 p.m. Friday -- The traditional pairing of the reigning champion and the U.S. Amateur champion is filled out by Spieth, the defending champion, and DeChambeau, who is making his final amateur start. Casey was slotted in to take the spot of the U.S. Open champion since Spieth also holds that distinction.
Phil Mickelson, Marc Leishman, Henrik Stenson -- 10:43 a.m. Thursday/1:39 p.m. Friday -- Mickelson and Stenson are among the "old" guys who are getting a lot of looks this week as a potential spoiler for the younger set. Stenson was runner-up in Houston last week. Mickelson is a three-time winner who is 2-for-2 at Augusta National when he comes in as the scoring average leader on the PGA Tour. He holds that position this week, too.
Jason Day, Matt Kuchar, Ernie Els -- 1:06 p.m. Thursday/9:59 a.m. Friday -- Day has downplayed his status as world No. 1 and betting favorite this week. He said his back, which he tweaked at the WGC-Dell Match Play, is fine, but he's lost 11 lbs. because of an illness. He's in the group of Masters close calls, with Kuchar and Els each having several chances to capture a green jacket.
Martin Kaymer, Bill Haas, Rory McIlroy -- 2:01 p.m. Thursday/11:05 a.m. Friday -- McIlroy goes off last on Thursday as part of this trio. Kaymer hasn't done a whole lot since winning The Players and U.S. Open in 2014, but Haas has continued to improve his finishes in this championship. He was a playoff loser to Charl Schwartzel at the Valspar Championship.
Adam Scott, Kevin Kisner, Brooks Koepka -- 11:05 a.m. Thursday/2:01 p.m. Friday -- This threesome gets the anchor spot on Friday. Get it, anchor? Adam Scott used to anchor? Anyway. Scott is playing great and is a former winner. Kisner is somewhat local and has a short game that should do well here. Koepka missed the cut in Houston but had four top-26 finishes, including two top-10s, in his prior four starts.
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