Tag Archives: FedExCup

Sahith Theegala’s quest for his first PGA TOUR win

By: PGA

JACKSON, Miss. – Sahith Theegala had qualified for his first Open Championship appearance, The 150th Open at St. Andrews, as a PGA TOUR rookie.

He earned a spot at the Home of Golf as an alternate via the Official World Golf Ranking (No. 62 at the time), a remarkable rise considering he was a year removed from zero status on either the PGA TOUR or Korn Ferry Tour.

St. Andrews is largely defined by its robust bunkering; a hole can be endlessly strategized based on wind direction, firmness, club selection and other factors.

Theegala is a chess enthusiast; he freely shares his chess.com username (it’s srtheegala) and gladly accepts challenges.

So when he and caddie Carl Smith mapped out their strategy for St. Andrews, the comparison was inevitable.

“I’ve joked all year with Carl, ‘It’s chess, not checkers,’” Theegala laughed in advance of this week’s Sanderson Farms Championship. “We were out at St. Andrews plotting the bunkers, ‘It’s chess, not checkers, Carl.’”

Theegala has long applied the “chess, not checkers” mindset in his rise through the golf ranks. After suffering a wrist injury as a senior at Pepperdine in fall 2018, he returned for a fifth year. The following season, without an opportunity to compete at Q-School due to the COVID-19 pandemic-induced combined season, he went about earning enough non-member FedExCup Points to qualify for the 2021 Korn Ferry Tour Finals, in which he earned his first TOUR card.

Theegala qualified for last month’s TOUR Championship as a first-year PGA TOUR member, his season kick-started by a T8 at the Sanderson Farms Championship, where he led through 54 holes at the Country Club of Jackson. He cooled down in a final-round 71 to finish three back of winner Sam Burns, but the golf world was put on notice.

Playing out of the Korn Ferry Tour graduate category, Theegala needed that top-10 in Mississippi just to earn a spot in the following week’s Shriners Children’s Open. Now by virtue of his top-30 finish on the 2022 FedExCup, he’s fully exempt for the next two seasons on TOUR.

Theegala returns to the Country Club of Jackson as a second-year TOUR member and with the second-best odds to win, behind only Burns. He recalls looking at his tournament odds early last season and seeing, “I was near last out of every field.” Now the public expects him to break through any week.

Rather than shying away from the expectations, he’s relishing them.

“Max Homa just talked about it at the Fortinet (Championship), being the odds-on favorite there … in previous years, he said he would use that as extra pressure. Now he’s taking it head-on and being like, ‘Dang, that’s cool that I’m the favorite of the tournament. Let’s go get this thing done,’” Theegala said. “That’s pretty cool to see. It’s cool to know (my odds) are up there.

“Golf is such a crazy game; it’s just a hard game. There are very few times in golf where you’re truly happy. Trying to strive toward accomplishing stuff that maybe personally I didn’t think was possible a few years ago, now I do think is possible. The constant drive to get better; I do feel a little bit of that is almost an intangible, inherent love for the game … There’s something over getting the next hurdle that’s just so satisfying.”

In his first year as a TOUR member, Theegala was close. After his near-miss at the Sanderson Farms Championship, he played his way into another 54-hole lead at the WM Phoenix Open, long known as one of the TOUR’s most stadium-like settings.

Looking back, he describes it as “playing in front of 10 million people.” With several family and friends in attendance, he attempted to drive the green on the short par-4 17th but pulled it slightly left, the ball finding a greenside pond. He made bogey, followed by a closing par to finish one back of a Scottie Scheffler-Patrick Cantlay playoff.

He was devastated but reflects on the experience as a season highlight nonetheless.

“It was crazy how many people were there,” Theegala said. “That’s going to be a memory that I’m never going to forget. Still hurts. It’s going to hurt. People have said, ‘Oh, if you ever win …

“No. It’s still going to hurt, no matter what. But it was such a special week. Really kept me going for the rest of the year.”

He finished fifth at the Memorial presented by Workday and was runner-up at the Travelers Championship, making double bogey on the 72nd hole at TPC River Highlands to finish two back of Xander Schauffele.

But the lanky, oft-smiling California native has kept fighting. He rebounded from an opening 74 at the following week’s John Deere Classic to finish T16, and he made the cut at The Open en route to a T34. He added two more top-15s to close his first TOUR season, and he arrives in Mississippi fresh off a T6 at the 2022-23 season-opening Fortinet Championship.

Theegala didn’t watch much of last week’s Presidents Cup, aside from a bit of Sunday Singles. He understands the noise that he was a popular candidate for a captain’s pick, but he doesn’t believe he earned a spot on the team. That sentiment – believing he didn’t earn his spot – fuels him.

He’ll have more chances to represent the U.S. Team. He’ll take the long view.

“The energy was incredible,” Theegala said of the Presidents Cup. “I love how the guys are so into it. I’ve never played on any (U.S.) team .. I didn’t play on a junior golf (national) team or the Walker Cup, so I have a little chip on my shoulder. I wasn’t good enough to make those, so I might as well try to make one in the future.

“I love to use anything as fuel to the fire, so I think the reason I didn’t watch the first couple days, using it as more fuel. I don’t think I earned my way onto the team at all, and I wasn’t close on points or anything like that, but it’s definitely something I’ll use as motivation moving forward.”

Chess, not checkers.

‘Patty Ice’ returns as Cantlay defends BMW Championship

By: PGA tour

WILMINGTON, Del. – Patrick Cantlay stared robotically off into the distance as he left the par-4 10th green of Wilmington Country Club. It was the look of a measured struggle to keep things under control, or perhaps he was just taking stock of his situation.

Cantlay had just carded his second bogey in a three-hole stretch and fell two shots off the pace to put his BMW Championship title defense under severe stress. At that moment a voice pierced out above the others in the throng of people clamoring to get close during the first ever PGA TOUR event in the state of Delaware: “Let’s go, Patty Ice!”

Patty Ice. It was the nickname born amongst the large crowds in the same tournament a year ago at Caves Valley in Maryland, where Cantlay, reveling in a newfound popularity amongst the masses, found a way to victory. That same stoic Cantlay would carry on his form and claim a fourth win of the season at the TOUR Championship a week later, capturing the FedExCup.

It might be hyperbole to suggest the sound of that voice pierced into Cantlay’s consciousness this time around, but it seemed to coincide with a last deep breath and an end to his pensive gaze. Was it time for Patty Ice to return? Had he ever left?

Some might suggest the surgically efficient winner from a year ago had failed to reappear in 2022. Cantlay had a win on his resume leading into the BMW, but it came with the help of teammate Xander Schauffele at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. In individual stroke play events, he’d had to settle for 10 top 10s without a trophy. He’d lost playoffs to Scottie Scheffler at the WM Phoenix Open and Jordan Spieth at the RBC Heritage. Had the ice melted?

No. In fact he’d never left at all. Because it was the ability to accept those fates that allowed Cantlay to immediately bounce back with a birdie on the 11th hole Sunday, add another at the 14th and then throw an epic dart into the 17th to set up a go-ahead birdie.

And when he found himself in a tough fairway bunker lie on the 72nd hole, needing par for victory, Patty Ice produced a slashing shot to the green to secure the first ever defense of a FedExCup Playoff event. Now he heads to the TOUR Championship seeded second and will try to become the first ever repeat FedExCup champion.

FedExCup update: Adam Scott on track to burst bubble again

By: PGA

WILMINGTON, Del. – Adam Scott has seen every version of the FedExCup Playoffs. He knows that, no matter the format, having to burst the bubble two times in one postseason is a tall task.

Returning to the TOUR Championship isn’t his goal this week, though. He’s here to win.

With the Presidents Cup a month away, Scott is looking for his first victory since the 2020 Genesis Invitational. It’s been more than two years since that impressive win at Riviera, which feels even longer ago since it came a month before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the globe.

After a solid Regular Season, one that included just two missed cuts but also was short on the high finishes that rack up the FedExCup points, Scott started this year’s Playoffs at No. 77 in the standings. A T5 finish last week at the FedEx St. Jude Championship, his first top-10 in a stroke-play event since this year’s Genesis in February, got him to Wilmington Country Club. He continued that good form Thursday, opening the BMW Championship with a 6-under 65 on Thursday.

Starting this week at No. 45 in the FedExCup, the 42-year-old Scott is well aware one swallow doesn’t make a summer. To get inside the top 30 and earn a tee time next week at East Lake, where he won the TOUR Championship in 2006 a year before the first FedExCup, he needs to threaten the top of the leaderboard.

He cleared the first-round hurdle given his round was bested only by his playing partner Keegan Bradley’s 64 in the early wave. Scott was projected to jump to 13th in the FedExCup standings when he signed his card.

“Last week I obviously had the same situation. I wasn’t in. But I really focused more on trying to put myself into winning a golf tournament and just play as usual, and that would kind of get it done. It made me only have one focus, and that was on the tournament at hand. That’s how I started today,” Scott said. “I’ve always prided myself on trying to win tournaments and managed to do that throughout my career, and it’s been a while, and I’d love to get back there later this week, but we’ve got a

Scott has come up clutch with his putter this postseason. That club has become an underrated part of his bag. It is now an asset, not a liability. He led the field in Strokes Gained: Putting last week and needed just 27 putts on Thursday, making 111 feet worth of putts. He entered the week ranked 45th in Strokes Gained: Putting for the season, a year after ranking 18th in that same metric.

“More than anything out of Memphis, I got some confidence out of having a result with maybe not my best stuff all four days,” Scott added. “It is a nice feeling walking on to any golf course when the confidence is a bit higher, and I certainly felt a sense of ease with that today.”

Scott has made eight appearances at East Lake in the FedExCup era but it has been three years since he last appeared in Atlanta. If he does make it back to the TOUR Championship, he’ll accomplish something that only one man did last year. Erik van Rooyen was the only player to qualify for the season finale after starting the Playoffs outside the top 70 in the standings.

“One of the beauties of the Playoffs is that there is enough volatility that you can have a couple good weeks and get yourself right in the mix,” Scott said. “No matter where, if I was at East Lake starting 10 back or five back or six back, I’d be there thinking I’ve got a chance to win the whole lot. That’s a fun thing to think about.”

 Scott paused after that line and realized he had actually let his guard down. After a wry smile he added, “In three more days.”

Rory McIlroy returns to RBC Canadian Open to face strong field

By: PGA Tour

TORONTO, Ont. – Rory McIlroy marked his ball with a Canadian $1 coin, nicknamed a ‘Loonie,’ the last time he played the RBC Canadian Open. He received one from his pro-am partner in 2019 and that extra luck worked. He won.

This year, tournament organizers came prepared.

“I turned up to the locker room and there was already one in my locker,” said McIlroy with a smile. “And then one of my pro-am partners gave me one this morning on the first green as well.

“I’m loaded with loonies this week.”

McIlroy will (finally) defend his title this week in Canada, three years after he won by seven shots at Hamilton Golf and Country Club. He flirted with 59 much of the final day before shooting a thrilling 61 that separated him from the field.

He comes to St. George’s Golf and Country Club looking to go back-to-back for the first time on the PGA TOUR, but to do it he’ll have to top one of the strongest fields north of the border in recent memory.

McIlroy is one of five golfers ranked in the top 10 in the world who are teeing it up this week in Toronto, including Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns. The top two players in the FedExCup are making their Canadian Open debuts. Scheffler, who also sits atop the world ranking, has won four times this year, including the Masters, while Burns earned his third win of the season by beating Scheffler in a playoff at the recent Charles Schwab Challenge.

PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas and THE PLAYERS champion Cameron Smith are the other two top-10 players in the field this week. There are 20 Canadians teeing it up in their national open as well, including Corey Conners, the top-ranked Canadian in the FedExCup standings.

“It’s really exciting to have those guys here,” Conners said of the stout field. “I think national championships, wherever they’re played, have a little bit more prestige and guys think really highly of this event. There are so many historic names on the trophy, and it would be awesome to be added to that and I think a lot of those guys feel the same way. It’s a good part of your legacy to be able to call yourself a Canadian Open champion and national open champion.”

McIlroy comes into the week after a T18 at the Memorial. He notched three consecutive top-10 finishes in his previous three starts, including a runner-up at the Masters and an eighth-place finish at the PGA Championship. He sits 15th on the FedExCup standings.

So far, he’s “loved” St. George’s Golf and Country Club, which is hosting its sixth RBC Canadian Open. He said it’s a “really good” traditional layout – built in 1929 – that will serve as a strong place to compete before next week’s U.S. Open.

McIlroy will be grouped with Conners and Thomas for the first two rounds.

Thomas said he took a few days off after he missed the cut at the Charles Schwab Challenge and celebrated his PGA Championship victory with some high-school friends back home in Louisville. Playing the week before the PGA Championship paid off with his win at Southern Hills and he’s hoping it will do the trick again with the U.S. Open coming next week. But Thomas is quick to recognize the legacy of the Canadian Open, as well. This is the 111th playing of the tournament.

“You look at the history of this event, it kind of speaks for itself,’ says Thomas. “The opportunity to come to a place and a tournament that’s so historic … definitely makes it a little bit more special.”

Scheffler said “it was easy” for him to include the Canadian Open in his schedule with a comparable set-up at St. George’s to The Country Club at Brookline. With seven of the top 25 in the world (Matt Fitzpatrick, Tony Finau, Tyrell Hatton and Shane Lowry are the others) all playing this week, it’ll be a solid challenge.

“I’m preparing for next week’s U.S. Open, but I really want to win this week. I really want to win every time I tee it up and play,” says Scheffler. “We (drew) a really good field this week and so definitely looking forward to competing against these guys.”

While Scheffler is on top of the FedExCup standings with his excellent play so far this season, it’s two-time FedExCup winner McIlroy who has quickly become the top draw in Canada.

This is, of course, attributed to winning in his debut in 2019 – “It would be nice to keep that percentage up this week, for sure,” he said – and the fact that he acted as the ‘defending’ champion for two extra seasons. His group drew the biggest crowds in Wednesday’s pro-am at St. George’s.

“I’ve worked hard to get to this position,” he says. “I mean if I didn’t like the attention I would go and I would play another sport or I would get another job or whatever. But there’s a lot of things that come along with being one of the top players in the game and yeah, I do relish it. I like that, I like being in that position.”

Another position McIlroy enjoys being in is first place on PGA TOUR leaderboards, something he’ll try to do again this week in Canada.

And he’s got a good-luck coin ready to go.

Bubba Watson diagnosed with torn meniscus

By: PGA Tour

Bubba Watson looked like he was firing on all cylinders when he tied a tournament record with a second-round 63 at the PGA Championship at Southern Hills last week.

As it turns out, he wasn’t.

After congratulating PGA winner Justin Thomas on social media Monday, Watson, who fell back with rounds of 73-75 on the weekend to finish T30, said he was playing on a torn meniscus and would have to pull out of this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge.

Here is the post: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cd6H6GLplfg/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

If Watson is out for four to six weeks, it could also mean missing the U.S. Open and Travelers Championship, where he’s a three-time champion. At 43, the 12-time PGA TOUR winner said last week, he’s had to make a few concessions to age, including using a lighter driver shaft.

“I’ve had a lot of issues over the last couple years,” Watson, who is 146th in the FedExCup and 69th in the Official World Golf Ranking, said at Southern Hills. “Had a lot of PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma therapy) done on my wrist, PRP done on my knees. I’ve had a lot of issues.”

WiretoWire: Joaquin Niemann shines bright among stars at Riviera

By Staff ,  PGATOUR.COM

  • Joaquin Niemann goes wire-to-wire to win at Genesis

NEAR-FLAWLESS NIEMANN DRIVES AWAY AT GENESIS

Historic course. An event with a storied history. And the event host is Tiger Woods. As if there wasn’t enough pressure on Joaquin Niemann entering Sunday with a three-shot lead at The Genesis Invitational. But the 23-year-old from Chile settled in after a slow start, pulled off plenty of pressure shots and capped it with a final-round 71 to win by two strokes at The Riviera Country Club. Niemann, who opened with rounds of 63 on Thursday and Friday, became the first player to win the event in wire-to-wire fashion since Charlie Sifford in 1969. “This weekend felt like a month,” Niemann said. “I’m so happy it’s finally done. I’m really proud of the way my caddie and I battled.” It was Niemann’s second PGA TOUR win. His first came in 2019 at The Greenbrier. Niemann also came within one shot of tying the event’s scoring record. He finished at 19-under for the week, one short of Lanny Wadkins’ tournament record of 20-under which came in 1985. That remains as the longest standing active scoring record on TOUR. Niemann moved to No. 7 in the FedExCup standings after picking up 550 FedExCup points. The elevated event also brings with it a three-year exemption.

SUNSHINE STATE AWAITS

The PGA TOUR switches coasts for The Honda Classic, the start of the Florida swing. Matt Jones’ win last year was his first victory in seven years. He returns to defend, while South Florida locals Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger top the list of notables in the field. Koepka’s brother, Chase, will play on a sponsor exemption, as will 20-year-old Nicolai Hojgaard. The two-time winner on the DP World Tour, including earlier in February, will make his first star on the PGA TOUR at PGA National, the Tom Fazio design that was re-worked by Jack Nicklaus. The course has long been known as one of the toughest on the PGA TOUR thanks in large part to The Bear Trap from hole Nos. 15 to 17. Big names including Louis Oosthuizen, Sungjae Im, Keith Mitchell, Padraig Harrington, and Rickie Fowler are all set to tee it up. The winner will pick up 500 FedExCup points.

WOODS DISCUSSES HEALTH, PLANS TO RETURN

Tiger Woods met with the media last week prior to the start of The Genesis Invitational, which he hosts each year. It was a year ago when Woods was severely injured in a single-car accident. He suffered multiple fractures in his right leg and shattered his ankle. “I wish I could tell you when I’m playing again,” Woods said. “I want to know, but I don’t. My golf activity has been very limited. I can chip and putt really well and hit short irons very well, but I haven’t done any long stuff seriously. I’m still working.”

MIC CHECK

“This has to be one of the toughest courses we play during the year. “I surprised myself with how good I played. During the weekend, I just told myself that we have to finish this and to stay focused.” – Joaquin Niemann, winner of The Genesis Invitational

BY THE NUMBERS

64 – After shooting his age in Round 1, Bernhard Langer (64) went on to win at the Chubb Classic in Naples, Florida. Already the oldest winner in PGA TOUR Champions history, Langer broke his own record after winning a record fourth Chubb Classic title.

17 – Under-par score for Byeong Hun An to win at the Korn Ferry Tour’s LECOM Suncoast Classic.

COMCAST BUSINESS TOUR TOP 10

This Week Name Points
1. Hideki Matsuyama 1,276
2. Tom Hoge 1,115
3. Scottie Scheffler 1,063
4. Talor Gooch 1,000
5. Sungjae Im 894
6. Luke List 803
7. Joaquin Niemann 792
8. Sam Burns 775
9. Cameron Smith 754
10. Collin Morikawa 730

The Comcast Business TOUR TOP 10 highlights and rewards the extraordinary level of play required to earn a spot in the TOP 10 at the conclusion of the FedExCup Regular Season as determined by the FedExCup standings. The competition recognizes and awards the most elite in golf.

Tom Hoge shoots 9-under 63 to lead by one after Thursday at AT&T Pebble Beach

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Tom Hoge enjoys being at Pebble Beach even in a frigid wind and relentless rain. He loved it even more Thursday in brilliant sunshine, especially with nine birdies on his card.

Hoge began his day along the Pacific Ocean with a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 10 at Pebble Beach. He made the last of six straight birdies with a 40-foot putt on the daunting eighth hole. It added to a 9-under 63, by four shots his best score at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

“It’s hard to be in a bad mood out here,” Hoge said. “I mean, Pebble Beach and perfect weather is about as good as it gets.”

He had a one-shot lead over Seamus Power of Ireland, whose round was equally stout. Power birdied his last four holes at Spyglass Hill, traditionally the toughest of the three courses in benign conditions. It was the only course that played over par Thursday.

Jonas Blixt had a 7-under 64 on the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula. Patrick Cantlay, the reigning FedExCup champion, birdied his last three holes for a 65 on the Shore.

Hoge has played just over 200 times on the PGA TOUR without winning, though he’s getting closer. He finished runner-up by two shots in Palm Desert two weeks ago.

Whether he gets another shot, that’s still a long way off, with two more courses to get through before Hoge gets back to Pebble Beach.

The coastline along the peninsula and the desert tucked amid the Santa Rosa Mountains are nothing alike, although Hoge managed to make one comparison. Scoring is on the low side.

Along with very little wind, the area has gone more than a month without rain and the courses are firm, without the greens being too fast because of amateurs in the field. To have greens running firm and fast, they might never finish.

“I was in the situation a couple weeks ago in Palm Springs — scores were a little bit better there — but you keep switching golf courses and you fee like you’ve got to keep making birdies the whole way because there’s a lot of great players out here,” he said. “Conditions look pretty good for the weekend, so I know that I’ve got to keep moving forward.”

There was no need to check the forecast and hope for the best — and this tournament, that means getting Pebble Beach and Monterey Peninsula on the calmest day and Spyglass in the wind. But it’s supposed to stay gorgeous all week.

Cantlay nearly had his round ruined around the turn when he squandered a good start with a pair of bogeys and began the back nine at the Shore by failing to birdie the par 5s. He made up for it with three straight birdies to finish his round, one of them on the 17th when his tee shot was about 6 feet from going into a small creek, and he hit a towering wedge over a pine to 12 feet for birdie.

Jordan Spieth, still trying to recover from an intestinal infection, had a 68 at Monterey Peninsula. He had hoped to be at full strength, but probably wasn’t quite there.

Otherwise, it was as perfect a day as the Pebble Beach Pro-Am can offer. About one-third of the field broke 70, and no one was terribly grumpy.

Power won an opposite-field event last year for his first PGA TOUR victory. He tied for third in the Sony Open in Hawaii and now sits at No. 50 in the world, needing to hold that position for two months to earn an invitation to the Masters.

He played in an all-Irish pairing with John Murphy, who went to Louisville and made his PGA TOUR debut, along with Irish amateurs Dermott Desmond and Gerry McManus. That added to a day that felt like more fun than work.

“I’m playing in a shirt. Normally I have a sweater and other stuff on,” Power said. “So it was nice, wind was minimal. It was a perfect day for scoring.”

His best moment was scrambling for par at the par-3 fifth hole, the last that runs along the Pacific on Spyglass Hill. He went from a fairway bunker on the uphill sixth to 25 feet and made that, and then finished with three more birdies.

“It’s always funny with the three courses,” Power said. “It’s great to have a good start but you’re on to a completely different challenge. Tomorrow I’m playing Pebble and it’s going to be a completely different course to today. So kind of makes it easier to reset, and hopefully we can kind of keep doing the same thing tomorrow.”

The First Look: The American Express

  • All-time shots from The American Express

Last season’s FedExCup champion Patrick Cantlay and world No. 1 Jon Rahm lead the field at The American Express, as the PGA TOUR returns to the mainland United States after two weeks in Hawaii.

Si Woo Kim, who bested Cantlay by one stroke in 2021, returns to defend.

FIELD NOTES: Patrick Cantlay shot a course-record 61 in the final round a year ago but ultimately fell one shot short of Si Woo Kim’s winning total. He’s back and hoping to lift the trophy … 2018 American Express winner Jon Rahm returns to action … Tournament host and reigning PGA Championship winner Phil Mickelson is set to tee it up … 2020-21 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year Will Zalatoris will play his first event of the 2022 portion of the schedule … Other 2022 debutants include Francesco Molinari, Gary Woodland, Alex Noren, and Rickie Fowler … Fowler is teeing it up for the first time since the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba – and for the first time since becoming a father in November … There are 14 past champions of The American Express in the field … Sponsor’s exemptions include T.J Vogel, Chan Kim, James Hart du Preez and celebrated collegiate star John Pak … Cameron Champ is set to return to action after testing positive for COVID-19 and missing the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

FEDEXCUPWinner receives 500 FedExCup points.

COURSEThe American Express is set to return to play at three courses for 2021 after utilizing just two last year for the first time in tournament history.

Yardages are subject to change.

PGA West (Stadium Course): 7,113 yards, par 72

La Quinta Country Club: 7,060 yards, par 72

PGA West (Nicklaus Tournament Course): 7,159 yards, par 72

STORYLINES: The pro-am portion of The American Express returns in 2022 after being eliminated last year. Each professional will be grouped with amateurs for the first three rounds before the low 65 pros (and ties) will play their final round at the Stadium Course at PGA West … Jon Rahm is the first world No. 1 to tee it up at The American Express since former FedExCup champion Justin Rose in 2019. Rahm won the event in 2018, did not play for two years, and was scheduled to play in 2021 before tweaking a muscle at the gym … This is the 63rd annual American Express … Si Woo Kim will look to be the first player to successfully defend his title at The American Express since Johnny Miller in 1975-76.

72-HOLE RECORD: 260, Patrick Reed (2014).

18-HOLE RECORD: 59, David Duval (Round 5, 1999 at PGA West/Palmer), Adam Hadwin (Round 3, 2017 at La Quinta CC). Stadium Course record: 61, Patrick Cantlay (Round 4, 2021). Nicklaus Tournament record: 59, Harrison Frazar (Round 4, 2008 PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament, Final Stage*).

Note: Q-School does not count as an official PGA TOUR event.

LAST TIME: Si Woo Kim won for the third time on the PGA TOUR and extracted a little revenge on The American Express event after withdrawing a year prior due to severe back pain. The 25-year-old made birdie on two of his closing three holes to finish with an 8-under 64 on Sunday, topping Patrick Cantlay by one shot. Kim shot a 15-over 87 in the first round of The American Express in 2020 and promptly withdrew. Cantlay was six groups ahead of Kim and shot a final-round 61, breaking the Stadium Course record by two. Cantlay’s sizzling closer included 11 birdies, emphasized by a 37-foot birdie roll on 18. However, Kim’s solid closing stretch was good enough for the victory. Cam Davis finished third after a closing 64, while Tony Finau finished fourth. Abraham Ancer, Doug Ghim and Michael Thompson rounded out the top five.

HOW TO FOLLOW (All times ET)

Television: Thursday-Sunday, 3 p.m.-7 p.m. (Golf Channel)

Radio: Thursday-Friday, 1–7 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 2 p.m.-7 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com/liveaudio)

PGA TOUR LIVE

Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Stream 1 Main Feed: 12 p.m.-3 p.m. Main Feed: 12 p.m.-3 p.m. Main Feed: 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Main Feed: 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Featured Group: 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Featured Group: 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Featured Group: 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Featured Group: 3 p.m.-7 p.m.
Stream 2 Marquee: 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Marquee: 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Marquee: 12:30 p.m.-3 p.m. Marquee: 12:30 p.m.-3 p.m.
Featured Group: 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Featured Group: 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Featured Group: 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Featured Group: 3 p.m.-7 p.m.
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Predicting the 2022 U.S. Presidents Cup team

  • U.S. Team highlights from the 2019 Presidents Cup

The U.S. Team rallied on the final day of the previous Presidents Cup to avoid an upset on a Royal Melbourne layout that was a mystery to most of its roster. Now the biennial competition between the U.S. and International teams returns to more familiar territory.

Next year’s Presidents Cup will be held at Charlotte’s Quail Hollow Club, the annual venue for the Wells Fargo Championship (the 2022 Wells Fargo will be played at TPC Potomac in Avenel, Maryland, to allow Quail Hollow to prepare for the Presidents Cup).

Davis Love III, a University of North Carolina alum, will helm the U.S. Team after leading two Ryder Cup squads. His 2012 team rolled through the opening two days before Europe staged an historic upset in Singles, known as the Miracle at Medinah, to score a road victory. Love’s 2016 team ensured that history didn’t repeat itself, winning 17-11 at Minnesota’s Hazeltine Golf Club.

Love also was a vice captain at this year’s Ryder Cup, giving him a front-row seat to watch the young talent that will undoubtedly form the core of his squad. He’s obviously excited to lead a team coming off a record Ryder Cup win.

Love’s team will be comprised of the top six players in the U.S. points standings after the 2022 BMW Championship. Players have been accumulating points in the Presidents Cup standings since the opening event of the 2020 season. Every FedExCup point earned during that campaign is worth a half-point in the Presidents Cup standings. FedExCup points earned in 2020-21 are worth one point, and each FedExCup point earned this season is worth three. (For the Presidents Cup standings, FedExCup Playoffs events are weighted the same as World Golf Championships.)

Love also will have six captain’s picks to round out the squad, giving him plenty of roster flexibility. To help you prepare for the upcoming Presidents Cup, here are a dozen names to consider for the next U.S. squad. This is supposed to be a fun exercise so don’t yell and scream because your favorite player wasn’t included (players are listed in alphabetical order).

Sam Burns

Age: 25
Previous Presidents Cups: 0
Current Presidents Cup ranking: 2

Burns narrowly missed out on a spot on this year’s Ryder Cup team after a breakout season that included his first win, at the Valspar Championship, and his first TOUR Championship appearance.

How’d Burns respond to his Ryder Cup near-miss? By winning his next start, the Sanderson Farms Championship, and contending in his next two events. Burns’ worst finish in four starts this fall is T14; he finished seventh or better in three of those events.

Injuries earlier in his TOUR career slowed his progress, but he’s fulfilling the lofty expectations that came after he was college golf’s player of the year in 2017, finished in the top-10 of a TOUR event while still an amateur and beat Tiger Woods while playing alongside the legend in the final round of the 2018 Honda Classic.

Patrick Cantlay
Age: 29
Previous Presidents Cups: 1 (2019)
Current Presidents Cup ranking: 8

Coming off a four-win season, it seems assured that the reigning FedExCup champion will be on the roster at Quail Hollow. His well-rounded game – he ranked in the top 30 of all four Strokes Gained categories last season – makes him an ideal partner in any format.

He went 3-0-1 at Whistling Straits this year – extending his individual record in international team events to 6-2-1 — and his bromance with Xander Schauffele guarantees he already has a partner queued up for Quail Hollow.

Bryson DeChambeau
Age: 28
Previous Presidents Cups: 1 (2019)
Current Presidents Cup ranking: 7

His driver produced some of the most memorable shots from this most recent Ryder Cup. There was the 417-yard blast that left him just a wedge into one par-5 and he drove the first green in his Singles win over Sergio Garcia.

He’s been driving for show (and dough) since his radical transformation before the previous Presidents Cup, leading the PGA TOUR in driving distance and Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee in each of the past two seasons while also ranking in the top 20 of Strokes Gained: Putting each season.

Quail Hollow can reward the big bomber. Look at Rory McIlroy’s success there. DeChambeau finished T9 in this year’s Wells Fargo Championship despite flying home to Dallas after thinking he missed the cut. A pair of 68s on the weekend moved him from the cut line and into the top 10.

Dustin Johnson
Age: 37
Previous Presidents Cups: 4 (2011, 2015, 2017, 2019)
Current Presidents Cup ranking: 13

This year’s Ryder Cup was the first since 1993 in which neither Phil Mickelson or Woods competed, leaving Johnson as the elder statesman of the American squad. It’s a quiet leadership, but one that his teammates respect. His record speaks for itself: Twenty-four PGA TOUR wins, including two majors and a FedExCup. And his best performance in one of these intercontinental tussles came in the most recent one.

He was the oldest member of this year’s Ryder Cup team (by a decent margin) but also the only one to go 5-0-0. He formed a strong partnership with a player more than a decade younger than him, Collin Morikawa. “He’s the oldest guy on our team, and it’s a very quiet leadership, but he makes his presence known,” Morikawa said. It’s hard to imagine an American team without Johnson, especially after what he did this year at Whistling Straits.

Phil Mickelson
Age: 51
Previous Presidents Cups: 12 (1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017)
Current President Cup ranking: 59

Look, it’s a longshot. We know it. Phil knows it. But it’s a thought worth entertaining. He readily admits that he needs to play better. But outside Augusta National and Pebble Beach, there may not be another course that elicits more excitement from Mickelson. He has 10 top-10s in 16 starts in the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow. Even this year, he shot a first-round 64 that provided a glimpse of what was to come in his next start, his record-setting win at the PGA Championship.

Dominant PGA TOUR Champions seasons from both Hale Irwin and Bernhard Langer led some to call for inclusion on their respective Ryder Cup teams. Mickelson could do something similar, having won four of six starts on that circuit. He relished being a vice captain in this year’s Ryder Cup – his banter on the radios was reportedly legendary – but his tenure as a playing member of the U.S. teams came to an unceremonious end in the United States’ loss at the 2018 Ryder Cup, where Mickelson went 0-2. Playing on this team could allow him to end on a winning note.

Collin Morikawa
Age: 24
Previous Presidents Cups: 0
Current Presidents Cup ranking: 1

He’s 24 years old and already owns two major championships. In an era obsessed with distance, Morikawa gets it done with the best iron play on TOUR. He acquitted himself nicely in this year’s Ryder Cup, his first time representing the U.S. in an international team competition as a pro.

He went 3-0 with Dustin Johnson – winning twice in Foursomes and once in Four-balls – before securing the clinching point by doing what he does best, hitting his 221-yard tee shot to 3 feet on the par-3 17th. After Morikawa snatched the Claret Jug, Ryder Cup and Race to Dubai trophy in 2021, Europe may want to lock up the Champions League trophy and perhaps even the Magna Carta, lest he run off with those prizes as well.

Scottie Scheffler
Age: 25
Previous Presidents Cups: 0
Current Presidents Cup ranking: 6

Beating the World No. 1 in Singles automatically earns you an exemption onto the next U.S. Team, right? Scheffler was DeChambeau’s right-hand man in this year’s Ryder Cup before blitzing Jon Rahm in Singles. Scheffler, the 2020 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year, is still seeking his first win but the way he handled Rahm definitely counts for something. Scheffler birdied the first four holes en route to a 4-and-3 victory.

This season is off to a strong start, with a fourth-place finish at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba and a T2 at the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open. The fact that he’s finished in the top 20 in his last six majors – including four finishes of eighth or better – show that his game is suited for the biggest stages.

Webb Simpson
Age: 37
Previous Presidents Cups: 3 (2011, 2013, 2019)
Current Presidents Cup ranking: 19

Charlotte’s favorite son  — Simpson lives on Quail Hollow – is a good bet to get a captain’s pick if he’s on the bubble for this team. He almost earned one for this year’s Ryder Cup team despite seeing a streak of four consecutive TOUR Championship berths come to an end. It was a difficult season for Simpson, who’d become a top-10 player in the world during his career resurgence. There was a COVID diagnosis and a neck injury that forced him to withdraw from the Wells Fargo. He finished the fall with a T8 at The RSM Classic that showed positive signs. He gained nearly 10 strokes with his approach play, more than three strokes ahead of Talor Gooch, who won the event and finished second to Simpson in that stat.

Simpson is a model teammate who’s respected by his peers, which is why he was on the short list of potential captain’s picks for this year’s Ryder Cup. Morikawa said at this year’s Olympics that tries to emulate Simpson’s balance of on- and off-course responsibilities, and he’s not alone in expressing that sentiment. Simpson still is one of the best players on TOUR from the approach shot in. Pair him with a long hitter and you have a formidable Foursomes pairing. And Simpson’s ability to make birdies in bunches pays off in Four-balls.

Jordan Spieth
Age: 28
Previous Presidents Cups: 3 (2013, 2015, 2017)
Current Presidents Cup ranking: 18

It’s the smallest of samples – just four rounds – but Spieth’s performance in his lone start of the fall could portend a successful season. He gained more than four strokes off the tee on the wide-open fairways of Summit Club, where he finished T18 in THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT. He was off the rest of the fall as he awaited the birth of his first child. The driver is the one club that still needs work. It’s trending in the right direction, though. Last year, he was just a tick below average in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, his best performance in that stat since 2018. As we know, Spieth doesn’t need to drive it on a string to succeed. He just needs to keep it on the planet. Spieth is a stalwart of these U.S. teams, and the plug-and-play partnership with Thomas adds a boost to his candidacy should he need a captain’s pick.

Justin Thomas
Age: 29
Previous Presidents Cups: 2 (2017, 2019)
Current Presidents Cup ranking: 3

This Presidents Cup gives Thomas an opportunity to return to the site of his 2017 PGA Championship win, and a chance to play for the captain he’s known since college. Thomas was teammates at Alabama with Love’s son, Dru. Thomas is 6-2-2 in his two Presidents Cup appearances and has become the United States’ biggest on-course catalyst, doubling as one of its best players and its most vocal competitor. He and Spieth have proven to be more than good friends, as well. They’ve formed a formidable pairing, going 4-2-0 together in Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup play. Having one of the best iron players in the game on your team is always an asset, as well. The reigning PLAYERS champion has ranked no worse than sixth in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green in each of the last five seasons.

Matthew Wolff
Age: 23
Previous Presidents Cups: 0
Current Presidents Cup ranking: 11

Matthew Wolff has become the poster child for mental health awareness after his leave of absence last season. He’s started an important conversation, but let’s not also forget that he’s also one of the most promising prospects in the game. Stepping away helped him learn how to cope with the pressures of stardom, and a late-night adjustment to his setup before the Sanderson Farms Championship has unleashed his unique, powerful action once again.

Wolff had the best resume when he turned pro alongside Morikawa and Viktor Hovland and was the first to win, becoming the just the third player to win an NCAA individual title and PGA TOUR event in the same year (Tiger Woods and Ben Crenshaw are the others). He finished in the top 4 in his first two majors and reached as high as 12th in the world ranking. The pressure got to Wolff last season, but he showed wisdom in deciding to step away. His enthusiasm for the game has returned and it showed with back-to-back top-5 finishes this fall. That run started at the Sanderson Farms Championship, where he was thinking about his swing while in bed and realized that his setup was off. “From that point on I’ve just been rolling,” he said.

Tiger Woods
Age: 45
Previous Presidents Cups: 9 (1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2019)
Current Presidents Cup ranking: 118

What will Tiger Woods’ role be at next year’s Presidents Cup? That’s for Tiger Woods to decide. Love said he’d even step aside as captain if Woods requested to lead the team for a second consecutive Cup. According to Love, Woods was in consideration to return as captain but turned down the role to focus on his playing career. If Woods can walk 18 holes, there’s a chance he’ll be on this team. Perhaps as a playing vice captain. It’s been a difficult road to recovery and Woods loves the camaraderie of these team events. Even if he can only play one Foursomes match and Singles, his appearance on the roster would mean so much to Tiger, his teammates and the event.

Look to 2011 as something of a precedent for Tiger making a team as a part-time player. Woods was inconsistent during just nine starts in that injury-interrupted year. He didn’t have a top-10 after the Masters but was still picked for the team and scored the clinching point for the U.S. Team at Royal Melbourne. And if he can’t play? Woods has shown his passion for playing any role he can in these team events, so it would be no surprise to see him assisting Love, just as he did at the Ryder Cup five years ago.

Monday Finish: Five things from Congaree

By Ben Everill

  • Garrick Higgo’s Round 4 highlights from the Palmetto Championship

The new South African wave is well and truly here. While the likes of Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace and Charl Schwartzel have been the headliners over the last 15 years or so, Garrick Higgo’s win at the Palmetto Championship at Congaree is a serious statement.

Higgo held firm down the stretch to post in at 11 under while a raft of others couldn’t match it. Chesson Hadley lost a four-shot 54-hole lead and a two-shot buffer with three to play, Harris English dropped five shots in his last eight, world No. 1 Dustin Johnson stalked the lead before a late triple … but Higgo, at 22, is now a PGA TOUR winner

Here are five things you may have missed from the unique visit to Congaree Golf Club.

1. Higgo here to stay

It’s an incredible story. Garrick Higgo, a 22-year-old South African who lost his father to a car accident when just nine, claimed the Palmetto Championship in just his second PGA TOUR start. His first was the recent PGA Championship (T64) at Kiawah Island after earning a start thanks to a golden month on the European Tour that read T4-1-T8-1.

While players were crumbling all over Congaree, the left-handed youngster held firm and thanks to three closing bogeys from Chesson Hadley, he didn’t even need extra holes to become the first player to win in one of their first two starts since Jim Benepe in 1988.

Should he take up PGA TOUR membership as expected, Higgo will immediately slide into 80th spot on the FedExCup standings and be a potential giant-killer come Playoffs time. While others struggled on the back nine, Higgo was one of just five players to play those holes 6-under in the final two rounds making 113-feet, six-inches of putts in the process.

With Gary Player as a long-term mentor Higgo has always had plenty of support in the right places and at this rate he could become the first Junior Presidents Cup player to make the actual Presidents Cup in 2022, ironically under the same captain in fellow South African Trevor Immelman. Read more about his great story here.

Oh and he’s not the only young South African about to make serious waves… introducing the smash factor of Wilco Nienaber!

2. Chesson Hadley had the trophy in his grasp before a heart-wrenching finish

When Hadley won the 2014 Puerto Rico Open the common thought was the almost always smiling character wouldn’t wait long before another triumph. But assuming success on the PGA TOUR is always fraught with danger.

Hadley had runner-up finishes in the fall of 2017 and 2018 but had failed to notch up a top-10 in 2020 or 2021 when he turned up at Congaree. In fact he’d missed 12 of his last 14 cuts, including the last five straight.

So to say his four-shot 54-hole lead was a surprise was certainly an understatement. A couple of early fourth round bogeys could’ve been early killers but Hadley battled on and through 15 holes he found himself with a two-shot lead and on the verge of a drought breaking win.

But his approach game had proven problematic throughout Sunday and to that point he’d found only four greens in regulation. He wouldn’t find any of the last three and the bogey-bogey-bogey finish to fall one short will grate on him for some time.

“I was uncomfortable out there, and I could never really hit some good shots to try to settle me down… It was always an uphill battle. It was always putting for pars and bogeys. It caught up with me,” Hadley said.

“I hate the word choked. That’s not the right word because that’s a very negative word, but I didn’t handle it the way I needed to handle it … it sucks, right? I can only imagine what it looked like on TV because it looked freakin’ awful from my view. I could barely keep it on the planet.”

While it certainly stung, the good news is Hadley jumped from 151st in the FedExCup to 111th, and now has the chance to secure a spot in the August Playoffs if he can continue some half decent form.

“It was a good week. If I had shot 75 the first round and then 65, 66, 68, I’d be tickled,” Hadley said. “I made a nice jump today in the FedExCup, but I still probably need to just get some more points if I’m going to head on to Liberty National. Plenty of golf left to see if we can’t get in the mix a few more times and maybe seal the deal on one.”

3. The last time Bo Van Pelt had a runner-up finish the Twilight saga was ending and The Hunger Games was just beginning. He also had an extra rib

That was back in 2012 but Van Pelt produced a blast from the past to go close to a second TOUR victory (2009 U.S. Bank Championship). Playing with eventual winner Higgo, Van Pelt will rue bogeys on 16 and 18 on Sunday that cost him any chance.

Van Pelt remains on the comeback trail from a shoulder injury that occurred when trying to haul a backpack over a car seat in 2015 – a freak issue that would ultimately lead to Van Pelt needing to have one of his ribs removed and spend near three and a half years away.

Last season he made just four cuts and this season he opened with nine straight missed cuts before starting to find just a little form.

“I didn’t play 18 holes for over three years. I had three shoulder surgeries, so I thought I was done, to be honest,” Van Pelt admitted. “My hand kind of got numb. Got referred to a guy down in Dallas named Greg Pearl, who looked at me and said, I’ve got to take out your first rib. As soon as he did, my shoulder didn’t hurt anymore. I said, well, let’s see if I can get my game back in shape.

“It’s been fun. It’s been tough. It’s kind of like starting over. When you’re out of the game that long, all your old feels aren’t the same. My coach Mark Wood, who’s up in Charlotte now, we’ve been together 20 years. We’ve been working hard to try to get it back. He came up here this week and gave me a couple of good tips and kind of got me going in the right direction.”

Van Pelt rode a hot putter, finishing third in the field in Strokes Gained: Putting (+6.043), after Indiana based coach Bruce Rearick helped with a slight adjustment in his posture and setup, and “just kind of cleaned up my stroke a little bit”.

4. The early fruits of PGA TOUR University are starting to ripen

Davis Thompson’s pro debut at Congaree did not start according to plan when he was 5-over through eight holes. You’d be forgiven for putting a missed cut next to his name right there and then.

But the former University of Georgia star, who was second on the PGA TOUR U rankings before turning pro, wasn’t about to lie down and knuckled down to show some serious grit that makes one think he’s got a serious future ahead of him.

He was still five-over after 11 holes in the opening round but then exploded with five birdies, including four straight to close the day and shoot an even-par 71. Rounds of 69-71-70 followed for a very respectable T35 which made his mom, dad and sister in the gallery extremely proud.

“I got off to a terrible start. I don’t know if I was nervous, or I just wasn’t really thinking or calculating the right yardages in the fairway. I was landing everything hole-high, and it was going over the green. Made a nice adjustment on the back nine, or really starting on the ninth hole, was able to make birdie there and just turned it on on the back,” Thompson said of that opening round.

“I thought I did a lot of things well this week. It’s just there are some things I need to work on. Great experience, being my first professional event. It was great for me to make the cut. I learned some things, simple course-management stuff. I learned I have what it takes to compete. Just making a few less mental mistakes and I should be good.”

Thompson has starts locked in at the Travelers Championship and Rocket Mortgage Classic in coming weeks.

Former PGA TOUR U No. 1 John Pak also played his first pro event and although he missed the cut, he’s another to keep an eye on.

5. Koepka and DJ remain confident despite stumbles

FedExCup champion Dustin Johnson was seven shots back starting the final round in his home state and once again it appeared his ho-hum home results would continue. But then he birdied three of the first four holes on the back nine Sunday to rocket to 11 under (the eventual winning score) and become a serious threat and an ominous presence on the leaderboard.

There was almost a sense of inevitability around the place that he was going to surge to victory and head to the U.S. Open as the man to beat.

But then the 16th hole swallowed him up and spat him out with a disastrous triple-bogey and just like that he was gone. Despite the setback Johnson has clearly found some form by collecting his first top-10 since The Genesis Invitational back in February.

Four-time major winning Koepka, who was runner up to Phil Mickelson at the PGA Championship, missed the cut meaning his incredible run of results since winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open reads 1-T38-T2-CUT-CUT-T2-CUT.

Despite missing the weekend Koepka was happy his troublesome right knee was feeling stronger and stronger.

“It’s good,” he said. “It’s in a really good spot. I like where it’s at. I’ve done enough rehab, strength’s coming around. I mean, I can almost squat down to read a putt like normal. Didn’t do it too much this week just because I don’t want to screw it up for next week.”