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DeChambeau cracks OWGR top 50 for first time

By Will GrayApril 16, 2018, 12:42 pm

After another close call on the PGA Tour, Bryson DeChambeau has cracked the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in his career.

DeChambeau closed with a 66 at the RBC Heritage to grab a tie for third, one shot out of a playoff. It's the latest strong result in a recent run that includes a runner-up finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and a T-5 finish at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. DeChambeau started the year ranked No. 99 in the world, but his play in Hilton Head vaulted him 14 spots to a new career-best of No. 48.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

Japan's Satoshi Kodaira made the week's biggest jump, going from No. 46 to No. 27 following his playoff victory over Si Woo Kim at Harbour Town. Kim's runner-up finish helped him move up 12 spots, from No. 51 to No. 39. Luke List, who tied for third alongside DeChambeau, went from 67th to 53rd.

Jon Rahm rallied to win the Open de Espana in front of partisan crowds, and while his world ranking didn't improve as a result he is now within a few decimal points of passing Jordan Spieth at No. 3. For now, he remains in fourth behind Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Spieth, with Justin Rose rounding out the top five.

Rickie Fowler remains world No. 6, followed by Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Sergio Garcia.

While Tiger Woods committed to the U.S. Open last week, his next start remains unknown. Woods did not play last week and fell one spot to No. 89.


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San Francisco receives probation after NCAA violations

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 17, 2018, 11:59 am

The University of San Francisco’s men’s golf program last week received a one-year probation after the NCAA determined that two former head coaches engaged in recruiting violations over a four-year period.

The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions ruled that the school failed to monitor its golf program and promote an atmosphere of compliance.

As a result, USF, ranked 45th in the country, was placed on one year of probation (through April 5, 2019), prohibited from recruiting activities with international players for three months, vacated the records of the ineligible student-athletes, and received a one-month recruiting ban and a $5,000 fine.

According to the NCAA, the penalties stem from infractions involving a former head coach planning and scheduling free rounds of golf for five prospects on campus visits. Another former coach arranged free rounds of golf, driving-range privileges and lodging for prospects, allowed a booster to have impermissible contacts with prospects and involved enrolled student-athletes in impermissible recruiting activities. That coach also did not seek compliance approval for purchasing meals for the director and trainer of a youth team that included prospects, nor did he confirm the age or year in school of 15 prospects before sending them emails.

Both coaches said their violations, which occurred between October 2012 and November 2016, were unintentional. The school turned over its findings in February 2017.

“USF Athletics is committed to a high standard of compliance in all areas of our operations,” said Scott Sidwell, the school’s athletic director. “In this case we self-reported the violations outlined in the infractions report and continue to educate our coaches and staff on all NCAA bylaws.”

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Stock Watch: Brooke's star quality is soaring

By Ryan LavnerApril 17, 2018, 11:30 am

Each week on, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.


Jon Rahm (+9%): It’s no small task, contending at the Masters and then flying 14 hours to play in your home open, but the 23-year-old star, fueled by adrenaline, kept his emotions in check and shot 20 under to win. Stud.

Brooke Henderson (+7%): Her aggressive mindset will occasionally get her in trouble, but what a fun way to play – gripping and ripping, fearlessly attacking flags and ramming home putts. She’s the most entertaining LPGA player, by far.

Satoshi Kodaira (+5%): Not even Kodaira was thinking about winning Sunday at Harbour Town – not in just his 15th career Tour start, and not after a 66 that included a bogey on the 71st hole. And yet here we are …

Steve Flesch (+4%): He endured a marathon Saturday to win in his first season on the senior circuit, then said something afterward that really resonated – that it’s harder to win on the PGA Tour Champions that he expected. Game recognize game.

Luke List (+2%): He reminds of Kevin Kisner a few years ago: Racking up good finishes, continually putting himself in position and knocking on the door for a breakthrough W. It seems like just a matter of time for List, who now has three top-5s this season.


Ian Poulter (-1%): What happens when the tank hits empty? It looks a lot like Poulter’s final round at the Heritage. Playing his sixth straight week, he stumbled home in 40.

Nacho Elvira (-2%): The pressure to win at home is immense. Tied for the lead, he made an awful double bogey on the 71st hole (finding the water, then whiffing a short putt) to hand Rahm the Spanish Open title.

Valero (-3%): With Masters champ Patrick Reed bowing out, the field at brutish TPC San Antonio is headlined by Sergio Garcia and Matt Kuchar. And it won’t improve next year, either, as the final tuneup before Augusta is held at a course that couldn’t be any less Augusta-like.

Distance debate (-4%): Sorry, but Harbour Town isn’t an example of what today’s courses should be. Players at the Heritage barely hit driver, and last we checked, it’s a skill to hit long, straight drives. Using only 13 clubs is not a true test of golf.

Si Woo Kim’s putting (-7%): It’s telling that Kim actually improved in the strokes-gained category (to 202nd!) after his playoff loss at the Heritage, even after a round in which he lost three shots to the field on the greens and missed four consecutive putts inside 8 feet to drop into a playoff. Yowsers.

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1.2 Million Viewers Tuned in to Shotmakers' Two-Night Premiere on Golf Channel, Youngest Primetime Audience Since 2016

By Golf Channel Public RelationsApril 16, 2018, 6:30 pm

Shotmakers – Golf Channel’s Innovative New Competition – Continues Tonight and Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET

 Taking Place at Topgolf Las Vegas, Seven Teams Remain, Where Precision Shotmaking Meets Intense Strategy

Shotmakers Website / Team Stats:

ORLANDO, Fla., (April 16, 2018)Shotmakers, Golf Channel’s innovative new competition taking place at Topgolf Las Vegas, had 1.2 million viewers watch the network’s two-night premiere (Monday, April 9 and Tuesday, April 10). It also marked the youngest primetime audience for a premiere on the cable network since 2016, with more than 50% of the audience between the ages of 25-54, according to data released by the Nielsen Company.

Shotmakers continues tonight and Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET with seven teams remaining in the competition. Last week, Team Strikers (Robbie Biershenk/Victoria Lovelady) and Team Aces (Jamie Puterbaugh/Tisha Abrea) were the first two teams eliminated. One team will be eliminated both tonight and Tuesday.

Teams currently remaining in Shotmakers:

IMPACT, sponsored by CDW:

SUSANA BENAVIDES (27, Cochabamba, Bolivia) Professional golfer, only Bolivian-born golfer to compete on the LPGA Tour, former top-ranked amateur in South America.

TOMMY BIERSHENK (44, Greenville, S.C.) Former PGA TOUR professional, two-time All-American at Clemson University, golf course owner.

SHARKS, sponsored by Corona Premier:

TANIA TARE (29, Auckland, New Zealand) Professional golfer, trick-shot artist, record-holder for lowest single round while competing for Florida International University with a 63.

MAURICE ALLEN (36, Pine Hills, Fla.) Former World No. 1 World Long Drive competitor, 3-time World Long Drive winner, All-American at Florida A&M in track.

LIGHTNING, sponsored by MGM Grand:

KENZIE O’CONNELL (26, Denver, Colo.) Golf teaching instructor, Women With Drive ambassador.

CHAD PFEIFER (36, Caldwell, Idaho) Professional golfer, decorated U.S. Army Corporal (retired) who credits golf saving his life, two-time Warrior Open champion, amputee (lower leg).

SEEKERS, sponsored by Waste Management

CHRISTINA LECUYER (35, Conway, Ark.) Professional corporate/charity golf host and media personality, two-time All-American from the University of Central Arkansas, former professional golfer.

MATT COUSENS (26, London, England) PGA teaching professional, 2017 Topgolf Tour Championship runner-up with fellow Shotmakers competitor Brad Barnes.

WARRIORS, sponsored by Avis:

NIKKI BONDURA (25, Sacramento, Calif.) Golf lifestyle blogger, co-owner of Women With Drive.

BRAD BARNES (23, London, England) 2017 Topgolf Tour Championship runner-up with fellow Shotmakers competitor Matt Cousens.

RINGERS, sponsored by Massage Envy:

HAILEY OSTROM (24, Phoenix, Ariz.) Professional golfer currently competing on mini tours.

ANDREW BACHELDER (36, Fort Worth, Texas) 2015 Warrior Open champion, decorated U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant (retired) who credits golf with saving his life.

HAWKS, sponsored by Topgolf:

CHELSEA PEZZOLA (25, Scottsdale, Ariz.) Professional golfer, standout junior golfer at IMG Academy, two-time Academic All-Big Ten at University of Michigan.

PETER CAMPBELL (33, Carlsbad, Calif.) Former PGA TOUR professional, golf instructor, 2016-17 Topgolf Tour Championship finalist with fellow Shotmakers competitor Jamie Puterbaugh.

Shotmakers began with nine co-ed teams of two pairing up in head-to-head competitions that test precision, distance and control, all while facing intense pressure and strategic decision-making. The 18 competitors include a former PGA TOUR professional, mini-tour professional golfers, an Olympian, former collegiate athletes, a World Long Drive competitor, a trick-shot artist, decorated military veterans, and champions from the Topgolf Tour.

The competition utilizes Toptracer by Topgolf, the leading technology used on PGA TOUR televised broadcasts that immediately shows competitors their ball’s flight, speed, distance and curve on screen, as well as the games made popular at the 41 Topgolf venues around the world. Teams compete for cash and prizes in each competition and will be eliminated until one team is left standing as the champion of Shotmakers.

Shotmakers is co-hosted by 3-time college national player of the year Amanda Blumenherst and golf host Shane Bacon, along with Golf Channel reporter Chantel McCabe and social media correspondent Alexandra O’Laughlin. Shotmakers features seven rounds of competition airing two nights a week– Monday and Tuesday nights – at 9 p.m. ET, concluding Monday, April 30. The series also will be distributed across Golf Channel’s international platforms, airing in more than 60 countries worldwide.

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Rosaforte Report: Si Woo's putting woes

By Tim RosaforteApril 16, 2018, 6:00 pm

In this week's Rosaforte Report: Si Woo Kim's putting cost him a second title, Luke List gets back on the cusp of victory and Dennis Walters earns another great honor in his amazing career.

Si Woo Kim started working with Sean Foley at the 2017 Genesis Open. According to Foley, he was dead last in strokes gained: off the tee and strokes gained: into the green. Nine tournaments later he won The Players Championship. At 21, he was the youngest winner of what some consider the fifth major.

As Foley pointed out, “If he was American and not Korean, he’d be household name already, like he is in Korea. Imagine if the kid was from California or Texas. He could be a senior at the University of Florida right now.”

Since The Players, Si Woo has been going through a difficult growing up stage. Four weeks ago he let go of Foley, telling the instructor he felt he had understood all the principles he needed to work on, and just thought the could do it on his own. Foley went total high road. “In a way,” Foley told me on Sunday, “that’s kind of what you’re after.” Kim has since hired Andrew Getson, who works with Phil Mickelson, as his swing coach.

Kim also currently uses Josh Gregory, Patrick Reed's college coach and one of Reed's mentors, as his short-game and putting coach.

Prior to the start of the Heritage, Kim was ranked 25th in strokes gained: off the tee and 202nd (out of 203) in strokes gained: putting. But, according to Gregory, Kim was leading the field in the latter category entering the home stretch at Harbour Town. However, under the pressure of trying to close out a tournament on a windy day along the Calibogue Sound, the South Korean prodigy missed four putts inside 7 feet on the final four holes of regulation before losing to Satoshi Kodaira of Japan in a playoff.

“He putted great for 68 holes and just lost it,” Gregory said. “It was his best putting performance a long time. He’s becoming a complete player. He just didn’t finish it off."

After he won The Players, Foley said the young man had so much poise, “it looked like he had been there 150 times before.”

But this was not the Si Woo Kim that was a perfect 10-for-10 getting up and down in the final round last May at TPC Sawgrass; or the guy who went through 2012 Q-School and earned his card at age 17, won a tournament in 2015 and the 2016 Wyndham Championship.

This was a young player in need of continued guidance, maturity and, as Gregory said, more opportunities to close out tournaments.

Luke List at the 2018 Honda Classic

CLOSE TO THE WINNER'S LIST: Luke List stands atop the list of career non-winners trending toward their first victory in 2018. List has 109 starts in his career and four top-10 finishes this season. Since Feb. 25, List lost a playoff to Justin Thomas in the Honda Classic, finished T-7 with a final-round 68 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and is coming off a T-3 finish at the RBC Heritage, one shot out of a playoff.

Of the 18 players with at least four top-ten finishes on the PGA Tour this season, List is the only one without a victory in his career yet. He is the highest-ranked player from North America without a Tour title to his credit.

Asked on Sunday when the breakthrough will come, List said, “Hopefully next week,” meaning the Valero Texas Open, which begins Thursday in San Antonio.

That wouldn’t surprise swing coach Jamie Mulligan, who has been caretaker of List’s rise in the world rankings (currently a career-best 53rd) and FedExCup race (currently 11th). “He keeps getting better and better and better,” said Mulligan. “We’ve talked a bunch about how you can play every type of course. You wouldn’t think a tiny little course like this one wouldn’t fit him, with all the trees, but it did. He’s getting more comfortable in wanting to get into the last group.”

List wasn’t especially satisfied with his closing 72. He made four bogeys compared to four the first three rounds combined, but considering the swing wasn’t there on Sunday, that Harbour Town didn’t really fit his eye, and he was playing a little under the weather, this was another performance on which to build.

One takeaway for List was his attitude and he expressed that in his post-round news conference. “I’m getting better each opportunity,” he said. “And I feel like my game has risen to the point where I expect to contend every week. So it’s going to happen.”

CALL FROM THE HALL NEXT?: Eight of the nine winners of both the PGA Distinguished Service Award and the USGA’s Bob Jones Award are in the World Golf Hall of Fame. They would be Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Byron Nelson, Gene Sarazen, Patty Berg, Jackie Burke, Bob Hope, and President George H.W. Bush.

The lone non-member among this group was announced last week by the USGA as the latest recipient of the Jones Award.

That would be Dennis Walters, who will be introduced by Nicklaus at the dinner in his honor next month at the U.S. Open.

Is a spot in the Hall of Fame upcoming? This latest award underscores the work done by the paraplegic golfer that has given over 3,000 clinics strapped to his golf cart, hitting his baby draw time and time again since 1977 – three years after a golf cart accident left him paralyzed from the waist down.

“I think that’s way beyond my control,” Walters told me Monday morning from his home in Jupiter, Fla. “I have nothing to do with that except if someone ever gives me a phone call.”

Will the phone ever ring? Will Walters join Hope and Bush among the non-golfers on the list? Or were those exceptions that will never be followed by Walters, who characterizes his golf show as a one-hour combination of both golf and life lessons.

There have been lobbies on his behalf, but Walters, 68, doesn’t seem hopeful.

“It’s just so far out of a person’s control,” Walters said. “It’s not like I can win two U.S. Opens. It’s not even worth thinking about it. It’s OK. I’m good.”