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Stricker Tops Leaderboard at Barclay’s

Steve Stricker used seven birdies to vault past K.J. Choi and into the 54 hole lead at The Barclays on Saturday. Mr. Choi’s mundane 70 allowed ten players to creep within five shots of the lead. Hunter Mahan tied his second tournament record in five weeks with nine birdies, all from 12 feet or less, in a round of 62 to put himself into a tie with Rich Beem for third. Another shot back are Geoff Ogilvy, Rory Sabbatini, and Woody Austin, whose name has become a fixture on leaderboards of late. Steve Flesch, Kenny Perry, and Ernie Els stand another shot back heading into today’s final round.

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Steve Stricker used seven birdies on his way to the 54 hole lead at The Barclays, the first time he’s been in this position since the last century.  His 65 sent him past second round leader K.J. Choi and into first alone.  In his last four events, two of them majors, Mr. Stricker has shared the lead or been a shot behind only to come undone.  His last event, the PGA Championship, his putter, of all things let him down. 
"One of these times, it’s going to come out in my favor," said Stricker, whose 14-under 199 tied the 54-hole tournament record.

Mr. Choi allowed all kinds of folks back into the tournament when his driver let him down on the back nine.  A birdie birdie finish salvaged a 70 and share of second place.  The round of the week belonged once again to Hunter Mahan, who tied a tournament record for the second time in five weeks with a stellar 62 that left him tied for third with Rich Beem.

Mr.Beem is perhaps the most desparate of the contenders, he has to finish in the top 10 in order to advance in these playoffs.  The first eight holes it appeared Mr. Beem was in the process of packing his bags, however an eagle at the ninth righted his game and he finished with 69.  "It’s going to be fun for me," Beem said.  His round might have been even better had he not left his last two wedge shots outside 30 feet.  "But I can’t complain about anything," Beem said. "I played some pretty good golf today."

Geoff Ogilvy had a 69, four shots behind Mr. Stricker along with Woody Austin , whose name keeps popping up on leaderboards, and first and second round leader Rory Sabbatini.  Steve Flesch, Kenny Perry and Ernie Els were another shot back at nine under par.  So there are ten players within five shots of the lead.

Mr. Stricker has had a marvelous year to this point, considering he lost his card in 2005.  He was comeback player of the year in 2006, not an award you necessarily want to ever be in consideration for but, if it happens then one that becomes an acceptable achievement.  Not having won since 2001, he’s managed to make the President’s Cup team for the first time in eleven years and placed himself in contention numerous times this year.  "I haven’t been beating myself up about not winning any of those events, but obviously, I would like to win," Stricker said. "It’s been a long time since I’ve won, and I’m just going to try to bring as many positive thoughts to the table tomorrow as I can."

As for Mr. Mahan, he’s not finished outside the top 25 all year, and of his nine birdies yesterday none was outside of twelve feet.  Can you say "dialed in".  Talk about pitching darts, that’s closer to sticking the ball into your pocket and just casually dropping it on the green.  "I just tried to keep playing good and give myself a ton of opportunities, and made some," Mahan said.  How’s that for understatement of the week? 

If any of the top seven heading into today’s round claim the trophy they also receive, as an added bonus, the lead in the Fedex Cup race.  Of course, the caveat with that comes the reality that one Mr. Tiger Woods has yet to tee it up.  Enjoy it while you can fellas.

Disclaimer:  I am an unabashed fan of Wisconsin golfers, so if it ever appears I’m playing favorites it’s because I am and fully intend to do so going forward.  Anyone who choses to winter in a land where you have to plug your car in so it will start( which also makes it unfit for human habitation so I’m attempting to get the federal government to come rescue us the next time it dips to 30 below zero) is a crazy person I can relate too.  You haven’t lived until you’ve hit the range with snow on the ground.  Hooray for Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker, great golf games; questionable sanity.

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Report: 2020 Open Championship set to be cancelled; R&A releases statement in response: “continuing to work through options”

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This year’s Open Championship will be cancelled outright by the R&A due to the Coronavirus pandemic, according to a report from Golf Digest.

Per the report, an unnamed source has divulged to the publication that the championship will next take place in 2021 with St. Andrews hosting the event. Royal St. Georges, due to host the 2020 Open Championship, would instead host the 2024 edition.

According to Golf Digest’s source, insurance has played a pivotal role in the decision making. As with Wimbledon, the Open Championship has an insurance policy that protects itself against a global pandemic if the event is cancelled by a specific date.

On Wednesday, the R&A officially announced that the 41st Curtis Cup would be played in 2021 while the organization also moved the British Amateur and British Women’s Amateur from June to August.

Though unconfirmed, this would mark the first major championship of 2020 to be cancelled outright, with the Masters and PGA Championship having been officially postponed.

*UPDATE*

On Thursday morning, in light of the speculation surrounding this year’s Open Championship, Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, released a statement where he said the R&A are “continuing to work through our options for The Open this year.”

“We are continuing to work through our options for The Open this year, including postponement. Due to a range of external factors, that process is taking some time to resolve. We are well aware of the importance of being able to give clear guidance to fans, players and everyone involved and are working to resolve this as soon as we can. We will give a further update as soon as we are in a position to do so and thank everyone for their support and understanding in this challenging situation.”

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Report: Woods-Mickelson Part 2 likely to happen in May and will feature two other sporting superstars

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Earlier this week, Phil Mickelson teased “The Match” Part 2 on his social media, and according to a report from CNBC the exhibition, though unconfirmed, is likely to take place in May and will include both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

On Monday evening, golf journalist Robert Lusetich stated that the potential “The Match” Part 2 would likely involve NFL legends, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in a two on two contest.

Now per CNBC’s report, who claim that “a person familiar with the negotiations” confirmed the story to them, the contest is organized by AT&T’s WarnerMedia and the PGA Tour, and would likely take place in May with the proceeds going towards coronavirus relief charities.

The report also claims the event would likely not be a pay-per-view contest, with plans also in place to feature big names throughout the PGA, NFL, and National Basketball Association.

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Schedule postponements and cancellations on the PGA Tour, European Tour plus the four majors: What we know so far

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With the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the PGA Tour and European Tour have taken steps to cancel or postpone several events. Action has also been taken on some of golf’s major championships, and here we’ll summarize what decisions have been made so far altering the 2020 calendar.

The Majors

Both The Masters (April 9-12) and PGA Championship (May 14-17) have been officially postponed with hopes of rescheduling both events for later in the year. According to the NY Post, the US Open is also set to be postponed and rescheduled for “later in the summer”, though as of Tuesday, March 31 the USGA has made no formal announcement confirming this news.

The R&A has of yet made no announcement on this year’s Open Championship which is due to take place from 16-19 of July.

  • April 9-12: The Masters – Postponed
  • May 14-17: PGA Championship – Postponed
  • June 18-21: US Open – NY Post reporting postponed; not yet confirmed by USGA
  • July 16-19: Open Championship – On Schedule

PGA Tour

Since cancelling the Players Championship mid-event, the PGA Tour decided to cancel several subsequent tournaments. As of now, the earliest return date for the PGA Tour is May 21 at the Charles Schwab Challenge.

The Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship which is played the same week as the WGC-Match Play was postponed with plans to reschedule the event.

  • March 12-15: The Players Championship – Cancelled
  • March 19-22: Valspar Championship – Cancelled
  • April 16-19: RBC Heritage – Cancelled
  • April 23-26: Zurich Classic of New Orleans – Cancelled
  • April 30-May 3: Wells Fargo Championship – Cancelled
  • May 7-10: AT&T Byron Nelson – Cancelled

European Tour

Along with the cancelled WGC-Match Play and confirmed postponed major championships, the European Tour has postponed a further seven events. Unlike the PGA Tour, the European Tour has chosen to postpone almost every upcoming event for the time being instead of cancelling. The GolfSixes Cascais is the only confirmed cancellation as of now.

On Monday, the Dubai Duty-Free Irish Open became the latest tournament to be postponed meaning the earliest possible return date for action on the European Tour is now June 4 at the Trophee Hassan II.

  • March 12-15: Magical Kenya Open – Postponed
  • March 19-22: Hero Indian Open – Postponed
  • April 16-19: Maybank Championship – Postponed
  • April 23-26: Volvo China Open – Postponed
  • April 30-May 3: Andalucia Masters – Postponed
  • May 9-10: GolfSixes Cascais – Cancelled
  • May 21-24: Made in Denmark – Postponed
  • May 28-31: Irish Open – Postponed
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