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Children’s Miracle Network Classic: An Elimination Game

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One of the things that makes professional and college sports so exciting is the exponential spike in intensity that games carry at the end of the season and in the playoffs. Be it a meaningful 162nd game of the baseball season, Game 7 of the NBA Finals, the Super Bowl or the BCS Championship, a heightened level of drama shrouds the spectacle.

It is a special sort of dark comedy to have the week of the year that will be the most stressful and, indeed, the most heartbreaking for some take place at Disney World. But such is golf, as we often hear. With 125, as always, being the magic number at or under which on the Money List Tour membership will be guaranteed for next year, some now on the wrong side will find themselves triumphant and others will tumble in the wrong direction, an unpleasant trip to Q-School ahead.

Here are three “insiders” and three “outsiders” to watch this week.

No. 116: David Mathis

Mathis has had a very inconsistent year in 2012, making the cut in only 12 of 28 events played to this point. The North Carolina native does have two top-10 finishes, but only barely—ties for 10th place at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and the McGladrey Classic two weeks ago. He has held at least a share of the lead through the first round twice this year, but both times has finished outside the top 50 in the event, making less than $12,000 in either start.

No. 121: Boo Weekley

Few players have ever exhibited as incredible a disparity between ball-striking and putting as has Weekley throughout his career, with 2012 being especially stark in that regard. First in Total Driving and fourth in Greens in Regulation on Tour this year, Weekley is a futile 189th in Strokes Gained – Putting, or second-to-last. Usually bad putting will sully the rest of one’s game, but Weekley’s resistance of this trend is a testament to his positive attitude. A call to putting guru Dave Stockton might help, though.

No. 125: Billy Mayfair

Mayfair, now 46 years old, has not won on Tour since 1998. A rough 2010 year in which he finished 142nd on the Money List caused him to have to return to Q School, but he was the medalist and had a solid 2011 year to retain his card. Despite his recent success there, the 1987 U.S. Amateur champ would rather not have to return to Q School’s final playing in its current form.

No. 134: Tim Petrovic

Petrovic had a chance to lock up his 2013 Tour card a few weeks ago at the Frys.com Open, but fell a shot short of a chance to play off against Jonas Blixt to ensure Tour membership for two years. Petro has had limited PGA Tour status this year, only playing in 16 events so far. Unfortunately he has not made the most of those limited opportunities, with only seven made cuts and only one top-20 finish besides his recent runner-up effort in California. His 2013 Tour card is within reach with a solid showing this week.

No. 136: Tim Herron

Herron has made only 15 cuts in 26 events this year, with only a single top-10 finish, at Las Vegas in October. He will play Thursday in the same group as fellow Minnesotan and baseball star Joe Mauer, so hopefully Lumpy will feel good enough vibes to play well enough to avoid Q School himself. His putter has let him down at times this year, as he ranks 140th in Strokes Gaine – Putting. 

No. 137: Jerry Kelly

A teammate of Tim Petrovic’s at the University of Hartford, Jerry Kelly has put together a solid if unspectacular PGA Tour career, with three wins and over $23 million in career earnings. Nonetheless, he needs to play well this week if he’s going to avoid going to Q School for the first time since joining the PGA Tour in 1996.

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum. 

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Tim grew up outside of Hartford, Conn., playing most of his formative golf at Hop Meadow Country Club in the town of Simsbury. He played golf for four years at Washington & Lee University (Division-III) and now lives in Pawleys Island, S.C., and works in nearby Myrtle Beach in advertising. He's not too bad on Bermuda greens, for a Yankee. A lifelong golf addict, he cares about all facets of the game of golf, from equipment to course architecture to PGA Tour news to his own streaky short game.

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REPORT: Tiger Woods to play in the Genesis Open on Feb 15

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Last season, Tiger Woods withdrew from a press conference at the Genesis Open due to back spasms. This season, Woods will reportedly play in the 2018 Genesis Open at Riviera C.C. in Pacific Palisades, California from February 15-18.

By withdrawing from the 2017 Genesis Open — an event which his Tiger Woods Foundation hosts — Woods ensured that a promising comeback was not to be. At the start of 2017, Woods committed to play in the Farmers Insurance Open, the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, the Genesis Open and the Honda Classic… an aggressive schedule for Woods, who hadn’t played much competitive golf in the previous year due to back injuries and surgeries. Things didn’t go as planned, however, as Woods missed the cut at the Farmers, withdrew after an opening-round 77 in Dubai, and withdrew from the Genesis Open and the Honda.

Since then, Woods has had spinal fusion surgery, and he recently finished T9 at the 18-player 2017 Hero World Challenge. It was there he showed the golfing world — and probably himself, too — that he can still compete among the world’s best golfers when he’s healthy.

At the Hero World Challenge, Woods was consistently hitting 179 mph of ball speed off the tee with his driver, and despite some early concerns with the wedge, he showed prowess around and on the greens. He was yip-less, fast, healthy, and finished 8-under through four rounds. A Tiger Woods comeback seems more plausible now than it has in three years.

Woods will continue to test his game at the 2017 Genesis Open — a start that will come 26 years after competing as a 16-year-old amateur in the 1992 Nissan Open at Riviera. Much like 26 years ago, Woods comes to Riviera as a golfer who needs to prove himself… it’s just that this time around, he has 14 majors and 79 PGA Tour wins to his name.

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Thursday’s Photos from the 2017 PNC Father/Son Challenge

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2017 PNC Father/Son Challenge at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando, Florida.

The 20-team field includes some of the game’s legendary major champions, and their sons. Notable teams include John Daly/Little John Daly, Nick Faldo/Matthew Faldo, Tom Kite/David Kite, Bernhard Langer/Jason Langer, Greg Norman/Greg Norman Jr., Jack Nicklaus/Gary Nicklaus Jr., and Lee Trevino/Daniel Trevino.  The teams will compete in a scramble format over 36 holes to decide the winners of the Willie Park Trophy.

Last year, David Duval and his step-son Nick Karavites took home the trophy, and they are back in the field this year to defend.

Check out our photos below from this year’s event!

Thursday’s Photos

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos

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Friday’s Photos from the 2017 QBE Shootout

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2017 QBE Shootout at Tiburon G.C. in Naples, Florida. Formerly known as the Franklin Templeton Shootout, or the Shark Shootout, the unofficial event plays host to 24 of some of the world’s best golfers, competing in a two-person team competition. The format calls for 54 holes; first-round scramble, second-round modified alternate shot, and third-round fourball (or better ball).

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Here is a list of the teams:

  • Daniel Berger-Gary Woodland
  • Keegan Bradley-Brendan Steele
  • Kevin Chappell-Kevin Kisner
  • Jason Dufner-Billy Horschel
  • Harris English-Matt Kuchar
  • Tony Finau-Lexi Thompson
  • Brian Harman-Pat Perez
  • Russell Henley-Kyle Stanley
  • Charley-Hoffman-Zach Johnson
  • Shane Lowry-Graeme McDowell
  • Brandt Snedeker-Bubba Watson
  • Sean O’Hair-Steve Stricker

Last year, Harris English and Matt Kuchar took down the crown, finishing at 28-under par for the event. Of course, they’ll be playing together again this year as the defending champs.

Check out our photos from the 2017 QBE Shootout below!

Friday’s Galleries

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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