Brandt Snedeker
USA Today Sports Images
It's a busy week on the PGA Tour with the start of the FedExCup Playoffs opener -- the Barclays at Bethpage Black -- and the end of qualifying for U.S. Ryder Cup team hopefuls.

By Doug Ferguson
Associated Press

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) -- Darren Clarke got an extra week to start mulling over his three captain's picks for Europe in the Ryder Cup because the top nine already are set. Matthew Fitzpatrick finished fifth in the Czech Masters and locked up no worse than the final spot.

Davis Love III has a little more time, and he likely will need it.

Brandt Snedeker's tie for third in the Wyndham Championship moved him up three spots to No. 6, and it would take a peculiar set of circumstances to bump him out of the top eight. The Barclays this week at Bethpage Black is the final qualifying event.

The top five already have clinched a spot on the American team - Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Jimmy Walker and Brooks Koepka. Snedeker is followed by Zach Johnson, who leads Patrick Reed at No. 8 by $157,602.

RELATED: 5 already in for U.S. | Ryder Cup fashion history | Ryder Cup coverage

The Barclays has an $8.5 million purse, so players still can make up ground.

Even so, the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs effectively serves as a Ryder Cup qualifier for 14 players.

The winner of the Barclays gets $1.53 million. Every $1,000 counts as a Ryder Cup point, so that's 1,530 points. And that means Charley Hoffman at No. 22 is the lowest player in the standings with a mathematical chance at qualifying.

Kevin Kisner and Justin Thomas, who won tournaments last fall that did not count, are among those who can't qualify.

Reed, meanwhile, is the equivalent of $30,655 ahead of J.B. Holmes, who missed the cut last week at the Wyndham Championship. Right behind Holmes are Bubba Watson, Olympic bronze medalist Matt Kuchar and Rickie Fowler.

Fowler flew from the Olympics in Rio to North Carolina to try to boost his Ryder Cup points. He tied for 22nd and now is just over $365,000 behind Reed, meaning Fowler would have to finish no worse than a two-way tie for fourth to have a mathematical chance (and that assumes Reed misses the cut).

Love won't have to make his three picks until after the third playoff event at the BMW Championship, and his fourth pick will be made immediately after the Tour Championship. So there's still time for him, and for the players.

That could make it easy for Love - or more complicated.

LATE SURGE: Shawn Stefani was reminded how much time can fly, and how quickly fortunes can change.

He went 20 tournaments to start the new season before he cracked the top 20 - a tie for ninth at the St. Jude Classic - and kept reminding himself that he had plenty of time to turn his game around. And then it was almost too late.

"I'm usually a glass half-full guy," Stefani said. "Didn't get off to the start I wanted. I kept telling myself, 'We still got events left.' But you say in March there's 17 events left, and you look in July and there's four events left. You're like, 'I don't have a lot of time.' And I really felt I was close."

He came through at just the right time.

Stefani tied for 11th at the Travelers Championship two weeks ago. He was No. 133 in the FedEx Cup standings until the Wyndham Championship when he shot 66-66 on the weekend, making a birdie on the last hole to tie for 14th. That was enough to move him to No. 123 to qualify for The Barclays - and to keep his card for next year.

"Started to get a little emotional on 18," he said.

Matt Jones wasn't as fortunate. He missed the cut and dropped out of the top 125, as did Whee Kim. Jones missed by nine points.

OLYMPIC TRAINING: Stacy Lewis had not been home much this summer from playing and planning a wedding, but the Houston native had the perfect place to get ready for the Olympics. She's among tour players who now are members at Bluejack National, the first U.S. course by Tiger Woods Design.

Lewis said she became a member through relationships with Steve Elkington, and her husband Gerrod Caldwell knew the developers.

"I've been out there quite a few times when I've been home," Lewis said. "The grass is the same as here - the same zoysia, putting greens, everything. I think that helped a little bit this week just from hitting pitch shots."

Lewis tied for fourth, missing a playoff for the bronze by one shot.

She figures it will help going forward, which is why she prefers to practice at Bluejack even though it's a 45-minute drive from her house.

"It's worth it," she said. "You can spend all day there. They have a back practice greens and if you want it super fast for a tournament, 'We'll do that for you.' They've been very accommodating."

BEAT THE PRO: The KLM Open is taking fan involvement to a new level this year.

The KLM Open, to be played Sept. 8-11, is hosting a "Beat the Pro" competition during the tournament, offering amateurs a chance to hit a tee shot on the par-3 14th at The Dutch course. The hole will be turned into an amphitheater.

The KLM Open will have one amateur player tee off on the 14th with each group during the first and third rounds. Prizes will be offered to those who can hit their tee shots closer to the hole than the players.

"This will be an absolute highlight for the players and fans," Joost Luiten said. "I think it's great to have something going on around the hole. I don't think players will be distracted. On the contrary, I think they will love it. In the end we all want to play for as many fans as possible."

FEDEX CUP FINALE: The final three hours of the Tour Championship will feature more of Johnny Miller and less of the TV commercials.

Actually, there will be no commercials at all.

The PGA Tour has reached an enhanced sponsorship deal with Southern Company and Coca-Cola, which will allow for the final three hours of the broadcast on NBC to be commercial-free, which would include the entire back nine.

The new sponsorship deals are through 2020. The Tour Championship, the final event of the FedEx Cup, is Sept. 22-25.

DIVOTS: Jordan Spieth has the longest active streak - four years - of starting the FedEx Cup playoffs in the top 10. That includes his rookie year in 2013 when he started the year without a card. ... Paul Simson won his eighth title at Pinehurst last week with his one-shot victory in the Senior North & South Amateur. He won the North & South twice, and the senior version six times. ... Justin Rose will make his first appearance on home soil since winning the Olympic gold medal on Oct. 13-16 at the British Masters. ... Leona Maguire has won the Mark H. McCormack Medal for the second straight year as the leading player in the women's amateur golf ranking. Maguire, one of three amateurs who played in the Olympics, is going into her junior season at Duke. But she plans to go through LPGA Tour qualifying and said she will turn pro if she makes it. ... The PGA Tour will be in Malaysia for four more years after announcing that CIMB Group has extended its sponsorship through 2020.

STAT OF THE WEEK: The six Olympic golf medals went to six nations - Britain, Sweden, United States, South Korea, New Zealand and China.

FINAL WORD: "You can drink out of the claret jug. And I guess the Olympic gold would be a nice coaster for the glass of wine." - Justin Rose.

This article was written by Doug Ferguson from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

FedExCup begins, Ryder Cup qualifying ends
August 23, 2016 - 11:59am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
european tour
@europeantour
This week, ahead of the Made in Denmark event on the European Tour, Thomas Bjorn and Darren Clarke used a remote control to send electric shocks through fellow European Tour players during chip shots -- just to see how they would react.

It's often been said that while players on the PGA Tour play for a lot more money, those on the European Tour have a lot more fun.

We're not sure that this classifies as "fun," per se, but a Facebook Live posted by the European Tour today sure did spark -- pun intended -- a lot of laughs.

We'll let Thomas Bjorn, a 2016 European Ryder Cup Vice Captain, explain what's going on.

"Welcome here to Denmark," said Bjorn. The European Tour is there for this week's Made in Denmark event. "We're just doing a little bit of a fun thing. We're just giving a few players a few, little, electrical injections to see how they react to that when they're chipping... I think this could be fun."

Yeah. Sounds like a blast.

Acting as captains of two teams, respectively, Bjorn and European Ryder Cup Captain Darren Clarke took turns operating a remote control that communicated with a device strapped to each other's team members.

From there -- as the players attempted to play their chip shots -- Bjorn and Clarke would trigger the remote to send an electrical shock through the player.

Sounds more like Hell Week for a fraternity pledge than a practice session at a European Tour event, doesn't it?

Swedish golfer Joel Sjöholm was the first to try. He got zapped in the middle of a chip shot by Bjorn and laughter erupted.

"It was electrifying, literally," Sjöholm said. "It was scary. You didn't know when the shock was going to come -- because you know Thomas. He'd probably do it in your swing. And he did. It was scary and painful at the same time, but fun. A lot of fun."

Halfway through the video, I expected to see Steve-O and Johnny Knoxville pop up on the screen, but that never happened (surely this is an idea for them to use as a stunt in their next movie though, right?).

So, as the interviewer asked, "What's it like to play golf while being electrocuted?"

"Golf is hard enough. Electricity doesn't help at all," reported Sjöholm.

Asked his tactic when it came his turn to control the remote, Clarke said, "I'm going to turn it up."

So, yeah, if you want to see European Tour players getting electric shocks sent through them while hitting chip shots, here you go:

 

 

European Tour players injected with electricity during chip shots... for fun
August 23, 2016 - 9:49am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Fallon
YouTube
Jordan Spieth paid a visit to the Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon on Monday night and relayed a fantastic story about a Bill Murray one-liner in a recent round the pair shared together.

In New York for this week's PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedExCup-opener -- The Barclays at Bethpage Black -- two-time major champion Jordan Spieth paid a visit to the Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon on Monday.

Spieth, who has locked up his spot on his second consecutive Ryder Cup USA team, talked to Fallon about a variety of things, but two stories in particular really stuck out.

First, Spieth talked about having played golf with actor Bill Murray on a number of occasions. Spieth praised Murray's ability to keep things fun during all 5 1/2 hours of those sometimes dreaded pro-am rounds, making everyone laugh with his one-liners on every hole.

In their most recent round, Spieth relayed a story about how a fan got Murray's attention and gave the Caddyshack star a cigar. Murray immediately walked the cigar over to Spieth's manager's 9-year-old son. Looking confused and wondering, "what the hell am I supposed to do with this," Spieth said the young boy gave the cigar back to Murray.

Without missing a beat, Murray asked the boy, "What? Are you trying to quit?"

See Spieth tell the story here:

Spieth also told Fallon about putter he's been using for "some 7-8 years now" and discussed how its appearance has changed through the years:

Spieth tees it up on Thursday in search of his third victory this season. 

Jordan Spieth shares hilarious Bill Murray story on Tonight Show
August 22, 2016 - 9:12am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Lucas Glover
Twitter
Lucas Glover was spectacular in the second round of the Wyndham Championship last Friday, firing a 9-under 61. But, it's his 19-inch putt for 60 that's garnering a lot of attention.

Nineteen inches was the only thing standing between 2009 U.S. Open winner Lucas Glover and a score of 60 at the Wyndham Championship on Friday.

"Only" is probably a harsh way of putting it, when you consider that putting has been the achilles heel of Glover's game for several years. What looked like nothing more than a tap-in for par and 60 to the viewer watching at home, was anything but for Glover.

One definition of "yips" is "extreme nervousness causing a golfer to miss easy putts."

PUTTING TIPS: How to read greens, make more putts | Putting videos

That's the only way to explain what happened to Glover on this putt. Check it out:

 

 

That was tough to watch. He nearly whiffed the putt and went on to make his only bogey of the day.

Glover followed up the 61 with rounds of 73-67 on the weekend to finish in a tie for 22nd.

This isn't meant to pile on Glover, who is in the opening event of the PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedExCup this week at -- of all places -- Bethpage Black for the Barclays. But, here's a close look at some key putting stats that have really been Glover's undoing this year:

Strokes gained putting: -.177 average; -11.147 total; Ranked 140th on the PGA Tour
Three-putt avoidance: Ranked 126th on Tour
Putts per round: 29.66; Ranked 176th on Tour
Total putting: Ranked 161st on Tour

Now, you want to know an amazing Glover stat? He's ranked No. 1 on the PGA Tour in greens in regulation. He's just not making much once he gets on the dance floor. 

PGA Tour player's cringeworthy putt for a 60
ryan yip
USA Today Sports Images
A Web.com Tour event threesome may have the most hilarious and unfortunate threesome ever.

In general golfers are a superstitious bunch. We have a lucky ball marker, we never wash the ball we made an eagle with, and we don't use a ball we found in that same round.

If that description sounds like you, then you're really not going to like this.

This week's Web.com Tour event, the News Sentinel Open, had possibly the craziest threesome ever in golf. In the third to final grouping on Sunday was Jhared Hack, Adam Schenk and Ryan Yip.

That's right: Hack, Schenk, and Yip. If you're superstitious, that has to be like a nightmare.

So how'd it go for the group?

Well it wasn't a complete disaster like you might think, as all three shot under par scores, but in the end none of them got within five strokes of the lead.

As is the case most of the time with superstitions such as these, the results were...inconclusive. So carry on with your lucky ball markers and unwashed balls, and if you ever have the chance to join a foursome with three gentlemen named Hack, Schenk, and Yip? Well that's a choice you have to make for yourself.

 

If you're a superstitious golfer, you won't like this
August 19, 2016 - 1:20pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Si Woo Kim
@PGATOUR on Twitter
Two weeks removed from the PGA Tour's first ever score of 58, Si Woo Kim nearly shot a 59 in the second round of the Wyndham Championship on Friday, but just missed a 50-foot putt.

Si Woo Kim was red-hot at the Wyndham Championship in Friday's second round.

Just two week's removed from Jim Furyk's PGA Tour-record low score of 12-under 58, Kim flirted with a score in the 50s for much of his round. With three holes to play, Kim needed to play them in 2 under to crack 60.

Kim parred the par-3 seventh (his 16th hole of the day), birdied the par-4 eighth and needed a birdie at the ninth for 59.

Things looked grim after his tee shot, which found the left rough. But, Kim managed to find the green with his approach shot, setting up this 50-foot birdie try for a 59:

 

 

Whoa! That thing almost dropped in! Woo had to settle for a 10-under 60 to move to 12 under for a four-shot lead early in Round 2.

Kim's score was the fourth of 60 or better on the PGA Tour this season.

PGA Tour pro Si Woo Kim nearly holed a ridiculous 50-footer to shoot 59