Billy Horschel and Rory McIlroy at the Tour Championship
USA Today Sports Images
Billy Horschel (l) won the FedExCup, while Rory McIlroy won two straight majors.
Now that the FedExCup has been decided, the PGA Tour has unveiled its five official candidates for Player of the Year honors. They are, listed alphabetically, Billy Horschel, Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy, Jimmy Walker and Bubba Watson. 
 
If you had a vote, who would you choose? 
 
Here are some highlights from each candidate's season, just to refresh your memory (again, listed alphabetically):
 
Billy Horschel
--Won the FedExCup, thanks to back-to-back victories in the BMW Championship and Tour Championship.
 
--Was the sixth player to win multiple FedExCup Playoff events in one season, joining Tiger Woods (2007), Vijay Singh (2008), Camilo Villegas (2008), Rory McIlroy (2012) and Henrik Stenson (2013).
 
--Finished seventh on official money list ($4,814,787), and recorded five top-10 finishes.
 
Martin Kaymer
--Finished 16th in the FedExCup.
 
--Won both U.S. Open and The Players Championship, becoming the first player ever to capture both those events in the same season.
 
--Finished 10th on official money list ($4,532,537), and recorded four top-10 finishes.
 
Rory McIlroy
--Finished third in the FedExCup.
 
--Won both the British Open and PGA Championship, along with the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, in a span of three straight summer starts.
 
--Finished first on official money list ($8,280,096), and recorded a PGA Tour-leading total of 12 top-10 finishes.
 
--Won the PGA Tour's Byron Nelson Trophy for adjusted scoring average (68.827) and Arnold Palmer Award as the leading money-winner, and was first player since Padraig Harrington in 2008 to win consecutive majors.
 
Jimmy Walker
--Finished seventh in the FedExCup, and led FedExCup standings for 36 of the first 37 weeks of the season, including a record 30 straight weeks.
 
--Earned three victories – Frys.com Open, Sony Open in Hawaii and AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am – in 27 starts.
 
--Finished fourth on official money list ($5,787,016), and recorded 10 top-10 finishes.
 
Bubba Watson
--Finished fifth in the FedExCup.
 
--Won the Masters (for the second time in three years) as well as the Northern Trust Open and the Masters Tournament.
 
--Finished second on official money list ($6,336,978), and recorded a total of eight top-10 finishes ( a career high).
 
The player of the year award will be decided by a vote of the PGA Tour players who played in at least 15 official money events during the 2013-14 season. The voting will close on Sept. 25, and the winner will be announced the week after the Ryder Cup.
 
Who would you choose for PGA Tour Player of the Year?
Tim Thelen and Lucinda Thelen at the Senior Open of Portugal
Getty Images
Tim Thelen celebrated his Senior Open of Portugal victory on Sunday with his wife Lucinda, who often caddies for him.
PGA Professional Tim Thelen added another victorious chapter to his amazing second career over the weekend when he won the Senior Open of Portugal on the European Senior Tour. The victory was his fourth on the European senior circuit in the last three seasons. 
 
During a long career as a PGA of America member in College Station, Texas, Thelen won the PGA Professional National Championship in both 2000 and 2003, then captured the 2009 PGA Assistant Championship. When he turned 50 in 2011, he decided to expand his horizons and try his hand in Europe.
 
So far, so good. Thelen was the medalist at Q-School, then won three times in 15 starts in 2012 – including two thrillers in a row in which he defeated Bernhard Langer and Ryder Cup captains Ian Woosnam and Mark James – en route to a third-place finish on the money list. 
 
After nine starts this season, he's currently sixth on the money list – three of the players ahead of him are Langer, Colin Montgomerie and Tom Watson.
 
"This week I played as good as I can play," Thelen told EuropeanTour.com on Sunday in Portugal. "I've played good for the last two weeks, but this was even better. I think I hit 16 greens today and that's pretty impressive round here."
 
 
Even more impressive is that Thelen excelled despite some back issues.
 
"I've been struggling with my back all week, but today it was much better," he added. "I almost pulled out after it went into spasm on the second hole [Saturday] but today, thank God, for the first time in nine or 10 days, I didn’t feel a thing."
 
Thelen began his final round Sunday three shots ahead of Greg Turner, Des Smyth and Carl Mason after opening rounds of 68 and 64, but he had to deal with both a late charge from Miguel Angel Martin and a weather delay before sealing his victory.
 
In his last two starts before this victory, Thelen had finished second behind Montgomerie at the Travis Perkins Masters and third behind Monty in the Russian Senior Open. 
 
Why is that significant? Because Thelen and Montgomerie were college teammates at Houston Baptist University. And now here they are, 30 years later, swapping victories again.
 
 
PGA Member Tim Thelen wins for fourth time on European Senior Tour
Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy was impressive in making 55 putts in a row, but it's not something that golfers should necessarily try to emulate.

Before his final round at the Tour Championship on Sunday, we saw Rory McIlroy make 55 consecutive putts from the same spot about 10 feet from the cup.

While that was impressive to watch, it's probably not the best idea for average golfers to challenge that mark the next time they practice or get ready for a round.

“My question is, ‘Was it beneficial?’” said Eric Alpenfels, a PGA Professional and Director of Instruction at Pinehurst. “A lot more amateurs would benefit from putting around the green since that’s what more people will face in a round.”

Related: Watch McIlroy sink 55 consecutive putts

By moving around on the green, amateurs get the chance to explore a few different breaks and practice from different distances.

So how long should golfers stay in one spot? That is entirely up to them and how they feel.

"It really depends on the distance," Alpenfels said. "If you make 7 out of 10 from 3 feet, then that's a good spot to move on. But it's not so much about making so many in a row as it is about forcing themselves to make the right read and the right stroke. ... It's definitely not making 55."

This is similar to what PGA Professional Chris Starkjohann recommends in this video. 

There are added benefits from moving around the green. Not only will it help golfers get ready for their round but it also helps them become an overall better putter. 

“A lot of times, amateurs will read the green but they can’t get the right stroke for the breaks that they read,” Alpenfels said.

Golfers should be focused on more than just making sure they can hit from a couple spots on the practice green though. They can also use it as an area for fine-tuning the more technical aspects of putting.

Alpenfels said one of the most common mistakes he has witnessed from amateurs is their incorrect posture.

“Most amateurs don’t put themselves in position to make a stroke without a lot of movement,” he said. “…I’m a big fan of getting your posture correct and letting your natural motion take over.”

To get more help for your putting, watch this video featuring Alpenfels or contact your local PGA Professional. 

 

 

Average golfers can improve on McIlroy's practice approach
September 15, 2014 - 10:04am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Stacy Lewis
Vine
We've all had this type of reaction to the kind of shot Stacy Lewis hit.

Let's preface this blog by reminding everyone of a simple fact: Stacy Lewis is one of the best female golfers on the planet and has been for some time.

That said, Lewis did something over the weekend in the Evian Championship that the rest of us can relate to, unfortunately.

During the third round on Saturday, Lewis was faced with a long-distance shot from a fairway and elected to use a fairway wood. What happened next is, well, ugly (Vine from @NoLayingUp on Twitter):

Raise your hand if you can do that.

Lewis still managed to tie for 16th in the tournament. Oh... and she's also still the No. 1 ranked player in the world.

World No. 1 Lewis and the fairway wood approach shot gone wrong
September 15, 2014 - 9:19am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Davis Love III
PGA of America
The 1993 Ryder Cup marked the first of six appearances -- as a player -- for Davis Love III.

The 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles is almost here. The matches tee off from Scotland next Friday.

To help get you ready, we'll be highlighting "flashbacks" in Ryder Cup history.

Today's offering comes from the 1993 Ryder Cup at the Belfry in England, where the U.S. won 15-13.

That was Tom Watson's first year as a U.S. Captain and -- to date -- stands as the last time the U.S. won on foreign soil. It was also the last time the U.S. retained the Ryder Cup (or, won two in succession).

Europe took a one-point advantage into the Sunday's singles matches, but the U.S. won the singles session, 7 1/2-4 1/2.

Sit back, relax and enjoy this day-by-day breakdown:

Ryder Cup Flashback: 1993
September 14, 2014 - 1:17pm
andrew.prezioso's picture
Rory McIlroy
All of Rory's 55 consecutive putts were from the same spot 10 feet from the cup.

Well, I've run out of fingers and toes on which to count.

While practicing before the final round of the Tour Championship at East Lake, Rory McIlroy made 55 consecutive putts from 10 feet. That's right, 55 in a row. 

That alone is an impressive accomplishment. When you see all 55 made in 44 seconds, it looks even more amazing. 

That video is just further proof of why Rory is the No. 1-ranked golfer in the world right now. 

In case you were wondering, Guinness World Records does not list an entry for most consecutive putts made. Maybe Rory should submit this video. 

Related: Man creates longest "usable" golf club

McIlroy entered the final round tied with Billy Horschel for the lead at 9 under. They were two shots clear of Jim Furyk.  

Want to be able to practice like Rory? We can't guarantee that you'll make 55 putts in a row, but this video should help you out. 

 

How did Rory get to East Lake? Practice