Jarrod Lyle
Two-time cancer survivor Jarrod Lyle celebrates making the cut at the Frys.com Open, his first PGA tournament start in two years.

The drink of choice in the Napa Valley is usually red or white, but for Jarrod Lyle, a cold beer was a perfect way to celebrate Friday.

The two-time cancer survivor continued a storybook week at Silverado Country Club with a second-round 70 to put him 2 under for the tournament, good enough to make the cut in his first PGA Tour start in two years.

IN THE FIELD: Jarrod Lyle earns place in Frys.com Open field

Lyle tweeted this photo afterward:

After not receiving a sponsor's exemption for the Frys.com Open, Lyle earned a spot in the field through Monday qualifying. Now he'll be playing on the weekend.

According to the Associated Press, Lyle has 20 events to earn $283,825 and reach the equivalent of No. 125 on the money list in 2012 to keep his PGA Tour card. Making the cut this week will at least assure Lyle of getting a check.

 

Lyle celebrates after making cut at Frys.com Open
October 11, 2014 - 9:19am
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Michelle Wie
We send along birthday wishes to Michelle Wie, who turns 25 today.

It's been one heck of a year for Michelle Wie. From snapping a four-year winless drought in her native Hawaii earlier this season to becoming U.S. Open champion, Wie's had a season to dream about.

Hopefully, she'll make another wish today as she celebrates her 25th birthday.

Wie was born Oct. 11, 1989, in Honolulu. According to her website, she began playing golf at age 4 and soon was hitting the ball more than 100 yards.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: A gallery of Michelle Wie photos 

At 10, Wie became the youngest qualifier ever at the USGA Women's Amateur Public Links Championship. Three years later, she became the youngest player ever to make the cut at an LPGA Tour event, when she finished in the top 10 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Wie graduated from Stanford University in 2012 with a degree in communications, which was not at all surprising, given that her grandfather, Dr. Sang Kyu Wie, had been a visiting professor, and her aunt and uncle also had advanced degrees from The Farm.

Her love of Stanford sports is well-documented:

As is her love of painting:

She showed off her artistic skills earlier this year with a video capture. Watch her paint a work of art in 15 seconds here.

So happy birthday, Michelle. All the best.

 

Happy 25th birthday, Michelle Wie
Billy Hurley
Billy Hurley III gets congratulations all around after his hole-in-one Friday at Silverado.

It was a good news-bad news day Friday for Billy Hurley III at the Frys.com Open. The bad news? He shot a second-round 74 to miss the cut by one stroke. The good news? He made a shot worthy of ESPN's Play of the Day.

Watch and listen:

 

 

Hurley used a 6-iron from 182 yards out at No. 15.  After he realized the video clip of his ace made the ESPN broadcast, Hurley tweeted this:

 

 

There were two holes-in-one Friday at the PGA Tour's first stop of the season. Moments after Hurley's ace, Mark Hubbard -- making his first Tour appearance as a member -- did the same thing with a 5-iron at the 198-yard seventh hole.

It's the second ace of the year for Hubbard, who had one on the Web.com Tour earlier in the year. It was the highlight of a second-round 65, which left him tied for fourth, two shots behind leader Martin Laird.

Watch Billy Hurley's slam-dunk ace at Silverado
Steve Stricker
Steve Stricker/Twitter
Steve Stricker went up to the top of the Camp Randall Stadium scoreboard Saturday morning to practice.

Why is Steve Stricker swinging a golf club from on top of a scoreboard at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. this morning?

Check out this tweet:

Here's the explanation, from the University of Wisconsin athletic department. It has to do with an awesome promotion that could win a lucky fan to VIP Wanamaker Club tickets to the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

2015 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP: Order your tickets for Whistling Straits now

"At halftime, Stricker will hit three balls in his attempt to land a 135-yard shot onto the Motion W at midfield from the videoboard platform above Section K. If he is successful, Bob Beggs of Fitchburg will win two VIP Wanamaker Club tickets to the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. Beggs was selected at random from thousands who registered to win the contest."

Stricker is a 12-time winner on the PGA Tour and a three-time member of the U.S. Ryder Cup Team. And he's a Wisconsin native, hence the Badger-PGA connection.

PLAY AT THE PLATE: Jason Dufner tees off at Miller Park

Should be fun to watch, and glad Strick's belted in with a safety harness before he tries to belt one.

Stricker set to try shot from stadium scoreboard
October 9, 2014 - 1:37pm
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T.J. Auclair
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Nicolas Colsaerts
USA Today Sports Images
Nicolas Colsaerts was a mere inches from recording the first official score of 59 on the European Tour Thursday.

Golf is a game of inches.

Today, no one knows that better than Nicolas Colsaerts.

Colsaerts, known as "The Belgian Bomber" for his massive drives, fired the 17th score of 60 (11 under) in the European Tour's history on Thursday in the first round of the Portugal Masters.

He was "thisclose" to the European Tour's first ever score of 59.

Click here to see Colsaerts 18-foot birdie try on the final hole just miss the cup.

That was close, no doubt. But not nearly as cruel as what happened to Phil Mickelson with his putt for 59 at the 2013 Waste Management Open. Remember this putt?

Back to Colsaerts and his flawless scorecard. With four, front-nine birdies, Colsaerts went out in 31. The back nine was extra special, as Colsaerts shot a 7-under 29, which included three consecutive birdies beginning on No. 10 followed by eagles on the par-4 15th hole and par-5 17th hole.

Last December at the Nelson Mandela Championship in South Africa, Jorge Campillo and Colin Nel both recorded 59s, but they were deemed "unofficial" because they were playing lift, clean and place.

Colsaerts falls inches short of a 59
October 9, 2014 - 10:23am
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T.J. Auclair
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Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods
USA Today Sports Images
We're hoping to see these two battling it out down the stretch a lot in 2014-15.

After a short break, a new PGA Tour season is upon us with this week's Frys.com Open at Silverado CC in Napa, Calif.

With a new season comes a lot of prognosticating. In that spirit, we're here to offer up 10 players to keep a close eye on throughout the 2014-15 PGA Tour campaign.

10. Phil Mickelson: Let's face it -- 2013-14 was a season Lefty would like to forget. Outside of a runner-up finish in the PGA Championship, there aren't a whole lot of positives Mickelson can take away from the last 12 months, his first winless season since 2003. That second-place finish at Valhalla also happened to be Mickelson's lone top 10 in 21 starts on the PGA Tour. In 2014-15, he's bound to be better. He typically feasts on the West Coast Swing. That didn't happen last winter, but I expect it to change. What we saw out of Mickelson in 2014 was an aberration. Yes he's 44. That doesn't matter. The drive and the power are still very much there.

9. Billy Horschel: In all honesty, pre-September, there's no way Horschel would have made this list. Things can change in a hurry, however. The FedExCup champion was marvelous in September. After a tie for second at the Deutsche Bank Championship, Horschel went on to win the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship in consecutive starts. Talk about remarkable play in the clutch. Horschel turned an otherwise disappointing season into the best of his career. And, to boot, a couple of days after winning the Tour Championship, Horschel and his wife welcomed their first child -- a baby girl -- into the world. Imagine being 27 years old and without a worry in the world. That's Billy Horschel right now, folks.

8. Jimmy Walker: OK. We saw what Walker is capable of last season when he won three times. Does that mean we should expect another three-win season out of him? Though not likely, it's certainly possible. Perhaps more impressive than the three wins in 2013-14 for Walker was his consistency throughout. In all, he accumulated 19 top-25 finishes in 27 starts, including 10 top 10s. We're not talking about a flash-in-the-pan kind of player who happened to be exceptional for three tournaments. Walker is more confident than ever. He's clearly comfortable with seeing his name on the first page of leaderboards. Expect to see more of the same in 2014-15. That might not equal another three-win season -- hey, winning ain't easy -- but it will be a solid one.

7. Jordan Spieth: With as often as he contends, it's still hard to believe that the 21-year-old still has that lone PGA Tour victory from the 2013 John Deere Classic. It's often been said you need to learn to lose before you can learn to win. Perhaps that's what has happened with Spieth. Ask anyone in the know and they'll tell you this is a kid who will be a star for years and years to come. This is a guy who tied for second in his first Masters in 2014 and actually had a share of the lead going into the final round. He's going to win in 2014-15... perhaps a few times.

6. Adam Scott: For a good chunk of the 2013-14 season, the 2013 Masters champion was the No. 1 ranked player in the world, until Rory McIlroy reassumed that position. On paper, it was a great year for Scott -- 16 top-25 finishes in 17 starts, including 10 top 10s, highlighted by a win at Colonial. But, as a No. 1-ranked player in the world, we've come to expect multiple-win seasons. And, frankly, that's what Scott expects for himself. Having recently parted ways with caddie Steve Williams, with whom Scott saw the bulk of his success, it'll be interesting to see how the Aussie fares in a new season (as well as who will be toting the bag). One thing you can take to the bank is this: Scott will be a factor in the majors. Since 2011, in 16 major starts, Scott has racked up nine top-10 finishes. After winning the Masters, he made it clear -- his focus now is adding to his major total.

5. Justin Rose: What's not to love about Rose's game? He has emerged as one of the best in the world for the last several years and he's coming off an incredible performance in the Ryder Cup, where he led Europe to its eighth win in the last 10 matches played. The thing about Rose is this -- when he wins, those wins come at special places. Places like Muirfield Village, Merion, Congressional, Cog Hill and Aronimink Golf Club. Rose has won at least once per season on the PGA Tour since 2010. There's no reason to believe that streak won't continue in 2014-15.

4. Sergio Garcia: It's hard to imagine a better PGA Tour season without a victory than the one Garcia put together in 2013-14. In 16 events played, he finished in the top 10 on 10 occasions, highlighted by three runner-up finishes and two third-place finishes. The three runner-up finishes came in consecutive starts at the Travelers Championship, Open Championship and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. He closed the season with a T4 at the BMW Championship and a T9 at the Tour Championship. Often times when people think of Garcia, they wonder: How hasn't he won a major yet? His on-course maturity level was at an all-time high this past year, so maybe that means a major victory isn't all that far away.

3. Tiger Woods: Ah. Tiger, Tiger, Tiger. What will he give us in 2014-15? Struggling through injuries in 2013-14, Woods was limited to just seven starts -- two of which resulted in withdrawals. After missing the cut at the PGA Championship, Woods decided to sit out the remainder of the season to get healthy (he wouldn't have been able to qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs anyway, but could have played in Europe). Woods also made news when he announced he was leaving swing coach Sean Foley. Tiger is expected to return for his own Hero World Challenge at Isleworth in December and then -- provided he's healthy -- we should see a full slate for Tiger in 2014-15. Two seasons ago, Woods won five times on the PGA Tour. He's been sitting on 14 major wins since 2008. Will this be a comeback season? Again, health will be the biggest factor.

2. Rickie Fowler: Much like Garcia before him on this list, the only way 2013-14 could have been any better for Fowler would have been with a "W." Instead, he registered 10 top 10s, including a pair of second-place showings and a pair of third-place showings. Remarkably, he was the only player in the world to record a top-5 finish in each of the four majors (T5 at the Masters, T2 at the U.S. Open and Open Championship and T3 at the PGA Championship). He's the only player in history to finish top-5 in all four majors in a single season and not win at least one of them. So, yes, while it's incredible to top-5 in the four majors, it's also got to be a bit of a bummer for Fowler to not have closed the deal in any of them. But, if he continues to put himself in a position to win, it's got to happen eventually, right? Speaking of which, how is it that this guy has just one PGA Tour win on his resume? That changes in 2014-15.

1. Rory McIlroy: He's the best player in the world. He'll be chasing a career grand slam and his third consecutive major win at the Masters. It's his world right now. Two seasons ago, everyone wondered what the heck happened to McIlroy. It was brutal (some say it was the change in equipment and monster endorsements that led to his poor play -- more responsibility and more pressure). In 2013-14, however, McIlroy exploded out of his funk, picking up major wins three and four. It seems now that the sky is the limit for McIlroy. He's far and away the favorite whenever he decides to tee it up. He'll be adding more hardware to his trophy case in 2015 ... and probably a green jacket to his closet. 

10 Players to watch | 2014-15 PGA Tour season