April 30, 2014 - 9:07am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Rory McIlroy
USA Today Sports Images
Rory McIlroy claimed his first PGA Tour win at Quail Hollow in 2010 and has had five more since, including two majors.

The PGA Tour is in Charlotte, N.C., this week for the Wells Fargo Championship at breathtaking Quail Hollow, a course that will play host to the 2017 PGA Championship.

Since it's a major championship course, it's no surprise that the list of winners at Quail Hollow since the tournament began in 2003 includes major winners David Toms, Vijay Singh, Tiger Woods (twice), Jim Furyk, Rory McIlroy and Lucas Glover.

RELATED: Wells Fargo tee times | Begay recovers from heart attack | Dufner at Miller Park

Little-known Derek Ernst -- the fourth alternate in 2013 -- was the surprise winner a year ago.

Will we have another surprise winner this week? Maybe. But, it will more than likely be another established player hoisting the hardware come Sunday.

Here are five players to keep an eye on.

5. Sean O'Hair
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
T10 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational
Reason to watch: For a time, it seemed O'Hair was going to be the next superstar on the PGA Tour. In the last few years, however, he's gone through a significant slump. I like him at Quail Hollow this week not because of how he's played lately -- just one top 10 in 14 starts this season to go along with six missed cuts -- but because he returns to a course where he won in 2009 (he's missed the cut twice at Wells Fargo since then and tied for 15th in 2012. He's going to turn a corner eventually, so why not this week?

4. Webb Simpson
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Won the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Reason to watch: Simpson got off to a white hot start this season, finishing in the top 10 at six of his first eight events, highlighted by a win in his first start -- the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. The last four starts, however, have been tough -- T47 at Doral, a missed cut in Tampa, T61 in Houston and a missed cut at the Masters. This week though, Simpson will enjoy some home cooking (he lives in Charlotte) and some local knowledge (he's a member at Quail Hollow). Simpson desperately wants to win this tournament, his home game. His best finish was alone in fourth in 2012.

3. Rickie Fowler
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Third at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
Reason to watch: Hard to believe, but the Wells Fargo Championship remains Fowler's lone PGA Tour victory. He did that in 2012. After making some swing changes this season, everything looked to be coming together for Fowler. Following that third-place showing at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, he also finished sixth in Houston and tied for fifth at the Masters. This week, we find out if last week's missed cut at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans was an aberration. I think it was.

2. Phil Mickelson
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
T12 at the Shell Houston Open
Reason to watch: You might not believe this, but Mickelson is still without a top-10 finish in 2014. That's insane. He's withdrawn due to injury twice this season and has missed the cut twice, most recently in his last start -- the Masters. When you're as talented as Mickelson, slumps can't last as long as this one has. He finished third at Quail Hollow a year ago, second in 2010, tied for fifth in 2009, tied for third in 2007, tied for seventh in 2005 and tied for fifth in 2004. In other words, this course fits his eye.

1. Rory McIlroy
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Playoff loss at the Honda Classic
Reason to watch: In case you missed it, McIlroy dropped out of the top-10 in the Official World Golf Ranking recently. That, of course, was based largely on his poor play in 2013. In 2014, with limited starts, he's been pretty good. He's finished in the top 10 four times in six starts. In 2010, McIlroy picked up his first PGA Tour win at Quail Hollow. Since then, he's won five times, including two majors. The only thing left for McIlroy to do in order to forget the disaster that was 2013 is to win on the PGA Tour. He's been knocking on the door a lot lately. This might be the week he kicks that door in.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 

Categories: Quail Hollow Club
2014 Wells Fargo Championship | Five players to watch
April 29, 2014 - 7:22pm
mark.aumann's picture
Jason Dufner at Miller Park
Kohler Co.
Reigning PGA Champion Jason Dufner joined Michael Belot, Vice Chairman of the 2015 PGA Championship & General Manager -- Destination Kohler, Jason Mengel, 2015 PGA Championship Director, and Milwaukee Brewers mascot Bernie Brewer at Miller Park as part of Tuesday's 2015 PGA Championship ticket pre-registration launch.

As part of a day-long trip to Wisconsin to help promote the 2015 PGA Championship -- to be played at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis. -- 2013 PGA Champion Jason Dufner had time to visit Miller Park, home of the National League's Milwaukee Brewers.

Of course, Dufner asked if he might be able to pitch a little -- and being a golfer, that has a different meaning than standing on the mound and tossing a few. Straightaway center is only a 400-foot poke, so Dufner could not only clear the fence but probably knock one completely out of the ballpark (with the roof open, of course).

The feat was then publicized on Twitter. That's where Brewers pitcher Kyle Lohse found out about Dufner's appearance, and the two had a humorous Twitter conversation.

And with that, Dufner had one last parting shot to take.

 

 

No word on whether the Brewers' bullpen will participate in any Dufnering during the next home series. With Lohse on the mound, they may have a lot of time on their hands.

 

Dufner tees it up at Miller Park
April 29, 2014 - 3:00pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Whistling Straits
PGA of America
Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis., will host its third PGA Championship in 2015.

There's nothing more exciting than major championship golf.

We're just 100 days away from the start of the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla in Lousiville, Ky., but today also marks a special day for the 2015 PGA Championship.

Beginning today, you can register for tickets to the 2015 PGA Championship -- the year's final major -- at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR TICKETS TO THE 2015 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP

Tickets for the 2015 PGA Championship will be sold exclusively through an online registration program. Registration is free and there is no obligation to purchase tickets by completing the form. The earlier you register, the better position you will have to purchase the most popular tickets.

RELATED: 2015 PGA Championship | Tour Whistling Straits | Become a volunteer

Upon registering, you will receive a confirmation email with additional details to prepare you for when tickets go on sale in August 2014.

The 2015 PGA Championship will be the third played at Whistling Straits.

If you have any questions, contact the PGA Ticketing Center at 800-PGA-GOLF (742-4653) or ChampionshipAdmin@pgahq.com.

 

Registration open for 2015 PGA Championship tickets
April 29, 2014 - 10:15am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Boo Weekley
PGA Media Archive
Boo Weekley "rides the bull" down the first fairway during the final day of the 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla.

One of the most memorable moments from the 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla in Louisville, Ky., came on the first tee in Sunday singles.

That's when, after pounding a drive down the middle, Boo Weekley channeled his inner Happy Gilmore and "rode the bull" off the tee.

2014 RYDER CUP: U.S. points standings | How U.S. Points are earned | Team USA | Team Europe

Check out the video here in case you need a refresher:

 

 

And, of course, here's the inspiration for Weekley's actions by Adam Sandler in "Happy Gilmore":

 

 

Clearly, Weekley was excited. And he had every reason to be. The U.S. closed out the matches that day and it remains the last Ryder Cup win for an American side and the only one since winning in 1999.

In a recent interview with GolfChannel.com senior writer Rex Hoggard on a show called, For the Record, Weekley talked about that Ryder Cup experience and his infamous bull ride and why he decided to do it.

"It was by far the greatest golf moment and tournament and surrounding that I've ever had a part of," Weekley said. "We're so used to playing out here everyday, week on week -- golf by ourselves, playing against everybody. You get there, you look over and you've got your buddies -- the guys you competed against the week before last -- and now here y'all are like teammates, trying to talk things out, listening to some of the veterans there and what they felt when they was there the first time. It was an experience."

So what compelled Weekley to take that memorable bull ride?

"I can't remember what day it was, but it was during one of the practice rounds," Weekley explained. "I think it may have been the last day of the practice rounds. Me and my wife just got through having dinner and doing the main thing with everybody. We come down and we're grabbing some waters out of the little old room that was on our floor. There were two officers -- a lady officer and another man sitting in there. I was talking and there happened to be Happy Gilmore running across the screen on the TV and they got to laughing. I turned to Karen and I said, 'Baby, I'm going to do that. I'm going to do that off one of the tee boxes.'"

The officers laughed and called Weekley out.

"'Yeah right! Whatever. You ain't going to do that.'" Weekley recalled them saying. "And I said, 'I'm going to do it. I don't know what day I'm going to do it, but I'm going to do it.' When I got out there [Sunday] I was pumped, excited and ready for it to get over with, to tell you the truth. Win, lose or draw, it was one of those moments -- I won't ever forget it. I went up there and I took my practice swing and it hit me right then. As I took my second practice swing, I always take two, there's a tree out there about 200 yards. I said, 'If I can just start it over that tree, I'm going to ride this club out of here.'"

So, there you have it -- the story behind why Weekley rode the bull down the first fairway during the final day of the 2008 Ryder Cup.

Here's the video clip:

 

 

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.

 

Story behind Boo's famous bull ride
April 29, 2014 - 9:16am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Notah Begay III
Getty Images
Golf Channel analyst Notah Begay III suffered a heart attack in Dallas last week, but is expected to make a full recovery.

GolfChannel.com is reporting this morning that analyst Notah Begay III is recovering from a heart attack.

Begay, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour, suffered the heart attack last week in Dallas, according to the report.

The 41-year-old was taken to Methodist Hospital where cardiologist Dr. Mark Jenkins inserted a stent to unblock his right coronary artery.

There is a history of heart disease in the Begay family. The report says that because the procedure was performed quickly, Begay is expected to make a full recovery and resume his analyst duties with NBC and Golf Channel within a few weeks.

"I'm extremely grateful for the expert care I received from Dr. Jenkins and his staff," Begay told GolfChannel.com. "I anticipate a full recovery and feel lucky to be at home resting with my family. I appreciate the outpouring of well wishes I've received from family, friends and fans and I will be back covering golf once I'm fully recovered."

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 

Notah Begay recovering from heart attack
April 28, 2014 - 10:13am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Zurich Classic of New Orleans
USA Today Sports Images
Would you mess with an alligator on the golf course? John Peterson did at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans on Friday.

In case you missed it on Friday, PGA Tour player John Peterson clearly is not afraid of alligators.

During the second round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Peterson came in to give a life-threatening assist to playing partner James Driscoll. OK... maybe that's a little dramatic, but seriously, who messes with alligators?

RELATED: Live alligator featured in latest trick-shot video | Golfer loses fingers to croc in Cancun

Driscoll was attempting to play his second shot between a bunker and a pond on the par-5 18th, but there was an unwelcome guest lurking nearby -- a large alligator.

Peterson was either in a hurry, or didn't want to be put on the clock. So, rather than watch and wait, Peterson -- a graduate of LSU and clearly familiar with wildlife on the Bayou -- sprung into action.

Armed with a bunker rake, Peterson literally pushed the gator from behind to coax it into the pond.

Check it out:

 

 

Luckily for Peterson, this alligator run-in had a happier ending than it did for another Peterson -- "Chubbs" Peterson from the movie Happy Gilmore, who lost his hand to a gator.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.

 

PGA Tour pro pushes alligator into water