|Bubba Watson vs. Keegan Bradley||Two major winners square off. Bubba is the reigning champ.|
|Graeme McDowell vs. Luke Donald||Two Euros inside the FedExCup top 30 do battle in NoLa.|
|Nick Watney vs. David Toms||Who wins between these past champions off to slow '12 starts?|
|Ben Curtis vs. Ben Crane||Battling Bens, both boasting four wins, head to TPC Louisiana.|
|Webb Simpson vs. Steve Stricker||Consistency is key for both players. Which one has the edge?|
The final group is off; now can anyone catch Ben Curtis ? Here’s a look at the contenders.
Every, a 2006 University of Florida graduate, is having the best year of his young career since becoming a member of the PGA TOUR in 2010 with three top-10 finishes in 10 starts this season. One of those came just last week with a tie for eighth at the RBC Heritage.
This also marks the 40th start of Every’s career, and he’s in search of his first win. His best finish so far was a tie for third earlier this year in Mexico.
He’ll need to play better than he has the last two days, however, when he failed to break par in the second or third rounds. Overall, though, he’s driving it well -- T9 in fairways hit -- and hitting a lot of greens -- T3 in greens in regulation. He is, however, just 46th in strokes gained-putting.
Five strokes will be awfully hard to make up on a golf course that has played two strokes over par through the first three rounds, unless Curtis starts going backwards.
But Wi has played well in this tournament in the past, tying for second in 2008 after a career-low tying 61 in the final round.
He probably won’t need to go quite that low here in the final round, but something in the mid-60s would go a long way.
In search of his second win, 21-year-old rookie Huh is coming off his best round of the week, a 5-under 67.
Earlier this year, Huh defeated Robert Allenby in sudden death at the Mayakoba Golf Classic to become 2012’s first rookie winner. Should he win this week, he would become fifth rookie to win multiple times in a season, dating to 1990. Most recently, Keegan Bradley achieved the feat last year, having won the HP Byron Nelson Championship and PGA Championship.
Rookie Seung-yul Noh made seven birdies on his way to a 4-under 68 in the third round, but like Wi and Huh, has five shots to make up.
Noh has won twice, overseas, however. On TOUR, his best finish of the year was a tie for 16th in Mexico.
One thing he’s had going for him this week: Putting. He’s fifth in the field in putts per green in regulation.
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
Shut the face: Ben Curtis headed right to the driving range following his third round. He hit just eight fairways on Saturday and thought he knew the reason why -- he was shutting the club face. He spent time working on his grip and swing plane on the range and was encouraged by the perfect drive he hit on the 18th.
Slow Start: The combination of high winds and difficult greens made for a brutal pace of play in the third round. The course backed up from the very first tee. It took one hour to play the par-4 opening hole and the par-5 second. The last two groups were a combined 17 over for the opening nine. Ben Curtis teed off at 11:45 a.m. and finished at 5:36 p.m. local time. That's 5 hours, 51 minutes for a round of golf.
Wounded Warrior: Specialist Matthew Spang is part of the Wounded Warrior program and spent the day following Matt Kuchar in a wheelchair. Spang is a double amputee who lost both his legs while serving in Afghanistan. Kuchar rewarded him with autographed golf balls and gloves following the round and proudly posed for pictures, too.
The Question Mark: John Huh is known as the "question mark" for his unique last name but answered any questions about his determination this week. Huh played his first eight holes in 9 over on Thursday, but since then he is 13 under. It would have been easy fro him to withdraw after the opening 18 holes or even walk off at the turn. Huh turned lemons into lemonade and could win his second PGA TOUR event on Sunday.
Longhorns: Jordan Spieth let a good round slip away over his final seven holes. He was 5 under on the round but finished at even for the day after a double bogey on his final hole. The University of Texas freshman played with Texas alum Harrison Frazar, who also shot even par. They left the final hole, walking together, with Frazar quietly giving encouragement to Spieth.
Windy Day: Greg Chalmers proudly proclaimed he grew up in, "the third windiest city in the world." He's from Sydney, Australia, and was happy to see it blowing on Saturday. Chalmers managed to hit 10 greens and took just 25 putts. He rode the wind to a 3-under 69 and is tied for sixth place. Chalmers is hoping for even windier conditions in the final round. There is an expression on TOUR, "when the wind blows, the Aussies move up the leaderboard."
GIR: Why is Ben Curtis leading this golf tournament? Because he is hitting greens. Curtis has found a tournament best 38 of 54 greens in regulation and also leads in strokes gained-putting. That's a strong combination. If Curtis continues that on Sunday, he'll collect his fourth career win.
The tee times for the first round of this week’s The Transitions Championships have been released. CLICK HERE for the tee times. Use the space below to comment about the pairings at the Copperhead Course.
Here’s a look at some of the notable groups in the first two rounds:
Zach Johnson/Geoff Ogilvy/Padraig Harrington, 8:27 a.m.,
How strong is the field this week? This three major champions are among 17 that showed up.
John Huh/David Toms/Jonathan Byrd, 8:37 a.m., No. 1
Rookie John Huh finds himself in an "A" pairing after his win last month at the Mayakoba Classic.
Luke Donald/Justin Rose/K.J. Choi, 1:33 p.m, No. 1
The world No. 2 (Donald) tees it up with last week's winner (Rose) and a two-time winner here (Choi).
Bud Cauley/Ryo Ishikawa/Tom Lewis, 2:04 p.m., No. 1
The oldest player in this group, Cauley, is all of 21 years old (in all fairness, he turns 22 on Friday). Lewis, who turned pro after last year's British Open, makes his U.S. debut.
Gary Woodland/Webb Simpson/Scott Stallings, 1:22 p.m., No.
This trio finished 1-2-3 last year at Copperhead. Stallings is making his return to the TOUR after missing four weeks with an injury.
It's not news to John Huh. He knows his last name is usually followed by a question mark here in the United States.
When he was going to high school in California, the joking was "pretty annoying," Huh admitted earlier this year. But now the PGA TOUR rookie is trying to use his unusual last name to his advantage -- and after Huh's win last week at the Mayakoba Golf Classic, that recognition has increased tenfold.
Huh, who was born in New York City but lived the first 12 years of his life in Korea, is playing in his sixth PGA TOUR event this week at The Honda Classic. In addition to last Sunday's win, he's had two other finishes of 12th or better -- and currently is inside the top 20 at PGA National.
Here are some things you might not know about the 21-year-old Korean-American who ranks 12th in the FedExCup and has already topped the $1 million mark in earnings..
* He ranks second in Scoring Average at 69.32.
* He ranks fifth in the PGA TOUR's All-Around category.
* Girl Generation is his favorite musical group.
* He ranks sixth in Eagles.
* His father is his primary instructor.
* He ranks 13th in Total Driving.
* He likes Mexican food.
* His career-low of 63 came in the final round at Mayakoba.
* He's a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers and Dodgers.
The tee times for the first round of this week’s The Honda Classic have been released. CLICK HERE for the tee times. Use the space below to comment about the pairings at PGA National.
Here’s a look at some of the notable groups in the first two rounds:
Jim Furyk/Y.E. Yang/Henrik Stenson
Yang has owned PGA National in recent years, with a win and a second-place finish.
Kyle Stanley/Keegan Bradley/Rory McIlroy
Three of the best players in the world under the age of 30, and all three bomb the ball.
Mark Wilson/Rory Sabbatini/Camilo Villegas
These three players won at PGA National in 2007, 2011 and 2010, respectively. Villegas and Wilson squared off in a four-man playoff (with Boo Weekley and Jose Conceres) on a steamy Monday in 2007, which Wilson won.
Lee Westwood/Ian Poulter/Tiger Woods
No introduction needed for this trio. Tiger makes his first start at PGA National. This is the third consecutive year Westwood has teed if up here. Tied for ninth in 2010.
John Huh/Charl Schwartzel/Ernie Els
The PGA TOUR's newest winner (Huh) immediately graduates to an A-list tee time with a pair of major champions.
Anthony Kim/Mike Weir/Mark Calcavecchia
Can Kim and Weir get their games turned around at the start of the Florida Swing? And don't count out Calcavecchia, who has lived in Palm Beach for many years. He tied for fourth here in 2008.
Now, it’s your turn: Which groups are you most interested in following this week?
Robert Allenby double-bogeyed the 72nd hole at the Mayakoba Golf Classic to fall to 15 under and into a playoff with rookie John Huh, who closed with a 63.
Chris Stroud had a shot to catch the duo at 15 under, but he also double-bogeyed the hole.
Matt Every and Colt Knost will tie for third after finishing 11 under. Overnight leader Daniel Summerhays shot a 73 and fell back into a tie for fifth.
FOLLOW THE PLAYOFF: Mayakoba Golf Classic
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Graeme McDowell had some driver drama early in the week at Abu Dhabi, and shared the details with his 285,000 followers on Twitter.
Played beautifully today. Controlled the ball well. No joy on greens. Then my driver cracked! Hit it 200y out of middle on 17 – aqua #double
Never happened to me before, cracking my driver like that. The head just came apart. Cleveland Classic is in the bag tomorrow. #thefuture
McDowell was true to his word – Cleveland’s new retro-look Classic driver went in his bag, and he finished T3 in the event. McDowell was a Callaway staff player in 2010, when he won the U.S. Open, before moving to Srixon last year. Srixon is a subsidiary of Cleveland, so connect the dots.
After the cracking incident, a fan asked McDowell on Twitter how many Callaway clubs he still carried, and G-Mac answered “as of tomorrow. None. Unless you count my putter. Odyssey.”
MORE RETRO: OK, the metalwoods Brandt Snedeker used in winning the Farmers Insurance Open aren’t completely old-school, but could be considered so in the TaylorMade family.
Snedeker carries a Burner SuperFast driver and 3-wood – the black-headed ones of a couple years ago, not the ballyhooed whites that took the game by storm last year. There are plenty of TaylorMade white woods on the PGA TOUR, including the new Rocketballz models, but very few black.
NEW SCOTTY: At last week’s PGA Merchandise Show, Scotty Cameron displayed an adjustable long putter in Titleist’s booth. With a twist of a knob, the shaft can extend up to six inches to perfectly fit someone for a long putter. For now it’s a fitting club rather than a playing club, as it has not been approved for competition by the USGA.
The grip on the putter is equally notable, and legal now – a 25-inch one-piece grip, different from the split grips that are seen on full long putters. True to Cameron style, it has the designer’s letters running vertically on the shaft, but Cameron notes that it’s an alignment aid. Get your hands comfortable, take note of the letter, and set up the same way every time.
WELL FIT: Ernie Els is having no issues with his Callaway Razr Fit driver, at the Farmers he averaged 304.6 yards off the tee and is leading the TOUR in down-the-middle accuracy – he averages just 14 feet, six inches off the center line (yes, ShotLink measures this ). But as he explained in his blog , it’s still all about the putting.
BITS: John Huh, 21, turned heads with a T3 at Farmers in his second PGA TOUR start. He’s a PING staff player and was T3 in putts per round for the week with a Scottsdale Series Wolverine C putter. … Kenny Perry’s new Adams bag (he switched manufacturers in the offseason after years with TaylorMade) features the company’s Redline irons, its game-improvement set. Though his bag has conventional 3- and 4-irons, not the hybrids that most amateurs purchase. The Champions Tour regular is playing this week at the Waste management Phoenix Open. … At the PGA Merchandise Show, 213 PGA professionals tested their putting prowess using PING’s iPhone putter app. The four best played a Skins Game for $5,000, with Chris Hodge winning. He’s the head pro at River Falls Plantation in Duncan, S.C.