ATLANTA -- How well are Brandt Snedeker and Justin Rose playing? Well, the two had the only bogey-free rounds at East Lake on Saturday to open a two-stroke lead in the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
Snedeker, in particular, has been consistent in all areas of his game. He leads the field in fairways hit (71 percent) and greens in regulation (76 percent), as well as in ball-striking.
Snedeker is also second in strokes-gained putting, beating the field by 4.6 strokes through three rounds. He's made all 45 of his putts inside 9 feet, as well as a total of 261 feet of putts to rank seventh among the field.
Rose is also putting well. He made all 14 of his putts inside seven feet on Saturday and for the week he ranks sixth in strokes-gained putting -- bettering his average this year by more than a stroke per round.
While the on-course performances have been similar, the two leaders' paths to the FedExCup are decidedly different. Click here to follow their round on ShotTracker.
Snedeker is assured the FedExCup if he wins the TOUR Championship and he can also finish as low as a two-way tie for second and still have a mathematical chance. But Rose's scenarios are a bit more complicated after he came into the week ranked 24th in the FedExCup.
First and foremost, Rose, who is currently projected third, needs to win the Playoffs finale. Below are the other things that need to happen:
|Help from his friends||Position after three rounds|
|No. 1 Rory McIlroy finishes 17th* or worse||Three-way tie for fourth|
|No. 2 Tiger Woods finishes in a three-way tie for 5th or worse||Tied for seventh|
|No. 3 Nick Watney finishes in a 3-way tie for 3rd or worse||29th|
|No. 4 Phil Mickelson finishes tied for third or worse||Tied for 20th|
|No. 5 Brandt Snedeker finishes in a three-way tie for second or worse||Tied for first|
|No. 6. Louis Oosthuizen finishes tied for second or worse||15th|
In the opening round of the 2012 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, Justin Rose sinks a 52-foot birdie putt on the par-3 18th hole.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ATLANTA -- A year ago, Justin Rose entered the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola ranked third in the FedExCup. He knew he could win the $10 million bonus with a victory at East Lake but tied for 20th instead as Bill Haas played the role of the spoiler.
This year, Rose finds himself in Haas' position. The Englishman came into the week ranked 24th -- one spot higher than Haas was when he claimed the dual victories -- and the pressure is off.
"From the FedExCup point of view, it's a position of having nothing to lose, really," Rose explained. "Obviously, I'd like to be much higher up the rankings and that's the scenario from last year. Last year I didn't factor in the tournament, and this year maybe being a little bit looser out there is going to help me.
"I think I've only got this tournament on my mind. A lot of the other guys have two trophies on their minds. So I think I'll steal it if I end up winning both of them. But it will be nice to know."
Rose lent credence to those words, too, when he fired a 66 that included a 52-foot birdie on the final hole.
Rose said East Lake places a premium on hitting fairways, and with just seven in his Thursday stats he knows he can improve. He likes the way his putter is responding, though, with 26 in the first round, and he's looking forward to the rest of the week.
"I kind of looked at the leaderboards to gauge how the course was playing and how the boys were doing out there, and obviously, I realized it was time to be patient," Rose said. "No one was really going low. 1 or 2 under is going to be a good score today, so I always had that in the back of my mind."
The top 30 in FedExCup points are headed to East Lake for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. Here’s a look at Justin Rose, one of the 30 players who will contend for the FedExCup title.
SCENARIOS TO WIN FEDEXCUP: For Rose to win the
FedExCup, he MUST win the TOUR Championship and have the following
scenarios fall into place:
> Rory McIlroy (No. 1) finishes 17th* or worse
> Tiger Woods (No. 2) finishes in a 3-way tie for 5th or worse
> Nick Watney (No. 3) finishes 3-way tie for 3rd or worse
> Phil Mickelson (No. 4) finishes T-3 or worse
> Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) finishes in a 3-way tie for 2nd or worse
> Louis Oosthuizen (No. 6) finishes T-2 or worse
*Tie for the FedExCup
Click here for scenarios of every player
SEASON IN REVIEW: Rose picked up his fourth PGA TOUR title in 2012, giving him at least one win in the last three years. He closed with a 70 at Doral to win the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship by a shot over Bubba Watson. Rose also posted top-10s in the Masters, where he tied for eighth, and PGA Championship, where he shared third. – Helen Ross
PATH TO TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP: Here’s a look at
Rose’s results in the first three events of the 2012 FedExCup
Click here for Playoffs Tracker of every player.
|FEC ranking after event||
PREVIOUS FEDEXCUP FINISHES: Here is how Rose has finished in previous Playoffs appearances:
EAST LAKE HISTORY: This is Rose’s third PGA TOUR start at East Lake. He is still searching for his first career top 10 at the famed track. His best finish was a tie for 11th in 2007.
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: Fred Albers, on-course
correspondent for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, provides a quick look at
I left Florida last March thinking he was the best player on TOUR. Justin seemed primed for a career win following his victory at the Cadillac Championship, but it hasn't materialized. I think of Justin as one of the more mentally tough players on TOUR.
Now it’s your turn. How do you think Rose will fare at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola?
CARMEL, Ind. – Justin Rose is the defending champion of this week’s BMW Championship, but he hardly feels like he’s carrying a target on his back.
“Obviously guys defend all the time,” he said. “There’s always a defending champion, and I never think about that player.”
"I think this week more than any other, we have to learn this Crooked Stick golf course," Rose said. "Not many guys have played it before, so the real competitor is the golf course."
Still, Rose -- who won the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship earlier this year and ranks 22nd in FedExCup points -- can draw upon some good vibes around here.
"You look around, there's posters of yourself out there," Rose said. "There's a particularly nice one with Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Tom Watson and myself, so something I had a bit of fun with this week."
Justin Rose, Lee Westwood and Rickie Fowler tee off at 12:43 p.m. ET in Thursday’s first round. Click here to follow that group on Shot Tracker
Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012
4:30 p.m. ET: Hunter Mahan
5 p.m. ET: Rickie Fowler
5:15 p.m. ET: Dicky Pride
Wednesday, Sept 5
Following a.m. Pro-Am: Rory McIlroy
Following a.m. Pro-Am: Tiger Woods
Following a.m. Pro-Am: Bo Van Pelt
TBD: Justin Rose
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- Not saying there's any correlation to the scores today, of course, but judging by their Twitter accounts it looks like Ian Poulter cooked dinner for Justin Rose and Adam Scott last night.
At 8:21 p.m. on Friday, Poulter tweeted (with the photo to the left): Spaghetti bolognaise is well under way for tonight's dinner. Even @JustinRose99 is coming over must smell good.
Saturday morning at 8:32, Rose countered with this tweet: Battle of the Bolognese today! Adam Scott, @IanJamesPoulter and myself had a good laugh last night. We're all are at -3. Who will fare best
Unfortunately, all three struggled Saturday. Scott shot 74 to move back to even par for the tournament while Poulter had a 76 and Rose shot 79.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
FARMINGDALE N.Y. -- Thursday's bogey-free 67 "delighted" Justin Rose.
The birdie putts of 5, 16, 8 and 7 feet – and 25 total strokes with the flat stick overall -- were definitely something to build on. At the same time, though, so was that 15-footer for par that he holed at the 11th hole.
What made it so crucial was that Rose had just birdied the 10th hole to get to 2 under for the day. But he "butchered" his way up the 11th, finding the waste area on the right off the tee and a greenside bunker to the left of the green, so he needed that par-saver something fierce.
"So that just really kept the round going," Rose said. "I would say that 15-footer was the key to the round."
Rose said he was "blown away" by how good the scoring was overall in the afternoon because he thought Bethpage State Park’s Black Course was playing "pretty tough out there." The scoring average for the morning wave was 70.48 while the afternoon was 72.04.
"I think a lot of flag placements were on the front edge of the
green, and I think the greens were soft this morning and maybe guys
could get at those pins, but this afternoon I thought it proved
really tough to get it going low,' Fowler said. "
"But for me the key to the round was bogey-free. I ground it out really hard out there today and was a really good short game day, scrambled nicely and had 25 putts, which for me was a big turnaround. Been working hard at the putting. Good start, nice to get off to a good day."
The Englishman also enjoyed the New York fans.
"You have to sometimes just smile at it," Rose said. "There's some great comments out there. But it really is good fun to play. Good energy, and I think it's only going to get more intense as the weekend goes on."
The pairings have been unveiled for this week’s PGA TOUR Matchups Game on Facebook. You can check out the Matchups for the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational below, or on the PGA TOUR’s Facebook page.
Participants have until 6 a.m. ET Thursday to make their picks. Log on to the PGA TOUR Facebook page and click the Matchups link to make your picks for this week, or to sign up.
|Tiger Woods vs. Adam Scott||The seven-time Firestone champ takes on last year's winner|
|Ernie Els vs. Keegan Bradley||Two major champs; Bradley tied for 15th in Firestone debut in 2011|
|Jason Dufner vs. Zach Johnson||These two technicians are sitting in third and second in FedExCup points|
|Justin Rose vs. Hunter Mahan||Mahan won here in 2010; Rose scored first WGC win this year at Doral|
|Rickie Fowler vs. Luke Donald||Donald seeks second WGC title; won Accenture Match Play in 2011|
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
At an average of 305.1 yards per drive for the week, runner-up Troy Matteson had the highest driving distance among the top 15 finishers at the John Deere Classic.
It took a little work to get there from an equipment standpoint.
Matteson, a two-time winner on the PGA TOUR, came to TPC Deere Run telling TaylorMade reps he was ‘killing’ his RBZ fairway wood but was not able to hit a power draw on command with his driver. Instead, he was hitting pulls.
Matteson’s original driver, an 8-degree TaylorMade R11S, had been tuned to a lower position while the ASP sole plate was in the closed setting – in short, a low-lofted driver with a open face, setting up closed. To help fix, TaylorMade reps gave him a higher-lofted driver with a closed clubface that appeared square, shortened by an inch to get the club more vertical and promote the draw.
In the end, going from a 7.5-degree/2-degree open face to an 8.5 degree/1-degree closed/1-inch shorter club immediately promoted more ball speed, higher launch and a higher spin rate, allowing the ball to stay in the air and turn right-to-left.
How much the switch pay off? In the first round at the John Deere, Matteson made 10 birdies in a round of 61 and ultimately lost in a playoff to Zach Johnson.
ANSER MEN: At the other end of driver spectrum was Ping, a holdout in the adjustable driver craze – until earlier this month. Ping’s new Anser driver is its first entry into the adjustable market, with lofts able to be tuned a half-degree up or down.
Louis Oosthuizen (pictured at right) put a Anser driver in the bag at last week’s Scottish Open and brought it to the British Open, where he’s the defending champion. Former Masters champion Angel Cabrera has been working with an Anser 3-wood.
SPECIAL DELIVERY: Callaway’s X Utility Prototype irons have been hot on TOUR and will continue to be this week at the British Open, where accuracy is far more important than distance. The company has been frantically shipping clubheads from its PGA TOUR trailer overseas; clubmaker Roger Cleveland even traveled to England with five 18-degree X Utility Prototype heads in his baggage.
BAG BITS: K.J. Choi won the 2011 PLAYERS with Miura irons; last week he finished T13 at John Deere with Callaway RAZR Musclebacks. … Blake Adams switched from steel shafts in his TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC irons to Aldila-prototype graphites at the John Deere. Most PGA TOUR pros prefer steel in irons. … Chez Reavie first began working with a TaylorMade Ghost Spider belly putter at the AT&T National, finally putting it into play at TPC Deere Run and finishing T68.
SCRIPT: You know you’re important when your apparel supplier dresses you. Check out how Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose are scripted by TaylorMade-adidas.
WINNER’S BAG: Johnson at the John Deere
Driver: Titleist 910D2 (Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board, 9.5 degrees)
Fairway woods: Titleist 910F (15.0 degrees) and 909 F2 (18.5 degrees)
Hybrid: Titleist 909H (21 degrees)
Irons: Titleist AP1 (4) and AP2 (5-9)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design (48, 54, 60 degrees)
Putter: SeeMore FGP
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Tiger Woods is retaking his place at the top of the golf pantheon. His win on Sunday at the AT&T National – his third in seven starts -- gave him a PGA TOUR-leading three wins on the season, the FedExCup points lead and solo second place on the all-time TOUR victory list.
Where is it all coming from? The added “reps”, as Woods frequently cites? The work with swing coach Sean Foley? The weather? (Tiger’s an especially strong player in the heat.)
The answer may be simpler than that. He’s simply rolling the ball better.
Woods was ninth at Congressional in Strokes Gained-Putting with his Nike Method 001 putter, picking up nearly a shot and a half on the greens for the week. He’s now 14th in Strokes Gained-Putting for the year and 11th in Total Putting, a stat that combines putting averages from various distances.
“I feel like I really controlled the putter well this week,” Woods said. “I had a lot of good putts, and I had a lot of -- for some reason I had a lot of putts that were downhill, big, breaking putts. I hit a lot of good putts this week.”
The Method putter features Nike’s polymetal groove technology, which gets the ball rolling with forward spin more quickly after impact.
Woods wasn’t the only one with a big week at AT&T with a Method 001. Jhonattan Vegas finished T4, his best of the season.
D2 DEBUTS: Titleist unveiled its new 913 drivers for pros at AT&T, and 14 of the 34 players who teed up Titleist drivers in competition used the new models.
Seung-Yul Noh, using a 7.5-degree 913D3, finished highest with a T4, while Nick Watney finished 10th with a 10.5-degree 913D3. Brendon de Jonge, the 54-hole leader at Congressional, ended tied for 11th with his 9.5-degree 913 D3.
The newest members of Titleist’s 900 family (“9” is the designation for metalwoods and “13” is the model year) feature some cosmetic differences and a weight cartridge at the rear of the clubhead. Like the previous 910 models, Titleist’s SureFit Tour hosel helps a player dial in the ideal lie and loft.
There are two models, the D2 and D3, with the D2 having a slightly bigger head. Of the 14 pros at AT&T, 11 played the D3 and three (Bud Cauley, Tom Gillis and John Merrick) chose the D2.
Rory McIlroy put an 8.5-degree 913D3 at the Irish Open, finishing in a tie for 10th.
BEER!: For those of you who consider beer as essential “equipment” for your weekend rounds, there’s a new brew inspired by Sam Snead.
Slammin’ Sam is a craft-brewed American lager developed off a proprietary recipe and made in Wisconsin by Stevens Point Brewery. It debuts this week at The Greenbrier Resort, which is hosting the PGA TOUR’s Greenbrier Classic.
“It makes sense for Slammin’ Sam beer to be introduced here,” said Jeff Kmiec, president and managing director of The Greenbrier Resort. “Sam Snead called The Greenbrier his professional home for more than 60 years and I think he’d be happy to know guests will savor a beer that bears his nickname.”
The beer’s packaging features famous images of Snead and is available in cans, bottles and kegs. The company plans to launch the product soon at other golf resorts around North America.
For more information, check out a fun Q&A with the founder of Slammin’ Sam here.
LOOKING AT LYTHAM: Justin Rose and Justin Leonard had new hybrids built in the TaylorMade truck at Congressional, purposely for the British Open later this month. Rose got a 16-degree Rescue 11, designed for him to hit piercing shots in the wind. Leonard got two 17-degree Rescue 11s and compared the two during practice rounds at Congressional.
BITS: Martin Laird put a new TaylorMade Ghost Spider IB belly putter in play at Congressional, replacing his longtime Ghost Tour DA-12 belly model. He finished T11. … John Mallinger also finished T11 at AT&T, playing a new set of TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC irons. He’s moving away from an older model of TP irons which had “pretty dead” grooves, in his words. … Kevin Stadler had never played a 5-wood but tested a Callaway Razr Fit model and liked how it fit a gap between his 3-wood and hybrid. He tested it, found that he could hit his standard high cut with it, and put it in play at AT&T.
WINNER’S BAG: Woods at the AT&T
Driver: Nike VR Tour (8.5 degree, Graphite Design DI 6X shaft)
Fairway wood: Nike VR Pro Limited Edition 3-wood (15 degrees); Nike SQ II 5-wood (19 degrees)
Irons: Nike VR Pro Blades (3-PW)
Wedges: Nike VR Pro (56, 60 degrees)
Putter: Nike Method 001
Ball: Nike ONE Tour D