Each week, PGATOUR.COM's Fantasy Insider Rob Bolton offers his Power Rankings for the weekly TOUR event as well as his Sleeper picks. But what about the players who don't make the Power Rankings but who can't really be considered Sleepers? Bolton will make one "wild card" selection from the large group of players who fall into that middle range but might rise up to claim the title. This week's pick in Puerto Rico is ...
Fresh off a T18 at The Honda Classic, his best finish in a stroke-play tournament on the PGA TOUR since September of 2011. However, it was the latest of a handful of strong efforts worldwide dating back to last fall. He ranked T5 at PGA National in greens in regulation, second in proximity to the hole and T8 in par-4 scoring average. First-timer at Trump International Golf Club-Puerto Rico.
To promote this week’s UBS Hong Kong Open, Y.E. Yang and several other players gathered at the top of Victoria Peak, a mountain on the western part of the island, to hit shots into the stratosphere.
The views were spectacular and Yang tweeted several photos. In one, he posed with two other well-known players -- one of whom is participating in "Movember," a charity where men grow moustaches to raise funds and awareness for men's health.
"Guess who these guys are," Yang tweeted. "You'll never know who the guy with the 'stache is.'
For the record, the Fu Manchu belongs to three-time major champion Padraig Harrington.
This week’s Wyndham Championship marks the final opportunity for players to move inside the top 125 in FedExCup points and reserve their spot in the FedExCup Playoffs, which begin next week at The Barclays.
Starting with the No. 126 player in points (Brendan Steele) going into this week, 44 of the next 55 players in points are playing at Sedgefield. Notables such as Retief Goosen (127th) and Stewart Cink (135th) are not in the field, meaning they will not make the Playoffs this year.
Here’s a look at some of the notables currently outside the top 125 who are playing this week. Which one do you think has the best chance of having a good week and moving inside the top 125?
||Y.E. Yang||129th||Made the Playoffs the previous three years, finishing 30th last year. But he hasn’t had a top-10 finish in 19 starts this year.|
||Gary Woodland||130th||A year ago, he was ninth in FedExCup points, which essentially clinched his spot for the TOUR Championship. But like Yang, he doesn’t have a top-10 finish (18 starts) this year, has battled injuries and has just two sub-par rounds in his last 21 rounds.|
||John Daly||137th||Has never made the Playoffs, but he’s making a late charge this year. He’s move up 26 spots in the last two weeks thanks to a T5 (at Reno-Tahoe) and a T18 (at PGA Championship).|
||Stuart Appleby||142nd||Has made the Playoffs in four of the first five years but has just one top-10 finish on TOUR since shooting that 59 in the final round to win The Greenbrier Classic in 2010.|
||Camilo Villegas||146th||Villegas has always come up big in the Playoffs – he’s had at least one top-10 finish in every year, and has 10 top-10s (in 18 starts) overall, including two wins in 2008. But his best finish this year has been a T18 in New Orleans.|
||Justin Leonard||157th||Last year was the first time Leonard had missed the Playoffs and he’s in danger again. But he comes off a T5 at Reno-Tahoe, his best finish of the year.|
Tommy Biershenk, Y.E. Yang and three-time defending champion Steve Stricker have joined the group in double digits under par during the second round of the John Deere Classic.
Interestingly, Biershenk has only made one par in his first 11 holes and has moved into a tie for second with J.J. Henry, two strokes off Troy Matteson's lead. He's 6 under for the day and 11 under for the tournament.
Biershenk started on the back nine and birdied his first two holes before making the lonely par. Two more birdies were followed by a bogey, then two more birdies and another bogey as Biershenk made the turn in 32. He's birdied his first two holes on the front, as well.
Yang is 7 under through 17 holes while Stricker, who has won the last three events at TPC Deere Run and is playing the opposite side as the former PGA champ, is 4 under for the day. Both are 10 under, three behind Matteson who has finished with a 68.
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy columnist
While the brightest lights of the year thus far are locked in on the likes of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson, the Masters is very much just another golf tournament in the comebacks of the healing. Certainly, Woods has spent time on the disabled list already, but others in this week's field haven't fulfilled the kind of success he experienced in the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard two weeks ago.
Tim Clark (right elbow), Scott Verplank (left wrist), Mike Weir (right elbow), Paul Casey (right shoulder), Lucas Glover (right knee) and Scott Stallings (ribs) are a combined 4-for-21 with one top-45 finish (Stallings' T22 at the 27-man Hyundai Tournament of Champions). All entered 2012 with some form of fantasy value but the outlook for each remains very much for the long-term. All are in the field at the Masters.
A regular emailer hit me earlier this week with the following quandary:
Hey Rob. So, we decided to be patient with Paul Casey. We have Y.E. Yang as well, who is not playing well. Jimmy Walker, Bud Cauley, Harris English, Ryo Ishikawa, John Huh, Trevor Immelman, Charlie Wi and Scott Piercy are some of the players available. Would you cut either Casey or Yang for any of these players? -- Craig
Note: It's important to know that Craig participates in an eight-team league of 10 golfers per. Top-15 finishes determine value and he's limited to five moves for the season. His current roster consists of Casey, Yang, Matt Kuchar, Jim Furyk, Justin Rose, Zach Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, David Toms and Kyle Stanley.
Inquiries such as this are common in my email in-box. Formats like Craig's require a balanced attack. You don't want to load up on guys that are going to face the deepest fields of the year as it makes it more difficult to crack the top 15. However, Kuchar and Rose are cornerstones; Furyk and Els are coming on strong; Johnson is a great fit for certain courses; and Toms will get his as he usually does.
In addition to the objective, with only 10 golfers in play, one must be frugal. Stanley is a stud, so I don't mind him occupying a maximum one slot on the roster invested in potential.
Garcia is a tasty option but he doesn't play enough or at a high-enough level with consistency. That said, there are plenty of starts to go around on a good team so the Spaniard can hide a bit. He's a keeper.
That brings us back to Casey and Yang. The Englishman is rapidly burning his bridge with fantasy gamers. He's plummeting in the Official World Golf Ranking (currently 38th), which qualifies him as a bubble boy for the U.S. Open. (He's already eligible for the British Open and should have no problem getting into the PGA Championship.) That he's on conditional status doesn't concern me as much as his play since returning to competition from his mishap on the snowboard. If I owned him, the Masters would serve as his final audition.
Yang is in a different situation. He, too, was bothered by a sore shoulder in December, but he's played a full schedule and has made the weekend in each of his last three strokes-play starts that had a cut. The problem is, he's not posting top 25s in those starts, much less top 15s. He's already eligible for the limited-field World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, but is that enough to warrant his inclusion moving forward?
At this point, we need to eliminate free agents. Ishikawa is a non-member and will play less than Garcia. Wi will find his spots but he doesn't pack the same kind of week-in, week-out punch as other options. Cauley and English are rookies with incredible cachet but I struggle in spending even one roster spot on a 10-man club on first-time PGA TOUR members. Huh is also a rookie but he's illustrated an uncanny knack for wedging his way onto leaderboards as evidenced by his win in Mexico and three other top 15s. Tough call there, but he's still a rookie.
Walker continues to serve as great value across the board but he's played his best golf on the West Coast the last couple of years when he's been healthy. That sets him up as a bit of a trap. Immelman still fights with his nagging wrist, which is not what you want on a short squad.
That leaves Piercy, who I love. He's aggressive. He plays a ton. He's fully exempt through 2013. I'd plug in Piercy for Casey after the Masters and let Yang marinate a little longer. Moreover, the dynamics shift so quickly week to week that Craig's strategy just might sort itself out.
If you play a similar format, consider these angles. Use tournaments are tests and lines in the sand to create conviction. It's within that quantifiable decision-making where confidence and clear thinking originates.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Bubba Watson came up just short in his bid to win the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship, but that’s about the only way to get “Bubba Watson” and “short” in the same breath.
Watson is leading the PGA TOUR in driving distance through the first 10 weeks of the season, and there’s not a close second. Watson is averaging 316.1 yards per drive, nearly nine yards ahead of Robert Garrigus (check out the full list here ).
At Doral, Watson and his all-pink G20 were, well, monstrous at TPC Blue Monster, with 37 drives of 300 yards or longer and a field-leading average of 318.4 yards. For the season, more than 62 percent of Watson’s drives have sailed more than 300 yards.
Should the Florida panhandle native hold on to his top spot, it would be the first time he’s led the stat since a three-year run as the TOUR’s longest driver from 2006-08. He was second in 2009 and 2010 to Robert Garrigus, and second to J.B. Holmes last season.
BELLYING UP: Thomas Bjorn used a belly putter for the first time in his career at WGC-Cadillac, an Odyssey White Hot XG No. 1 Protype Blade. He opened with two 68s before a 75-71 weekend left him in a tie for 24th.
Darren Clarke also had a belly in competition for the first time, a TaylorMade Ghost Spider.
TWEAKS: Phil Mickelson had new shafts, Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana a’hina 70x, in his Callaway Razr Fit driver and Big Bertha Diablo 3-wood. … Noted hybrid fan Y.E. Yang had a TaylorMade RBZ 3-wood in the bag at Doral, a 13-degree model to try to stay under the strong winds. … After switching to TaylorMade’s Tour Preferred MC irons in the offseason, Dustin Johnson returned to Tour Preferred MB irons – his 2011 sticks – at WGC-Cadillac.
HOOP IT UP: Think you’ve got the NCAA Tournament figured out? Golfweek has a contest awarding golf gear like a Rickie Fowler-signed hat to the best bracket. Check it out here .
WINNERS’ BAGS: Justin Rose at the
Driver: TaylorMade R11, 8 degrees
3-wood: TaylorMade RBZ, 15 degrees
Hybrid: TaylorMade Rescue 11, 19 degrees
Irons: TaylorMade MB 4-PW
Wedges: TaylorMade ATV, 52, 56 degrees; Cleveland 588, 60 degrees
Putter: TaylorMade Ghost Tour Corza
Ball: TaylorMade Penta TP5
George McNeill at the Puerto Rico Open:
Driver: Cleveland Launcher Ultralite TL 310, 9.5 degrees
Fairway woods: Titleist 906F2 3-wood, 15 degrees; 5-wood, 18 degrees
Irons: Cleveland 588 Forged MB, 3-PW
Wedges: Cleveland 588 Forged, 54, 60 degrees
Putter: Nike Method 001
Ball: Srixon Z-Star XV
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?
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Steve Stricker dearly wanted to play in the Presidents Cup.
So the 45-year-old worked with doctors and physical therapists to strengthen his neck and shoulder rather than opting for surgery during the offseason.
And on Sunday, Stricker went out and beat Y.E. Yang 2 and 1 in the final Singles match for the exclamation point as the Americans won the 2011 Presidents Cup. The win evened Stricker’s record this week at 2-2.
Yang drew first blood when he birdied the first hole but Stricker came back to even the match with a par at No. 3. The American won the next three holes, as well, with a bogey and two pars to seize control at 3 up.
Yang parred the seventh and ninth to narrow the gap but each time Stricker responded on the next to retain that 3 up lead. The Korean still wasn't done, winning the 12th and 14th holes to get to 1 down, but an adventure in the tall grass proved costly at No. 16 and Stricker eeked out the win.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
MELBOURNE, Australia – The Presidents Cup will be played in the Pacific Rim for the first time in 2015 when the 10th renewal of the biennial matches are held in South Korea.
The venue will be announced in the first half of 2012. PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem said there are a number of options and the search is on-going.
Joining Finchem at Wednesday’s press conference were three members of the International Team – K.J. Choi, Y.E. Yang and K.T. Kim. This is the first year more than one Korean has been represented on the squad.
“I think when you look at K.J. Choi, Y.E. Yang and Kyung‑tae Kim, this is the future,” Finchem said. “This is the future of golf in Korea, certainly on the men's side, and it represents to a great degree what The Presidents Cup is all about: Allowing players who come from places outside the United States and Europe to showcase their skills in this unique team environment.
“So all of that adds up to very strong, compelling reasons to go to Korea, to take advantage of taking what The Presidents Cup is all about and sharing it with the Pacific region and particularly Korea and Asia.”
Choi, who is the reigning PLAYERS champion, said he is excited about the development.
"To be one of the players involved in such a prestigious event and hopefully in the prestigious event coming up in Korea in 2015, I'm very honored and very delighted,” Choi said. “It's an honor, still, just to have three players from the same country play at such an event, and it's a much bigger honor to have the event held in my home country.
“It's a good step and positive step in heading to globalization for golf in Korea, and I think everyone in here, including K.T., myself and Y.E., we will try and do our best to keep our a‑level games up until 2015. I know that a lot of my compatriots back home are going to target their goals towards the 2015 Presidents Cup, so I'm very delighted and thank you very much.”
Yang, who won the 2009 PGA Championship and is playing in his second Presidents Cup, echoed Choi's words.
"The first time I came to The Presidents Cup in San Francisco I was a bit awestruck,” Yang said. “Now I can actually absorb a little of what this is and what the meaning of The Presidents Cup is, and apart from it being competitive and a competition for two continents, it's also a golf festival for not just the host country but also for everyone involved, and all of the countries involved.
“So to have that kind of huge golf festival coming to Korea is a great honor, and it just adds to the delight that I chose right in my line of work. I'm very glad; it's one of the occasions where I feel proud that I picked up golf as a living.”
Before the three players left to join the International Team at its barbecue, Choi was asked whether he wanted to throw his name in as a potential captain. He said that he would rather play.
“I learned a lot from playing with the Aussie players this week, how they take pride in playing in their home country,” Choi said. “ would like to feel that, and feel that kind of feel back home, not as a captain but as a player.
“And it's a great stepping stone for a lot of Asian players, and it's a good target for a lot of Asian players to aim for participation in The Presidents Cup. So throughout the years, it was my role and I guess Y.E.'s role to sort of open up the windows for Asian players in Europe and in the U.S. It was quite predominately U.S. and European players in South African and Australian players, and I believe that we sort of trail-blazed that Asian players can compete at that level as well.
“I do believe that with The Presidents Cup coming into Korea and with a lot of Asian players growing up, it's going to be another endeavor for the younger generation to build upon what we opened up and maybe better it and try to compete at a high level in the bigger events.”