Sep 15

Tiger Woods on track for December return, in no rush for new swing coach

Tiger Woods is on target for a return to competitive golf in December at his World Challenge in Orlando. 

Speaking at Isleworth Golf & Country Club on Monday for a media event, Woods said he was "right on timeline" to play in his silly season event benefiting the Tiger Woods Foundation. However, that timeline has no golf on it right now; Woods hasn't been practicing since the PGA Championship. In the meantime, Woods has been hitting the gym pretty hard.

“I’ve been busting my butt in the gym,” Woods said. “It’s nice to be able to shut it down and get stronger.”

Woods indicated he'll pick up a golf club again at the end of month or in October, but does not know who, if anyone, will be his golf teacher. After parting ways with Sean Foley in August, Woods said he was on no timetable to select his next instructor. He reiterated that Monday saying he is in "no hurry" to find a replacement.


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Sep 15

Watch Rory McIlroy drain 55 putts in a row at the Tour Championship

On the PGA Tour, a player makes a 10-foot putt about 38 percent of the time. Over the weekend at the Tour Championship, Rory McIlroy made that length of putt 55 times in a row.

McIlroy was preparing for the final round at East Lake Golf Club, working on his putting stroke. On the practice green, McIlroy set up shop about 10 feet from one of the cups on the green. He then proceeded to make 55 putts in a row before falling just short of the Joe DiMaggio number.

The world No. 1 didn't win the Tour Championship nor the FedEx Cup on Sunday, but did prove that, even after four straight weeks of playoff golf, he had the mental toughness to grind out 55 putts in a row.

Related video:


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Sep 14

Billy Horschel wins Tour Championship, FedEx Cup and $11.44 million

Papa's got a brand new bag, and it's filled with $11.44 million. 

Father-to-be Billy Horschel closed out a historic run in the FedEx Cup playoffs on Sunday, winning the Tour Championship at East Lake for his second consecutive win and, in the process, claiming the FedEx Cup and its $10 million bounty. 

Horschel shot a final round of 2-under 68 to beat Rory McIlroy (71) and Jim Furyk (69) by three shots to win his third PGA Tour title. Furyk had opportunities to make Horschel sweat the final few holes, but a pair of closing bogeys on the 71st and 72nd holes gave the Florida Gator the breathing room to make it an easy finish.

Chris Kirk, who entered the week at No. 1 in the reset FedEx Cup standings, finished tied for fourth place with Justin Rose and Jason Day, locking up the runner-up spot in the final standings.

Horschel entered the playoffs ranked 69th, making him by far the worst-ranked player through the regular season to go on to win the FedEx Cup. Brandt Snedeker was 19th entering the 2012 playoffs.

Over the course of the playoffs, Horschel, who missed the cut at The Barclays, has earned $13.48 million, more than double his prior PGA Tour winnings.


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Sep 14

European Tour ace earns Andy Sullivan a trip to outer space

Most weeks in pro golf, a hole-in-one gets a player a car. Andy Sullivan's Sunday ace at the KLM Open, however, earned him a much more unique prize: a trip to outer space.

Sullivan made a hole-in-one at the par-3 15th hole at Kennemer Golf & Country Club, winning a seat on a future space excursion from sponsor XCOR Space Expeditions. The trip is valued at $95,000.

Starting in the second half of 2015, the excursions will take off from a launch pad in the Mojave Desert and going almost 39 miles into space before coming back to Earth.


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Sep 14

Greg Norman ‘lucky’ to keep left hand after chainsaw accident

Greg Norman feels "lucky" to not have lost his left hand in a Saturday chainsaw accident.

The two-time major winner shared a picture through his Instagram account of him laid up in a hospital bed with his left hand bandaged heavily.

“Working with a chainsaw ALWAYS be respectful of the unexpected,” Norman said in the caption accompanying the photo. “I was one lucky man today. Damaged, but not down & out. Still have left hand.”

The 59-year-old Norman is an outdoorsman with a do-it-yourself attitude. In fact, on Sept. 6, Norman shared a photo on Instagram in which he is wielding a chainsaw.

The caption, in part: " Never ask someone to do something that you can do yourself. Love to work!"


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Sep 14

The case for delaying Ryder Cup captain’s picks

Look at the bottom of the Tour Championship leaderboard. You'll find three American Ryder Cup team members among the last five names, including Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson, two of Tom Watson's three wild-card picks. The other pick, Keegan Bradley, didn't qualify for the playoff finale in Atlanta.

Meanwhile, Billy Horschel is in contention for a third consecutive week. After giving away a chance to win the Deutsche Bank Championship on the 72nd hole, he came back the next week to win the BMW Championship at Cherry Hills. On the back of three strong rounds at East Lake, Horschel not only finds himself again in position to win but with world No. 1 Rory McIlroy in the final group on Sunday.

Chris Kirk wasn't on Tom Watson's radar until he won the Deutsche Bank Championship on Labor Day. However, Watson favored Simpson and his ability to gel emotionally with a finicky Bubba Watson over the hyper-stoic Kirk. The Georgia product is four back heading into Sunday with an off chance of snagging the Tour Championship, FedEx Cup and its $10 million bounty.

Had Watson been given longer to evaluate his choices, would he still have picked the three he did? Just some of them? Watson won't say, but it's hard not to see the juxtaposition of players that were picked for the team against the ones staying home when the U.S. team heads to Gleneagles.

There's no reason not to give future captains all the time they need to make their choices. In fact, captains should be allowed to wait until the week prior the Ryder Cup to announce their wild-card selections. Affording captains the opportunity to name their picks anytime after the automatic qualifiers are announced adds intrigue to the picks and gives the maximum time to evaluate players. And it's not as though the teams are traveling by boat; the charter jet will be fueled up and ready to go regardless of which dozen players get on it. 

Given that each of the last two Ryder Cups has been decided by a point, any potential edge is worth pursuing including going to the very cliff of the PGA Tour season to finalize the team.

Sep 13

McIlroy, Horschel tied for lead heading into final day of Tour Championship

ATLANTA, Ga. - All day long at East Lake, everyone seemed to be waiting for something, anything, to happen. The skies wavered between blinding sunshine and foreboding cloud cover. The gallery had at least one ear ready for the impending Georgia-South Carolina game. The players burbled around the leaderboard, with all major swings taking place well away from the leaders.

And then came 15, and Rory McIlroy's eagle putt, and all of a sudden, the game was afoot. McIlroy shot a 67, while Horschel fumbled a bit on the back nine and ended with a 69. It's his 11th straight round in the 60s, but it was enough to erase his two-shot lead on McIlroy coming into the day.

Horschel and McIlroy now find themselves 18 holes away from golf's richest prize: the $10 million FedEx Cup. All each player needs to do is win the tournament and the Cup and payday is his. Both are -9, and will once again be paired with each other on Sunday.

A little further down the leaderboard is Jim Furyk at -6, whose last win was the Tour Championship in 2010. Furyk can win the FedEx Cup as long as Horschel or Chris Kirk don't finish in solo second place.

One stroke behind Furyk are Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, and Jason Day. All three can only win the FedEx Cup with a series of college-level algebraics determining where their pursuers must finish. At the moment, it's McIlroy or Horschel's to lose.

"Can we go tee it up right now?" Horschel said afterward. "I'm serious. That would help me out a lot. I'm ready to go. It's going to be so fun."

The big mover of the day in the positive direction was Gary Woodland, who rode a 7-under round to a -1 tournament just outside the top 10; not bad for a guy who started the tournament in dead last. On the other end of the spectrum was Jordan Spieth, who shot a horrendous 10-over 80. Spieth did not blame injury woes; he simply couldn't hit a fairway all afternoon. He, and the rest of the field, will get one last chance at glory, or at least redemption, on Sunday.

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Facebook or on Twitter.