Champions Tour back in action at Rock Barn

By Associated PressSeptember 17, 2009, 11:08 pm
Champions Tour

CONOVER, N.C. – R.W. Eaks admits he’s had a terrible year on the PGA Champions Tour.

The good news is he’s the two-time defending champion heading into the Greater Hickory Classic, which begins Friday on the Rock Barn Golf and Spa course.

“I’ve absolutely played awful this year, there’s no bones about it,” Eaks said. “My confidence is probably at a low, but you never know. The juices may flow this week and good things will happen.”

Eaks has battled knee, back and muscle problems this year after winning four times and posting more than $2.4 million in earnings the last two seasons on the tour.

His only top-10 finish this year came in March in the Dominican Republic, and he’s had to withdraw from three tournaments.

Eaks said since using an herbal remedy for several months, his stamina and play has improved.

He was under par for three consecutive rounds and finish tied for 20th on Aug. 30 in Snoqualmie, Wash. He added two more under-par rounds before closing with a 75 last week in Pebble Beach, Calif.

“I’m on some exotic root from Peru,” the 57-year-old Eaks said. “I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s eating away the bone spurs in my knees.”

Eaks said he had to change his swing because of the bone spurs.

“Now that my knees are better, I’m trying to go back to what I used to do,” he said. “Everything’s in transition right now.”

But Eaks has enjoyed success on the Robert Trent Jones course. He finished second to Andy Bean in 2006, set the tournament record with a 17-under 199 in 2007 and came within a stroke of tying the mark last year. Eaks closed with a 1-under 71 in windy conditions for a four-stroke victory over Tom Jenkins and Tom Kite.

The Greater Hickory Classic also gives Fred Funk an opening to increase his lead in the Charles Schwab Cup standings.

Funk enters the tournament with a 57-point lead over Loren Roberts, who is skipping the event. Four-time winner and money leader Bernhard Langer – a distant third in the standings – is defending his title in a European senior event.

“I got off to a slow start because of a staph infection in my right knee,” said Funk, who last month won his first title of the year. “I didn’t even know if I would be playing this year at all, much less play at a high level.

“But this year has been very satisfying. This is a big opportunity for me, because Loren isn’t here. He’s been playing phenomenally well, so with him taking a week off, it’d be great if I can take advantage of it.”

However, the players will have to deal with an old nemesis at Rock Barn – the weather. Nearly a half inch of rain has fallen this week, and tournament officials say the forecast calls for a 50 percent chance of showers over the next three days

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PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

PGA Tour:

The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.


We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

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Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.

Full-field scores from the Joburg Open

Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm
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Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.