Els Seeks Atonement in India

By Associated PressFebruary 6, 2008, 5:00 pm
European TourNEW DELHI -- After another disappointing finish in his first tournament of the year, Ernie Els is eager to clinch the inaugural Indian Masters during his first appearance in the country this week.
Els frittered away the chance of clinching his fourth Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday when he squandered a four-shot lead in the final round and watched Tiger Woods claim the title. Els finished tied for third.
'Losing to the world No. 1 is no disgrace, but it doesn't make it better,' Els said Wednesday ahead of the Indian Masters, which marks the expansion of European Tour into India.
'I had a chance. Not winning when I felt I should have won was tough to take,' the 38-year-old South African said. 'But it was the first event of the year. ... I can't kill myself over it.'
Els looked on the bright side of coming close to a title in his first tournament of the year.
'I'll have more chances like that. I've done a lot of work and feel my game will be good this year,' said Els, adding that his schedule this year was focused on the majors.
After playing in India, he will take a couple of weeks off before heading to Florida to begin a stretch of playing in the U.S. that will lead up to the Masters in April.
Els said he was bracing for a chaotic week in the Indian capital, where the Delhi Golf Club's gates have been opened to spectators and where golf is making a bid to capture the interest of large potential market.
'I hear they are opening up the gates, so I'm sure we will have a lot of people here,' said Els, who watched big crowds turn up during the past two days during challenger and pro-am competitions.
'It was quite nice with the people out there and to see their excitement ... taking pictures and saying how glad they were to see us in the flesh,' he said.
Thomas Bjorn, Darren Clarke, Nick Doherthy and David Howell and are among the European Tour stars who will try to master New Delhi's par-72 course.
American Mark O'Meara is also playing.
The Asian field will be led by Thai star Chapchai Nirat, and include Indian players Jyoti Randhawa and Jeev Milkha Singh.
Launched at the initiative of the European Tour -- in partnership with promoters Golf in Dubai -- the $2.5 million Indian Masters is jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour, which begins its new season at this event.
This season, 12 tournaments on the Asian soil will be part of the European Tour, which will return to India later this month for the $2.5 million Johnnie Walker Classic at the DLF Golf and Country Club on the outskirts of New Delhi.
With several new courses being built, golf is witnessing a boom in India.
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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.