Garcia Jimenez Favorites at World Cup

By Associated PressNovember 17, 2004, 5:00 pm
04 WGC-EMC World CupSEVILLE, Spain -- Chomping on a cigar, his unruly ponytail flowing from his cap, Miguel Angel Jimenez smiled as he said, Buenos dias to the clubhouse guard at the Real Club de Golf.
The guard stopped Jimenez, whose World Cup partner, Sergio Garcia, went right in.
I had to convince them I was a player, Jimenez said. With Sergio there was no problem. He can play for both of us, and I can take a vacation.
Someone should let that guard know: The World Cup starts Thursday'and needs all the players it can get.
The top nine Americans in the world ranking turned down invitations to the last of the seasons four World Golf Championships. Only two top-10 players accepted: Garcia and Irelands Padraig Harrington.
No. 1 Vijay Singh and No. 2 Tiger Woods declined, as did No. 3 Ernie Els and No. 4 Retief Goosen.
Its not a question of prize money. The winning team splits $1.4 million from a total purse of $4 million.
The event also has tradition that dates to 1953, when Argentines Roberto de Vicenzo and Antonio Cerda won. Ben Hogan and Sam Snead were the winners in 1956. Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer teamed four times for victory.
Theres just a lot of golf, said Scott Verplank, the 10th-ranked American. Maybe there are a few too many tournaments worldwide. I know you cant play every week. Maybe you could make this a $10 million purse, and I bet your field would be filled.
The Americans are underdogs, represented by Verplank and Oklahoma neighbor and friend Bob Tway.
Garcia chose Jimenez as his partner'the invited player gets to pick his teammate'to make the Spaniards the favorites. Theres another home advantage: The 7,134-yard layout was designed by two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal.
Just because nine Americans didnt want to come, doesnt mean it wont be a great tournament, Jimenez said. If you dont want to come, if you dont want to enjoy Seville, if you dont want to enjoy the sun, the food and the Spanish wine, you are missing a lot. I feel sorry for them.
Harrington and Paul McGinley give Ireland the best chance to challenge Spain. The two won the 97 World Cup, their first big victory as pros.
It will always be special because it was the first event either of us won on the world stage, McGinley said. It was sort of like your first girlfriend.
Harrington and McGinley were a key part of Europes lopsided victory over the United States in the Ryder Cup two months ago. Playing together, they defeated Woods and Davis Love III.
England should be strong with two other Ryder Cup players'Paul Casey and Luke Donald. They didnt play together two months ago, but they formed a successful pairing in the 99 victory over the United States in the amateur Walker Cup.
Casey is drawing attention off the course.
On Wednesday, he stood by comments to English newspapers criticizing the choice of Tom Lehman as U.S. Ryder Cup captain and suggesting Americans were generally annoying. English papers quoted him saying he hated Americans.
I think that Americans do have a tendency to wind people up, said Casey, who lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., and has an American girlfriend. When they are chanting U-S-A and there are lots of them, it just makes you want to beat them even more. Thats the point I am trying to get across. But I dont hate Americans.
South Africans Rory Sabbatini and Trevor Immelman won this title a year ago at Kiawah Island. They are trying to become the first repeat champions since Fred Couples and Love won fourth straight World Cup in 1995.
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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    Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

    The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

    Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

    Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

    Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

    Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.

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    Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:10 pm

    SINGAPORE - Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his newfound self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title.

    Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

    Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended on Saturday because of lightning strikes, Garcia finished his last nine holes in 4 under for a round of 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

    With organizers desperate to avert the constant threat of more bad weather and finish the tournament on time, Garcia promptly returned to the first tee shortly after and fired a flawless 3-under 68, cruising to victory with 10 straight pars as his rivals floundered in the stifling humidity.

    ''It may have looked easy, but it wasn't easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there,'' Garcia said. ''It's always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren't easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.''

    Garcia's closest rivals at the end were Japan's Satoshi Kodaira (71) and South African Shaun Norris (70). Both birdied the last hole to share second spot but neither was ever close enough on the last day to challenge the leader.

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    ''I could not reach Sergio. I was thinking, 12 or 13 under for the win, but he went beyond that,'' Kodaira said.

    Jazz Janewattananond (71) and his fellow Thai Danthai Bonnma (73) finished equal fourth at 8 under, earning themselves a spot in this year's British Open, while American Sean Crocker, who was given an invitation to the event after turning pro late last year, also won a place at Carnoustie by finishing in a tie for sixth.

    Garcia made just three bogeys in 72 holes and his victory provided the 38-year-old with the 33rd title of his professional career and his sixth on the Asian Tour.

    He has also won three titles in the last 12 months, including the Masters, and his game looks to be in better shape now than it was a year ago.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for Augusta National because of the steamy conditions and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament, which is regularly stopped because of inclement weather.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore a year ago, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    "I'm extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can't wait to get a cold shower,'' Garcia said. ''I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn't miss many shots.''

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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

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    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.