Garcia takes over control at Tour Championship

By Associated PressSeptember 27, 2008, 4:00 pm
THE TOUR Championship by Coke 2007 LogoATLANTA ' Sergio Garcia enjoyed an amazing turnaround Saturday against Anthony Kim in the Tour Championship, and it had nothing to do with the Ryder Cup.
 
Garcia shot 3-under 67 to go from a three-shot deficit on the front nine to a three-shot lead through 54 holes, leaving him poised to become only the third player to capture The Players Championship and the Tour Championship in the same year.
 
Garcia was at 8-under 202 and will play in the final pairing Sunday with Phil Mickelson, who made some long par putts and just enough birdies for a 69, giving him a chance to end his year on a strong note.
 
Six days after Kim crushed Garcia in the leadoff singles match at the Ryder Cup, the 23-year-old American looked as if he would get the best of Garcia again with six straight one-putt greens. But Kim hit only four fairways, and his wildness caught up with him.
 
I dont know anyone that could have fixed that golf swing, Kim said. I was just trying to hit it in the right areas of the rough.
 
The worst of it came on the ninth, when his tee shot hit a 48-year-old man in the forehead on the fly, opening a 2-inch gash that spilled blood on the Bermuda rough. The fan, David Whitfield of Atlanta, was taken to a hospital, but he never lost consciousness and appeared to be in good spirits.
 
Kim gave the mans wife a golf ball that he signed with a note: Sorry.
 
Garcia birdied the par-5 ninth to catch Kim, and he pulled away with a birdie on the par-5 15th.
 
Obviously, AK wasnt on his A-game, Garcia said. I still feel like he scrambled nicely. He got some putts going in the beginning. I managed to make some birdies and played solidly.
 
Kim wound up with a 72 and was three shots behind.
 
Those two young stars in the final group of the third round finally brought some energy to the post-Ryder Cup blues at East Lake, although anyone hopeful of a rematch would have been sorely disappointed.
 
They were laughing and chatting from the start, especially on the first green when Garcia asked if he should move his ball mark.
 
He gave me of those looks like, I dont need to hit it that far left. And he actually hit the left side of the coin, Garcia said. It was one of those funny things that happen.
 
There wasnt much humor early on.
 
Garcia was closer to the cup on the first four holes ' twice for birdie while Kim was trying to save par ' and Kim wound up expanding his lead. Even Kim had to laugh on the fourth, when his approach from the rough came out so hot that it wound up 35 yards over the green, leaving him no shot to a back pin. His chip rolled down the ridge 30 feet away, and he holed it for par.
 
Garcia offered a wry smile, but he never got down.
 
Theres no doubt he got off to a good start with his putter, made some good putts early on and kind of went in front of me, Garcia said. But I was just staying patient. I knew that my game was in good shape.
 
Kim was errant off the tee no matter what club was in his hand, and he was fortunate to lose only one shot on the par-3 sixth when his fall wound up right of the green, off the slope and into the water. Garcia closed the gap to one shot with a 12-foot birdie on the seventh, then took the momentum on the ninth.
 
It was an ugly scene, with Whitfield on his back covering the 2-inch gash, and Kim pacing as the paramedics arrived.
 
I thought I killed him, Kim said. It was an awful feeling to look down and see a golf ball-sized impression in his forehead and its cut open. It was probably the nastiest thing Ive ever seen. It didnt affect my golf game. I still played the way I would ' I was hitting it terrible, anyway. I was hoping and praying that hed be OK.
 
Garcia fell one behind with his only bogey of the round on the 13th, but the third round turned in his favor.
 
Kim three-putted for bogey on the 14th, took three putts from just off the green on the par-5 15th as Garcia made birdie, then hit his approach off a corporate tent on the 16th and had to scramble for bogey.
 
Mickelson, who saved par from 35 feet on the 11th, briefly joined them in the lead with a birdie at the 15th, only to miss the fairway into thick rough on the next hole and drop a shot. Even so, he has been lurking around the leaders all week and worked his way into the final pairing on a course where he won in 2000.
 
Its fun to be in the last group, Mickelson said. Im looking forward to it. I know its going to be difficult. Im spotting Sergio three shots. I know how well hes been playing, so itll be a difficult round for me to get it done.
 
Camilo Villegas had a 69 and was at 3-under 207, while Ben Curtis (68) and Robert Allenby (67) were another shot back.
 
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  • Rahm, Koepka both jump in OWGR after wins

    By Will GrayNovember 20, 2017, 1:19 pm

    Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka both made moves inside the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings following wins in Dubai and Japan, respectively.

    Rahm captured the European Tour season finale, winning the DP World Tour Championship by a shot. It was his third worldwide victory of 2017 and it allowed the Spaniard to overtake Hideki Matsuyama at world No. 4. It also establishes a new career high in the rankings for Rahm, who started the year ranked No. 137.

    Koepka cruised to a nine-shot victory while successfully defending his title at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix. The victory was his first since winning the U.S. Open and it helped Koepka jump three spots to No. 7 in the latest rankings. Reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele, who finished second behind Koepka in Japan, went from 30th to 24th.

    After earning his maiden PGA Tour victory at the RSM Classic, Austin Cook vaulted from No. 302 to No. 144 in the world. Runner-up J.J. Spaun jumped 48 spots to No. 116, while a hole-out with his final approach helped Brian Gay rise 73 spots to No. 191 after finishing alone in third at Sea Island.

    Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas with Rahm and Matsuyama now rounding out the top five. Justin Rose remains at No. 6, followed by Koepka, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson. Rory McIlroy slid two spots to No. 10 and is now in danger of falling out of the top 10 for the first time since May 2014.

    With his return to competition now less than two weeks away, Tiger Woods fell four more spots to No. 1193 in the latest rankings.

    Love to undergo hip replacement surgery

    By Rex HoggardNovember 20, 2017, 1:08 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Two days removed from arguably the most hectic week of his year, Davis Love III will undergo replacement surgery on his left hip.

    Love, who hosted and played in last week’s RSM Classic, said he tried to avoid the surgery, but the pain became too much and he will undergo the procedure on Tuesday at the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, Ala.

    “I had a hip problem the last few years, and I had a hip resurfacing trying to avoid hip surgery because I’m a chicken, but after playing [the CIMB Classic and Sanderson Farms Championship] I realized it was an uphill battle,” Love said.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    Love said doctors have told him recovery from the procedure will take between three to four months, but he should be able to start work on his chipping and putting within a few weeks.

    Love, who missed the cut at the RSM Classic, said earlier in the week that his goal is to become the oldest PGA Tour winner and that the only way to achieve that was by having the surgery.

    “Now I’m excited that I’ve crossed that bridge,” said Love, who will turn 54 next April. “Once I get over that I can go right back to the Tour. I won after a spine fusion [2015 Wyndham Championship] and now I’d like to win with a new hip. That’s the reason I’m doing it so I can get back to golf and keep up.”

    LPGA awards: Ryu, S.H. Park tie for POY

    By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:56 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – In the end, the CME Group Tour Championship played out a lot like the entire 2017 season did.

    Parity reigned.

    Nobody dominated the game’s big season-ending awards, though Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park came close.

    Thompson walked away with the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the Vare Trophy for low scoring average. If she had made that last 2-foot putt at the 72nd hole Sunday, she might also have walked away with the Rolex Player of the Year Award and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Park shared the Rolex Player of the Year Award with So Yeon Ryu. By doing so, Park joined Nancy Lopez as the only players in LPGA history to win the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year titles in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park also won the LPGA money-winning title.

    Here’s a summary of the big prizes:

    Rolex Player of the Year
    Ryu and Park both ended up with 162 points in the points-based competition. Park started the week five points behind Ryu but made the up the difference with the five points she won for tying for sixth.

    It marks the first time the award has been shared since its inception in 1966.

    Ryu and Park join Inbee Park as the only South Koreans to win the award. Park won it in 2013.


    Vare Trophy
    Thompson won the award with a scoring average of 69.114. Sung Hyun Park finished second at 69.247. Park needed to finish at least nine shots ahead of Thompson at the CME Group Tour Championship to win the trophy.

    There were a record 12 players with scoring averages under 70.0 this year, besting the previous record of five, set last year.


    CME Globe $1 million prize
    Thompson entered the week first in the CME points reset, but it played out as a two-woman race on the final day. Park needed to finish ahead of Thompson in the CME Group Tour Championship to overtake her for the big money haul. Thompson tied for second in the tournament while Park tied for sixth.

    By winning the CME Group Tour Championship, Jutanugarn had a shot at the $1 million, but she needed Park to finish the tournament eighth or worse and Thompson to finish ninth or worse.


    LPGA money-winning title
    Park claimed the title with $2,335,883 in earnings. Ryu was second, with $1,981,593 in earnings.

    The tour saw a tour-record 17 players win $1 million or more this season, two more than did so last year.

    Ryu came into the week as the only player who could pass Park for the title, but Ryu needed to win to do so.


    Rolex world No. 1 ranking
    The top ranking was up for grabs at CME, with No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Sung Hyun Park and No. 3 So Yeon Ryu all within three hundredths of a ranking point. Even No. 4 Lexi Thompson had a chance to grab the top spot if she won, but in the end nobody could overtake Feng. Her reign will extend to a second straight week.


    Rolex Rookie of the Year
    Park ran away with the award with her U.S. Women’s Open and Canadian Pacific Women’s Open victories among her 11 top-10 finishes. She had the award locked up long before she arrived for the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.

    Ko ends first winless season with T-16 at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:07 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Lydia Ko carved a hybrid 3-iron to 15 feet and ended the most intensely scrutinized year of her young career with a birdie Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship.

    “Nice to finish the season on a high note,” Ko said after posting a 3-under-par 69, good for a tie for 16th. “Obviously, not a top-10 finish, but I played really solid. I feel like I finished the season off pretty strong.”

    Ko posted two second-place finishes, a third-place finish and a tie for fifth in her last eight starts.

    “Ever since Indy [in early September], I played really good and put myself in good positions,” Ko said. “I felt like the confidence factor was definitely higher than during the middle of the year. I had some opportunities, looks for wins.”

    Sunday marked the end of Ko’s first winless season since she began playing LPGA events at 15 years old.

    Let the record show, she left with a smile, eager to travel to South Korea to spend the next month with family after playing a charity event in Bradenton, Fla., on Monday.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    Much was made of Ko beginning the year with sweeping changes, with new equipment (PXG), a new coach (Gary Gilchrist) and a new caddie (Peter Godfrey).

    In the final summary, it wasn’t a Ko-like year, not by the crazy high standards she has set.

    She saw her run of 85 consecutive weeks at No. 1 end in June. She arrived in Naples holding on to the No. 8 ranking. She ends the year 13th on the LPGA money list with $1,177,450 in earnings. It’s the first time she hasn’t finished among the top three in money in her four full years on tour. She did log 11 top-10 finishes overall, three second-place finishes.

    How did she evaluate her season?

    “I feel like it was a better year than everyone else thinks, like `Lydia is in a slump,’” Ko said. “I feel like I played solid.

    “It's a season that, obviously, I learned a lot from ... the mental aspect of saying, `Hey, get over the bads and kind of move on.’”

    Ko said she learned a lot watching Stacy Lewis deal with her run of second-place finishes after winning so much.

    “Winning a championship is a huge deal, but, sometimes, it's overrated when you haven't won,” Ko said. “Like, you're still playing well, but just haven't won. I kind of feel like it's been that kind of year.

    “I think everybody has little ups and downs.”