Kim concedes nothing in rout over Garcia

By Associated PressSeptember 21, 2008, 4:00 pm
Ryder CupLOUISVILLE, Ky. ' From the moment Anthony Kim stepped on the first green and saw two golf balls within 2 feet of the cup, he made it clear he wasnt going to give Sergio Garcia anything Sunday in the Ryder Cup.
Good, good? Garcia asked, suggesting they concede the birdies.
Lets putt them, Kim replied.
Garcia rapped in his short birdie, and as he plucked his ball from the cup, picked up Kims coin.
Anthony Kim
Anthony Kim routed Sergio Garcia to set the tone for Americans' Sunday triumph. (Getty Images)
That set the tone for a testy opening match at Valhalla in which the only thing Kim gave Garcia was his worst loss in the Ryder Cup. Kim rarely conceded any putt and closed out Garcia with an 8-foot par on the 14th to win, 5 and 4.
Sergio and I are good friends and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him, Kim said. Hes a great player and a great guy. But out there, were out there to do business, and we battled all day. And now we can start being friends again.
It was an intriguing pairing between two of the best young players in golf: Garcia, the 28-year-old Spaniard who won The Players Championship and Kim, a 23-year-old from Los Angeles who won the Wachovia Championship and AT&T National.
They played the first two rounds of the PGA Championship and appeared to enjoy their time together. Kim, however, made it clear that he wanted a shot at Europes best Ryder Cup player and was disappointed when he and Phil Mickelson didnt get Garcia and Lee Westwood in the opening match Friday.
Kim got his wish Sunday, and played like it.
He birdied the second hole from 3 feet to take the lead, then Garcia returned the silence on No. 4. The Spaniard pitched up to 2 feet, and Kim conceded the putt. Kim then pitched up to 2 1/2 feet and was forced to putt. Garcia walked to the back of the green and turned his back on Kim, walking off when he heard the cheer.
It got even testier on the sixth when Garcias tee shot tumbled off the fairway into grass so thick that it eventually was found by European vice captain Jose Maria Olazabal, and not until Garcia finished his 280-yard walk from the tee.
Garcia could barely see the ball, but he asked rules official John Paramor for relief because to play back to the fairway, his left heel would be touching the cement stairs.
Kim was skeptical.
First, he asked Paramor that if Garcia got a drop to play back to the fairway, if he then would be allowed to play over the creek and toward the green. Then, he questioned the relief.
Is it a normal stance when your foot goes behind you? he asked.
He shook his head and said to Paramor, Youve gotta do what you gotta do, then walked down the stairs.
Garcia ultimately decided to take an unplayable lie, hit to 15 feet and missed the par putt as Kim went 3 up. If that was meant to rattle Kim, it didnt work. On the par-5 seventh, Kim hit a 3-iron just right of the green. Garcia felt a blast of wind, changed clubs, but his ball went high and came down short into the water as the crowd cheered. Kim, walking down the opposite fairway, waved his arms to encourage chants of U-S-A!
Then, Garcia hit into the water again.
The Spaniard walked toward the green. Kim stood over his chip, not sure what to do as he looked back at Garcia walking up the fairway. Paramor finally asked Garcia if he was conceding the hole and Garcia smiled, shrugging his shoulders as if to say, What else can I do.
As they walked off the eighth tee, Garcia asked Paramor why he would ask such a thing.
You could have said you were walking up to identify your ball, Paramor replied.
Garcia had a 5-foot birdie putt on the par-3 eighth with his best chance to win a hole. Kim was in the bunker, and blasted out to 6 feet. Kim made his par, Garcia missed, and the match was headed to an early conclusion.
Garcia lagged a long putt on the 11th hole to just inside 3 feet and looked toward Kim, but the American again refused to concede. And this time, Garcia missed to fall even further behind.
Kim was so excited with his par putt on the 14th that he didnt realize he had won the match.
I wanted to come out here and give the fans what they wanted to see, Kim said. I got chills up my spine the whole day.
Garcia, virtually unbeatable in team play, fell to 1-4-0 in singles. His only victory came against Phil Mickelson in 2004. This was the first time in his five Ryder Cups that he failed to win a match.
It was a hard day because I played against a guy that played awesome, Garcia said. Its hard when youre in those kind of situations, but unfortunately I just couldnt get anything right today.
Related Links:
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  • European Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • Full Coverage - 37th Ryder Cup
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    Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

    New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

    The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

    "Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

    It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

    Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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    Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

    SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

    Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

    He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

    Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

    Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.

    The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

    ''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

    Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

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

    Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

    ''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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    13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

    Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

    Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

    “An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”

    Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

    Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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    McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

    It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

    Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

    Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    “I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

    Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

    “Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

    This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.