Mickelson Garcia Kim come out firing

By Associated PressNovember 6, 2008, 5:00 pm
2006 HSBC ChampionsSHANGHAI, China ' Henrik Stenson shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday to take a one-shot lead after the first round of the HSBC Champions.
 
The Swede dropped a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th, putting him a shot ahead of four of the games top players: Sergio Garcia, Anthony Kim, defending champion Phil Mickelson and Australias Adam Scott.
 
Garcia nearly tied for the lead, but the Spaniard missed a four-foot eagle putt on the 18th.
 
Unfortunately, my putting stroke didnt feel as good as its been feeling lately, Garcia said. Maybe its the jet-lag or something.
 
Garcia is the worlds No. 3-ranked player behind Tiger Woods and Mickelson, and has a chance to move in to second if he finishes in the top three this week.
 
If he wins, the No. 2 spot is his. If Garcia finishes second, Mickelson needs to finish at least fourth to keep his spot. Mickelson will need to finish at least 15th if Garcia is third.
 
The important thing is that Im moving in the right direction, Garcia said. It will be nice to finish the year as No. 2, but if I dont, Im just going to come out next year going strong and try to keep playing well.
 
Mickelson said he seldom thinks about being ranked No. 2 behind Woods, or losing that spot to Garcia this week.
 
Thats the last thing that I really think about, other than trying to improve my game and be the best that I can be and hopefully the best in the world, he said. But I dont worry about the points system or the actual rankings themselves.
 
The HSBC event is being called Asias major, and there are suggestions it should become a World Golf Championships event. For now, its simply a $5 million tournament with 10 of the worlds top 20 playing.
 
An all-day drizzle combined with some heavy rain ' mixed with fog and Shanghai smog ' to limit visibility at the Sheshan Golf Club located just outside Chinas financial capital.
 
Stenson said at the 288-yard 16th he could see only contours of the green.
 
It was pretty hard to see at times, yeah, the Swede said. I thought there would have been a fog delay, or a smog delay.
 
Added Mickelson: Although it was difficult to see, it was very good scoring conditions.
 
Stenson opened with a bogey, but then dropped a 6-foot putt for an eagle on No. 2. He birdied the next three holes ' two with 15-foot putts ' and kept building momentum.
 
I was rolling it good on the greens, Stenson said. I think it was more being able to shoot a really good score without playing well.
 
Kim limped around the course after badly spraining his right ankle and bruising his jaw while horseback riding in the last few weeks. He said the horse raised up and as it came down, his mouth slammed shut as his mount hit the ground.
 
I dont know whats going on with it, Kim said of his jaw. I just cant open my mouth very wide.
 
My diet is pretty much limited to noodles, he added.
 
The HSBC Champions is the first event of the European Tour season that culminates a year from now in the Dubai World Championship. The European Tour has also rebranded the Order of Merit ' the season money title ' and now calls it the Race to Dubai.
 
The Dubai tournament will have a $10 million purse with $10 million more available in bonus money.
 
Several American-based players ' including Kim and Camilo Villegas of Colombia ' have recently joined the European Tour hoping to capitalize on the season-ending money prize.
 
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry