Notes Daly Update Tiger Slayer Winding Down
Daly pulled out of the Bard Capital two weeks ago in Las Vegas, and he also was forced to withdraw from the Target World Challenge, the richest event in the silly season.
His agent, Bud Martin at SFX Sports, has been in Australia the last 10 days and is still trying to figure out what happened. But he spoke to Daly, and said the prognosis is good.
'John said it was a freak accident,' Martin said. 'He should be able to putt and chip in a few days, and he expects a full recovery. All the strength will come back, and there is nothing that will jeopardize anything in 2006.'
Daly, one of the few Americans who travels abroad, will start next year on the European tour at a new tournament in Abu Dhabi, which is Jan. 19-22. Martin said he did not know if Daly would return the following week at the Buick Invitational, where he won in a playoff two years ago.
European captain Ian Woosnam might want to consider matching David Howell against Tiger Woods in the Ryder Cup.
The 30-year-old from England has scored better than Woods in four of the five times they have played each other over the last two years. The first occasion was in the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic last year, where Howell shot 67 to tie for third (Woods shot 68). More notably, they were in the last group at the HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai last month, when Howell had a one-shot lead and won by three.
They were paired twice last week at the Target World Challenge, and Howell got him both times -- 68-72 in the second round, and 70-73 in the final round.
Told that he was 4-1 against him head-to-head, Howell smiled and said, 'I knew that's where you were going.'
He was quick to add, 'He beat me when it mattered -- by 11 shots.'
That was the third round at the Masters, when Woods shot 65 to take the lead and Howell posted a 76.
In case anyone was wondering if golf had an offseason, the South African Open and the Okinawa Open this week will be the final events of the year that count toward the world ranking.
Golf takes a two-week break before resuming Jan. 5-8 with the Mercedes Championships at Kapalua on the PGA Tour and the Royal Trophy in Asia, matches between Europe and Asia.
Ernie Els, coming off a victory at the Dunhill Championship in South Africa, is expected to play in his third straight tournament since returning from knee surgery in late July. The Big Easy wanted to see how his knee responded before deciding to play.
The Okinawa Open figures to get the biggest buzz because 19-year-old Ai Miyazato, who won the LPGA Tour qualifying tournament by a record 12 shots, will make her debut against the men.
'I hope to make the cut,' she said after Q-school.
This also is the last week to collect world ranking points, which is important because the Masters invites the top 50 in the final world ranking published in 2005.
Stephen Ames, not otherwise eligible for the Masters, is holding down the 50th spot this week. Paul Casey is No. 51, and Graeme McDowell is 53rd. None are playing this week, and all of them are expected to finish the year outside the top 50 from gradually losing points over 13-week intervals.
Every player from No. 45 (Brandt Jobe) through No. 58 (Steve Elkington) already has qualified for the Masters.
Luke Donald's victory in the Target World Challenge made him king of the silly season.
Donald only played three tournaments in the silly season -- those that do not count toward the world ranking -- but they featured the biggest purses -- the World Cup, the Nedbank Challenge and Target.
His victory Sunday brought his total to $1,775,000, not a bad offseason considering Donald earned $2,336,695 in 17 tournaments on the PGA Tour.
Jim Furyk finished No. 2 on the unofficial, silly season money list with $1,405,000 in two events, $1.2 million coming from his victory in Sun City. Right behind was Fred Funk, who cashed in on his biggest year by playing in five events and earning $1,349,250.
The only other millionaire in the silly season was Darren Clarke, who lost in a playoff at Sun City and was runner-up at Target to earn $1,233,000 in his two events. Rounding out the top five was Kenny Perry, who played three times and won $790,000.
Fred Couples, who usually cashes in this time of the year, had one of his poorer silly seasons, although it was not from a lack of effort. Couples played four times and earned $485,000, placing him 14th on the list.
Southern Hills will host the 2007 PGA Championship, then the 2010 U.S. Amateur. That will make it three major events in 10 years at the classic course in Tulsa, Okla. ... For the sixth straight year, the Byron Nelson Championship raised more money for charity ($6.06 million) than any other PGA Tour event. ... Sergio Garcia and Bruce Lietzke will be player consultants on the two courses being designed at the TPC of San Antonio. Garcia will work with Greg Norman, while Lietzke will consult with Pete Dye.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Tiger Woods would have finished at No. 8 on the PGA Tour money list based on his earnings from the four major championships.
'I never questioned my golf.' -- Colin Montgomerie, who has climbed to No. 9 in the world ranking after dropping as low as No. 83.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field
Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.
Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.
In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.
Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.
After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth.
Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation.
Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder
Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.
He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.
“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”
After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).
Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129.
The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.
Landry stays hot, leads desert shootout at CareerBuilder
LA QUINTA, Calif. – Andrew Landry topped the crowded CareerBuilder Challenge leaderboard after another low-scoring day in the sunny Coachella Valley.
Landry shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course to reach 16 under. He opened with a 63 on Thursday at La Quinta Country Club.
Jon Rahm, the first-round leader after a 62 at La Quinta, was a stroke back. He had two early bogeys in a 67 on the Nicklaus layout.
Jason Kokrak was 14 under after a 67 at Nicklaus. Two-time major champion Zach Johnson was 13 under along with Michael Kim and Martin Piller. Johnson had a 64 at Nicklaus.
Landry, Rahm, Kokrak and Johnson will finish the rotation Saturday at PGA West's Stadium Course, also the site of the final round.
Mickelson 'displeased' with iron play; 10 back
All of Phil Mickelson’s offseason work on his driver has paid off through two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge.
His iron play? Not as sharp, and it’s the reason why he heads into the weekend 10 shots off the lead.
“I’ve been pretty pleased, overall, with the way I’ve been driving the ball, and very displeased with the way my iron game has been,” said Mickelson, who shot 68 Friday on PGA West’s Nicklaus course. He has hit only 21 of 36 greens so far this week. “Usually my iron play is a lot better than what it’s been. So I’ll go work on it and hopefully improve each round in this tournament and build a solid foundation for the upcoming West Coast events.
“I feel like if I continue to drive the ball the way I am, and if I got my iron play back to my normal standard, I should have the results that I’ve been expecting.”
Mickelson, of course, is always bullish this time of year, but he has been able to find 10 of 14 fairways each of the past two rounds, including at narrower La Quinta Country Club, which doesn’t always fit his eye.
“This is actually the best I’ve driven it in a lot of years,” he said.
Currently in a tie for 67th, Mickelson will need a solid round on the more difficult Stadium course Saturday to ensure that he makes the 54-hole cut. He hasn’t missed a cut in his first West Coast event of the new year since 2009.