Notes Lefty Linked to Riviera US World Cup Team

By Associated PressSeptember 11, 2007, 4:00 pm
ATLANTA -- For the first time in nearly two decades, the PGA TOUR is getting a new title sponsor for Riviera.
While the final details are still being worked out, a TOUR official and tournament organizer said that Bearing Point will become the new title sponsor of what began in 1926 as the Los Angeles Open.
The officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been announced.
Nissan was the presenting sponsor in 1987, and two years later became the title sponsor. The company last year moved its U.S. headquarters from southern California to Nashville, Tenn., which is one reason it wanted out of its contract with the PGA TOUR. The contract was to expire in 2010.
Bearing Point, based in McLean, Va., provides management and technology consulting services worldwide. It had been a candidate to become title sponsor at the now-defunct International in Colorado, but did not think it was a good fit.
Until now, Bearing Point's main involvement in golf has been an endorsement with Phil Mickelson, who wears the logo on his cap.
Still to be determined is what role Mickelson might have with Bearing Point at Riviera, although it likely will fall well short of Lefty serving as the official host. The only host in the 80-year history at Riviera was singer Glen Campbell.
Mickelson had gone six years without playing Riviera, but returned this year and had a one-shot lead playing the final hole until taking a bogey and losing in a playoff to Charles Howell III.
Arron Oberholser tied for fourth at the PGA Championship and went from 44th to 29th. And when he tied for second in the Deutsche Bank Championship, he moved up to No. 22.
He thought that was a positive development, nothing more.
Only when Oberholser got a phone call last week in Chicago did he realize the significance. And when five other Americans ranked ahead of him declined an invitation, Oberholser jumped at the chance to represent the United States in the World Cup.
'Are you kidding me? I got the call and was half in shock, to be honest with you,' Oberholser said Tuesday. 'The correlation between the world ranking and the World Cup didn't cross my mind. I wouldn't pass up something like this.'
The first thing he did was call Sean O'Hair and ask him to be his teammate. It will be the first World Cup for both of them. It will be held at Mission Hills Golf Club in China on Nov. 22-25.
The Deutsche Bank Championship was the last event before the U.S. team was determined based on the world ranking. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker and Masters champion Zach Johnson all declined.
Oberholser and O'Hair have become friends over the last year.
'We really enjoy playing with one another,' Oberholser said. 'I root for the kid very hard when I'm not playing. He's got a lot of talent and his maturity level impresses me to an extent I can't explain. To be 25 with two children and be so calm, cool and collected ... I couldn't find my rear end with a microscope when I was 25. He was on my short list of guys to take with me to China.'
Oberholser, meanwhile, had an MRI on his right hand Monday and found no breaks or tears. He said doctors assured him that with therapy, he'll be ready to play Oct. 18 at the Fry's Electronics Open in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The World Cup dates to 1953. The last U.S. victory was with Woods and David Duval in Argentina in 2000.
The only other time Oberholser played in Asia was 2004 at the Shinhan Korea Golf Championship, which he won.
'I'm hoping to go 2-0 in Asia,' he said.
David Toms left Cog Hill not certain if his 68-67 weekend would be enough to get into the Tour Championship, figuring he would either go to Atlanta or go duck hunting.
But he couldn't help notice the money list.
Toms is among four players who would have qualified for the TOUR Championship had it been based on the top 30 in earnings instead of the new FedExCup system in which points are awarded for each tournament. He is No. 26 on the money list with just over $2 million, but finished 33rd in the playoff standings.
'I'm not going to miss on money, but I'm missing on points,' Toms said. 'But I knew that going in. It's not like they just announced it.'
Toms started out the playoffs at No. 25, but missed the cut at The Barclays and withdrew from the Deutsche Bank Championship, both tournaments he ordinarily doesn't play. That was his only beef with the playoffs, a rotation of courses that suit some more than others.
'There are two golf courses I wouldn't go to on a regular basis,' he said. 'I had a bad attitude the first two weeks, and I played bad.'
This will be the first year he has missed the TOUR Championship since 1998.
Others who finished in the top 30 on the money list but outside the top 30 in FedExCup standings were Luke Donald, Henrik Stenson and Jerry Kelly. On the other side, Tim Clark, Jonathan Byrd, Heath Slocum and Camilo Villegas all are outside the top 30 on the money list and have a tee time at East Lake.
Zach Johnson has a chance at the TOUR Championship to enter the record books alongside Tom Watson.
Having won the Masters at Augusta National and the AT&T Classic outside Atlanta, Johnson will go for the hat trick at East Lake, which would make it a sweep of PGA Tour events in Georgia.
Watson won three times in the same state in 1980 -- the San Diego Open, Los Angeles Open and the Tournament of Champions when it was held at La Costa.
Johnson could not think of a better state than Georgia to sweep the TOUR events.
'Not with that one tournament about 120 miles east of here,' he said, referring to Augusta.
Steve Stricker has changed his mind about going to South Africa for the Nedbank Challenge. He was going to take 9-year-old Bobbi on the ultimate father-daughter trip, but then figured it was too far to go. Plus, he doesn't want to repeat his mistakes from 1996 when he played too much in the offseason. ... The Canadian Open will be played at Glen Abbey the next two years, with 2009 the 100th anniversary of golf's third-oldest championship. ... Stricker and Rory Sabbatini are the only players to record top 10s in the first three playoff events.
The top four players at the Wachovia Championship in May are the same four players atop the FedExCup standings going into the final event -- Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker, Phil Mickelson and Rory Sabbatini.
'There's still going to be a tournament. Somebody is going to finish first and somebody is going to finish 30th, and I know who the favorite is for that.' -- Mark Calcavecchia, who has finished in last place the past two weeks.
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.