Notes Tigers Design Team Jordans Ranking

By Associated PressMay 8, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 THE PLAYERSPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Among those watching Tiger Woods at the Wachovia Championship last week was Beau Welling, who used to be the top designer for Tom Fazio and played a big role in the redesign of Quail Hollow.
 
But his presence had more to do with the future.
 
Woods has hired Welling to do the work on Al Ruwaya in Dubai, the first golf course for Tiger Woods Design. The golf course is supposed to be done by September 2009.
 
Woods said Bryon Bell, whom he hired as president of Tiger Woods Design, found Welling after looking at the philosophies of various design companies.
 
'Beau fit what we wanted to have happen,' Woods said.
 
Dubai is the only course in which Woods is involved, and he did not say whether he would continue to use Welling for other projects.
 
Welling now has his own company, and golf course design is not his only interest. He recently was appointed president of the U.S. Curling Association.
 
ATHLETES AND GOLF
Golf Digest gleaned the USGA Golf Handicap and Information Network, talked to state associates and even the athletes themselves to come up with a list of the top athlete golfers for its June issue of the magazine.
 
Rick Rhoden, the baseball pitcher and leading money-winner on the Celebrity Players Tour, was No. 1 on the list with a plus-2.5 handicap, followed by former hockey player Ray Sheppard (plus 2.5) and former Green Bay Packer Sterling Sharpe (plus 2.4). The top 10 included six football players - three quarterbacks, two kickers and a wide receiver.
 
Michael Jordan was in a tie for 30th, while home run king Henry Aaron was tied for 209th. Of the 220 athletes in the ranking, football produced the most with 70 players. Six women made the list, led by tennis player Gigi Fernandez (1.6) in a tie for 36th.
 
PINK SPIKES
CHAMP Spikes has launched a 'Pink on the Links' program to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research, pledging donations on behalf of players who wear pink spikes on Mother's Day at The Players Championship on the PGA TOUR and at the Michelob Ultra Open on the LPGA Tour.
 
'This was a perfect opportunity for us to honor mothers everywhere and directly fund research to find a cure for a disease that affects so many women,' CHAMP president Harris MacNeill said.
 
More than a dozen players already were wearing the pink spikes at Sawgrass, including two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal, two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen, Justin Leonard, Chad Campbell and Corey Pavin.
 
DIVOTS
The Memorial has given sponsors' exemptions to John Daly and tour rookie Kyle Reifers, who used to caddie at Muirfield Village when he was in high school. ... The Women's British Open has a new title sponsor (Ricoh) and will continue to play mostly links. It will be held for the first time this year at St. Andrews, along with Royal Lytham & St. Annes in 2009 and Royal Birkdale in 2010. It likely will go to Sunningdale next year. ... Jim Colbert is famous for telling guys who complain to 'Play better.' Jeff Sluman put a new wrinkle on that phrase when he said last week of various PGA TOUR policies, 'Nothing has ever been done out here that has held a great player back.' ... A report by Deloitte & Touche says the Irish economy received a $194.6 million boost from the Ryder Cup. The report said spectators spent 60 percent more than they did four years ago at The Belfry in England.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK
John Daly has shot 80 or higher 50 times on the PGA TOUR. Arnold Palmer had 48 rounds in the 80s during his career, but only 11 of them before he turned 50.
 
FINAL WORD
'I can see it from my house in Orlando.' - Charles Howell III, on the new clubhouse at the TPC Sawgrass.
 
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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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    Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

    What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

    Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    “I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

    McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

    He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

    Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

    “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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    Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

    Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

    Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

    Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

    Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

    Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.