Tiger and Ernie Question Dubai Norman Gets Yacht
A year ago, Els defeated Woods by two shots at Doral. This year, the tournaments are held the same week, March 6-9.
They are committed to play Dubai, located in the United Arab Emirates. That could change drastically if the United States moves closer to war with Iraq.
'I wouldn't say he's absolutely going to play or not going to play. He still intends to play,' said Mark Steinberg, Woods' agent at IMG. 'We are monitoring and critically analyzing the situation. We'll be talking to intelligent people. This will not be just a 'Tiger and Mark' decision.'
Els, the defending champion at Dubai, is taking the same approach.
'Obviously, we'll wait and see,' he said. 'I'm not going in there with missiles flying around.'
Els has a good source for information. He is friends with Tom Fargo, commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Command. They played in the pro-am at Dubai several years ago, and Els visits each time he's in Hawaii.
What has Fargo told him?
'I can't tell you, man,' Els said with a big smile. 'Top secret.'
AUSSIE RULES: Nothing is ever too grandiose for Greg Norman, especially when it comes to yachts.
The Shark took delivery Tuesday of the latest version of 'Aussie Rules,' a 285-foot craft that was said to cost $70 million and is the world's largest aluminum motor yacht.
'There are many interesting and unique design features that will place Aussie Rules at the top of her category when she is seen in cruising destinations throughout the world,' Norman said.
Unique might be an understatement.
The yacht has seven auxiliary boats, two hyperbaric chambers and a $1 million home theater. Optional extras include a gym, several jet skis, an outdoor span and a tackle room with 200 fishing rods.
Oceanfast in Western Australia built the craft, which required three years and more than 300 workers.
WASTED TRIP: Carl Petterson of Sweden was hopeful of a glorious debut on the PGA Tour.
The higher-ranked newcomers on tour are usually assured of a spot in the 144-man field at the Sony Open, and Petterson was the first alternate.
Figuring he was a shoo-in, the Swede booked his flight from North Carolina (he went to N.C. State), then spent the next four days waiting -- and waiting. Petterson was on the putting green until 1 p.m. Thursday, when it was clear no one was going to withdraw.
He flew home the next day.
'It was a waste of time,' Petterson said.
DIVOTS: The Byron Nelson Classic won't have Tiger Woods this year, but it will have one of the richest purses on the PGA Tour. Total prize money has been raised to $5.6 million, and the winner will get $1,008,000. It's the ninth straight year the Nelson has increased its prize money. ... Retief Goosen says he might skip the Match Play Championship, depending on how close wife Tracy is to having their first child. ...
STAT OF THE WEEK: Ernie Els is 47 under par after two PGA Tour events. Last year, it took him until the British Open (48 under) to get that far under par for the season.
FINAL WORD: 'Sometimes I talk loudly, I yell, I get excited and everyone gives me dirty looks. It bothers me a bit, but I still find golf an exceptional sport.' -- Former Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.
Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.
The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates. And click here for the full collection of articles.
No. 1: Dec. 18