Tiger Big Easy Open Strong in Dubai

By Associated PressFebruary 1, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 Dubai Desert ClassicDUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Ross Fisher and Graeme McDowell fired rounds of 7-under-par 65 Thursday to share the lead after the opening round of the Dubai Desert Classic.
World No. 1 and defending champion Tiger Woods posted a 4-under-par 68 and is tied for 10th after the opening round at Emirates Golf Club.
Ernie Els, a three-time winner of this event, is tied for third after carding a 66 Thursday. Els was joined at minus-6 by Jyoti Randhawa and Jose Manuel Lara.
Woods did not do much during his opening nine holes. He bogeyed the second, but atoned for that mistake with a birdie on three. After that, he cruised to six pars in a row.
The 31-year-old Woods, who won his seventh straight PGA TOUR start last weekend at the Buick Invitational, started to move up the leaderboard with back-to-back birdies from the 11th.
After chipping in for the second of those two birdies, Woods stumbled at the 12th. He came up short, left of the green with his approach and was unable to save par. Woods came right back with a birdie on 13 to get back to minus-2.
Woods drained a 14-foot birdie effort on the par-3 15th, then closed with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 18th to end three back.
'I hit the ball well today, a couple of loose ones with my irons, but overall I feel I had control of the ball,' stated Woods. 'I've just got to get organized on the greens. The greens themselves are absolutely perfect, you just have to get them started on line and I didn't do that very well today.'
Fisher started on the back nine and posted his first birdie at the 13th. He birdied three of four holes from the 15th to make the turn at minus-4.
The Englishman ran off three straight birdies from the second to get to minus- 7. Fisher faltered to a bogey on six, but erased that mistake with a birdie on eight. He parred the last for his share of the lead.
McDowell was just 1 under through nine with a birdie and eight pars on the front nine. He moved to minus-2 with a birdie on 10.
The Ulsterman eagled the 13th and birdied 14 to jump to 5 under. McDowell converted back-to-back birdie efforts from the 16th to tie Fisher in the lead.
'As far as my game is concerned, there are a lot of positives in there,' said McDowell. 'It is hard to put an exact number on it, but I would think it feels about 75 percent. But I do feel like many parts of my game have improved immensely and I'm very happy where it is right now.'
Miguel Angel Jimenez, a two-time runner-up here, carded a 5-under-par 67 Thursday. He was joined in a tie for sixth by Simon Dyson, Thongchai Jaidee and Phillip Price.
Woods stands alongside Raphael Jacquelin, Prom Meesawat, Darren Clarke, Cesar Monasterio, Marcel Siem, Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood at minus-4.
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    Snedeker starts slow in effort to snag Masters invite

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

    Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

    Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

    World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

    Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

    Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

    Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

    The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

    Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

    "I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

    Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

    Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

    Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.

    Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

    By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.

    Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

    Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

    Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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    LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

    The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

    LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

    "The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

    It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

    "He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."