Tiger Has Sights Set on a Dubai Double

By Associated PressJanuary 31, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 Dubai Desert ClassicDUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- A victory at the Dubai Desert Classic won't count toward Tiger Woods' streak of seven straight wins on the U.S. PGA TOUR.
That doesn't mean Woods came halfway around the world to finish second.
'It's very simple,' he said Wednesday. 'Whatever tournament I enter I'm going to try and win it, plain and simple.'
Thomas Bjorn and Ernie Els
Thomas Bjorn and Ernie Els are two players hoping to deny Woods a repeat win. (WireImage)
The Dubai tournament, which starts Thursday with a field that includes Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Paul Casey, won't affect the streak because it's a PGA European Tour event.
Woods needs five more U.S. tour wins to beat Byron Nelson's record of 11 straight.
'I feel good about where I'm headed, the understanding I have of my game and my swing,' Woods said, three days after winning the Buick Invitational. 'It's always good to get another 'W' under the belt.'
Despite the tough competition in Dubai, Woods said he worries only about his own game.
'I see where I stack up going into Sunday and then you start looking around at what's going on,' he said. 'But there's 72 holes, and I have a lot of things I need to take care of before I start thinking about anybody else.'
Woods, who gets a huge appearance fee for playing in Dubai, praised the course at the Emirates Golf Club.
'They have the golf course in perfect shape,' he said. 'It's going to be, I'm sure, some pretty low scores out there considering how good the greens are.'
Els, who won in Dubai in 1994, 2002 and '05, knows Woods is his main competition.
'The way he's playing now, every week, he's the one to beat,' Els said. 'You can't go head-to-head against him. You've got to have your own goals. But I'd like to win some more tournaments with him in them.'
The Dubai Desert Classic is the last of three straight tournaments in the Gulf region, after the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship and the Qatar Masters. Goosen won in Qatar last week and Casey took the title in Abu Dhabi.
Former Dubai champions Mark O'Meara, David Howell and Colin Montgomerie are also in the field, along with Greg Norman, Sergio Garcia, Darren Clarke, Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood and Thomas Bjorn.
Still, everyone expects the final round to come down to Woods and Els, who first won in Dubai as a 23-year-old unknown.
'I didn't know who I was. And nobody else did, for that matter,' said Els, who finished two strokes behind Goosen last week in Qatar. 'I felt the juices flowing there last week. I've always felt confident around here. I'm at the start of my season. I'm fresh. I want to play.'
Some players, like Garcia and Montgomerie, plan to visit the sites of courses they are designing.
Woods said he's got a few other 'business meetings' in Dubai, but declined to elaborate. Els spent Tuesday evening at a South African steakhouse promoting his Ernie Els label of South African wines.
Norman, who is also designing a Dubai course, said he hasn't touched a golf club in more than a month.
'I don't have the motivation that I used to, to go out and practice 10 hours a day,' Norman said. 'Hitting golf balls isn't good for me. It beats me up pretty good.'
Dubai is considered the world's fastest growing city. When Els first won the 1993 Classic, the Emirates Golf Club sat alongside a two-lane road that drifted off into the empty desert dunes.
Now the course is surrounded by million-dollar mansions and shimmering skyscrapers. The sound of jackhammers drifts across the course, as does the roar of trucks on the road, now 12-lanes wide.
'It's looking like the New York skyline a bit now,' Woods said of the row of half-built skyscrapers rising behind the eighth hole.
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    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm