Westwood Kaymer tussle for No 1 in Qatar Masters

By Associated PressFebruary 2, 2011, 6:08 pm

2009 European Tour

DOHA, Qatar – Lee Westwood will defend his No. 1 world ranking against Martin Kaymer when they tee off in the Qatar Masters on Thursday.

Westwood, who in October replaced Tiger Woods at the top, needs to finish second if the No. 2-ranked Kaymer wins the tournament.

Kaymer, who won last month’s Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, could still claim No. 1 for the first time with a second-place finish as long as Westwood finishes no higher than 22nd.

It will be the first time since 1993 that the world’s top two golfers go head-to-head in a European Tour event, a fact that Westwood said was the latest sign of just how good European golf was at the moment.

“It’s obviously nice for us and for European golf that, you know, that 1 and 2 in the world are here at this tournament and both European,” Westwood said. “That just shows the strength of the European Tour now, the kind of fields that we have attracted in the first few weeks of the year.”

After his 64th in Abu Dhabi, Westwood said he wants a better showing, along with an improvement on third place in Qatar last year.

“The rough is up, and the greens certainly are very firm this year. So I think they have set it up well and it looks like a tough test ahead,” he said. “Obviously, I played well last year. I have to contend with a few different things. Smashed my driver on Saturday when I was just in the lead. Hopefully it will all go to plan this week and I’ll do better than third.”

Kaymer downplayed the tussle for No. 1, insisting he was looking only to play well in Doha and continue the good form that saw him win Abu Dhabi by eight shots.

“You know to be honest, it doesn’t really change anything,” he said. “My goal is not to become the No. 1 in the world right now.

For me it’s just important to play tournaments, to play as good as I can in those tournaments, winning those tournaments, and then you know, if I take care of that, then yes, I will become No. 1, one day.”

Westwood and Kaymer will also be keeping an eye on American Steve Stricker who is making his Middle East debut along with defending champion Robert Karlsson, who has played some of his best golf of late in the Gulf.

The Swede won the European Tour’s season-ending Dubai World Championship and was fifth in Abu Dhabi.

“If you have a look at previous winners on most of the desert courses it is definitely set up for the longer hitters in general,” Karlsson said. “If you look at Abu Dhabi, a lot of long hitters won there. I don’t know if it’s the special setup of the golf courses or what it is, but the greens usually play pretty firm; so it’s good to be closer to the greens.”

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

 

 

Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.