Westwood looks to overtake McIlroy in final leg of Race to Dubai

By Associated PressNovember 17, 2009, 10:37 pm

2009 European TourDUBAI, United Arab Emirates – After a disappointing performance in Hong Kong last week, Lee Westwood knows that victory in this week’s Dubai World Championship would clinch his second European Tour money title.

The final tournament in the Race to Dubai series starts Thursday with the Englishman seeking to overtake Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and win his first Order of Merit since 2000.

Westwood trails McIlory by $191,000 on the money list going into the $7.5 million tournament. Germany’s Martin Kaymer and England’s Ross Fisher are also in contention for the money title.

Westwood shot a final-round 74 on Sunday in the Hong Kong Open, his worst recorded score in 37 rounds stretching back to the U.S. Open at Bethpage in June.

If he wins in Dubai, he’ll collect a first-place prize of $1.25 million and the money crown. Westwood would earn an extra $1.5 million from the $7.5 million bonus pool which will be distributed among the top 15 in the money list.

“I will not be looking at the positions of the other three players in the Race during the tournament,” said Westwood, taking his first look Tuesday at the Greg Norman-designed Earth Course in a pro-am played as the desert heat reached 35 degrees (95 f). “I have come here to try to win the golf tournament and if I do everything will take care of itself after that.”

Westwood led the Race to Dubai before Hong Kong, where he finish in a tie for 54th place and McIlroy moved to the top of the money leaderboard by finishing second.

Westwood, who finished tied for third at both the British Open and PGA Championship, blamed his dip in form on the complex greens in Hong Kong.

“When I got to Fanling and took a look at that golf course I thought immediately that it was not the kind of golf course that suits me, so I have just put that to the back of my mind to try to play this one this week, which I think will suit me a bit better,” he said.

“In the grand scheme of things what happened last week is irrelevant, compared to what’s on for this week and the effect that a good performance here in Dubai could have.”

The 24-year-old Kaymer led the Race to Dubai in midsummer after producing back-to-back wins at the lucrative French and Scottish Opens.

But his chances slipped in August when he broke three small bones in his left foot in a go-karting accident near his American home in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Kaymer returned to competitive golf in late October and is now in third place on the list, trailing McIlroy by $307,000. He finished tied for second in his comeback at the Castello Masters and believes his golf is ready to challenge the two players ahead of him.

“My goal for my career has always been to be the best player in Europe and I have a really good chance,” Kaymer said. “My foot is only 80-90 percent healed by when I got back to playing golf in Castellon and played well there I knew I still had a chance of winning the Race to Dubai.”

The Dubai World Championship field was originally restricted to the top 60 players in the European money list at the end of the Hong Kong Open.

However, since England’s Paul Casey withdrew with a rib injury and Anthony Kim declined to participate citing tiredness at the end of a long season, only 58 players will tee up on Thursday.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title

Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open

Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59

Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63

Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut

Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club

Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth

The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ

Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year

And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win

Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.