Notes: Fernandez-Castano moving to America

By Doug FergusonNovember 5, 2013, 10:13 pm

COMING TO AMERICA: Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano is not just bringing his game to the United States. Like other Europeans who are taking up PGA Tour membership, he's bringing the whole family. He is moving Dec. 4 from Madrid to Miami with his wife and three young children.

The 33-year-old Spaniard chose Miami mainly because his swing coach, Mariano Bartolome, lives there and works out of Doral. But what makes Fernandez-Castano stand out from other Europeans moving to Florida is that golf was not at the top of his priority list.

''It's a very Spanish place and a city I like a lot,'' Fernandez-Castano said. ''There's a lot of Spanish people. It's a city I've always enjoyed, and also you've got a lot of direct flights to Madrid. So it will easy for my family, my in-laws, anyone who wants to come visit.''

He has found a school near their new home in Key Biscayne. Still to be determined is a golf course to practice. He has heard about Crandon Park, not far from where he will live, though he has yet to see it.

''I have to say, when I chose Miami, I wasn't thinking so much about the golf itself. I was thinking more about the family,'' he said. ''In Florida, there are golf courses everywhere. There are a lot of choices. But I wasn't thinking about the golf.''

He said his family – children 4, 3 and 1 – are excited about the move.

''The only time they have been to the U.S. was last year after Bay Hill,'' he said. ''They came and we went to Disney World. They believe they're going to be living with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck and Pluto.''


FIVE MORE YEARS: Farmers Insurance stepped in at the last minute in 2010 when the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines risked going without a sponsor.

Now the company is in for the long haul.

Farmers Insurance and the Century Club of San Diego, which runs the tournament, announced Tuesday that it will extend its title sponsorship for five more years through 2019. The new agreement starts after next year's tournament in January.

That will give Farmers a 10-year run at Torrey Pines, which previously had Buick as a title sponsor for 18 years until the downturn in the auto industry.

Tiger Woods is the defending champion, winning last year for the seventh time. He also won a U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in 2008, the last of his 14 majors.

Along with typically attracting the game's two biggest stars – Woods and Phil Mickelson – the tournament has one of the larger fields on the West Coast swing because it uses the North and South courses at Torrey Pines.


RACE TO DUBAI: Ernie Els was among those irritated by the European Tour policy that forces its members to play in at least two of three ''Final Series'' events leading to the season-ending World Tour Championship in Dubai.

Els has decided not even to bother with Dubai.

''We used to play seven events and you could keep your card in Europe,'' he said. ''Now you have to play more than in America, which is the direction they're going in. I just think it's the wrong one. I've just got to reassess what's going to happen. In my view, it's an absolute joke. I've been a member of the tour for 20 years and they're making it impossible to keep playing.''

Els could have skipped an appearance fee in Macau, though it still puts a burden on players to play a global schedule.

The European Tour already was stung by the mandatory starts when Joost Luiten hit one tee shot in the BMW Masters to give himself a chance to be eligible, though it kept Justin Walters out of the tournament.

Els said the European Tour didn't care when asked how it responded to his criticism.

That might not be true. The tour is said to be reviewing the policy for next year, especially in light of players with families in America and a worldwide schedule.


WGC SWEEP: The United States captured a Grand Slam of sorts in the World Golf Championships by winning all four of them this year.

Matt Kuchar won the Accenture Match Play Championship. Tiger Woods won the Cadillac Championship and Bridgestone Invitational. Dustin Johnson made it a clean sweep by winning the HSBC Champions.

It's the first time Americans have swept the WGCs since 2005 (David Toms won Match Play, Woods won the other two). The other sweeps were in 2001 (Woods and Steve Stricker - the other was cancelled by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks) and in 1999 when they began (Jeff Maggert at Match Play, Woods the other two).

As for the real slam?

The Americans last won all four majors in the same season in 1982 – Craig Stadler (Masters), Tom Watson (both Opens) and Raymond Floyd (PGA).


DIVOTS: Phil Mickelson had his old Ping Eye-2 lob wedge in his bag at the HSBC Champions. It's the same wedge he used in 2010 with square grooves no longer approved by the USGA. An exception is made for this wedge because it was made before April 1, 1990. ... Jim ''Bones'' Mackay was awarded ''Caddie of the Year'' during the HSBC Champions caddie night. His boss, Phil Mickelson, won three times this year, including the British Open ... The Volvo Golf Champions in South Africa is raising its purse to $4 million, making it even more attractive for European players in a Ryder Cup year. It's the first European Tour event of 2014. ... The LPGA Tour has signed a four-year extension that keeps the popular Kingsmill Championship on the schedule through 2017. It will feature a $1.3 million purse when it is played May 15-18. ... Graham DeLaet and Jonas Blixt have been added to the field of the Franklin Templeton Shootout next month in Naples, Fla. Chad Campbell also will be playing as the replacement for Stewart Cink, who withdrew. ... Jason Day, Billy Horschel and Boo Weekley will represent the PGA Tour in the Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge to be played Nov. 12 at Rio Secco in Las Vegas. ... Rory McIlroy won the match. When it comes to an auction, however, Tiger Woods is no match. A driver signed by Woods went for $45,600 after their duel at Mission Hills. McIlroy's driver that he signed went for $13,100.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Justin Rose and Graeme McDowell are the only players from Europe's winning Ryder Cup team at Medinah who have won tournaments this year.


FINAL WORD: ''It's always a tricky thing when you're a young guy. You might think you're good and you find out you're not that good. Or they find out they're better than they think they are.'' - Thomas Bjorn.

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Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.