Woods delivers final point to clinch Prez Cup for U.S.

By Doug FergusonOctober 6, 2013, 8:40 pm

DUBLIN, Ohio – The Presidents Cup ended Sunday the same way it always goes – an American celebration after Tiger Woods delivered the winning point.

Woods' back flared up on him again in the final hour at Muirfield Village. He still managed to hang on to beat Richard Sterne, 1 up, to give the Americans the 18 points they needed to win the Presidents Cup for the fifth straight time.

It was the third straight Presidents Cup that Woods won the cup-clinching match - all three with Fred Couples as the captain.

''It was a team effort this whole week,'' said Woods, who went 4-1 for the best record of any player. ''We really played well to give ourselves a nice lead.''

The biggest surprise was not so much the outcome – United States 18 1/2, International 15 1/2 – but that the matches ended without going to Monday.


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Rain interrupted the matches all week and made the course Jack Nicklaus built so soft that it was mere target practice for the best players in the world outside Europe. The fourth session of foursomes had to be completed Sunday morning because of the delays. That might have been the end of International hopes.

The Americans were 3 down in two matches and turned them into a win and a halve, giving them a 14-8 lead going into the final round. The Americans needed only to win four of the 12 singles matches to keep the gold trophy. It was a little harder than they imagined, though it was a long shot for the Internationals.

''It was a tall order, but they gave it their best shot. These guys played their tails off,'' International captain Nick Price said. ''We're a real hodge-podge of a team that came together from four corners of the planet. And they gave the might of America a run for their money.''

Even though the Americans clinched a tie with more than an hour left, it took until Woods in the ninth of 12 matches to secure the win.



''There was no intensity. We played and enjoyed the day and the people here in Columbus,'' Phil Mickelson said after he made four bogeys in the last five holes and lost a match that ultimately didn't matter to Angel Cabrera. ''I thought it was going to be closed out early. On 12 or 13, they said, 'Your match is going to count.' What? We ended up winning. That's all that matters.''

It looked like the rout was on early.

Hunter Mahan quickly dispatched of Hideki Matsuyama. Jason Dufner never trailed in beating Brendon De Jonge. Zach Johnson overwhelmed Branden Grace, keeping the South African winless for the week. That gave the Americans 17 points and assured them a tie. But it took more than an hour for them to clinch the cup thanks to a spirited effort by Price's team.

Graham DeLaet, who earlier Sunday chipped in from in front of the 18th green to help earn a half-point, holed out from a bunker on the 18th for birdie to give him a 1-up win over 20-year-old Jordan Spieth. Ernie Els made a 30-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole and won his match when Steve Stricker missed birdie putts on the last two holes.



Adam Scott and Jason Day won their matches, and Marc Leishman gave the Internationals yet another point when he made a 15-foot par from the back of the 18th green.

It figured to come down to Woods, who won despite not making a single birdie on the back nine.

He grabbed his back after trying to hit fairway metal into the par-5 15th green, though Sterne missed an 8-foot birdie putt to halve the hole. The match turned on the par-3 16th, when Sterne's tee shot cleared the water, the green and nearly the sky boxes. He made bogey as Woods went 1-up.

Woods chipped to a foot for par on the 17th. On the final hole, Sterne left himself a 50-foot birdie putt on the 18th that never came close. Woods rolled his 30-foot attempt to tap-in range, and Sterne conceded.

Webb Simpson conceded the 18th hole from the fairway – he was up against a tree – to halve his match with Louis Oosthuizen. Still, it was the fifth straight time the Americans have won by at least three points, dating to the famous tie in South Africa.

The Internationals have only won this event once since it began in 1994, and that was 15 years ago in Australia.

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Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

"Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.



The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”



Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.