Strange Torrance in Different Venue
Ryder Cup captains Curtis Strange of America and Sam Torrance of Europe held a conference call Tuesday in which they spoke of many issues surrounding the UBS Warburg Cup, of which they are both playing members. Both agreed that the basics of the Ryder Cup ' the United States playing against a continent or against the rest of the world - is an idea whose appeal will never get old.
Everyone loves it, said Torrance. The players love it, the press loves it, the spectators love it, the sponsors love it. They are great events when you are up against another country. You represent country and its international golf. Its very exciting.
Strange said that people enjoy us versus them. Its the patriotism which does it, as much as anything.
This actually will be a little different, but the formats the same, he said. And you know, when you see the players not playing for anything but theyre so into it, and showing their emotions more than they ever do, you know for the fans, they see that and its hard not to enjoy it.
The UBS Warburg Cup, to be played the week of Nov. 12-18, will be a different format in that each side has six players from ages 40-49 and six players that are over 50. Teams are not required to match up the under-50 players with the over-50s, and any two-man team may play against any other two-man (or one-man, as in the case of singles) team, as long as it involves opposing sides.
Torrance says the partnership is the key to the whole thing. Its not just you out there against the golf course and the whole field. Youve got 11 other guys on your side and you have team chats during the night and you all get together during the week. You can make some great friendships out of it, too. You build up a team atmosphere. I think its instilled in every golfer in life, he said.
The Ryder Cup matches were postponed followed the tragedies of Sept. 11, and Strange doesnt think this event serves as a replacement. The UBS Warburg Cup is the UBS Warburg Cup, he says. The fact that it is being held in the year that the Ryder Cup matches were postponed is strictly coincidence.
This being played now, people have moved on, people have gone abroad, people have continued on with the encouragement of the President of the United States to continue their normal way of life, said Strange. This is far enough removed where I guess everyone feels okay about going ahead and playing.
Its original, said Torrance, its a great idea, and they (the captains) get to pick who plays against whom.
But what if, say, Torrance played against Strange? Surely the two Ryder Cup captains playing against each other would be an amazing coincidence. Wouldnt it?
Dont bet against it, said Strange.
Torrance chuckled at the thought. He recalled a Shells Wonderful World of Golf match a couple of months ago which matched himself and Strange. He also remembered who lost.
I definitely want to play Curtis, he said.
Curtis laughed. Why?
I want my revenge, said Torrance. Ive been working hard on my game already for him.
Strange took the bait, at least humorously.
OK ' so basically youre saying you want me, right?
Torrance laughed now. Naw, I didnt say that. Youre too good to say that. Id just like a chance of revenge.
Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake
Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.
While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.
“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.
Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.<
DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi
Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.
“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”
Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).
“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.”
Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.
Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace).
“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”
Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi
What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.
Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.
McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.
He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.
McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65).
Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds.
“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”
Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder
Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.
Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.
Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:
Filling in tomorrow for Corey Pavin that WD today @cbgolfchallenge I do things like this a lot to help events and asking for sponsors exemptions here but didn't get any help.— Ken Duke (@DukePGA) January 18, 2018
Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.
Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.