What is the UBS Warburg Cup
The United States is one team, the Rest Of The World is the other. The 24 men will meet in St. Simons Island, Ga., on Nov. 15 to begin three days of festivities and competition. One team will be victorious, but the only real winner will be friendship and the sport of golf itself.
Check out the Day 1 matches
The teams are each made up of six players age 40-49 and six players age 50 and over, making up the two squads of 12 players who will compete against each other. They will play six foursome (alternate shot) matches the first day, six four-ball (better ball) matches the second day, and 12 singles matches the third day Sunday.
Arnold Palmer, recently turned 73 years old but is still an active player, captains the U.S. team. Gary Player, who is 66, leads the Rest Of The World into play.
Check out each team's full lineup
Palmer heads up a team saturated with former Ryder Cuppers. Included in the number are Hale Irwin, the Senior PGA Tours all-time victory champion and all-time leading money winner. Recent U.S. Ryder Cup captain Curtis Strange also is a competitor, as well as Tom Watson and Raymond Floyd of the Senior Tour and Tom Lehman, Scott Hoch, Mark OMeara and Paul Azinger of the PGA Tour.
The remainder of the U.S. team will be the Senior Tours leading money winner on Oct. 27, one player from the PGA Tour who is under 50, and one special invitation for a player 50 or over.
Players team is led by Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer and Ian Woosnam, three mainstays of the European Ryder Cup for years. Sam Torrance, the European Ryder Cup captain this year, is on the Warburg team. Rodger Davis and Stewart Ginn of Australia, Isao Aoki of Japan and Eduardo Romero of Argentina will also play.
Completing the visiting squad will the top two on the European Senior Tour money list and one special invitation of a player 40-49.
Stranges U.S. Ryder Cup team lost to Torrance and the Europeans when both were captains recently. Now, they good-naturedly will have another go at it with Strange and Torrance not relegated merely to administrative duties, but an actual duel with drivers and 5-irons. Torrance brings his assistant, Woosie, and a key player in Langer, while Strange will try to even things up with Hoch and Azinger.
The 2001 UBS Warburg Cup was won by the U.S. in a razor-thin 12 1/2 - 11 1/2 matchup. The American win was highlighted by Palmer defeating Player in the singles match in a duel of the two captains. Captains Player and Palmer are again scheduled to play a singles match in the 2002 edition.
The 2001 matches were played at the Kiawah Island (S.C.) Ocean Course, where 10 years earlier the U.S. grabbed a narrow Ryder Cup win when Langers putt on hole No. 18 slid by the hole. Last year Langer played Irwin, also his opponent that September day in 1991, and the two tied their match this time. It was the same result as at Kiawah when the tie meant America would take the Cup.
Memories were alive and well all over as Mark Calcavecchia, who was tied by Colin Montgomerie after leading by four with just four holes to go in the 91 Ryder Cup, won this time. He outdueled Woosman, 2-and-1, stiffing an iron to eight feet on the 17th. Calcavecchia had sent a ball into the water on that hole in his loss in 91.
'Mark answered any questions on 17 when he hit a great shot like that,' said Woosnam. 'I dont mind losing to that.'
The international team led, 7-5, after the first two days, but couldnt quite hold off the Americans in the singles.
The Golf Channel will devote 52 hours of worldwide coverage to the UBS Warburg Cup. Seventeen hours of competition will be televised live on TGC, which is viewed in 50 million homes.
The matches will be televised lived from 9 AM ET to 2:30 PM ET Friday and Saturday. Singles matches on Sunday will be televised live from 9 AM to 3 PM ET. Same-day re-airs will be shown in their entirety during prime time. There will be replays the following week on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
The golf world will be watching when two dozen people go back to a special kind of friendship for the week.
'This is getting back to the original of the Ryder Cup 75 years ago,' said Faldo. 'Twenty-four guys, who all respect each other as golfers, all play like hell on the golf course and then we all go sit back and chat and tell some good bar stories.'
Such is the UBS Warburg Cup. Competition? Sure. But more than that, it is about lifelong friendships and pure sportsmanship.
Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead
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."
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.
Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore
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.''
13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest
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.
McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi
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.
“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.