Photos of the Week

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 30, 2009, 10:52 pm

NOT QUITE JAIL ... BUT CLOSE: Australia's Geoff Ogilvy finds himself in a bit of trouble at the Australian Open in Sydney. (Getty Images)

Lee Westwood 

TOOTHACHE? NAH, JUST A MISSED PUTT: Lee Westwood reacts to a missed putt Saturday at the Chevron World Challenge. (Getty Images)

Photos of the Week 

DUCK!: Andrew Bonhomme of Australia lines up a putt as a Westpac Rescue Helicopter takes off during the Australian Open at New South Wales Golf Club in Sydney. (Getty Images)

Photos of the Week

GO AHEAD AND JUMP... JUMP!: James Nitties of Australia jumps in the air to look at the green during a practice round ahead of the 2009 Australian Open. (Getty Images)

Australian Open

SCENIC SYDNEY: Fans roam the course and take in the scenery at the Australian Open in Sydney. (Getty Images)

Photos of the Week 

ME SLEEPY: A caddie tries to take a nap during stoppage of play at the Australian Open. (Getty Images)

Tiger Woods - Isleworth

BIG HOUSE, BIG MESS: An overhead view of Tiger Woods' mansion [center] in Isleworth Country Club. (Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy

WE'LL GIVE YOU ONE GUESS WHO: Rory McIlroy on the course at the Nedbank Challenge in Sun City, South Africa. (Getty Images)

John Daly

SKINNY AND SERENE: John Daly approaches his ball on the green during the Australian Open in Sydney. (Getty Images)

Robert Allenby

SHORT MAN ... OR VERY TALL GRASS?: Robert Allenby waits to putt during the Nedbank Challenge in Sun City, South Africa. (Getty Images)

Australian Open 

SMALL BOAT... OR GIGANTIC PUTTING GREEN?: Players putt out on the 13th green at the New South Wales Golf Club in Sydney, Australia. (Getty Images)

Chevron World Challenge 

WELL, NOT EXACTLY: A billboard promoting the Chevron World Challenge in California. (Getty Images)

Photos of the Week

EVERYTHING BUT THE CAMPFIRE: Players take a break as they wait through a wind delay at the Australian Open in Sydney. (Getty Images)

Ryo Ishikawa

MONEY MAN: Ryo Ishikawa celebrates being the leading money winner on the 2009 Japan PGA Tour. (Getty Images)

Kristy Hinze 

Super model Kristy Hinze watches the action in the final round of the Australian Open. (Getty Images)

John Daly and Anna Cladakis

IT'S ALL FUN AND GAMES ... FOR NOW: John Daly and current girlfriend Anna Chadakis share a laugh during a press conference in Australia. (Getty Images)

Photos of the Week 

CART PATH TRAFFIC JAM: Spectators watch as players discuss a drop at the European Tour Qualifying School in Spain. (Getty Images)

Nikki Garrett

WHICH WAY DID SHE GO?: Nikki Garrett and caddie debate during the fourth round of LPGA Q-School. (Getty Images)

Shigeki Maruyama

NEVER STOP SMILIN': Shigeki Maruyama celebrates victory at the Nippon Series JT Cup on the Japan PGA Tour. (Getty Images)

Adam Scott

MAN OF THE PEOPLE: Adam Scott celebrates his Australian Open victory with his fans. (Getty Images)

Henrik Stenson

WHICH EVENT IS THIS?: Henrik Stenson during the final round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge. (Getty Images)

 Robert Allenby and family

THE FAMILY'S ALL HERE: Robert Allenby celebrates his victory in the Nedbank Golf Challenge with his family. (Getty Images)

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Langer not playing to pass Irwin, but he just might

By Tim RosaforteJanuary 16, 2018, 1:40 pm

Bernhard Langer goes back out on tour this week to chase down more than Hale Irwin’s PGA Tour Champions record of 45 career victories. His chase is against himself.

“I’m not playing to beat Hale Irwin’s record,” Langer told me before heading to Hawaii to defend his title at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. “I play golf to play the best I can, to be a good role model, and to enjoy a few more years that are left.”

Langer turned 60 on Aug. 27 and was presented a massage chair by his family as a birthday gift. Instead of reclining (which he does to watch golf and football), he won three more times to close out a seven-win campaign that included three major championships. A year prior, coming off a four-victory season, Langer told me after winning his fourth Charles Schwab Cup that surpassing Irwin’s record was possible but not probable. With 36 career victories and 11 in his last two years, he has changed his tone to making up the nine-tournament difference as “probable.”

“If I could continue a few more years on that ratio, I could get close or pass him,” Langer told me from his home in Boca Raton, Fla. “It will get harder. I’m 60 now. It’s a big challenge but I don’t shy away from challenges.”

Bernhard Langer, Hale Irwin at the 1991 Ryder Cup (Getty Images)

Langer spent his off-season playing the PNC Father/Son, taking his family on a ski vacation at Big Sky in Yellowstone, Montana, and to New York for New Year’s. He ranks himself as a scratch skier, having skied since he was four years old in Germany. The risk of injury is worth it, considering how much he loves “the scenery, the gravity and the speed.”

Since returning from New York, Langer has immersed himself into preparing for the 2018 season. Swing coach Willy Hoffman, who he has worked with since his boyhood days as an as assistant pro in Germany, flew to Florida for their 43rd year of training.

“He’s a straight shooter,” Hoffman told me. “He says, 'Willy, every hour is an hour off my life and we have 24 hours every day.'"

As for Irwin, they have maintained a respectful relationship that goes back to their deciding singles match in the 1991 Ryder Cup. Last year they were brought back to Kiawah Island for a corporate appearance where they reminisced and shared the thought that nobody should ever have to bear what Langer went through, missing a 6-footer on the 18th green. That was 27 years ago. Both are in the Hall of Fame.

"I enjoy hanging out with Hale," Langer says.

Langer’s chase of Irwin’s record is not going to change their legacies. As Hoffman pointed out, “Yes, (Bernhard) is a rich man compared to his younger days. He had no money, no nothing. But today you don’t feel a difference when you talk to him. He’s always on the ground.”

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McIlroy: Ryder Cup won't be as easy as USA thinks

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 1:18 pm

The Americans have won their past two international team competitions by a combined score of 38-22, but Rory McIlroy isn’t expecting another pushover at the Ryder Cup in September.

McIlroy admitted that the U.S. team will be strong, and that its core of young players (including Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler) will be a force for the next decade. But he told reporters Tuesday at the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship that course setup will play a significant role.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said, referring to the Americans’ 17-11 victory in 2016. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

At every Ryder Cup, the home team has the final say on course setup. Justin Rose was the most outspoken about the setup at Hazeltine, saying afterward that it was “incredibly weak” and had a “pro-am feel.” 

And so this year’s French Open figures to be a popular stop for European Tour players – it’s being held once again at Le Golf National, site of the matches in September. Tommy Fleetwood won last year’s event at 12 under.

“I’m confident,” McIlroy said. “Everything being all well and good, I’ll be on that team and I feel like we’ll have a really good chance.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that. The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.” 

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Floodlights may be used at Dubai Desert Classic

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 12:44 pm

No round at next week’s Dubai Desert Classic will be suspended because of darkness.

Tournament officials have installed state-of-the-art floodlighting around the ninth and 18th greens to ensure that all 132 players can finish their round.

With the event being moved up a week in the schedule, the European Tour was initially concerned about the amount of daylight and trimmed the field to 126 players. Playing under the lights fixed that dilemma.

“This is a wonderful idea and fits perfectly with our desire to bring innovation to our sport,” European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said. “No professional golfer ever wants to come back the following morning to complete a round due to lack of daylight, and this intervention, should it be required, will rule out that necessity.”

Next week’s headliners include Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson. 

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Ortiz takes Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.