Wie Shares Center Stage with Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 5, 2006, 4:00 pm
European TourWith their Ryder Cup team officially set, the European Tour heads into Switzerland for the Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre, home to some of the most breathtaking views they see all season long.
And in addition to the scenic views, European fans this year will also get to see American teen sensation Michelle Wie, who will become the second female - but first on European soil - to tee it up on tour following Laura Davies' attempt at the 2004 ANZ Championship in Australia.
Michelle Wie
Michelle Wie hopes for a big breakthough when she tees it up this week in Switzerland.
The last time she teed it up against the men, it wasn't the competition that brought down Wie but rather Mother Nature.
Last seen at a men's event - the John Deere Classic in July - Wie was being taken away in an ambulance after suffering from heat exhaustion. Here, she will have no problem with the heat and so her focus will instead be on the competition.
I am honored to play in my first European Tour event and am very happy that Omega has extended this invitation, said Wie, who has played against the men nine previous times on several professional tours. I am very excited to play against the best professional golfers in Europe in the magnificent setting of Crans-sur-Sierre.'
Wie has played twice against the men this season on the PGA TOUR, missing the cut by four shots at the Sony Open in January and withdrawing from the John Deere. She did, however, breakthrough to make the cut at an Asian PGA event in May.
In her seven tournaments against females this season, Wie has posted six top-five finishes including tying for third in both the U.S. Womens Open and the LPGAs Kraft Nabisco Championship.
The competition for Wie this week in Switzerland starts with none other than last year's champion Sergio Garcia, who also happens to own at home on the course, just off the first tee box.
Though many of the top Europeans are taking the week off after the conclusion of the Ryder Cup points race, Garcia will be back to defend the title he won last year over fellow Ryder Cuppers Paul Casey and Luke Donald.
It turned out to be a wild week for Garcia, a week which saw him hole out for an eagle to maintain his lead in Rd. 3 and a chip in for a birdie late in Sunday's final round. The fiery Spaniard also received a fine from tour officials after taking out his frustration from a three-putt by kicking an advertising board during the tournament.
Others in the field this week hoping to finish above the 16-year-old Wie, are Miguel Angel Jimenez, who was left off the Ryder Cup team, last year's runner-up Peter Gustafsson and two-time winner of this event Eduardo Romero. The 52-year-old native of Argentina recently won the Champions Tour final major of the year, the JELD-WEN Tradition.
The Golf Channel will carry exclusive coverage of the Omega European Masters beginning Thursday at 9:30 a.m. (ET).
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Omega European Masters
  • Full Coverage - Omega European Masters
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    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.  

    Getty Images

    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    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.” 

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    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.” 

    Getty Images

    Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

    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.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    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.”

    Getty Images

    Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

    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:

    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.