Bjorn to Lock Horns With Els in Dubai
Bjorn beat World No. 1 Tiger Woods last year by two strokes at 22-under 266. The duo was paired together on the last day, and entering the 17th hole, it looked like Woods would emerge the victor. However, a Bjorn birdie at No. 17 coupled with an unlikely Woods double-bogey at the closing par-5 18th saw the big Dane collect the finest victory of his career.
Unfortunately, there will be no rematch this time around. Woods elected to skip the tournament earlier in the season, and it just may be a good thing for Bjorn, following Tigers strong second-place showing at the Genuity Championship last week.
Instead, Bjorn will face Ernie Els, and in the end, this just might be a tougher assignment than handling Woods.
Els came out on top at the Genuity. He also won earlier in the year at the Heineken Classic. Needless to say, the South African is back on the kind of form that saw him take two U.S. Open titles.
Joining Els and Bjorn in Dubai will be a very strong cast, including Colin Montgomerie, Nick Faldo, Justin Rose and Ian Woosnam. Also in the field are Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington, Adam Scott and Malaysian Open winner Alastair Forsyth.
While Woods will not be making the journey overseas, his Orlando neighbor and friend Mark O'Meara is scheduled to compete. OMearas best performance of the year so far has been a tie for second at the Buick Invitational. He missed the cut at the Genuity last week.
On one final note, another Orlando-based player who missed the cut at Doral will not be traveling to Dubai. Seventeen-year-old Ty Tryon was offered a reported $1 million appearance fee to commit to the event, but he has declined.
Rory: Phil said RC task force just copied Europe
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Playing the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am two weeks ago, Rory McIlroy quizzed Phil Mickelson about what the Americans got out of the U.S. Ryder Cup task force’s overhaul.
McIlroy and Mickelson were paired together at Pebble Beach.
“Basically, all they are doing is copying what the Europeans have done,” McIlroy said. “That's what he said.”
The Europeans claimed their sixth of seven Ryder Cups with their victory at Gleneagles in 2014. That brought about a sea change in the way the United States approached the Ryder Cup. Mickelson called out the tactics in Gleneagles of captain Tom Watson, who was outmaneuvered by European captain Paul McGinley.
The Americans defeated Europe at Hazeltine two years ago with that new European model.
“He said the first thing they did in that task force was Phil played a video, a 12-minute video of Paul McGinley to all of them,” McIlroy said. “So, they are copying what we do, and it's working for them. It's more cohesive, and the team and the core of that team are more in control of what they are doing, instead of the PGA of America recruiting and someone telling them what to do.”
Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic
Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
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Woods happy to help Furyk at Ryder Cup
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods didn't hesitate when Jim Furyk asked him to become a vice captain at the upcoming Ryder Cup.
Woods said Wednesday that Furyk asked he and Steve Stricker “a while ago” whether they were interested in being assistants in Paris as the Americans try to win a Ryder Cup on foreign soil for the first time in 25 years.
“He’s one of my best friends,” Woods said of Furyk, “and whatever he wants, whatever he needs, I’m there to help him. We’re worked well the last couple of years in the cups together.”
Though Woods has said that he wants to be a playing vice captain, he has been an assistant at each of the past two international team competitions.
Furyk, Woods and Stricker were all assistants at Hazeltine, where the U.S. won in a rout.
“Jim is very detailed, very smart, very analytical, and he’s just a fantastic leader,” Woods said. “For him to ask Stricks and I together, it will be special for both of us.”
Woods to hit '4 or 5' drivers each day at Honda
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Those hoping Tiger Woods will wield the driver early and often this week at PGA National likely will be disappointed.
Depending on wind direction, he said he will only hit “four or five” drivers each round.
During Wednesday’s pro-am, Woods hit driver on six holes. He found two fairways with the big stick and found the right rough four times, though a few of those misses were only a few yards off the fairway.
In two starts this year, Woods has struggled mightily with every club off the tee, but driver has been especially troublesome. He has found only 36 percent of the fairways so far (30 of 84).
The Champion Course here is a par 70, with water and bunkers often lining the fairways. Putting the ball in play off the tee will be at a premium, and so Woods opted for a low, penetrating 2-iron six times in the pro-am.
Woods said he did not make any equipment changes following the missed cut at Riviera.