Clarke Has Only One Credo - Win

By Golf Channel NewsroomSeptember 29, 2003, 4:00 pm
Darren Clarke is well aware that he and Tiger Woods are the only golfers who have won at least two World Golf Championship events. As the WGC-American Express tournament begins this week, he doesnt care which ones he has won ' only that the wins keep coming.
 
I don't know care, when I'm playing well. If I get myself up there in big tournaments, I usually carry on, he says. It doesn't particularly bother me what tournaments they are. It just so happens that a couple of times that I've played well over here have been in the World Golf Championship events.
 
The WGC-AmEx field is in Atlanta this week. The field is comprised of the top 50 players on the world rankings, plus the six leaders from the various world tours. Altogether, about 70 will start the tournament when the other qualifications are thrown in.
 
Woods has won the tournament two of the three times it has been held. Clarke has won the WGC match play event once and also captured the most recent event ' the WGC-NEC.
 
The Irishman has but one goal this week ' to play well, he said. To attempt to continue to play well. And I am very happy with things.
 
Clarke has won just shy of $600,000 on the U.S. tour this year ' money from the WGC events doesnt count. Those two events have added $1,250,000 to his bank account. He has played the four majors, the Players Championship, two WGC events, and has accepted five sponsors exemptions. His earnings of $599,711 would place him 90th on the money list at the moment, but he doesnt hold official membership.
 
That is about to change next year. His win at the WGC-NEC guarantees him three years on the tour, if he decides to take it. He says he definitely will.
 
I think I'm probably going to play about 16 next year, something like that, said Clarke. The American Express will be my 13th.
 
So it's not really going to be a whole lot different. I'm going to take up my membership; I get into Kapalua, the Mercedes is the first one, and then the Sony is the week after and I'm going to try to play a very similar schedule to what I've done this year.
 
Why does he want to play here? Well, he began in Boston a couple of weeks ago at the Deutsche Bank event, I think there's more Irish in Boston than anywhere else. There's going to be a good a chance of getting Guinness in this area as anywhere else, so that had a lot to do with it.
 
Clarke was kidding, of course ' wasnt he? After all, everyone knows that Guinness tastes better in his native Ireland where its brewed, than it does when it has to travel overseas to America.
 
I don't particularly care how it tastes, as long as it's black and it's all right, he said to a room full of laughter.
 
This week, though, he will be playing the WGC, the American Express Championship in Atlanta. Its a big tournament, so that means he will be up for it.
 
Those are the ones that, if you ask the majority of the field which tournaments they would like to win after the majors, I think youve got the four majors at then the TPC at Sawgrass, he said. After that, I think the majority of the guys would probably say the World Golf Championships.
 
Ive been very fortunate to have two of them. As for why, I dont know.
 
Woods, the defending champion, is the most successful player in World Golf Championships history. His victory earlier this year at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship made him the only player to win all four World Golf Championship events in his career.
 
Woods has won seven of the 14 World Golf Championships events that he has competed in, collecting $7,993,333 along the way. In his three appearances at American Express Championships, he has two victories and a tie for fifth.
 
Ernie Els currently ranks No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking after starting off 2003 by winning the first two events on the PGA Tour schedule. Joining him from South Africa are Reteif Goosen (No. 12 on the Official World Golf Ranking), Tim Clark and Hennie Otto.
 
Ireland's Padraig Harrington has committed along with Masters Champion Canadian Mike Weir.
 
A mixture of talented young players and experienced PGA Tour veterans has qualified from Australia. Among those are Stephen Leaney, Peter Lonard and Craig Parry, who won the 2002 World Golf Championships-NEC Invitational.
 
Other international players who have committed include Swedens Fredrik Jacobson, Englands Justin Rose and Paul Casey. Koreas K.J. Choi, Indias Jyoti Randihawa and Arjun Atwat and Thailands Thongchi Jaidee are all signed up to play, as well.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Field
  • TV Airtimes
  • Full Coverage - WGC-American Express
  • Getty Images

    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

    Getty Images

    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

    Getty Images

    Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

    Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

    The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

    It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

    "It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

    Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

    "This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."

    Getty Images

    Rahm (62) shoots career low round at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 10:33 pm

    After a banner year in 2017, Jon Rahm found a way to add yet another accolade to his growing list of accomplishments during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Rahm got off to a fast start at La Quinta Country Club, playing his first seven holes in 6 under en route to a 10-under 62. The score marked his career low on the PGA Tour by two shots and gave him an early lead in an event that utilizes a three-course rotation.

    La Quinta was the site of Adam Hadwin's 59 during last year's event, and Rahm knew full well that a quick start opened the door to a memorably low score.

    "Any time you have that going for you, you get thoughts come in your head, 60, maybe 59," Rahm told reporters. "I knew that if I kept playing good I was going to have more birdie opportunities, and I tried not to get ahead of myself and I was able to do it."


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Rahm birdied his first two holes before an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole sparked him to an outward 30. He added four more birdies on the inward half without dropping a shot.

    The Spaniard is the highest-ranked player in the field this week, and while many players opted for a two-week stint in Hawaii he instead came home for some practice after opening the new year with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. That decision appears to have paid some early dividends as Rahm gets set to defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Low scores were plentiful on all three courses during the opening round, and Rahm remained pleased with his effort even though he fell short of matching Hadwin's sub-60 score from a year ago.

    "That's golf. You're not going to make every single putt, you're not going to hit every shot perfect," he said. "Overall, you've got to look at the bigger picture. I birdied the last hole, had a couple of great sand saves coming in, shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for."