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.
 
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    Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

    Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

    The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

    Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

    “I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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    Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

    Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

    Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon. 

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    Stock Watch: Spieth searching for putting form

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 1:50 pm

    Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

    RISING

    Patton Kizzire (+8%): By today’s accelerated standards, he’s a late bloomer, having reached the Tour at age 29. Well, he seems right at home now, with two wins in his last four starts.

    Rory (+7%): Coming off the longest break of his career, McIlroy should have no excuses this year. He’s healthy. Focused. Motivated. It’s go time.

    Chris Paisley (+5%): The best part about his breakthrough European Tour title that netted him $192,000? With his wife, Keri, on the bag, he doesn’t have to cut 10 percent to his caddie – she gets the whole thing.

    Brooke Henderson (+3%): A seventh-place finish at the Diamond Resorts Invitational doesn’t sound like much for a five-time winner, but this came against the men – on a cold, wet, windy, 6,700-yard track. She might be the most fun player to watch on the LPGA. 

    New European Ryder Cuppers (+2%): In something of a Ryder Cup dress rehearsal, newcomers Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton each went undefeated in leading Europe to a come-from-behind victory at the EurAsia Cup. The competition come September will be, um, a bit stiffer.



    FALLING

    Jordan’s putting (-1%): You can sense his frustration in interviews, and why not? In two starts he leads the Tour in greens in regulation … and ranks 201st (!) in putting. Here’s guessing he doesn’t finish the year there.

    Brian Harman’s 2018 Sundays (-2%): The diminutive left-hander now has five consecutive top-10s, and he’s rocketing up the Ryder Cup standings, but you can’t help but wonder how much better the start to his year might have been. In the final pairing each of the past two weeks, he’s a combined 1 under in those rounds and wasn’t much of a factor.

    Tom Hoge (-3%): Leading by one and on the brink of a life-changing victory – he hadn’t been able to keep his card each of the past three years – Hoge made an absolute mess of the 16th, taking double bogey despite having just 156 yards for his approach. At least now he’s on track to make the playoffs for the first time.

    Predicting James Hahn’s form (-4%): OK, we give up: He’d gone 17 events without a top-15 before his win at Riviera; 12 before his win at Quail Hollow; and seven before he lost on the sixth playoff hole at Waialae. The margins between mediocre play and winning apparently are THAT small.

    Barnrat (-5%): Coming in hot with four consecutive top-10s, and one of only two team members ranked inside the top 50 in the world, Kiradech Aphibarnrat didn’t show up at the EurAsia Cup, going 0-3 for the week. In hindsight, the Asian team had no chance without his contributions. 

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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.”