Els Feeling Right at Home

By Golf Channel NewsroomMay 22, 2006, 4:00 pm
European TourThe European Tour gathers this week at the famed Wentworth Club in Surrey, England, for one of the biggest tournaments of the year - The BMW Championship.
Befitting the largest purse outside the Open Championship, the entry list is a virtual who's who of European Tour stars past and present headlined by a long list of big names including four of the top-10 ranked players in the world in Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Adam Scott and Luke Donald.
Els, who owns a home on the course and was a part of the redesign of the West Course, returns to the site of some of his biggest career wins, albeit not in this particular event. Els won a record six HSBC World Match Play titles here at Wentworth but hopes to end his drought at the BMW Championship. Although winless, the affable South African has nevertheless compiled quite a record with five top-5 finishes including three runner-up efforts.
Without a win thus far in 2006 and currently ranked 72nd on the PGA TOUR for putting average, Els hopes his familiarity with the greens at his home course might do the trick.
'Last week Id gone back to one of my old Ping putters at the Byron Nelson and I putted well all through that tournament. It was a big step in the right direction, because as you know that part of my game had been letting me down pretty much all this year; but hopefully not any more,' said Els on his website. 'I mean, I really feel more like my old self on the greens; comfortable over the ball, striking the putts nicely and its good to see some putts dropping again. The important thing is Ive got back some confidence.'
Also in the field are an additional seven players ranked in the top-30 starting with the tour's reigning Order of Merit champion Colin Montgomerie. Monty, who won this title in three successive years from 1998 to 2000, will be back trying to match Nick Faldo's record of four victories in the event.
You always return to somewhere you won three years in a row with a good feeling and I have always felt very comfortable playing at Wentworth, said Monty on the tour's website. Even with the changes, I dont think that will be any different this year and I will be trying very hard to get win number four.
A player not ranked in the top-25 but who is playing just about as well as anyone is England's Paul Casey, although he may have run out of bullets. For the second time in as many weeks, the 28-year-old Casey has held at least a share of the lead heading into to the final round only to cough up the chance to win his second tour title of the season.
Someone else who should feel quite at home this week is another one of England's young stars in Donald. Playing primarily on the PGA TOUR in the U.S., Donald will be making his European Tour debut for the season and doing it just down the road from where he grew up. Raised just 30 miles from Wentworth Club in High Wycombe, Donald, who won twice on the European Tour back in the 2004 season, already has one victory this year coming at the Honda Classic in March.
Last year's champion Angel Cabrera is also back to defend his title and a shot at the $909,306 first-place check from the $5,454,895 purse.
The Golf Channel will televise all four rounds live beginning Thursday at 10 a.m. ET.
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    Mickelson misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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    Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

    Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

    The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

    They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

    It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

    “I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

    The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

    The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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    LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

    The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

    The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

    The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

    The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

    The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.

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    Beef's beer goggles: Less drinks = more wins

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 6:07 pm

    An offseason spent soul searching is apparently paying quick dividends for Andrew “Beef” Johnston, who is in contention to win Sunday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Johnston acknowledged he was “burning the candle at both ends” last year, playing both the PGA Tour and the European Tour, but he told reporters Saturday that it wasn’t too much golf that hindered his efforts.

    It was too much “socializing.”

    “I'm a social person,” Johnston said. “If you go out with friends, or you get invited to something, I'll have a beer, please. But I probably had a few too many beers, I would say, to be honest. And it reflected in my golf, and I was disappointed looking back at it. I want to turn that around and have a good season.”

    Johnston posted a 6-under-par 66 Saturday, moving into a tie for sixth, three shots off the lead. He said he arrived in Abu Dhabi a week early to prepare for his first start of the new year. It’s paying off with a Sunday chance to win his second European Tour title.

    “Last year was crazy, and like getting distracted, and things like that,” Johnston said. “You don't know it's happened until you've finished the season. You’re off doing things and you're burning the candle at both ends. When I got back from last season, sort of had time to reflect on it, I sort of said to myself, 'You've got to keep quiet and keep disciplined and get on with your work.’”

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Johnston finished 189th last year in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings. He was 116th in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.

    Johnston’s fun-loving personality, his scruffy beard and his big-bodied shape quickly made him one of the most popular and entertaining players in the game when he earned his PGA Tour card before the 2016-17 season. Golf Digest called him a “quirky outlier,” and while he has had fun with that persona, Johnston is also intent on continuing to prove he belongs among the game’s best players.

    His plan for doing that?

    “Just put the work in,” he said. “I didn’t put enough work in last year. It’s simple. It showed. So, just get down, knuckle down and practice hard.”