Harrington and Others Advance at Wentworth

By Golf Channel NewsroomOctober 11, 2001, 4:00 pm
Day One concluded Thursday at the venerable Cisco World Match Play Championship at Wentworth, with four players of the 12-man field eliminated entering the quarterfinals.
 
The opening-round matches concluded as follows:
 
Pardraig Harrington def. Nick Faldo, 9-and-8:
 
In an early route, Padraig Harrington disposed handily of Nick Faldo, 9-and-8.
 
Faldo, winner of this event in 1989 and 1992, stood virtually no chance, as Harrington plunked iron shot after iron shot close to the pins, shot 63, and took a 6-up lead through the opening 18 holes.
 
A late eagle and birdie saw the Irishman move to 8-up, and he closed out the match with par at the par-3 10th.
 
Harrington will now face Darren Clarke in Fridays second day of matches.
 
As for Faldo, his loss marked his worst-ever in the championships history. The six-time major winner lost by a score of 5-and-3 on two occasions, to Ben Crenshaw in 81 and to Nick Price in 91.
 
Thomas Bjorn def. Adam Scott, 4-and-3:
 
Thomas Bjorn relied on experience to oust young Australian Adam Scott 4-and-3 in their opening round match.
 
Bjorn was ahead of Scott by up to as many as five strokes in the early stages of the first 18 holes, but watched as the youngster rallied to get within two at the break.
 
However, it was ultimately short-lived, as the Dane - and winner of this years Dubai Desert Classic - closed out the match at the 15th.
 
Bjorn will have the chance to knock off the defending champion Lee Westwood on Friday.
 
Ian Woosnam def. Retief Goosen, 4-and-3:
 
In a bit of a shocker, Welshman Ian Woosnam got the better of reigning United States Open champion Retief Goosen 4-and-3 on Thursday.
 
Woosnam showed the form that took him to World Match Play trophies in 87 and 90, shooting a 7-under 65 over his opening 18 holes, and moving to 4-up over Goosen at that point.
 
He effectively closed the match with a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-3 14th, and then sealed it up with a par at No. 15.
 
Sam Torrance def. Seve Ballesteros, 3-and-2:
 
In the longest match of the day, Sam Torrance birdied the 34th hole (the par-4 16th) to end his battle over Seve Ballesteros 3-and-2.
 
Torrance, who is playing this week as a replacement for American John Daly, will now square off against two-time major champion Vijay Singh on Friday.
 
His victory on Day 1 came against five-time champion Ballesteros, who was also a late addition to this years event, replacing Canadian Mike Weir.
 
Ballesteros, who has missed the cut 14 times in 16 events this season in Europe, won this event in 81, 82, 84, 85 and 91.
 
Torrance would have been fresh off a captaincy at the 34th Ryder Cup Matches had it not been for the recent terrorist attacks on the United States. Now, he finds himself searching for his first title in this venue at Wentworth.
 
Click Here for Scores from Thursday's First Round at the Cisco World Match Play Championship.
 
Fridays scheduled quarterfinal matches from the Cisco World Match Play Championship:
 
Padraig Harrington vs. Darren Clarke
 
Thomas Bjorn vs. Lee Westwood
 
Ian Woosnam vs. Colin Montgomerie
 
Sam Torrance vs. Vijay Singh
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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.