Second Season Starts with World Cup

By Golf Channel NewsroomNovember 10, 2003, 5:00 pm
The PGA Tour season is over, but there is still plenty of golf to be played before 2003 officially comes to a close.
The second season begins with this weeks World Golf Championships-World Cup at The Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, S.C.
Reigning U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk and 1997 British Open winner Justin Leonard will lead the favored Americans in the four-day competition. The two will then head to George, South Africa for next weeks Presidents Cup.
Next weeks event has had a direct effect on this weeks team competition.
Most of the World Cup teams are determined in accordance to the Official World Golf Ranking. The top-ranked players are asked to represent their respective countries.
Tiger Woods (No. 1) and Davis Love III (No. 4) each declined, leaving Jim Furyk (No. 5) as the highest-ranked American to accept the invitation.
Kenny Perry (No. 8), David Toms (No. 9), and Phil Mickelson (No. 13) also opted not to compete. Leonard is currently ranked 16th in the world.
All of the Americans who decided not to play this week are on the U.S. Presidents Cup Team.
Nick Price of Zimbabwe, Canadas Mike Weir and Vijay Singh of Fuji ' all members of the International Team ' also decided to take the week off and ready themselves for the Presidents Cup.
Consequently, their countries are not represented in Kiawah Island. They have been replaced by teams from France, Paraguay and Trinidad & Tobago.
South Africans Ernie Els and Retief Goosen teamed to win in 2001. The two International Team members are not back this year and instead have been replaced by countrymen Rory Sabbatini and Trevor Immelman, who are not competing in South Africa next week.
Furyk and Leonard arent the only Presidents Cup members -- just the lone Americans -- on hand this week: Stuart Appleby and Stephen Leaney will represent Australia; K.J. Choi will play for Korea; Stephen Ames will do the same for Trinidad & Tobago.
In all, there are 24 two-man teams vying for the title this week. Eighteen teams are comprised of top players from the Official World Golf Ranking, while the other six teams made their ways through qualifiers.
This is the 49th playing of this competition and the fourth time it has been contested as a WGC event.
The U.S. has won on 23 occasions. They last did so in 2000, when Tiger Woods and David Duval prevailed in Argentina.
Japans Shigeki Maruyama and Toshi Izawa are the defending champions. They finished at 36 under last year; two clear of Americans Mickelson and Toms, who double bogeyed the final hole.
Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley are playing together for the seventh consecutive year. The Irishmen won in 1997 at Kiawah Island, the last time the event was held in the U.S.
The teams will play a Four-ball format (alternate shot) Thursday and Saturday, and Foursomes (better-ball) Friday and Sunday.
These are the 2003 World Cup teams:
Argentina (Eduardo Romero/Angel Cabrera)
Australia (Stuart Appleby/ Stephen Leaney)
Chile (Felipe Aguilar/Roy Mackenzie)
Denmark (Thomas Bjorn/Soren Kjeldsen)
England (Paul Casey/Justin Rose)
France (Thomas Levet/Raphael Jacquelin)
Germany (Alex Cejka/Marcel Siem)
Hong Kong (Derek Fung/James Stewart)
India (Digvijay Singh/Gaurav Ghei)
Ireland (Padraig Harrington/Paul McGinley)
Japan (Shigeki Maruyama/Hidemichi Tanaka)
Korea (K.J. Choi/S.K. Ho)
Mexico (Alejandro Quiroz/Antonio Maldonado)
Myanmar (Kyi Hla Han/Aung Win)
New Zealand (Michael Campbell/David Smail)
Paraguay (Carlos Franco/Marco Ruiz)
Scotland (Paul Lawrie/Alastair Forsyth)
South Africa (Trevor Immelman/Rory Sabbatini)
Spain (Ignacio Garrido/Miguel Angel Jimenez)
Sweden (Fredrik Jacobson/Niclas Fasth)
Thailand (Jamnian Chitprasong/Pornsakon Tipsanit)
Trinidad & Tobago (Stephen Ames/Robert Ames)
United States (Jim Furyk/Justin Leonard)
Wales (Phillip Price/Bradley Dredge)
Related Links:
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    McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

    By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

    The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

    McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

    McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

    ''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

    Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

    ''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

    McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

    ''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

    ''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

    The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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    Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

    By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

    If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

    Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

    If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

    Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

    Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

    I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

    A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

    And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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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.