Tiger on Vacation Singh Back to Work

By Golf Channel NewsroomOctober 18, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Funai Classic @ Disney WorldWhile Tiger Woods extends his honeymoon into a second week, Vijay Singh looks to extend his winning streak on the PGA Tour.
With the recently married Woods out of this weeks Funai Classic, Singh is back to defend his title.
This will be the last of four title defenses for Singh in 04. Of course, he already has eight titles to defend next season, and would love to make it nine.
Singh has never successfully defended a title in his career. And only Jack Nicklaus, who won the first three Disney tournaments, and Tim Simpson, who won in 1989-90, have repeated as champion here.
In his three previous defenses this season, Singh tied for third at Phoenix, tied for 59th at the Byron Nelson, and tied for fourth at the John Deere.
Singh, who overtook Woods for No. 1 on the Official World Golf Ranking seven weeks ago, has competed each of the last two weeks on the European Tour. He first tied for 18th in the dunhill links championship and then was bounced in the first round in the HSBC World Match Play Championship by European Ryder Cup captain Bernhard Langer.
He'll welcome a return to the States, where he has won five of his last six PGA Tour starts.
Singh has said repeatedly that he would like to win 10 tournaments this season. And hell have the opportunity to do so. He is likely to play in the Chrysler Championship, where he finished second to Retief Goosen a year ago, as well as the Tour Championship, which he won in 2002 at the same site it is being played this year (East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Ga.).
For Woods, however, there may be but one more event to secure his first stroke-play win of the season.
Woods, who won the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, married Elin Nordegren on Oct. 5, and decided to trade in his tools of the trade for one more week in favor of scuba gear and swim trunks.
This is the first time in his professional career that Woods has skipped the Disney tournament, which is played just miles from his Orlando home.
He has never competed in the Chrysler Championship, which is next weeks event in Tampa, meaning hell likely wrap-up his 04 campaign at the Tour Championship, the season finale.
Tigers last stroke-play victory came over a year ago in the WGC-American Express Championship. He would have had a good chance at ending that drought had he decided to tee it up this week. Woods has twice won this event and has finished in the top 3 in five of his eight Disney starts.
There are only two more chances for players to qualify for the Tour Championship, which is awarded to the top 30 players on the money list following the Chrysler. There are also only two more chances to secure full exempt status on tour for next season by finishing in the top 125 on the money list.
This is the 34th playing of what is now officially called the Funai Classic at Walt Disney World Resort. Nicklaus won the first three tournaments, before it became a team competition from 1974-81. It returned to an individual competition in 82 and four players have since won it on multiple occasions: Larry Nelson (1984, 87), Simpson (1989-90), John Huston (1992, 98) and Woods (1996, 99).
The purse has been upped $200K to $4.2 million. The winner will receive $756,000.
There are two courses used in the rotation. Players will rotate between the Palm (par 72, 6,957 yards) and the Magnolia (par 72, 7,200 yards) courses over the first two days. Those who make the cut will play the host Magnolia course exclusively over the weekend.
Related Links:
  • Scores - Funai Classic at Walt Disney World
  • Full Coverage - Funai Classic at Walt Disney World
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    Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

    New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

    The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

    "Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

    It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

    Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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    Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

    SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

    Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

    He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

    Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

    Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.

    The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

    ''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

    Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

    ''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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    13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

    Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

    Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

    “An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”

    Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

    Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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    McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

    It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

    Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

    Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    “I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

    Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

    “Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

    This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.