Houston I Have a Problem

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 31, 2008, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: In Backspin, the GOLFCHANNEL.com editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.
THE RICHES: Isleworth Country Club defeated Lake Nona Golf and Country Club, 19 - 11 , to claim the Tavistock Cup. First-time participant J.B. Holmes was the big winner, leading the home team to victory and collecting the $500,000 awarded to the player with the lowest score on Day 2.
Backspin One cant possibly imagine what these players get compensated to compete in this event. Despite having the Doral event wrap up Monday morning, many of the players still traveled upstate from Miami to Orlando to play that afternoon and then again on Tuesday. Were pretty sure they didnt make this effort out of pride and loyalty to their enclave. The best story of the event may have come from Robert Allenby, who didnt want to take the charter flight to Orlando because he didnt want to leave his Bentley in Miami.

RED SHIRT, BLUE MOUTH: Tiger Woods caught heat this past week from media members for his profanity-laced tirade at a photographer in the final round of the WGC-CA Championship. A camera clicked as Woods was hitting on the par-3 ninth. Woods pushed his tee shot, nearly into the water, and eventually made bogey. Woods dropped a couple of F-bombs and threatened to break the neck of the next photographer to take a picture during his swing.
Backspin Tiger had his chance on an ESPN program to apologize for the incident and instead shrugged it off. Were certainly not going to apologize on his behalf, but we do understand there must be an incredible frustration level when youre trying to accomplish what Tiger is and someone interferes with that in an unprofessional manner. Of course, Tiger was also unprofessional in his reaction. One thing about Tiger: hes as apologetic about his behavior on the course as John Daly is off it.

WHAT'S DONE IS DONE: Argentine Andres Romero closed with a 4-under 68 to beat Aussie Peter Lonard by a stroke to win the Zurich Classic of News Orleans. In the process, he became the fourth straight player to collect his maiden PGA TOUR victory in New Orleans.
Backspin Most remember Romero for being the surprise leader late in last year's Open Championship at Carnoustie. Well, make that, most people remember Romero's train wreck on the 17th hole that ultimately left him one stroke out of the playoff with Sergio Garcia and Padraig Harrington. But what most people may not remember is that Romero was able to brush that crushing defeat aside by winning the very next week on the European Tour. And now, with his win in New Orleans, the Argentine will forever be remembered as a PGA TOUR winner. At least in the history books.

AT THE MOMENT...: Lorena Ochoa started slowly but picked up momentum throughout the week and then left the field in the Arizona desert dust, cruising to a seven-shot win at the Safeway International. It was her second win of the season in just three events and her second straight at Superstition Mountain.
Backspin Nobody's arguing that the 26-year-old Mexican is, at the moment, the game's best player. And for good reason. But the real test comes this week as the ladies of the LPGA Tour make their way to Rancho Mirage, Calif., for the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first of the LPGA Tours four majors. For all her wins she has racked up over the past several years, Ochoa has but just one major victory to her credit. And then there's a certain Swede that has notched 10 majors. We'll revisit the topic of Lorena next Monday.

NO LOVE Davis Love III shot 76-75 to miss the cut at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, thus putting serious pressure on himself to avoid missing the Masters Tournament for the first time since 1990. Love hasnt missed a major of any kind since the 1990 U.S. Open. He's entered into this week's Shell Houston Open, and will need to win the event in order to be invited to Augusta National.
Backspin Thirteen years ago, Love won in New Orleans to punch his Masters ticket. He then proceeded to finish runner-up, the closest he has ever come to winning a green jacket. Love said that he feels good physically (bad back and neck) and mentally, but at age 44 (come April 13), Love is in danger of never being able to add to his lone major triumph, the 1997 PGA Championship ' which could be the difference between a Hall of Fame career and an underachieving one.

IRWIN-ESQUE?: Bernhard Langer pulled away from the field at the Ginn Championship, surviving very windy conditions to post an eight-stroke win. He was one of only three players to card a score of under par in Sunday's final round.
Backspin Langer put an end to an exciting stretch of Champions Tour endings with his runaway victory at the Ocean Course at Hammock Beach. It was his second win of the season and prompted GOLF CHANNEL analyst Frank Nobilo to utter, although somewhat reluctantly, that Langer's play was 'Irwin-esque' in reference to Hale Irwin's one-time Champions Tour dominance. High praised indeed considering Irwin's staggering 45 wins on the senior circuit. The closest to Irwin's, probably unbreakable, record is Lee Trevino at 29. Langer's win total at this point? Three and counting.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Thomas Levet won the Andalucia Open in Spain on the first playoff hole Sunday, defeating 19-year-old Oliver Fisher; Australias Gavin Coles won the Louisiana Open for his fourth career Nationwide Tour title; Celebrity chef Paul Prudhomme was struck by a stray bullet while setting up his cooking tent at TPC Louisiana; Fred Couples named Jay Haas as an assistant captain in the 2009 Presidents Cup; A bearded Jose Maria Olazabal made his first start since the 2007 PGA Championship in his native Spain.
Backspin Levet can thank the teenage Fisher for, well, playing like a teenager. The young Englishman blew a three-stroke lead with six holes to play and bogeyed the final hole in regulation as well as the first hole in the playoff to hand the Frenchman the title; Coles, who has conditional status on the PGA TOUR, is now in the strange position of having to choose between which tour to play and when; Authorities believe the bullet was fired into the air within a 1 -mile radius and randomly fell on the Dom DeLuise lookalike. Conspiracy theorists, however, believe it was a mistaken attempt to keep Prudhomme out of the next Cannon Ball Run; Actually Jay Haas and Robin Williams are equally funny nowadays; Ollie was sidelined for seven months due to rheumatic pains in his shoulder and groin. The double Masters winner tied for 61st, just two weeks before the seasons first major.

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Zurich Classic of New Orleans
  • Full Coverage - Safeway International
  • Full Coverage - The Ginn Championship
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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.