Presidents Cup report cards: International team

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 7, 2013, 12:50 pm

Angel Cabrera (2-2-0)

Grade C+

The lowdown: It felt like Nick Price couldn’t quite figure out the right partner for Cabrera, who played two matches with Marc Leishman and one with Branden Grace. Gotta wonder if the 44-year-old will find his way back on to another team.

Jason Day (3-1-1)

Jason Day
Grade A

The lowdown: A rare bright spot for Nick Price’s side. The Australian paired well with Graham DeLaet in both team formats and rolled over Brandt Snedeker in the singles session.

Brendon de Jonge (2-3-0)

de Jonge
Grade B-

The lowdown: He got to show the world on a big stage that his swing may be a tad different, but he’s a hell of a ball striker. De Jonge carried Els early in their partnership and was the Internationals’ MVP halfway through this event. The stage didn’t intimidate.

Graham Delaet (3-1-1)

Grade A

The lowdown: He smiled, he fist pumped, he chipped in twice on the 18th hole on Sunday and he gave the International side a reason to be optimistic when the matches are played again in 2015. If you haven’t heard of the Canadian, you will soon.

Ernie Els (3-2-0)

Ernie Els
Grade B

The lowdown: The Big Easy was streaky on the greens and dropped two pivotal team matches when the International side needed a spark, but he still ended the week with a winning record and doesn’t appear ready to transition to the captain’s role just yet.

Branden Grace (0-4-0)

Grade F

The lowdown: Tough week for the South African. Got mowed down in every one of his matches. This failing grade can’t hurt any more than the spanking Zach Johnson gave him on Sunday to the tune of 4 and 2.

Marc Leishman (2-2-0)

Marc Leishman
Grade B-

The lowdown: He was no “Carlton” to Matt Kuchar in Sunday singles. Leishman took down Kuchar, 1 up, in singles to earn his good marks. That 15-foot par save at the last was clutch to halve the hole and win the match.

Hideki Matsuyama (1-3-1)

Grade C

The lowdown: Played well in his first Presidents Cup paired with Adam Scott, but the International side needed more from this tandem than 1 ½ points and he was blitzed by Hunter Mahan in the opening singles match.

Louis Oosthuizen (1-3-1)

Grade C

The lowdown: He maintained he was 100 percent healthy after being sidelined by injuries throughout the summer, but Oosthuizen never appeared like his rhythm was there. A foursomes loss on Sunday morning – after holding a 3 up advantage – was a killer.

Charl Schwartzel (2-3-0)

Grade C+

The lowdown: The record isn’t terrible, but the past Masters champion never looked comfortable, even pairing with buddy Louis Oosthuizen. A singles win over fiery Keegan Bradley, though, could have been big if some other matches went his team’s way.

Adam Scott (2-2-1)

Adam Scott
Grade B

The lowdown: The Aussie delivered 2 ½ points while guiding young Hideki Matsuyama around his first Presidents Cup as his foursome and fourball partner. Scott briefly gave the Americans pause delivering a singles victory against Bill Haas early to keep his team’s hopes alive.

Richard Sterne (0-4-0)

Grade D-

The lowdown: One of two rookies without a point for the International side, the only thing keeping Sterne from flunking his debut was a stingy performance against Woods in singles. In the end, though, even “stingy” wasn’t quite good enough.

Nick Price, Captain

Nick Price
Grade B

The lowdown: There were no egregiously bad moves. He formed strong partnerships, frontloaded his singles lineup when his team was trailing and his players genuinely liked him. Sometimes as a captain, that's all you can do.

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.