Tip of the Cap to 2008

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 23, 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.
HALF FULL/HALF EMPTY: Tiger Woods delivered some crushing news when he announced immediately after his already legendary U.S. Open victory that he will miss the rest of the 2008 season with another knee surgery and rehabilitation on a stress fraction in his tibia.
Backspin You can look at his absence in one of two ways: Tiger treated golf fans to an incredible first half of the '08 season, winning four of his six starts on the PGA TOUR, which included a major and a runner-up at the Masters; or, by pulling the plug on the rest of the year, Tiger has denied golf fans the possibility of witnessing what was shaping up as one of the greatest seasons in history. Either way, he produced more all-time classic highlights in six events than you can shake a stick at. For that we must be grateful.

TRAVELIN' MAN: Stewart Cink held on to win the Travelers Championship after defending champ Hunter Mahan birdied the final two holes to briefly tie for the lead. It was Cink's fifth career PGA TOUR win.
Backspin It was just a matter of time before Cink would again return to the winner's circle after not having visited there since all the way back in the 2004 season. His recent play - a pair of runner-ups and two third-place finishes - indicated his form was setting up for a long-overdue victory. The win vaults Cink to just behind Mickelson and Woods on the money list and also gets him back into the top-10 in the world rankings. Not a bad weekend for Dana Carvey's look-a-like.

THE BALL IS NOW IN YOUR COURT: Speaking of Mickelson, with Tiger now sidelined for the rest of the season, Lefty takes over as the games top-ranked player for the remainder of 2008.
Backspin Taking Tiger out of the equation, Phil is the logical choice to fill the temporary top spot - he's ranked second in the world, second on both the money list and FedExCup points list, second to Tiger in scoring average and second in worldwide fan appeal. Hes also No. 2 in most wins this season and second on the Ryder Cup points list. Like we said, take Tiger out of the equation and Phil is no doubt the BMOC.

BAD MOJO?: Suzann Pettersen, the No. 3 ranked woman in the world, watched her control of the Wegmans LPGA slip away and allowed 22-year-old Eun-Hee Ji to grab the victory in New York.
Backspin Some could see this minor collapse as bad mojo as the ladies head into next week's U.S. Women's Open. But perhaps not for a lady like Pettersen. Remember last season, the Norwegian suffered a heartbreaking loss at the Kraft Nabisco only to bounce back to win her first career LPGA Tour title and then weeks later bust out with her first major championship. We'll see this week if that kind of resiliency is still there.

YOUNG-TIMER: Mild-mannered Jeff Sluman rolled in a monster putt on the final hole to wrap up his first Champions Tour victory at the Bank of America Championship. Sluman finished two-strokes ahead of Loren Roberts.
Backspin The victory was Sluman's first-ever on the 50-and-over set and he has now established himself as one of the players to beat on the senior circuit. Following the win, a less than confident Sluman admitted, 'When I turned 50 last year my game was in tatters.' Tatters no more, my friend.

THE K MAN: Martin Kaymer birdied the first playoff hole against Anders Hansen to win the BMW International Open. The 23-year-old Kaymer nearly wasted his chance at his second victory of the year, blowing a six-stroke lead in Sundays final round before winning it in extra holes..
Backspin Kaymer made history this week in Munich, becoming the youngest player and the first German to win the BMW International Open in the tournaments 20-year history. With the victory, Kaymer moved into sixth place in the Ryder Cup points standings and now trails only Miguel Angel Jimenez in the European Tours Order of Merit..

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Mickelson was added to this year's LG Skins Game, his first appearance in the event since 2003; UCLA's Tiffany Joh put on a furious late rally to win the U.S. Womens Amateur Public Links over Southern California recruit Jennifer Song; Scott Hebert, a former Ferris State player based at Grand Traverse Resort & Spa in Michigan, won the PGA Professionals National Championship.
Backspin Some fans have wondered aloud in the past few years if the Skins Game has become irrelevant - and they may have a point - but throwing Lefty into the mix certainly will spice things up; The Publinx win was the second in three years for Joh, who also was apart of the winning Curtis Cup team as well as runner-up in the women's NCAA Championship just last month; The 39-year-old Herbert earned $75,000, a spot in six PGA TOUR events, and a place in this years PGA Championship.
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    Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

    The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

    Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

    Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

    Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.

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    Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:10 pm

    SINGAPORE - Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his newfound self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title.

    Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

    Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended on Saturday because of lightning strikes, Garcia finished his last nine holes in 4 under for a round of 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

    With organizers desperate to avert the constant threat of more bad weather and finish the tournament on time, Garcia promptly returned to the first tee shortly after and fired a flawless 3-under 68, cruising to victory with 10 straight pars as his rivals floundered in the stifling humidity.

    ''It may have looked easy, but it wasn't easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there,'' Garcia said. ''It's always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren't easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.''

    Garcia's closest rivals at the end were Japan's Satoshi Kodaira (71) and South African Shaun Norris (70). Both birdied the last hole to share second spot but neither was ever close enough on the last day to challenge the leader.

    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

    ''I could not reach Sergio. I was thinking, 12 or 13 under for the win, but he went beyond that,'' Kodaira said.

    Jazz Janewattananond (71) and his fellow Thai Danthai Bonnma (73) finished equal fourth at 8 under, earning themselves a spot in this year's British Open, while American Sean Crocker, who was given an invitation to the event after turning pro late last year, also won a place at Carnoustie by finishing in a tie for sixth.

    Garcia made just three bogeys in 72 holes and his victory provided the 38-year-old with the 33rd title of his professional career and his sixth on the Asian Tour.

    He has also won three titles in the last 12 months, including the Masters, and his game looks to be in better shape now than it was a year ago.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for Augusta National because of the steamy conditions and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament, which is regularly stopped because of inclement weather.

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

    "I'm extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can't wait to get a cold shower,'' Garcia said. ''I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn't miss many shots.''

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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.