Wiesy Does It

By Mercer BaggsNovember 15, 2009, 10:26 pm

Michelle Wie

YES WIE CAN: Michelle Wie earned her first LPGA title, birdieing the final hole to win the Lorena Ochoa Invitational by two strokes over Paula Creamer. Wie, who entered the event with four top-3 finishes on the season, shot 3-under 69 Sunday to secure that previously elusive maiden trophy.
Backspin I don't lean one way or the other towards liking Wie, but she's great for the sport. She's by far the most recognizable female golfer in the U.S. That she's a polarizing figure only enhances her mass appeal. Her success – especially if she can become a dominating, Tiger Woods-like figure – gives the tour its best chance to succeed. So, good for Wie. Good for the LPGA. Good for women's golf.
Tiger Woods

BWERE OF TIGER: Tiger Woods won the JBWere Masters, shooting 4-under 68 Sunday for a two-stroke victory in Melbourne, Australia. The victory was Woods' seventh world-wide on the season and the 82nd of his career around the globe. It was his first, however, on the continent.
Backspin Woods earned his $3 million appearance fee and then some. It was just a week ago in the spot we joked – half-joked – that Woods had lost his edge. Seems he quickly regained it, even if he did so against Francois Delamontange and the fifth best left-handed player in the world. Woods has one more tournament on his 2009 schedule, his own Chevron World Challenge in two weeks. Then it's three months off – and three months to figure out how to beat that Mickelson fella.

Stephen Ames

AMES TO PLEASE: Stephen Ames captured the PGA Tour season finale, defeating George McNeill and Justin Leonard in a playoff at the Children's Miracle Network Classic. The 45-year-old shot 8-under 64 on Disney's Magnolia Course to overcome a three-stroke deficit and work his way into his first playoff on Tour. He then birdied the second extra hole for his fourth career Tour title.
Backspin Aside from Ames taking home the $828,000 first-place check, a few other players walked away winners. Jimmy Walker and Nicholas Thompson both started the week outside the top 125 on the money list, but finished well enough to earn their Tour cards for next season. Former PGA champion Rich Beem also shot 68-68 over the weekend at the Magic Kingdom to secure his spot inside the magic number.

David Duval

DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK: David Duval failed to earn exempt status on the PGA Tour for 2010 after missing the cut at the Children's Miracle Network Classic. Duval started the week at 125th on the money list but shot 76-73 and ultimately finished 130th. He will have conditional status on Tour next year and would have to get through the final stage of Q-School to earn full status.
Backspin For those of you hoping the U.S. Open was Duval's version of 'Pulp Fiction' and he would make a John Travolta-like comeback you'll have to settle for 'Look Who's Talking.' Bethpage was just a one-off. The good news, though, is that if Duval is ever to win again it will likely come at a major, somewhere where even par is a good score and 74 doesn't kill you. Duval may never have a full career resurrection, but maybe he can have a 'Look Who's Talking Too.' 

Doug Barron

JUST SAY NO: Doug Barron took the PGA Tour to federal court in Memphis, Tenn., trying to get a judge to issue an injunction that would allow him to play in the upcoming second stage of Tour Q-School. Barron, 40, was the first player to be suspended under the Tour's anti-doping policy. He received a one-year banishment.
Backspin Barron was still waiting late Sunday evening for a ruling. Neither party, though, comes off as the overwhelming good guy. Barron was told he wasn't allowed to compete on Tour while taking medication to boost his testosterone level, and he did. That's a violation. On the other hand, Barron played in only one event on Tour in 2009 and he just happened to get 'randomly' tested? That's pretty shady. The fact that commissioner Tim Finchem has complete autonomy to decide a person's fate if they test positive for recreational drugs doesn't wash either. Trust is definitely a big issue.
UBS Hong Kong Open

THE RACE IS ALMOST OVER: Gregory Bourdy won the European Tour's UBS Hong Kong Open by two strokes. The triumph was the third of the Frenchman's career and booked him a spot in the upcoming finale, the Dubai World Championship. Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, finished runner-up and gained a slight lead over Lee Westwood atop the tour's money list. The winner of the inaugural Race to Dubai will collect an additional $1.5 million.
Backspin The Race to Dubai seemed fairly exciting when it was first announced. Fortunately, McIlroy and Westwood are providing some flavor or it could have all of the thrill of a 'Green Acres' remake. We wondered at the beginning of the year if this concept would be better than the FedEx Cup Playoffs. It isn't. The purse was cut by 25 percent, PGA Tour players didn't get as involved as anticipated, and publicity surrounding the RTD mirrored that of a straight-to-DVD movie. Of course, McIlroy doesn't have a problem with it. The bonus money he makes off of this will help him pay for his new Lamborghini.

Mallory Code

IN MEMORY: Mallory Code died Monday at a Tampa-area hospital after a life-long battle with cystic fibrosis. She was 25. Code helped her high school team win a state title in golf and accepted a scholarship to play at the University of Florida. She won multiple amateur titles and graduated from UF in August with an English degree. [Above photos courtesy: gatorzone.com]
Backspin We became familiar with Code four years ago. She was an exceptional and brave young woman who never once asked, 'Why me?' She played the piano, scored 1,340 on her SATs, danced tap and ballet, loved football, and recently started a Web site that helps families save money on groceries with links to online coupons. She will be greatly missed and forever remembered by all the lives she touched in her 25 years.
Nick Faldo

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Nick Faldo was officially knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. ... Kevin Streelman won the $1 milllion Kodak Challenge prize. ... Duval and Robert Garrigus were the two players to fall out of the top 125 on the money list after the Disney event.
Backspin He's not an official British Knight without the shoes. ... Streelman made the right scores on the right holes this year. It might appear to be blind, stupid luck, but Streelman was well aware of his situation down the stretch and came through. ... Hard to feel sorry for people who made over $620,000 this year.
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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.