Johnson Wins Strange One in Texas

By Marty HenwoodFebruary 23, 2003, 5:00 pm
AUSTIN, Texas -- American Rob Johnson cruised to his first Canadian Tour victory Sunday by watching the final round of the TravelTex.com Canadian Tour Challenge from the comfort of a television studio.
 
The 30-year-old native fromTerre Haute, Ind., won the weather-shortened event at Barton Creek Resorts Fazio Foothills course with a 36-hole total of 10-under 134 (65-69), two strokes in front of Michael Harris (Troy, Mich.) and Mark Johnson (Helendale, Calif.). Hank Kuehne and James Driscoll were four shots off the pace.
 
Philip Jonas of Vancouver had the best Canadian showing, winding up tied for 8th at 4-under 140.
 
In as complicated a scenario as you will see in the world of professional golf, Tour officials announced Saturday that the Classic would be a 36-hole event, the first time in Canadian Tour history that a 72-hole tournament had been reduced to two rounds. That mean Johnson, who finished his second round late Saturday afternoon, could sit back and see if any of the remaining 65 golfers could take a run at his 10-under total Sunday. That never happened.
 
Kevin Stadler, the son of former Masters champion Craig Stadler, started the day at 6-under and seemingly had the best shot at catching Johnson. The 23-year-old birdied his second hole of the day before going on a bogey-double bogey-bogey slide that had him out of contention at the turn. Stadler struggled to a 6'over 78 and wound up falling from fourth spot to a tie for 35th.
 
Torrential rains washed out opening round action Thursday and caused a three-hour delay Friday morning.
 
Johnson, who had a pair of fourth-place showings during his six-year Tour career, arrived at Barton Creek Resort just before 11 A.M. CST in a buoyant mood. Stadler had fallen from the leaderboard minutes earlier, and Lee Williamson, his closest pursuer, was five shots back. Johnson was whisked to The Golf Channel broadcast booth where he did on-air commentary as Stadler and Williamson kicked into the stretch drive.
 
I dont think this will ever happen again, admitted Johnson when asked of Sundays bizarre circumstances. But those guys that came out here today had the weather to contend with, plus they knew the number they needed to catch me. They had to go to bed last night knowing what they needed to shoot, and that may have worked against them.
 
Those players who played most of their 36 holes on Saturday seemed to have the better side of the draw. Swirling winds Sunday didnt allow anyone to take it low, at least not low enough to challenge the leader. In fact, six of the top seven finishers were players that didnt have to take a club out of the bag on the final day of the tournament.
 
Having played 29 of his 36 holes Saturday, Johnson had set the early pace by finishing off an opening-round 7-under 65. The 30-year-old had time to grab a quick lunch before pegging it up for Rd. 2. As it turned out, the 56 putts he needed through 36 holes turned out to be added insurance for his initial Tour triumph. On Sunday, he awoke with the mindset it was another day of golf, dressing in his on-course attire in case a playoff materialized. Facing the prospect of playing perhaps one hole after having the entire of the day off wasnt something overly appealing to Johnson.
 
I was out with some friends Saturday night and (fellow Tour player) Bobby Kalinowski was telling me I had better get some sleep because I was going to be in a playoff today, joked Johnson, who met Julie, his wife of seven months, in Ottawa during his first season on Tour. It wasnt something I really thought about, but I would have had to go in there cold. These other guys had just played a round, and it could have been over for me as soon as I hit a tee shot in a playoff.

Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 19, 2017, 5:30 pm

Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.

He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.

Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:

Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 4:22 pm

Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.

Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.

Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.

"I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.

The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.

Matsuyama was a runner-up to Koepka at the U.S. Open earlier this summer, and the 25-year-old seems headed back to the drawing board before defending his title at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.

"I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said. "It seems there are many issues to address."

McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.

Rahm wins finale, Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 1:42 pm

Jon Rahm captured the final tournament on the European Tour calendar, a result that helped Tommy Fleetwood take home the season-long Race to Dubai title.

Rahm shot a final-round 67 to finish two shots clear of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shane Lowry at the DP World Tour Championship. It's the second European Tour win of the year for the Spaniard, who also captured the Irish Open and won on the PGA Tour in January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

"I could not be more proud of what I've done this week," Rahm told reporters. "Having the weekend that I've had, actually shooting 12 under on the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, it's really special."

But the key finish came from Justin Rose, who held the 54-hole lead in Dubai but dropped back into a tie for fourth after closing with a 70. Rose entered the week as one of only three players who could win the Race to Dubai, along with Sergio Garcia and Fleetwood, who started with a lead of around 250,000 Euros.


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With Fleetwood in the middle of the tournament pack, ultimately tying for 21st after a final-round 74, the door was open for Rose to capture the title thanks to a late charge despite playing in half the events that Fleetwood did. Rose captured both the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, and was one round away from a two-trophy photo shoot in Dubai.

Instead, his T-4 finish meant he came up just short, as Fleetwood won the season-long race by 58,821 Euros.

The title caps a remarkable season for Fleetwood, who won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship as well as the French Open to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes and a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Open.

"I find it amazing, the season starts in November, December and you get to here and you're watching the last shot of the season to decide who wins the Race to Dubai," Fleetwood said at the trophy ceremony. "But yeah, very special and something we didn't really aim for at the start of the year, but it's happened."