European Tour Report Cards

By Mercer BaggsNovember 28, 2001, 5:00 pm
Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of articles rating the performance of players on the LPGA, European, Senior and PGA Tours in 2001. We will rate one Tour each day, beginning with the PGA Tour and now the European circuit.
European TourBirdies, Pars and Bogeys ' thats how were rating performances this year on the European Tour.
No one in Europe had a better season than Retief Goosen. The South African won three sanctioned events, including the United States Open. He also captured his first Order of Merit title.
Padraig Harrington finished runner-up to Goosen in earnings. The Irishman was able to turn a Par year into a Birdie year by winning the season finale Volvo Masters. He spent the majority of the year inside the top 10 on the money list ' thanks to six runner-up finishes ' but his win to close the campaign moved him into the second-place slot, his best ever finish on tour.
Bernhard Langer entered this year winless since 1997. That changed with a victory in the TNT Dutch Open. He ended the season sixth on the Order of Merit(money title.)
Likewise, Ian Woosnam won for the first time in four years by defeating Harrington, Goosen, Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood in the Cisco World Match Play Championship. The title wasnt official, but it was quite impressive ' and worthy of a Birdie.
Thomas Bjorn also had a striking victory. The Dane went head-to-head with Tiger Woods and came out on top in the Dubai Desert Classic. That, in and of itself, accounts for a successful season.
It marked his fourth consecutive year with at least one win.
Meanwhile, Adam Scott, Angel Cabrera, Henrik Stenson, Tobias Dier, Paul Casey, Ricardo Gonzalez, Jorge Berendt, Gregory Havret and Darren Fichardt made their maiden trips into the tours winner circle.
Casey was named the 2001 European Tour Rookie of the Year, thanks to his victory in the Scottish PGA Championship.
Justin Rose didnt win this season, but for the first time in three years he didnt have to go to the tours qualifying tournament to earn his card. Rose finished 33rd on the money list.
Jean Hugo was one spot back of Rose on the Order of Merit. The South African rookie had three top-4s.
After seven straight years as Europes best, Montgomerie relinquished that title in 2000 by finishing sixth in earnings. This year he climbed a spot into fifth place, but it was still a lackluster season for the 38-year-old Scot.
Montgomerie won twice ' extending his streak of multiple-win seasons on the European Tour to nine. But once again he failed to win the big one ' or at least one of the big ones. In fact, Montgomerie didnt even produce a top-10 in the majors this season.
Miguel Angel Jimenez established himself as one of Europes best with back-to-back multiple-win seasons in 1998 and 99. But for the second straight year the 37-year-old Spaniard went winless.
Jimenez dipped to 20th on the Order of Merit. But perhaps his biggest disappointment was failing to earn a berth on the Ryder Cup team.
In 2000 Gary Orr was the best European player of whom you might not have heard. After seven years without a victory the Scot won twice, earned two runners-up and finished 10th in earnings.
This year, however, Orr went back to his ways of old. He collected four top-10s without a win and finished 43rd on the money list (his third worst finish since joining the tour in 1993).
Having won five times in his career and nearly capturing the 1995 British Open, Costantino Rocca may not be entirely pleased with his 2001 season. But it was a far cry from a dismal 2000.
Coming off a year when he made only 10 of 25 cuts and finished 152nd in cash, Rocca rebounded, collecting a second-place finish in the French Open en route to a 74th-place finish in earnings.
For nearly a decade the Italian never concluded a year outside the top-40 on the Order of Merit; this is the second successive season hes done so, but its certainly a step in the right direction.
Westwood went the wrong way in 2001. After overthrowing Montgomerie at the top of the Order of Merit, the Englishman fell all the way to 52nd in earnings.
He failed to finish inside the top-40 in any of the majors; though, he skipped the Masters Tournament due to the birth of his first child.
Most surprising, however, was the fact that he didnt win on tour for the first time in six seasons ' this from a man who won 12 times in three years.
Jamie Spence also experienced a disappointing descent in 2001.
The Englishman won once in 2000 and earned a trip to the Volvo Masters with his 36th-place finish on the Order of Merit. This year, though, he had more withdrawals than top-10s (2-to-1). His horrendous season ended with a 141st ranking on the money list.
Patrik Sjoland joined the European Tour in 1996 and has since been a fixture inside the top-60 on the Order of Merit. He even finished fifth in the money department in 1998.
But this year the Swede missed 11 cuts in 25 starts and couldnt muster a top-10. He ended a frustrating campaign 93rd in earnings ' his worst ever finish.
Likewise, Jean Van de Velde endured his worst season as a professional. As he did a year ago, the Frenchman tried to split his time between the European and PGA Tours.
But unlike 2000 ' when he finished 32nd on the European money list and 60th in the U.S. ' Van de Velde ended 2001 107th in Europe and 158th in America.
He played in a combined 26 tournaments and garnered two top-10s. His second-place finish in the Cannes Open was his sole savior in securing his 2002 European Tour card.
Check out who made the grade on the PGA Tour
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Kelly leads Monty, Couples, Langer in Hawaii

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 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.