Final-Four Set in Melbourne

By Mercer BaggsJanuary 5, 2001, 5:00 pm
Top-seeded Ernie Els survived another tough match to advance into the semi-finals of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Melbourne, Australia.
Els outlasted 57th-seeded Craig Stadler 1-up. The South African will now face Sweden's Pierre Fulke, seeded 21st, who defeated American Brad Faxon in 19 holes at the Metropolitan Golf Club.
The other Final-Four match will pit Steve Stricker against Japan's Toru Taniguchi. Taniguchi bettered fellow Japanese standout Shigeki Maruyama 2-and-1, while Stricker defeated local favorite Nick O'Hern in 20 holes.
Els grabbed an early advantage on his American counterpart, but a pair of failed attempts to get out of bunkers at the fifth and sixth holes turned a 1-up lead into a 1-down deficit.
Els managed to win the eighth hole to pull All Square, and then spun back his approach shot on the par-4 12th to two feet. The win gave Els a 1-up lead, which he maintained entering the 17th.
At the penultimate hole of regulation, Els was forced to sink a 10-foot par putt to maintain his advantage. He did just that.
Then, in equally dramatic fashion, with Stadler inside him, the Big Easy dropped in a 15-foot birdie at the 18th to win the match in the narrowest of margins.
'I kinda felt a little flat,' said Els, who defeated Jean Van de Velde over an emotional 19 holes in the Round of 16. 'I think both of us weren't really on our games. I just persevered.
'I know I've got another gear to put it into.'
Els will test that resolve against Fulke in Saturday afternoon's (Australian time) semi-finals.
Fulke overcame an early 2-down deficit to pull All Square through eight holes. The Swede looked to grab his first lead of the match at the ninth, until Faxon holed his greenside bunker shot for a halve.
One hole later, however, Fulke did take the lead after hitting his tee shot to within five feet of the hole.
Fulke then turned the tables on Faxon by holing his own bunker shot at the par-5 12th, this one for eagle. Fulke was now 2-up with six holes remaining.
Faxon won the 15th to move within 1-down, and then pulled All Square when Fulke found problems off the tee at the 17th.
After halving the 18th, Faxon appeared to have the advantage at the 19th hole, the par-4 14th. In the middle of the fairway, with a wedge in hand, Faxon flew the green and finished in the back bunker.
Fulke was short of the green in two, but putted from some 80 feet up to gimme range on his third shot. With a par secured, Fulke watched as Faxon blasted his bunker shot 20 feet past the pin, and then failed to convert a par of his own to extend the match.
'I started off pretty bad,' Fulke said. 'Once I got going I hit some pretty good shots. Hopefully, I can bring the good stuff into the afternoon round.'
Of the 34 Americans to make the trip to Melbourne, only Stricker remains. After defeating Justin Leonard 6-and-5 the day prior, the Wisconsin native struggled mightily against O'Hern on Saturday. Fortunately for Stricker, so too did the Australian.
Deadlocked through 18 holes, Sticker made a 12-foot birdie at the 19th hole, the 14th, to extend the match, and then stuck his approach shot at the 20th hole, the 15th, to three feet for the eventual victory. It was Stricker's only lead of the day.
'I struggled in the middle part of the round, but when I had to, I started to hit some good shots,' said Stricker.
Stricker will now face Taniguchi, who has yet to trail in any of his four matches thus far. The little-known Japanese player bettered his more famous countryman, Maruyama, in the quarterfinals.
Taniguchi was 4-up through seven holes, before Maruyama began to battle back on the back nine. Maruyama, who had never lost a match in Melbourne, going 5-0 in the 1998 Presidents Cup and 3-0 prior to facing Taniguchi in the Accenture, won the 10th, 13th and 14th holes to move within 1-down.
Maruyama appeared to be 20 feet from tying the match at the 16th, until his opponent rolled in a 50-foot birdie putt to ensure at least a halve of the hole. Maruyama then lipped out his birdie effort. Taniguchi had regained his 2-up lead, which he held onto for a 2-and-1 triumph.
Each of the four quarterfinal losers will receive $150,000. The winners are now guaranteed at least $300,000.
Following a brief rest, the four remaining survivors will square off in the semi-finals, Saturday afternoon.
Getty Images

Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.