Norman Stewart Inducted into Hall of Fame
Greg Norman, winner of 75 worldwide events, was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame Sunday in St. Augustine, Fla.; along with Payne Stewart, Donna Caponi, Judy Bell, Karsten Solheim and Allan Robertson.
The evening began with the Florida A&M Marching Band performing and playing the National Anthem. They then gave way to Master of Ceremonies and Hall of Famer Gary Player.
After a tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Player turned the microphone over to Dr. Trey Holland, the 56th President of the United States Golf Association.
Holland introduced Bell, the first honoree of the night. Bell, a lifelong amateur, both competed on and captained two Curtis Cup teams. She has been a volunteer for the USGA for 31 years, and in 1996 was the first woman elected president of the organization.
Im very grateful for this honor and I want to accept it on behalf of all golfs volunteers, said Bell, who is battling cancer.
Donna Caponi was the next inductee, introduced by LPGA Tour Commissioner Ty Votaw.
Caponi won 24 times on the LPGA Tour, including four major championships. She turned professional at the age of 19 in 1965 and earned her first victory in the 69 U.S. Womens Open.
I am what I am today because of my parents, said Caponi, trying to fight back tears.
She also recalled the time she and her father went to the driving range after receiving her first set of junior clubs at the age of eight.
He no sooner put (the ball) on the tee and I whacked him between the eyes, said Caponi, who at the time was leery that he may never again let her hit balls.
Thank God he did or I wouldnt be standing here today, she said.
Votaw then introduced John Solheim, who accepted on behalf of his late father who died last year of Parkinsons disease at the age of 88.
Karsten Solheim was the founder of Karsten Manufacturing, which produces Ping putters and equipment. He developed investment casting and perimeter-weighted irons, revolutionizing how clubs were made.
The LPGA Tours Solheim Cup was named after the innovator.
What my father enjoyed most was, Thank you, Karsten, from the many golfers, said John, the current Chairman and CEO of Ping.
He then looked to the sky and added, Dad, Ive never seen a bigger thank you than this.
Sir Michael Bonallack, the former secretary of the Royal & Ancient who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2000, accepted on behalf of the late Allan Robertson.
Robertson is credited as the first golf professional. He was best known as the maker of the featherie ball and was the first player to break 80 on the Old Course at St. Andrews, with a round of 79 in 1858.
Legend has it that he and Old Tom Morris never lost when playing as a team.The nights ceremonies drew to a completion with the recognition of the two primary inductees, Stewart and Norman.
Stewarts great friend, Paul Azinger, introduced Paynes widow, Tracey, who accepted on behalf of her late husband.
Payne won three major championships, but more important Payne was a consummate professional, said Tracey, who was accompanied in the audience by their two children, Chelsea and Aaron.
Yesterday was our 20th wedding anniversary. And though Ive had to live the last two years without him, I must continue to testify to what a blessing he was to me and our two children.
With the knickers and the tam-o-shanter cap, Stewart was one of the games most recognizable figures. He won 18 times around the world, including 11 on the PGA Tour. He won the 1989 PGA Championship, and the 1991 and 99 U.S. Opens.
The inspirational leader on five Ryder Cup teams, Stewart was killed along with five others in a plane accident Oct. 25, 1999. He was 42 years old.
Last, but certainly not least, Steve Elkington introduced fellow Aussie Greg Norman. The two had played earlier in the day in Normans own Franklin Templeton Shootout down in Naples.
Norman has won 75 worldwide events in his career; 18 of which have come on the PGA Tour. He has also captured two major championships ' the 1986 and 93 British Opens. Nicknamed The Shark for his aggressive nature, Norman held the No. 1 position in the Official World Golf Ranking longer than anyone since its inception in 1986.
In addition to his many victories, Norman has an impressive list of emotional defeats. The 46-year-old Australian finished runner-up 31 times on the PGA Tour; eight of which came in major tournaments.
In 1986 Norman won the Saturday Slam by leading all four majors after the third round. Hes also the only player to lose all four majors in a playoff.
Perhaps both his worst professional defeat and biggest personal triumph came Sunday in the 1996 Masters. Norman led Nick Faldo by six shots entering the final round, only to shoot 78 and lose by five.
Of that incident, Norman said on this Sunday, The outcry of public support changed my outlook forever.
Regardless of his success and his shortcomings, fans and peers will always remember Norman for the manner in which he handled himself.
(Jack Nicklaus) taught me how to win and how to lose. The game of golf gives and it takes away.
Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title
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.
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.
Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore
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.
''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.''
Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole
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.
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.
Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder
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.”
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.