Players Postion Selves For Sunday

By Mercer BaggsNovember 3, 2001, 5:00 pm
The scene is set for an old-fashion Sunday Shootout at The Tour Championship in Houston, TX.
The course is immaculate, theres virtually no wind and the greens arent too fast. If youre hitting it well, its there for the taking.
Those were the words of David Duval, who took advantage of those conditions to the tune of 8-under 63 at the Champions Golf Club.
Check out David Duval's scorecard
Duval enters the final round at 12-under-par 201, one shot back of leader Scott Verplank. Verplank bogeyed his final hole to shoot 3-under 68 to maintain his overnight lead.
He started the day with three birdies over his first five holes, only to bogey the par-4 6th. But just as he let a four-stroke lead dwindle to two, Verplank eagled the par-5 9th by making a 20-footer from the fringe to move to 14-under. He wasn't as fortuante on the final hole, however, as he bogeyed after running his birdie effort ' again from the fringe ' 10 feet past the hole.
I scored well, I just made some mistakes, Verplank said. I was close, but I wasnt quite there.
Six players are three off the pace at 11-under; the list includes Ernie Els (65), Kenny Perry (65), Bob Estes (65), Sergio Garcia (66), Mike Weir (68) and Bernhard Langer (69).
You know, you got to shoot better than 68 or youre moving backwards, said Els, who is trying to keep alive a winning streak on the PGA Tour that dates back to 1994.
Tiger Woods was unable to do better than 69 on Saturday. After making the turn in 3-under 33, he recorded eight straight pars on the back nine and concluded his day with a bogey on the home hole.
After signing his scorecard, Woods bypassed the media and the range and headed straight to the parking lot. In frustration, he threw his hat into his black SUV, slammed the door and drove from the cursed course.
Tigers score was a bit of an anomaly, as nine players shot 68 or lower. The round of the day belonged to Jim Furyk. Furyk established a new tournament and course record with a 9-under 62.
Check out Jim Furyk's scorecard
He moved from 1-under as the day began to 10-under heading to Sunday.
I hit my irons as well as Ive hit them all year, said Furyk, who seldom had a birdie putt outside of 15 feet on the massive greens.
Furyk is seeking his first victory since the first event of the year, the Mercedes Championships. Meanwhile, Els is trying to get back to Kapalua for the seventh straight year.
The 32-year-old South African has yet to win on the PGA Tour this season, despite eight top-10 finishes.
That was No. 1 on my agenda this week ' get into Kapalua and extend my streak. Id love to do that, Els said. Ive given myself half a chance to do that.
Duval put himself in position to win his second tournament of the year by making seven birdies and an eagle to only one bogey in the third round.
The British Open champion is in great shape despite carding a triple-bogey-8 on the 13th hole Friday.
Today, I just wanted to shoot a good score and get back in it, he said.
Mission accomplished.
The same can be said for Perry, who at 30th on the money list was the last man to qualify for this weeks event.
My goal was to go from last to first. I went out alone on Thursday and wanted to play in the final group on Sunday, said Perry, who was forced to play by himself in the first round with only 29 players in the field.
Perry nearly made it into the final twosome Sunday, but instead will play in the penultimate group with Els. He put himself in that position by recording five consecutive birdies from holes 11-16.
Chris DiMarco (Perrys third-round playing companion) said we need to start making birdies, and then I make five in a row. Chris says, I said we need to start making birdies, Perry joked.
Still, Verplank is the man to beat. He wasnt able to separate himself from the pack in the third round, but he didnt lose any ground, either.
I know that if I play well tomorrow Ill have a chance, said this years Bell Canadian Open winner. I do have the confidence that if I play as good as I can tomorrow, Ill have a great chance to win.
News, Notes and Numbers
*The final twosome of Verplank and Duval will tee off Sunday at 1:00 p.m. local time.
*Saturdays 68.000 field scoring average was the lowest one-day 18-hole average of the 2001 season.
*Estes was presented with the 2001 Fall Finish trophy Saturday. The Texan entered the week with an insurmountable lead of 115 points over Davis Love III. Estes has five top-8 finishes in the Fall Finish, which began in late August, including a victory in the Invensys Classic. Estes was rewarded $500,000 unofficial.
Full-field scores from The Tour Championship
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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.