US Keeps UBS Cup

By Mercer BaggsNovember 21, 2004, 5:00 pm
2004 UBS CupKIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- The U.S. doesnt own the Ryder Cup, or the Solheim Cup, or even the Walker Cup. And they have to share possession of the Presidents Cup.
 
But they still have the UBS Cup.
 
Captain Arnold Palmer and company kept the cup in American hands for the fourth straight year, winning the annual competition over the Rest of the World team, 14-10.
 
The U.S. once again dominated the singles session ' as they had done in each of the first three contests. They won 7 of the available 12 points, turning a one-point overnight lead into a four-point victory.
 
Our guys just played really good golf, said a proud Palmer, who is 6-0-1 as a captain in team competition. Today was probably the best example of how well they played.'
 
Each member of the winning side earned $150,000, while the losing members pocketed $100,000 each.
 
The U.S. has now won or retained the UBS Cup each of the four editions.
 
The turning point in the overall match came when American Raymond Floyd earned a half-point against Zimbabwean Mark McNulty.
 
Floyd overcame a 3-down deficit with three holes to play. McNulty bogeyed 16 and double bogeyed 17, while Floyd birdied 18.
 
That kept the Americans ahead, 10-9 ' needing 12 points to retain the cup. And with Tom Watson and Fred Couples already assured of a half-point in their matches, Scott Hoch secured retention with a 2-and-1 win over Carl Mason.
 
It marked the second straight year that Hoch had made the deciding putt.
 
When Couples closed out Montgomerie, 5 and 3, the U.S. was guaranteed outright victory.
 
Despite the loss ' his third as ROW captain, Player was pleased with his teams performance.
 
Congratulations to the U.S., but we're creeping up closer,' said Player. 'Maybe next year we can entice Vijay Singh and some others to compete -- if we can just get them to give up their millions for a week.'
 
The days scoring started with Player defeating Palmer, 6 and 5. The win gave Player a 2-1-0 singles record in this event against his longtime friend and rival.
 
That wasnt the only Sunday blowout.
 
Craig Stadler holed his approach shot on the first hole for eagle and never took his foot off of the right pedal in defeating Ian Woosnam, 5 and 4.
 
I was 7 under through 11 holes with a bogey ' kind of overkill, he said. Same thing thats been happening over the years ' kept aiming at the hole and it kept going in.
 
Jay Haas, who said he was more relaxed Sunday after hearing that his son, Bill, had advanced into the final stage of the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament, thumped Barry Lane, 5 and 3.
 
Sam Torrance avenged his 2002 singles loss to Curtis Strange, winning 5 and 3 over his former Ryder Cup counterpart.
 
Tom Kite birdied the 17th en route to earning a 1-up win over Rodger Davis, while Peter Senior earned the same margin of victory over Fred Funk.
 
At this point, the overall score was 9 -8 , in favor of the U.S. McNulty could have pulled the ROW team even, but three-putted 16, hit his approach shot in the water on 17 and watched helplessly as Floyd drained a 10-foot birdie at the last to keep the Americans in command.
 
I just kept hanging in there, hanging in there, said Floyd. Its incredible how match play can swing.
 
Montgomerie shared in McNultys helpless feeling.
 
He made three birdies and no bogeys over 15 holes and was crushed by an unconscious Couples, who had six birdies and one eagle in his victory.
 
Ive done that myself in these competitions, said Montgomerie, who is usually the one making all of the putts and breaking the spirit of his opponents. Being at the receiving end, it is unbelievable.
 
Montgomerie is 5-0-2 in Ryder Cup singles, but 0-1-1 in this competition. Couples went 3-0-0 in his UBS debut.
 
Tom Watson, the Cassique Course designer, defeated Sandy Lyle, 1-up. Hale Irwin and John Chillas halved their match.
 
The tournament finished on a high note, as recent Ryder Cup captains Hal Sutton and Bernhard Langer displayed the tournaments spirit of sportsmanship.
 
Sutton made a 20-foot birdie putt at the last and then conceded Langers 6-foot birdie to end the match in a tie.
 
'That's what this event is all about,' said Player.
 
Related Links:
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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    Getty Images

    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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    Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

    What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

    Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    “I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

    McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

    He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

    Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

    “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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    Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

    Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

    Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

    Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

    Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

    Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.