Weir-d Finish To 2001 Season

By Mercer BaggsNovember 4, 2001, 5:00 pm
With the sun setting, literally, on the PGA Tour season, Mike Weir rolled in a five-foot birdie putt on the first hole of sudden death to capture his first title of the season at The Tour Championship.
 
Weir defeated David Toms (67), Sergio Garcia (68) and Ernie Els (68) in the playoff at Champions Golf Club in Houston, TX. All four men finished regulation at 14-under-par 270.
 
It was a fantastic day, unbelievable finish to the year,' said Weir, who won $900,000.
 
Weir could have ified the extra session by parring the 72nd hole. But after his tee shot landed in the left fairway bunker, his approach shot came up well short of the green. He pitched 20 feet from the hole and two-putted for bogey.
 
Meanwhile, Els birdied the par-4 18th, and Garcia and Toms made pars to join the fray.
 
In the playoff, both Els and Garcia pushed their tee shots on No. 18 into the right trees. Els was able to fly his approach shot onto the back of the green, some 40 feet from the cup; though, Garcia was faced with a more daunting task.
 
The 21-year-old Spaniard was allowed a free drop when he informed a rules official that the shot he wanted to play was interfered with by the greenside grandstand.
 
Garcia then hit a wedge from 120 yards to the back fringe, from where he almost chipped in for par from 80 feet.
 
On the other hand, Weir and Toms were sitting pretty in the fairway. Following a ten-minute wait for Garcia and Els to play, Toms was unable to capitalize, hitting a soft wedge from 123 yards 20 feet past the stick.
 
Weir then stepped up and stuck his approach shot from 120 yards inside of five feet. And when Els and Toms missed their birdie opportunities, the 31-year-old Canadian ended both the tournament and the 2001 PGA Tour campaign, just as dark was descending.
 
I really needed to redeem myself, I felt, on that hole,' Toms said. 'These guys are just great players. I didn't want to give them another chance.'Kenny Perry (69) and Scott Verplank (71) tied for fifth place at 13-under. Verplank started the day with a one-shot lead, but played the back nine in 1-over 36 en route to an even-par 71.
 
Ultimately, I put too much pressure on my putter, Verplank said. I just couldnt get the ball close enough to the hole.
 
Verplanks Sunday playing companion, David Duval, also shot 71. The 1997 Tour Championship winner started the day one off the lead, but double bogeyed the par-3 12th. He tried to rally late, but like Verplank, was unable to coax any putts into the cup.
 
(The double bogey) had nothing to do with (losing) the tournament, he said. I played very, very well. I hit is close all day and couldnt get it in the hole.

Tiger Woods never factored into the final outcome. He started the week with a sore back, and his finish wasnt much comfort. He bogeyed his final two holes Sunday for a round of 1-under 70. Tiger completed the season finale tied for 13th at 8-under-par 276.
 
Regardless, Woods captured his third straight Arnold Palmer Award for winning the money title and his third consecutive Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average. He also won five tour titles, including his fourth major championship in a row at the Masters Tournament.
 
All those are good things, and Im proud of the way I played all year. But its hard to be in a good mood about it right now, Woods said.
 
It wasnt quite as good as last year (when he won nine PGA Tour events ' three of which were majors ' and collected over $9 million in official earnings). But it was a pretty darn good year.
 
News, Notes and Numbers
 
*Weir has now won the last official event for the second consecutive season. Last year, he captured the World Golf Championship-American Express Championship.
 
*This was the 10th playoff on the PGA Tour this season and the seventh in the 15-year history of the Tour Championship.
 
*Woods finished the year first on the PGA Tour money list with $5,568,777; $1,283,884 clear of runner-up Phil Mickelson
 
*Els failed to win a PGA Tour event in 2001, snapping a 7-year winning streak on tour. Woods now holds the longest active streak of consecutive seasons with at least one tour victory at six.
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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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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.