Early Winners Qualifying for Match Play

By Pga Tour MediaJanuary 15, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007- WGC-AccentureMARANA, Ariz. -- Tuesday, January 15, 2008 - With victories at the Mercedes-Benz Championship, Sony Open in Hawaii and the European Tours Joburg Open, Swedens Daniel Chopra, Koreas K.J. Choi and South African Richard Sterne each, respectively, made moves within the top 64 in the Official World Golf Ranking and are currently qualified for the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. The Accenture Match Play Championship features the top 64 players in the world squaring off in a rare match-play competition at The Gallery Golf Club at Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz., February 18-24.
 
Chopra, one of the hottest players on the PGA TOUR at the end of the 2007 season, defeated PGA TOUR Comeback Player of the Year Steve Stricker on the fourth playoff hole. Before the start of the Ginn sur Mer Classic at Tesoro, the second-to-last fall season event in 2007, the 34-year-old Swede ranked No. 202 on the Official World Golf Ranking. After his victory that week, Chopra moved up to No. 141 and earned a spot in this years Mercedes-Benz Championships field. By the end of 2007, Chopra had nearly cracked the top 100, finishing at No. 102. With his victory to start the season - combined with a T32 finish at last weeks Sony Open in Hawaii - Chopra has moved to 60th in the world. Chopra has never played at the Accenture Match Play Championship, but with his strong start to the season is well on his way to making his debut.
 
K.J. Choi won for the fourth straight season on the PGA TOUR, joining Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh as the only players with active streaks of that length. Choi won twice in 2007 with wins at The Memorial, hosted by Jack Nicklaus and at the AT&T National, hosted by Tiger Woods.
 
'But just winning both events, all I can say is that I have a lot of respect for both players, and to be able to win in their tournaments is just -- I can't even express in words, Choi told reporters after his victory last July.
 
With his latest victory in Hawaii, Choi moves to no. 7 in the Official World Golf Ranking, likely making him at least a no. 2 seed in one of the four brackets come February.
 
Sternes playoff-victory, his third career win on the European Tour, came in Johannesburg not far from his Pretoria home. The win moves him to fourth on the European Tours Order of Merit and from 44th to No. 33 in the Official World Golf Ranking. This would also mark Sternes first ever Accenture Match Play tournament.
 
The top-64 available players from the Official World Golf Ranking released on Monday, February 11, will qualify for this years event as the tournament returns to Arizona for the second year. With the 2008 PGA TOURs Opening Drive beginning today and the European Tour season already under way, players on the bubble will need to fair well early in the year to qualify for this prestigious match-play event.
 
The Accenture Match Play Championship was held in Arizona for the first time this February. Henrik Stenson captured his first PGA TOUR win by defeating defending champion Geoff Ogilvy 2 and 1 during the 36-hole final round. Stenson collected the $1.35 million first-place prize and the Walter Hagen Cup.
 
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    Watch: Daly makes birdie from 18-foot-deep bunker

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 11:14 pm

    John Daly on Friday somehow got up and down for birdie from the deepest bunker on the PGA Tour.

    The sand to the left of the green on the 16th hole at the Stadium Course at PGA West sits 18 feet below the surface of the green.

    That proved no problem for Daly, who cleared the lip three times taller than he is and then rolled in a 26-footer.

    He fared just slightly better than former Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill.

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    Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

    Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

    Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

    In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

    Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

    “I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

    Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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    Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

    In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


    Made Cut

    Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

    Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    September can’t get here quick enough.

    Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

    There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

    In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

    “I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

    The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

    Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

    Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

    The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

    The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

    “My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


    Missed Cut

    Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

    After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

    It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

    Tweet of the week:

    It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

    The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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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.