TOUR Notes Aussies Rule at Houston Open

By Pga Tour MediaApril 1, 2008, 4:00 pm
News and notes from PGA TOUR officials for the PGA, Champions and Nationwide tours.
PGA Tour (75x100)PGA TOUR:
  • Its been all or nothing for Stuart Appleby at the Shell Houston Open. In seven career starts in the event, Appleby has won twice, finished second twice and missed the cut three times.
  • More on Appleby: In his last three starts at the Shell Houston Open, Appleby has finished first (2006) and tied for second twice (2005, 2007). In the two years the tournament has been played at The Tournament Course at Redstone GC, Appleby is 33-under par with seven rounds in the 60s.
  • One more on Appleby: While TOUR players frequently do most of their damage on the par-5s, Appleby has excelled on the par-4s at Redstone. In the past two years, hes 21-under on the par-4s and just 12-under on the par-5s. His long putting may be the reason'hes made 13 of 26 putts between 10 and 15 feet in length and six over 25 feet during that span.
  • Theres a very strong field assembled in Houston this week with five of the Top-10 players in the current FedExCup standings on hand. Scheduled to compete this week are Phil Mickelson (2nd), K.J. Choi (4th), Justin Leonard (6th), Steve Stricker (7th) and Geoff Ogilvy (10th).
  • International players have dominated at the Shell Houston Open over the past 10 years. Players from outside the U.S. have won seven of the last 10 tournaments with Aussies winning four of them. Stuart Appleby was the winner in 1999 and 2006 while Robert Allenby won in 2000 and Adam Scott last year. Vijay Singh of Fiji won three times over the past decade'2002, 2004, 2005.
  • Andres Romero made the biggest leap in the FedExCup standings last week with his victory at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans vaulting him from 135th place all the way to 14th. Peter Lonard was nearly as successful, moving from 107th to 24th after finishing second.
  • It was a week to celebrate the international nature of the three Tours last week. International players won on all three last week'Andres Romero of Argentina on the PGA TOUR, Bernhard Langer of Germany on the Champions Tour and Gavin Coles of Australia on the Nationwide Tour.
  • When Billy Mayfair tees it up this Thursday at the Shell Houston Open it will be his 600th career start.

    Champions Tour CHAMPIONS TOUR:
  • Tim Simpson finished in a T2 last week at the Ginn Championship at Hammock Beach for his best effort to date on the Champions Tour. It was his best finish on any of the Tours since finishing second at the 1995 Buffalo Open on the Nationwide Tour. His last victory came on the PGA TOUR at the 1990 Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic.
  • Bob Gilder played in his 100th consecutive Champions Tour event last week. Hes still way shy of Dana Quigleys all-time mark of 264.
  • This weeks The Cap Cana marks the Champions Tour first official money event in the Caribbean since the 1996 Senior Tournament of Champions was held in Puerto Rico.
  • Bernhard Langers eight-stroke victory last week at the Ginn Championship at Hammock Beach was the largest margin of victory on the Champions Tour since his eight-stroke win at the 2007 Administaff Small Business Classic.
  • More on Langer: He now has three Champions Tour victories in only 11 starts. He won three times on the PGA TOUR in 302 career starts.

    Nationwide Tour NATIONWIDE TOUR:
  • Hes Mr. Even-Numbered Years. Gavin Coles won his fourth Nationwide Tour career title last week at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by Dynamic Industries. His four titles have come in 2002-2004-2006 and 2008.
  • With Gavin Coles winning last week, Australians have won three of the first five Nationwide Tour events this year. Coles joins Jarrod Lyle and Ewan Porter who won earlier this year.
  • Brendon de Jonge finished in a T3 last week for his best finish in 84 career starts on the Nationwide Tour. It was his second Top-10 of the season and it boosted him to 14th on the money list.
  • Five-time Nationwide Tour winner Chris Couch is a fully-exempt PGA TOUR member, but has not played on the TOUR yet this season while recovering from a shoulder injury. He returned to the Nationwide Tour last week for his first rehab start and made the cut in Louisiana, finishing in a T55.

    Related Links:
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    McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

    By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

    The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

    McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

    McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

    ''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

    Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

    ''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

    McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

    ''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

    ''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

    The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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    Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

    By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

    If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

    Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

    If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

    Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

    Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

    I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

    A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

    And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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    Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

    Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

    The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

    Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

    “I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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    Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

    Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

    Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.