Quotes of the Week

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 22, 2012, 4:33 pm

“It has just gotten to the point where the tearing down of Tiger (Woods) as a person and a golfer has become just too much. I think it is just out of hand.” – Swing coach Sean Foley, speaking on Sirius/XM’s PGA Tour Network's “Fairways of Life.”

'Quit playing golf-swing and just hit shots; just say to himself, I'm gonna hit a low fade, and I don't need anybody to tell me how to do it, I'm just gonna feel it.' - Butch Harmon, chiming in with some of his thoughts on Tiger Woods.

“Lately I've been trying to do as little as possible with everything involved with golf.  Like if I'm hitting bad on the range, I won't even work it out.  I'll just quit hitting balls and go home.  It's been working.  It has. It's almost like I'm playing better golf because I'm thinking more on the golf course.” – Matt Every, after shooting a course-record 63 in the first round of the Valero Texas Open.

'I love Bubba. He's a breath of fresh air. I love the way he plays golf. The guy has an incredible ability to see shots few players can.' – Greg Norman, speaking about Bubba Watson during a “Morning Drive” interview on Golf Channel.

“That will go down as one of the great shots ever played in the game.'' – Jack Nicklaus, on Bubba Watson’s hooked-wedge approach shot on the second playoff hole that led to his Masters win.

'He's going to have to play extremely well to get that pick. I know there are going to be four or five guys who deserve to be on that team that will not get on there by merit.” – Graeme McDowell, speaking on “Morning Drive” about Carl Pettersson, whose only chance to make the European Ryder Cup team is as a captain’s pick.

''If they decided for whatever reason to make changes, you would have to start all over again. Our design is specifically for that site. You can't just put it someplace else.'' – Gil Hanse, chosen to design the Olympic golf course in Brazil, on the dispute over who owns the site of the proposed course. 

'You look at Michelle Wie, and she's still very young, but in our eyes, she's been on tour for a while. She's been playing as an amateur since the age of 12. She set the bar high so early and, after that, she hasn't been able to deliver, so I would certainly put Lexi Thompson first.' – Annika Sorenstam, asked on “Morning Drive” which young player would be better off in five years, Lexi Thompson or Michelle Wi.

“I look at (Lee) Westwood, or Sergio (Garcia), or Michelle Wie now, Ernie Els – people that I really respect and you would just love to have 10 or 15 minutes of their time because you know you can fix them.' – Putting guru Dave Stockton, talking on “Morning Drive” about golfers he’d love to help with their putting.

'To have three before May is literally unbelievable ...It’s just amazing and shows you the standard of golf that I am playing right now.' - Branden Grace, full of confidence following his third win of the year on the European Tour.

Getty Images

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.  

<
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.” 

Getty Images

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.”

Getty Images

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.