Its a Small World After All

By Rex HoggardMarch 12, 2009, 4:00 pm
2007 WGC CA ChampionshipDORAL, Fla. ' They call Miami the gateway to Latin America. A glance at Thursdays leaderboard suggests this World Golf Championship is the gateway to the world.
 
Check the board, its littered with more flags than the Small World exhibit at Walt Disney World Resort and more vowels than anyone on Jeopardy could afford. Among Thursdays highlights was a Singh not named Vijay, a Louis not named Armstrong and a Marksaeng named Prayad.
 
This may not be what Greg Norman had in mind when he hatched his world tour concept, but its not too bad, particularly if one carries a passport from any other country than the United States. Among the top 13 after Day 1 at Doral were players from India, South Africa, Thailand, Australia, Ireland, Colombia, England and Argentina. That crew also included three Americans within two shots of the lead, but this day was about the global village.
 
Alongside international staple Retief Goosen was Jeev M. Singh, whose 7-under 65 featured just a single bogey, and Marksaeng. All total, the 80-man CA Championship field features 20 different countries, some of which are hardly the golf hotbeds weve come to expect.
 
Some of the global reach is a byproduct of the increased popularity that followed in the wake of Tiger Woods 1997 Masters victory. Some has to do with the global evolution of the game.
 
With the European Tour the guys are starting to work harder because everybody sees the Race for Dubai, said Louis Oosthuizen, who is tied for ninth at 5 under. When you come to a world event its like a second major.
 
Within the World Golf Championships many observers see a glimpse of where the game might be headed. Just one of the Elite Eight players at last months WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship were from the United States.
 
Of the 31 WGCs that have been played, 15 have been won by Woods. Seven of the remaining 16 have gone to international players, including three to Australias Geoff Ogilvy.
 
And if the wave of young talent is any indication, the WGC hardware, unlike the WGC venues which are played exclusively in the United States, will be cashing more frequent flyer miles in the future.
 
Among the young wave who have made moves at the WGCs this year are Ross Fisher, Oliver Wilson (England); Andres Romero (Argentina) and Northern Irelands Rory McIlroy, billed by many Europes next world beater.
 
McIlroy was a big hit at the Match Player, where he advanced to the quarterfinals, and he tied for 13th in his first stroke play event in the United States as a pro. On Thursday, he quietly went for 68 for a share of 14th and will be back in the United States to play in Houston and the Masters. After that, however, McIlroy will likely make his way as an international player for the foreseeable future.
 
He will probably try to take up (PGA) Tour membership in 2011, said McIlroys manager Chubby Chandler. Theres no rush. In three years he will only be 21. But the rules are different for Rory. Besides, in two years who knows what the landscape will be like. In two years the European Tour and the Race for Dubai might be the biggest thing.
 
Judging by the leaderboard at Doral, that change may be coming sooner than expected.
 
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  • Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

    By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

    Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

    Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

    What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

    Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

    Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

    Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

    Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

    Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

    In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

    "It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

    “Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

    “That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

    Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

    The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

    Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

    Lexi Thompson:

    Baking time!!

    A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

    David Feherty:

    Jack Nicklaus:

    GC Tiger Tracker:

    Steve Stricker:

    Golf Channel:

    Frank Nobilo:

    Ian Poulter:

    Tyrone Van Aswegen:

    Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

    By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

    Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.