Canadians Lead World Cup

By Sports NetworkDecember 12, 2002, 5:00 pm
PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico -- Mike Weir and Ian Leggatt combined to shoot a 13-under 59 Thursday to give Canada the first-round lead at the WGC-EMC World Cup. The Australian duo of Adam Scott and Craig Parry are one shot back at 12-under-par 60.
Korea's K.J. Choi, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour in 2002, teamed with S.K. Ho for a round of 11-under 61. They were joined by the French squad of Thomas Levet and Raphael Jacquelin in a tie for third.
Phil Mickelson and David Toms, who partnered for the United States at the Ryder Cup, collected four birdies over the first nine holes.
Mickelson two-putted for birdie at the 10th and the pair added another birdie at the 11th. At the par-4 13th, Toms landed his second shot inside two feet to reach 7-under. The Americans parred the remaining holes to finish six shots off the lead after a round of 65.
Weir and Leggatt were part of a three-way tie for the lead after the first round of this event last year. The pair finished the tournament four shots behind the eventual champions, but at Vista Vallarta Golf Club both players like their chances.
'I think we are both very capable players,' said Leggatt. 'Maybe it's surprising that the country of Canada might be winning the World Golf Championship in December, but I think that's about it.'
The duo made the turn at 5-under in the better ball format. At the par-5 10th, Weir hit his second shot to 15 feet and drained the putt for an eagle.
'A few times we had it in there close and the guy that was outside would make the putt,' said Leggatt. 'That's just how best ball works, it just kind of frees you up a little bit and we did a lot of that today.'
They birdied the next two holes and made it three in a row after Weir ran home a putt from the fringe for a birdie at the 13th.
Weir, who had a quiet year on the PGA Tour in 2002, was on top of his game at the Nicklaus Course. At the 15th, he rolled in a long putt for birdie and followed with a birdie at the 16th to reach 12-under.
At the treacherous par-4 18th, Leggatt made birdie to give his team the outright lead after the opening round.
'It's a good finishing hole,' Weir said of the 18th. 'You have to stand up there and hit a good tee shot, and that's the most important thing, is to get it in the fairway. The pin was in an easy spot today, but as the week goes on, it will be in trickier spots.'
Parry birdied the first three holes to give the Australians an early push and the duo continued to play well with three straight birdies starting at the sixth.
'Craig got us off to an ideal start,' said Scott. 'I just sat back and watched him.'
Parry and Scott were on fire on the inward nine as well with a stretch of four consecutive birdies from the 10th. They added a birdie at the 16th and Parry hit his tee shot to 18 feet for birdie at the 17th to move to 12-under.
'We could have had a couple of more birdies out there, there's no question about that,' said Parry. 'We left a couple out there. All teams are going to do that.'
Levet and Jacquelin had the lead heading to the par-4 last when they encountered the dangers of the closing hole. Both players found the hazard and then Levet had a difficult time placing his ball.
'I tried to place it at first on the flattest spot, but it was high in the slope,' said Levet. 'I thought it was going to stay easily, especially when I put it on quite the high grass, but it didn't.'
The ball rolled back into the hazard just off the green. Levet was given another chance to place it on his way to a double bogey.
'I could spend all day there if the ball starts to move all the time,' said Levet. 'Lucky we didn't get 65 on the last hole.'
Defending nation South Africa, represented this year by Rory Sabbatini and Tim Clark, finished three shots back at 10-under-par 62 alongside the Swedish duo of Niclas Fasth and Carl Pettersson.
Fiji's Vijay Singh teamed with Dinesh Chand for a 9-under 63. They finished four shots behind the leaders in a tie for seventh.
More from the WGC-EMC World Cup:
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Ortiz takes Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.

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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x