Els Eagles 72nd for Dubai Victory

By Sports NetworkMarch 6, 2005, 5:00 pm
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Ernie Els eagled the 72nd hole to rally from a shot behind to beat Stephen Dodd and Miguel Angel Jimenez for the Dubai Desert Classic title.
 
With the eagle Els polished off a final-round, 4-under 68 to finish the tournament at 19-under-par 269. Els became the first three-time winner in Dubai, as he also titled here in 1994 and 2002.
 
Ernie Els and Miguel Angel Jimenez
Miguel Angel Jimenez congratulates Ernie Els on his winning eagle putt.
The win could be a good omen for Els in this year's majors. After his win here in 1994, Els claimed the U.S. Open. Then following his 2002 title, Els went on to win the British Open Championship.
 
Els posted four rounds in the 60s, the first time anyone has done that in Dubai since he turned the trick in 2003. In eight appearances at this event, Els has rung up a cumulative score of 120 under par through 32 rounds.
 
'Somebody had to win today and I've been close many times this year,' Els said. 'It was great to finally get it my way today. For a long while, it seemed that it was not going to be my week and then the 18th changed everything. I can't remember the last time I won a tournament with an eagle at the last. This is a big win for me.'
 
Dodd closed with a 6-under 66 to join Jimenez in a tie for second at 18-under-par 270. Jimenez, the second- and third-round leader, managed a 2-under 70 in the final round. European Ryder Cupper Colin Montgomerie finished solo fourth at minus-16 with a 3-under 69 on Sunday.
 
Jimenez seemed to be in control throughout the round, but Dodd and Els made their moves on the back nine of the Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club.
 
Els bogeyed the first to slip two shots behind Jimenez. That deficit was erased at the next as Els birdie the second, while the Spaniard bogeyed the hole. The duo was tied at minus-15, two clear of Dodd.
 
Jimenez birdied the third to move one ahead of the South African. Els came back with a birdie at the sixth to join Jimenez in the lead again.
 
Dodd, meanwhile, posted birdies at three, five and seven to get to minus-15 and within one stroke of the leaders.
 
Jimenez's lead suddenly was two strokes thanks to his birdie at the ninth and Els' bogey at the eighth. Dodd then moved into second with a birdie at the 10th to get to 16 under. Els and Jimenez also birdied the 10th.
 
The first turning point came at the 13th. Dodd, playing one group ahead of Els and Jimenez, birdied the par-5 to move to 17 under. Els also made birdie, while Jimenez bogeyed the hole to create a three-way tie atop the leaderboard at minus-17.
 
Jimenez regained the lead by himself with a birdie at the par-3 16th. Dodd tied Jimenez in the lead with a birdie at the par-5 closing hole.
 
Els came to the last one shot back. He reached the green in two and drained his 22-foot eagle putt to put the pressure on Jimenez. The Spaniard, who also reached the green in two, missed a 6-foot birdie putt and left with a three-putt par to finish one shot behind Els.
 
'That putt was right up there with the best,' said Els, who won for the 19th time on the European Tour. 'I felt good on that one for some reason, could see the line. It was a great feeling when it went in. I needed a win, I needed to play really well before the Masters and to do it after a three-week break makes me very happy. This was a big win.'
 
Jimenez, despite the loss, owns five wins and two second-place finishes in the last 15 months on the European Tour.
 
'It was hard to lose,' said Jimenez. 'It was a nice comeback from Ernie the last two days. But that's the game of golf. Someone has to finish first, second, third and fourth.'
 
Gregory Havret posted a 4-under 68 in the final round to take fifth place at 13-under-par 275.
 
Lee Westwood, the 1999 runner-up here, finished at minus-12 after a final-round 71. He was joined in a tie for sixth place by Nick Dougherty (68) and Robert Karlsson (69). David Howell, the 1999 champion, was one stroke further back at 11-under-par 277 alongside Soren Kjeldsen.
 
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.