Els Westwood in Match Play Finals

By Sports NetworkOctober 16, 2004, 4:00 pm
2004 HBSC World Match Play ChampionshipSURREY, England -- Ernie Els steamrolled into the finals of the HSBC World Match Play Championship with a 5 and 4 victory over Padraig Harrington Saturday at the Wentworth Club. Els, who is seeking a record sixth victory at this event, will meet Lee Westwood on Sunday.
 
Westwood was rolling in his match against an exhausted Miguel Angel Jimenez until the Spaniard battled back, forcing their contest down to the wire.
 
'I am pleased with the way I played and I am proud of the way I played, especially this afternoon when I battled back and to take it to the last hole was a good effort,' said Jimenez. 'I knew if I could start hitting the ball a bit better I had a chance and that is what happened.'
 
Westwood took a 3-up advantage over Jimenez after the morning 18. Jimenez, who had to complete his quarterfinal match against Bernhard Langer early on Saturday, bogeyed the 19th hole to dig an even deeper hole and Westwood took a 5-up lead with a birdie at the 22nd hole, the par-5 fourth.
 
The Englishman looked to extend his lead even further after his approach to the 24th stopped within 8 feet of the hole. Jimenez had a long distance to cover on the green, but he holed his birdie try putting the pressure on Westwood.
 
Westwood made his putt to halve the hole, but the momentum was beginning to shift. Jimenez matched Westwood with a birdie at the 28th and went to 4-down after Westwood bogeyed the 29th.
 
Jimenez reached the green in two at the par-5 12th, the 30th hole, while Westwood left his second shot short of the putting surface and putted his third within a foot of the hole. Jimenez then drained his eagle try to close the gap to 3-down.
 
Jimenez won the following hole to go 2-down and spun his second shot back within a few inches of the cup for a birdie at the 34th hole. Westwood, who moments before had hit a solid approach to 7 feet, failed to convert and just like that his advantage was 1-up with daylight fading.
 
'When I hit it close at 16, I expected him to hit it close,' Westwood said. 'That's the way you play match play, don't take anything for granted and expect the worst.'
 
After delays forced the suspension of play on Thursday and Friday, Jimenez and Westwood were facing the prospect of having to return to the West Course Sunday morning to finish their match.
 
Jimenez was out of gas at that point, however, and Westwood held on for a 1-up win after he reached the par-5 closing hole in two.
 
'It boosts your confidence any time you win a game,' said Westwood. 'That's why these games are over 36 holes to see who is the best one over 36 holes.'
 
Els had a much easier time in his match against an ailing Harrington who injured his hand in the quarterfinals.
 
'I was really on early on and if it wasn't for those missed putts, it could have been a really good score,' said Els.
 
Els led 3-up after the morning session and increased his lead to 4-up after Harrington bogeyed the 21st hole. The duo halved the 22nd with birdies, but Harrington ran home a 20-foot putt for a birdie at the 23rd to get to 3-down.
 
'I think this morning I couldn't put my thumb on the club at all,' said Harrington. 'This morning I couldn't put it near the club, and after lunch I tried a few shots with it on the club and it wasn't too bad. Awkward, but not too bad.'
 
Els responded at the par-4 seventh, the 25th hole, and dropped his second inside 12 feet for a birdie to regain a 4-up lead. Harrington won the 26th with a birdie, but Els countered with a birdie at the 29th.
 
They halved the 30th with birdies and Harrington saw the match slip away after he bogeyed the 32nd.
 
'A lot of shots have been hit and played out there and I'm just delighted to get into the final,' said Els. 'It's one thing making the final, it's another thing trying to win.'
 
Els and Westwood are both premier players on the European Tour, but the South African has dominated this event over the last 10 years. While Els is in search of his sixth victory at this event, Westwood is no stranger to success in match play at Wentworth, having defeated Colin Montgomerie in a thrilling final to win the championship in 2000.
 
'I have a good record against Ernie here. I'm looking forward to tomorrow, which will hopefully be a great match for everybody to watch,' said Westwood. 'We'll have a good game.'
 
Related Links:
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  • Full Coverage - HSBC World Match Play
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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.