Goosen Leads Woods by One at Grand Slam

By Sports NetworkNovember 20, 2001, 5:00 pm
Retief Goosen, the reigning U.S. Open champion, fired a 6-under-par 66 Tuesday to lead the Grand Slam of Golf by one shot over Masters champion Tiger Woods. PGA champion David Toms is two back at 4-under while British Open winner David Duval struggled to a 4-over 76.
This event features golf's four professional major champions in a 36-hole stroke-play tournament.
Goosen distanced himself from the group at the par-5 sixth when he roped a 3-wood from 255 yards out, but missed the green long. He holed a sand wedge from 25 yards for an eagle-three to reach 5-under-par.
'I had a pretty good lie down in the rough and it was a good chip shot, just ran it perfect and it landed and went in the hole,' said Goosen, referring to his eagle. 'That was nice.'
Goosen broke out quickly at Poipu Bay Resort Golf Course with a four-foot birdie putt at the par-5 second. He added a six-footer a hole later after he hit a beautiful tee shot at the 203-yard par-3.
The U.S. Open champion wedged his approach inside five feet at No. 5 to set up his third birdie before the eagle at No. 6.
Goosen would like to cap off his best career season. The 11-year veteran won his first major at Southern Hills in June and became the first non-European to capture the Order of Merit title (leading money winner) since Greg Norman in 1982. He is also playing well coming into the Grand Slam after teaming with Ernie Els to win the WGC-EMC World Cup of Golf last weekend.
'I'm pretty confident and happy with the year,' said Goosen, who added a five-foot birdie at No. 14. 'I was just trying to get a little bit comfortable on the tee. I kept in play today so that was the main thing.'
Woods also got off to a hot start with birdies at his opening two holes. He added a tap-in birdie at No. 6 which was amazing considering he drove behind a tree but hooked a 6-iron to six feet. He missed the eagle try but tapped in for birdie.
The three-time defending champion nailed a pitching wedge to nine feet at No. 7 to reach 4-under par, but dropped his first shot of the round at No. 9 when missed the green with a sand wedge and failed to save par from 16 feet.
Woods rebounded with five-foot birdie at the 10th and parred the next seven holes. He two-putted from 45 feet at the last to get within one of Goosen.
'I was very happy to shoot what I shot today because I was not driving the golf ball the way I wanted,' said Woods, the only player to win this event three times in a row. 'To end up at 5-under par, I was pretty happy with that.'
Toms went on to the back nine tied with Goosen at 5-under. He birdied two of his first four before he made three birdies in a row, starting at No. 7. The PGA champion fell down the leaderboard at 11 when he missed the green at the par-3 hole and failed to convert a two-footer for bogey.
The 2001 three-time winner clawed back with back-to-back birdies at Nos. 14 and 15, but a bogey on the 17th gave him his 68.
'I was very happy with the round,' said Toms. 'It was my first competitive round of the golf course and I felt like I played it pretty well.'
Duval struggled from the beginning with a bogey at the first. He double-bogeyed No. 5 after driving out of bounds, and Nos. 7 and 18 when he found water.
'I played poorly,' said Duval, who shed the title of 'best player to never win a major' at the British Open. 'I'm glad the day is over.'
Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

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?

Getty Images

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."

Getty Images

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