Jacobson Outlasts Rodiles for Win

By Sports NetworkNovember 2, 2003, 5:00 pm
CADIZ, Spain -- Fredrik Jacobson of Sweden parred the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Spain's Carlos Rodiles in a playoff and win the season-ending Volvo Masters Andalucia.
The pair played the par-4 18th for the fifth time on Sunday after they completed their third round in the morning. Rodiles drove into the trees right while Jacobson split the fairway with his tee ball. Jacobson's second landed seven feet from the cup and forced Rodiles to attempt a miracle shot out of the trees, which struck a tree and landed in the fairway. Rodiles played his third 30 feet from the green and he missed his par-saving putt, leaving Jacobson two putts for the win.
He took both and earned his third title of the 2003 season and his third on the European Tour.
'He played fantastic all the way through,' said Jacobson, referring to his opponent. 'It was a great fight. It's been a battle I've never seen. It was a roller coaster at the same time.'
This year's playoff was eerily reminiscent of last year's event when Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer were tied after regulation. The tandem played two extra holes when it became too dark and they decided to share the title.
Nothing like that was needed on Sunday although the waning light would probably not have allowed another hole.
The pair were tied for the third-round lead after the round was completed Sunday morning. All of Friday's action was wiped out thanks to rain and heavy winds so the pair finished the third round and turned around and went back out to play the final 18.
The duo shot matching rounds of 2-under 70 to finish regulation knotted at 12-under-par 276. It looked like Rodiles was on the way to the winner's circle late in Sunday's final round but things took a turn.
The pair were tied at 13 under par at the 16th tee but Rodiles drove into the left trees and left with bogey to fall one down. At the famed par-5 17th, Jacobson laid up from the left trees into the right rough. His third landed on the putting surface but spun back into the water. He left with a double-bogey and Rodiles drained a six-footer for birdie to take a two-shot lead on the 72nd hole.
Rodiles drove into the left rough and bounced on a cart path. He tried to play a right-to-left shot out of the tall grass but put too much action on the ball and it landed in the left rough, short of the green.
Jacobson applied the pressure when he stiffed his second shot to two feet. Rodiles' third went through the putting surface on to the fringe behind the green and he missed his par putt. He tapped in for bogey and Jacobson did the same for birdie and it was back to No. 18 for the playoff.
Rodiles, who was competing in his first extra session on the European Tour, had the advantage off the tee when he drove into the fairway. Jacobson hit into the trees on the left and played his second through the green. Rodiles took command with his approach landing 10 feet from the hole but Jacobson put on some heat when he chipped to three feet. Rodiles' birdie try shaved the hole and Jacobson sank his par putt to extend the sudden-death playoff.
The duo were back on the 18th tee and both hit good drives. Jacobson pulled his second left of the green, while Rodiles' ball came to rest 20 feet from the stick. Jacobson chipped four feet short but Rodiles missed another opportunity to win outright. Both holed their par putts and were off to the 10th.
Rodiles landed in the first cut of rough on the right and Jacobson drove dangerously close to water on the right side. The Swede quickly played his second and did well to hit the green while Rodiles hit another solid approach pin-high on the right side. Jacobson's putt never threatened the hole and Rodiles had another chance at victory but that putt also slid by the hole.
Rodiles' luck ran out when they returned to the 18th and Jacobson joined Order of Merit winner Ernie Els as the only players to win more than two events on the European Tour this season.
'What a great way to finish,' said Jacobson, who became the first Swede to win three times in one season on the European Tour. 'Things just happened these last two days that I didn't think we're possible.'
Brian Davis fired a final-round, 6-under 66 to finish in third at 9-under-par 279. John Bickerton shot a 69 on Sunday and took fourth at minus-6.
Stephen Leaney (68) and Greg Owen (71) shared sixth place at 4-under-par 284. Michael Campbell (68) and Sergio Garcia (71) tied for seventh at minus- 2, followed by Ian Poulter, who finished alone in ninth at 1-under-par 287.
This event marked Montgomerie's last chance at a win on the European Tour in 2003. He shot a 1-over 73 and tied for 10th with two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal and young Australian Adam Scott. The trio finished at even-par 288 and Montgomerie failed to pick up a tour win for the first time since 1992.
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    DJ: Kapalua win means nothing for Abu Dhabi

    By Associated PressJanuary 17, 2018, 2:55 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Dustin Johnson's recent victory in Hawaii doesn't mean much when it comes to this week's tournament.

    The top-ranked American will play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship for the second straight year. But this time he is coming off a victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, which he won by eight shots.

    ''That was two weeks ago. So it really doesn't matter what I did there,'' said Johnson, who finished runner-up to Tommy Fleetwood in Abu Dhabi last year. ''This is a completely new week and everybody starts at even par and so I've got to start over again.''

    In 2017, the long-hitting Johnson put himself in contention despite only making one eagle and no birdies on the four par-5s over the first three rounds.

    ''The par 5s here, they are not real easy because they are fairly long, but dependent on the wind, I can reach them if I hit good tee balls,'' the 2016 U.S. Open champion said. ''Obviously, I'd like to play them a little better this year.''

    The tournament will see the return of Paul Casey as a full member of the European Tour after being away for three years.

    ''It's really cool to be back. What do they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder? Quite cheesy, but no, really, really cool,'' said the 40-year-old Englishman, who is now ranked 14th in the world. ''When I was back at the Open Championship at Birkdale, just the reception there, playing in front of a home crowd, I knew this is something I just miss.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship starts Thursday and also features former No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who is making a comeback after more than three months off.

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    Kuchar joins European Tour as affiliate member

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 2:52 pm

    Months after he nearly captured the claret jug, Matt Kuchar has made plans to play a bit more golf in Europe in 2018.

    Kuchar is in the field this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told reporters in advance of the opening round that he has opted to join the European Tour as an affiliate member:

    As an affiliate member, Kuchar will not have a required minimum number of starts to make. It's the same membership status claimed last year by Kevin Na and Jon Rahm, the latter of whom then became a full member and won two European Tour events in 2017.

    Kuchar made six European Tour starts last year, including his runner-up performance at The Open. He finished T-4 at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in his lone European Tour start that wasn't co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour.

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    Hot Seat: Rory jumps into the fire early

    By Randall MellJanuary 17, 2018, 2:11 pm

    The world’s top tours head to desert regions this week, perfect locales for The Hot Seat, the gauge upon which we measure the level of heat the game’s top personalities are facing ...

    Sahara sizzle: Rory McIlroy

    McIlroy won’t have to look far to see how his form measures up to world No. 1 Dustin Johnson at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    McIlroy will make his 2018 debut with Johnson in his face, literally.

    McIlroy will be grouped with Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood in the first two rounds.

    Players like to downplay pairings early in a tournament, but it’s hard to believe McIlroy and Johnson won’t be trying to send each other messages in this European Tour event in the United Arab Emirates. That’s the alpha-dog nature of world-class players looking to protect their turf, or in the case of McIlroy, take back his turf.

    “When you are at the elite level, you are always trying to send a message,” Trevor Immelman said about pairings during Tiger Woods’ return at the Hero World Challenge last month.

    And that was an offseason event.

    “They want to show this guy, ‘This is what I got,’” Immelman said.

    As early season matchups go, Abu Dhabi is a heavyweight pairing that ought to be fun.

    So there will be no easing into the new year for McIlroy after taking off the last three months to regroup from the stubborn rib injury that plagued him last season. He is coming off a winless year, and he will be doing so alongside a guy who just won the first PGA Tour event of 2018 in an eight-shot rout. Johnson’s victory in Hawaii two weeks ago was his fifth since McIlroy last won.

    “Mentally, I wasn’t in a great place, and that was because of where I was physically,” McIlroy said of 2017. “I feel prepared now. I feel ready, and I feel ready to challenge. I feel really good about where I’m at with my health. I’ve put all that behind me, which has been great.”

    Sonoran Smolder: Phil Mickelson

    Mickelson will turn 48 this summer.

    His world ranking is sliding, down to No. 43 now, which is the lowest he has ranked in 24 years.

    It’s been more than four years since he last won, making him 0 for his last 92 starts.

    There’s motivation in all of that for Mickelson. He makes his 2018 debut at the CareerBuilder Challenge in the Palm Springs area this week talking like a man on a renewed mission.

    There’s a Ryder Cup team to make this season, which would be his 12th straight, and there’s a career Grand Slam to claim, with the U.S. Open returning to Shinnecock Hills, where Mickelson finished second in ’04.

    While Mickelson may not feel old, there are so many young stars standing in his way that it’s hard not to be constantly reminded that time isn’t on his side in these events anymore.

    There has only been one player in the history of the game to win a major championship who was older than Mickelson is right now. Julius Boros won the PGA Championship when he was 48 back in 1968.

    Campaign fever: Jordan Spieth

    Spieth’s respect in the game’s ranks extends outside the ropes.

    He was just selected to run for the PGA Tour Player Advisory Council’s chairman position. He is facing Billy Hurley III in an election to see who will succeed Davis Love III on the Tour’s Policy Board next year.

    Spieth, just 24, has already made Time Magazine’s list of the “100 Most Influential People.” He made that back in 2016, with the magazine writing that “he exemplifies everything that’s great about sports.” Sounds like a campaign slogan.

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    CareerBuilder Challenge: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 1:10 pm

    The PGA Tour shifts from Hawaii to Southern California for the second full-field event of the year. Here are the key stats and information for the CareerBuilder Challenge. Click here for full-field tee times.

    How to watch (all rounds on Golf Channel):

    Thursday, Rd. 1: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Friday, Rd. 2: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Saturday, Rd. 3: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Sunday, Rd. 4: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Purse: $5.9 million ($1,062,000 to winner)

    Courses: PGA West, Stadium Course, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,113); PGA West, Nicklaus Tournament Course, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,159); La Quinta Country Club, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,060) NOTE: All three courses will be used for the first three rounds but only the Stadium Course will be used for the final round.

    Defending champion: Hudson Swafford (-20) - defeated Adam Hadwin by one stroke to earn his first PGA Tour win.

    Notables in the field

    Phil Mickelson

    * This is his first start of 2018. It's the fourth consecutive year he has made this event the first one on his yearly calendar.

    * For the second year in a row he will serve as the tournament's official ambassador.

    * He has won this event twice - in 2002 and 2004.

    * This will be his 97th worldwide start since his most recent win, The Open in 2013.

    Jon Rahm

    * Ranked No. 3 in the world, he finished runner-up in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

    * In 37 worldwide starts as a pro, he has 14 top-5 finishes.

    * Last year he finished T-34 in this event.

    Adam Hadwin

    * Last year in the third round, he shot 59 at La Quinta Country Club. It was the ninth - and still most recent - sub-60 round on Tour.

    * In his only start of 2018, the Canadian finished 32nd in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

    Brian Harman

    * Only player on the PGA Tour with five top-10 finishes this season.

    * Ranks fifth in greens in regulation this season.

    * Finished third in the Sentry Tournament of Champions and T-4 in the Sony Open in Hawaii.

    Brandt Snedeker

    * Making only his third worldwide start since last June at the Travelers Championship. He has been recovering from a chest injury.

    * This is his first start since he withdrew from the Indonesian Masters in December because of heat exhaustion.

    * Hasn't played in this event since missing the cut in 2015.

    Patrick Reed

    * Earned his first career victory in this event in 2014, shooting three consecutive rounds of 63.

    * This is his first start of 2018.

    * Last season finished seventh in strokes gained: putting, the best ranking of his career.

    (Stats provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit.)