Ryder Cup Players Abound in World Top-20

By Sports NetworkSeptember 4, 2001, 4:00 pm
The final Ryder Cup points have been tabulated and the captain's selections have been made, and it should come as no surprise that players from both the American and European sides nearly fill the Top-20 spots in this week's World Golf Rankings.
The top three positions were held by stars from the U.S. team -- Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and David Duval. The trio was followed by South Africa's Ernie Els and Fiji's Vijay Singh, who stayed put at fourth and fifth.
Davis Love III, who finished sixth on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, held the same position in the World Ranking, followed by the first European team member, Sergio Garcia. The young Spaniard, who earned one of captain Sam Torrance's wild card picks on Sunday, held the seventh spot in the world.
Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke, who finished first on the European points list, held his position at No. 8, followed by PGA Championship winner and U.S. team member David Toms.
Scotland's Colin Montgomerie crept back into the top-10, followed by U.S. Ryder Cup members Jim Furyk and Scott Hoch.
Second in European points was Padraig Harrington, who recorded his sixth second-place showing of the season after finishing runner-up to John Daly at the BMW International Open last week. The Irishman, who moved up two spots to 13th place, was followed in 14th by U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen of South Africa.
Paul Azinger, one of Curtis Strange's captain's picks for the American side, vaulted eight spots from 23rd to 15th.
Lee Westwood, sixth on the European Ryder Cup points list, dropped three spots to 16th. The Englishman was followed by No. 17 Mike Weir of Canada and No. 18 Mark Calcavecchia, who will be making his first Ryder Cup appearance since 1991.
Hal Sutton, a U.S. team leader in 1999, and Denmark's Thomas Bjorn, who made his Ryder Cup debut at Valderrama in 1997 and will play at The Belfry this year, rounded out the top-20.
Sweden's Jesper Parnevik, who was chosen along with Garcia as a captain's pick, dropped one spot from 21st to 22nd.
Scott Verplank, Strange's other wild card selection, moved up one spot from 26th to 27th in the world.
Golf Headlines for the Week of 9/3/01 - 9/9/01
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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.