South Africa Earns World Cup Title in Playoff

By Sports NetworkNovember 18, 2001, 5:00 pm
Ernie Els and Retief Goosen combined to par the second playoff hole in Sunday's alternate-shot format to capture the WGC-EMC World Cup for South Africa at the Taiheiyo Club in Japan.
 
'I played with Ernie once before in a World Cup and it's nice to win it with him,' said Goosen, who teamed up with Els to tie for sixth place at the 1993 event in Florida. 'It's been a great week.'
 
Denmark's Soren Hansen, who watched with mouth agape as teammate Thomas Bjorn rolled in a clutch birdie from 12 feet at the 18th in regulation, had a chance to extend the playoff but missed an eight-foot putt to save par.
 
The United States and New Zealand also qualified for sudden death but were eliminated when they failed to birdie the first extra hole.
 
Els knocked a wedge to 15 feet at the second extra hole, the par-4 14th, setting up a two-putt par that won the playoff, only the second in the history of the World Cup.
 
Els and Goosen, a duo with three U.S. Open titles between them, will split $1 million from the $3 million purse.
 
The South Africans managed to stake a claim to the playoff when Goosen, the winner of the U.S. Open in June, hit his approach to six feet at the 72nd hole and Els sank the putt for his second closing eagle in as many days.
 
They posted a 66 after the Danes had already made their way in with the day's best round of 7-under 65.
 
'We saw that Denmark made birdie on No. 18 and knew we needed an eagle,' said Els. 'Retief hit a beautiful 5-iron and I was able to make the putt to get us into the playoff.'
 
South Africa joined Australia and Spain as four-time winners of this event. Els also helped his country to its last World Cup victory when he partnered with Wayne Westner to win the title in 1996.
 
Defending champions Tiger Woods and David Duval, seeking a third straight Cup and the 24th overall for the U.S., played uninspired golf for the first half of the day but made a late surge to jump into contention during regulation.
 
Just when it seemed the American comeback would fall short, Woods chipped in for eagle at the 18th hole to make it a four-team logjam at 24-under-par 264.
 
But as quickly as the Americans entered the mix they found themselves fighting to stay in the playoff.
 
Woods drove way left off the tee at the par-5 18th, leaving Duval with no choice but to play his team's second shot from the trees out into the fairway. After Woods hit the third shot 30 feet left of the pin, Duval came up short with the putt for birdie.
 
It was a disappointing finish for the two top-ranked players in this week's 24-team field.
 
World No. 1 Woods helped start the U.S. rally by hitting his approach to three feet at the 15th to set up an easy Duval birdie. Duval, the reigning British Open champ and No. 3 in the world, responded with a shot to 12 feet at the next hole that Woods converted for birdie.
 
At the par-3 17th, Duval knocked his tee shot to 20 feet and Woods rolled in another putt to give the U.S. its third straight birdie.
 
Woods gave his partner a perfect drive at the 18th but Duval missed the green right with his 3-iron approach. With the pressure placed squarely on Woods' short game, the six-time major winner bumped his chip onto the edge of the green and the ball fed down to the hole then split the cup for a sensational eagle.
 
Woods' last minute heroics lifted the U.S. to a final-round 67.
 
New Zealand's Michael Campbell and David Smail, leaders by three shots heading into the final round, were tied for the lead on the final hole of regulation but couldn't take advantage of the 517-yard par-5.
 
Campbell pulled his second shot with a fairway wood left of the green then Smail's chip from a difficult lie stopped 20 short of the hole. The Kiwis needed the birdie putt to win but Campbell's attempt didn't reach the cup. Smail tapped in for par to give New Zealand a 2-under 70.
 
Like Woods, Smail drove poorly in the playoff and his tee shot came to rest in the right fairway bunker. Campbell then roped an iron out of the sand and watched his ball take a lucky bounce off the concrete lining of the water hazard in front of the green.
 
With the ball just off the putting surface, Smail hit his chip third shot fat and Campbell wound up missing the 12-foot birdie bid that remained, knocking New Zealand out of the playoff.
 
England's Paul Casey and Ian Poulter shot 67 to finish alone in fifth place at 21-under 267, three shots out of the playoff.
 
The Canadian tandem of Ian Leggatt and Tour Championship winner Mike Weir carded a 67 to tie for sixth at 20-under with Spain's Sergio Garcia and Miguel Angel Jimenez, who combined for a three-under 69.
 
Fiji, Argentina and France were together at 19-under, while Shigeki Maruyama and Toshi Izawa of host Japan finished alongside Scotland and Wales at minus-18.
 
Sunday's victory capped an incredible year for Goosen, who survived an 18-hole playoff to win his first major championship at the U.S. Open then added two European Tour titles to finish first on that circuit's Order of Merit.
 
The victory may also do wonders for Els, who is coming off a season in which he failed to win on the PGA Tour for the first time since 1993.
 
'Retief's had an unbelievable year and I think some of his good play has rubbed off on me finally,' said Els, who captured the first of his two U.S. Opens in a playoff in 1994. 'It's great to win.'
 
Click Here for Full-Field Scores From the WGC-EMC World Cup
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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.