South Africa World Dominators

By Sports NetworkNovember 16, 2003, 5:00 pm
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- Rory Sabbatini and Trevor Immelman only managed a 1-over 73 Sunday but still teamed to give South Africa a four-shot victory at the World Golf Championships-World Cup. South Africa finished at 13-under-par 275 and finished four ahead of the English duo of Justin Rose and Paul Casey, who fired a 67 on Sunday.
 
The win was the fifth for South Africa in the World Cup. Three-time major winner Ernie Els and 2001 U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen won in a playoff two years ago in Japan and the country also won in 1996 (Els and Wayne Westner), 1974 (Bobby Cole and Dale Hayes) and 1965 (Gary Player and Harold Henning).
 
'We were both excited coming here, excited to have the opportunity,' said Immelman. 'I think we had a great week. As a whole, both of us played really well.'
 
The pair split $1.4 million.
 
France's Thomas Levet and Raphael Jacquelin combined for a 1-under 71 in Sunday's foursomes, or alternate-shot format. They finished in third place at 8-under-par 280.
 
South Africa took a seven-stroke lead into Sunday's final round. None of the other teams made a move up the leaderboard and that was fine for South Africa because the pair struggled throughout most of the round.
 
At the fourth, Sabbatini hit a horrendous drive that landed in the reads. Immelman could not advance the ball and Sabbatini was able to punch it 15 yards up the fairway. Immelman knocked his approach to 20 feet and Sabbatini rolled home the putt to save bogey.
 
Another errant tee shot hurt the South African squad at the 10th. Sabbatini's tee ball landed in the first cut on the right and Immelman missed the green. Sabbatini was able to putt the ball but it came up five feet short of the hole. Immelman's par-saving putt slid by on the left side.
 
France and England were slightly inching closer to the South African tandem but Immelman chipped the team's third to two feet at the par-5 11th. Sabbatini kicked in the team's first birdie of the round to put some more distance between themselves and their competitors.
 
Immelman drove into a cavernous bunker at 13, a bunker that the German team needed three to get out of en route to a double bogey on Friday. Sabbatini got it out of the trap and Immelman played a spectacular third to seven feet. Sabbatini sank the par save to keep the South Africans well ahead of everyone.
 
'I saw Germany's struggles in the bunker and I walked up there and said to myself, 'regardless of what lie we have, this ball is either going sideways out the bunker or whatever way it needs to go out of the bunker on the first time,' said Sabbatini.
 
Sabbatini missed a short par putt at the 14th and Rose drained a birdie putt at 18 to get the English duo within three of the lead. Sabbatini played a great wedge to 12 feet to set up Immelman's birdie putt to go four ahead.
 
The South African duo played conservatively on the final four holes to preserve the win.
 
'I think we proved to ourselves today that we can hang in there,' said Immelman. 'It's a fantastic feeling. We wanted to play well and win this thing.'
 
The English team, the youngest of the 23 teams that finished the tournament, mixed seven birdies and two bogeys on Sunday for their 5-under-par 67. This duo is steadily moving up as last year they shared third place.
 
'Thursday and Friday one of us would play well and the other guy would go AWOL,' said Rose, referring to the 73s the English team carded on Thursday and Friday. 'On the weekend, we backed each other up nicely.'
 
Germany, comprised of Alex Cejka and Marcel Siem, shot a 1-under 71 and took fourth place at minus-6. Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley, who won this event the last time it was staged at Kiawah Island in 1997, combined for a 67 and shared fifth place with the United States.
 
Reigning U.S. Open winner Jim Furyk and 1997 British Open champion Justin Leonard were in the mix early on the back nine. They bogeyed the 12th and triple bogeyed the 13th to shoot a 3-over 75 and join the Irishmen at 4-under-par 284.
 
Japan, the 2002 winner, tied for seventh place after a 3-under 69 by Shigeki Maruyama and Hidemichi Tanaka on Sunday. They joined the Swedish duo of Fredrik Jacobson and Niclas Fasth at 3-under-par 285.
 
Related Links:
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.