Tiger Vijay Phil Advance at Match Play

By Sports NetworkFebruary 24, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 WGC Accenture Match PlayCARLSBAD, Calif. -- Mike Weir, the 2003 Masters champion, was the biggest casualty in Thursday's opening round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. Weir, the second seed in the Ben Hogan bracket, lost to Kirk Triplett, 1 up, at LaCosta Resort & Spa.
 
All four top seeds advanced on Thursday. Two-time defending champion Tiger Woods easily disposed of Hall of Famer Nick Price, 4 and 3, in the Gary Player bracket.
 
Woods captured the first hole with a par, then never looked back. He won the fourth, sixth and eighth holes to basically put the match out of reach. Woods closed out the contest on the 15th hole.
 
'Nick gave me the first hole and I was able to stick it out. It was a nice little quick start,' said Woods, who defeated Davis Love III in last year's final. 'Today was most important to get off to a quick start in match play. I was able to do that.'
 
Phil Mickelson, who won his last two starts on tour, lost two holes late, but still bested Loren Roberts, 3 and 1, in the Sam Snead bracket.
 
Vijay Singh, No. 1 in the Bobby Jones bracket, dispatched Shingo Katayama, 4 and 3. Retief Goosen, tops in the Hogan bracket, had the toughest time of the top seeds in the first round. He went 18 holes before defeating last year's semifinalist Stephen Leaney, 1 up.
 
Triplett's win was the biggest upset in Thursday's first round, where tees were up and play was contested under lift, clean and place. Heavy rain in southern California over the last few weeks left La Costa unplayable on Wednesday, when the first round was scheduled to be contested. Both the second and third rounds will take place on Friday in an effort to get the tournament finished on time.
 
Triplett, the 15th seed, found himself 1 down after seven holes, but won the next two with birdies to go 1 up. Weir knotted the match, but Triplett took the 12th and 14th with pars to move 2 up.
 
Weir was 2 down with two to play and made things interesting. He won the 17th then sank a clutch 18-footer for birdie at the par-5 closing hole to put pressure on Triplett. Unfortunately for Weir, Triplett ran in a 5-footer to hang on for the victory.
 
'I drug Mike right down in the mud with me today and we rolled around for a while,' said Triplett. 'Mike didn't play well at all, so I caught him on a bad day. I almost didn't play well enough to take advantage of it.'
 
Triplett will now face Craig Parry in the second round as Parry squeaked out a 1 up win over Tim Clark.
 
The other big upset of Thursday's first round also occurred in the bottom half of the Hogan bracket. Darren Clarke, the 2000 champion and third seed, lost 1 down to the only other Northern Irelander in the field, Graeme McDowell.
 
McDowell will take on Robert Allenby on Friday. Allenby, the 11th seed, trounced reigning British Open winner Todd Hamilton, 6 and 5.
 
Goosen will face ninth seed Fred Couples on Friday after Couples beat Peter Lonard, 1 up. Chad Campbell, the fifth seed, defeated Fredrik Jacobson, 2 up, and will take on Miguel Angel Jimenez, the fourth seed who dispatched Rod Pampling, 3 and 2.
 
Woods' bracket featured the only two matches to go extra holes on Thursday. Nick O'Hern, seeded eighth, drained a 20-footer on the 19th hole to defeat Charles Howell III, 1 up.
 
Stuart Appleby, the third seed, also needed one more hole to beat Joakim Haeggman, 1 up. Appleby, who won the season-opening Mercedes Championships, is scheduled to meet Ian Poulter, a 3 and 1 winner over sixth-seeded Jim Furyk.
 
Luke Donald won, 4 and 3, against Zach Johnson and the fifth seed will take on fourth seed Kenny Perry, who stopped Thomas Levet, 3 and 2. Padraig Harrington, No. 2, birdied 18 to beat Jeff Maggert, 1 up. Harrington will battle Rory Sabbatini in the second round of the Player bracket as the South African pummeled seventh seed, Thomas Bjorn.
 
In the Snead bracket, Mickelson will face eighth-seeded Angel Cabrera in the second round. Cabrera was never in danger as he posted a 4 and 2 win over Paul Casey.
 
Adam Scott, who won last week's rain-shortened Nissan Open, survived a scare from No. 14 seed Trevor Immelman on Thursday. Immelman chipped in for birdie to win the 17th and cut the margin to 1-down, but Scott won 18 to post a 2 up victory. Scott will meet 11th-seeded David Howell in the second round after Howell handled Shigeki Maruyama, 6 and 5.
 
'Every match is tough. That's just how it is,' said Scott. 'It's the top 65 players in the world, so every match is going to be tough. Whether I'm playing Tiger or David Howell, I am expecting it to be some good golf and maybe have to shoot a good number to win.'
 
David Toms, the fourth seed in the Snead bracket and second-place finisher to Woods in 2003, notched a 1 up victory over Richard Green on Thursday. Toms will meet Mark Hensby on Friday as Hensby equaled the tournament record for shortest match with a 7 and 6 whipping over Stephen Ames on Thursday.
 
Sergio Garcia, the No. 2 seed, defeated Alex Cejka, 4 and 2, and is set to play Jerry Kelly on Friday. Kelly advanced with a 1 up win over Scott Verplank.
 
Singh will get Jay Haas in round two. Haas moved on with a 4 and 2 thumping of Jonathan Kaye. John Daly, the 12th seed in the Jones bracket, won the 15th and 16th holes, then held on to beat Justin Leonard, 1 up.
 
'Today was a very tough match,' said Daly. 'Justin has been playing great. He won Bob Hope this year. I just hung in there. He missed a few putts for me, too.'
 
Daly will take on Chris DiMarco, the fourth seed, on Friday after DiMarco knocked off Tim Herron, 1 up.
 
American Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman looked impressive on Thursday as he upset seven seed, K.J. Choi, 4 and 2. Lehman will now face a player who will likely be on Lehman's team next year, Stewart Cink. Cink beat Fred Funk, 2 up.
 
Love dispatched Chris Riley, 1 up in the first match of the first round. Love will now go up against Lee Westwood in the second round after Westwood dismissed Steve Flesch, 4 and 3.
 
Related Links:
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    McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

    By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

    The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

    McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

    McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

    ''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

    Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

    ''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

    McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

    ''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

    ''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

    The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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    Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

    By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

    If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days engaging pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

    Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

    If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGCC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

    Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

    Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

    I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

    A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

    And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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    Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

    Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

    The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

    Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

    “I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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    Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

    Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

    Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.