Power Rankings: Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

By January 24, 2012, 6:28 pm

The West Coast swing is, well, in full swing after last week’s Humana Challenge. We detailed our power rankings earlier for this week's Farmers Insurance Open.

Keep in mind, though, that this week is the first of several weeks with two tournaments. The deep field assembled in Abu Dhabi is the real kick off to the European Tour season, as well as the jumpstart to 2012 for Tiger Woods.  Below we are offering power rankings for the start of the Desert Swing this week.

While we humbly submit our power rankings for this week, we always want to hear from you. Share your picks with me on Twitter @RyanBallengeeGC and be sure to use the hashtag #GCFantasy. Also be sure to join the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to test yourself against our panel of experts, including defending champion Win McMurry.

1. Martin Kaymer: Winner in three of the last four years, the German seems like a mortal lock to perform well again in Abu Dhabi.

2. Rory McIlroy: Making his 2012 debut, McIlroy was runner-up here last year, in the top-5 in the last three years and has finished outside of the top-4 just once since the PGA Championship.

3. Luke Donald: The top-ranked player in the world led the Euro Tour in greens in regulation last season - important to setting up birdies, which are needed in spades this week. He was T-11 in his lone start here.

4. Tiger Woods: Woods closed 2011 in strong fashion, finally notching a win at the Chevron World Challenge. Reports say he looks good entering '12, but Abu Dhabi is a world away from Torrey Pines.

5. Nicolas Colsaerts: The Belgian waffler could not seem to decide last week if he was in form or not. After a breakout '11, however, the bomber appears to be in form. He finished T-11 here last year.

6. Sergio Garcia: Garcia has been playing excellent golf since last June, including consecutive wins last October. In four Abu Dhabi starts, he has not finished worse than 14th.

7. Louis Oosthuizen: The '10 Open champion is already a winner this year and went T-2 and fifth in this event in '09 and '10, respectively.

8. Lee Westwood: The world No. 2 has a poor record here in his last two starts, but he has a T-2 in 2008. He closed '11 in Dubai with a sputter, however.

9. Padraig Harrington: It might seem silly, but Harrington has an excellent record here. Apart from the rules dust-up last year, he has a pair of top-five finishes in the brief history of this event.

10. Branden Grace: How can you not stick with the hot hand? Two weeks, two wins for Grace.


You can watch complete coverage of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship live Wednesday on Golf Channel from 10PM-3:30AM ET and Thursday-Sunday on from 4-8AM ET.

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Bjorn adds four Ryder Cup veterans as vice captains

By Will GrayMay 22, 2018, 1:05 pm

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn has added a quartet of vice captains for the biennial matches this fall in Paris.

Bjorn had already named Robert Karlsson as his first assistant, and he announced Tuesday at the BMW PGA Championship that his group of advisors will also include major champions Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell, and former world No. 1s Lee Westwood and Luke Donald.

Westwood is among Europe's most decorated Ryder Cup players, and his addition in this role signals he likely won't participate as a player in the matches for the first time since 1995. The Englishman has spoken openly about his desire to captain the European squad at Whistling Straits in 2020, but he's been quiet on the course in recent months, with a missed secondary cut at the Houston Open his only start since mid-February.

Harrington is seen as another possible captain for the 2020 matches, and he'll don an earpiece for the third straight Ryder Cup, having represented Europe as a player on six straight teams from 1999-2010.

Donald played on four Ryder Cup teams from 2004-12, with the Europeans winning each time he was on the roster. This will mark his first stint as a vice captain, as Donald announced last month that he would be sidelined indefinitely while recovering from a back injury.

At age 38, McDowell will be the youngest vice captain in the room, having holed the winning putt eight years ago at Celtic Manor. He won the French Open in both 2013 and 2014 at Le Golf National, site of this year's matches, and will also be making his debut as a vice captain.

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Bidder pays $50,000 to caddie for Woods

By Grill Room TeamMay 22, 2018, 12:28 pm

Someone has paid $50,000 to caddie for Tiger Woods at this year’s Hero World Challenge.

An unnamed bidder paid for the opportunity at an auction Saturday night at Tiger Jam, where monies are raised to support the Tiger Woods Foundation.



The Hero World Challenge will be contested Nov. 29-Dec. in Albany, Bahamas. The pro-am is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 28.

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NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 11:28 am

The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

After three days of stroke play, eight teams have advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals will be contested on Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

Scoring:

TV Times (all times ET):

Tuesday
11AM-conclusion: Match-play quarterfinals (Click here to watch live)
4-8PM: Match-play semifinals

Wednesday
4-8PM: Match-play finals

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Arizona grabs last spot with eagle putt, playoff win

By Ryan LavnerMay 22, 2018, 3:18 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – With her team freefalling in the standings, Arizona coach Laura Ianello was down to her last stroke.

The Wildcats began the final round of the NCAA Championship in third place, but they were 19 over par for the day, and outside the top-8 cut line, with only one player left on the course.

Bianca Pagdaganan had transferred from Gonzaga to compete for NCAA titles, and on the 17th hole Ianello told her that she needed to play “the best two holes of your life” to keep the dream alive.

She made par on 17, then hit a 185-yard 6-iron out of a divot to 30 feet. Not knowing where she stood on the final green, Pagdaganan felt an eerie calm over the ball. Sure enough, she buried the eagle putt, setting off a raucous celebration and sending the Wildcats into a play-five, count-four team playoff with Baylor at 33 over par.

Their match-play spot wasn’t yet secure, but Ianello still broke down in tears.


NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Team scoring

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Individual scoring


“Bianca is such an inspiration for all of us,” she said. “She’s the kind of kid that you want to root for, to have good things happen to.”

Arizona prevailed on the second playoff hole. As the 8 seed, the Wildcats will play top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals Tuesday at Karsten Creek.

Though the finish had plenty of drama, no teams played their way into the coveted top 8 on the final day of stroke-play qualifying.

Baylor came closest. The Bears barely advanced past regionals after a mysterious stomach virus affected several players and coaches. They competed in the final round with just four healthy players.

On Monday, Gurleen Kaur put Baylor in position to advance, shooting 68, but the Bears lost by three strokes on the second extra hole.

Arkansas finished one shot shy of the team playoff. The second-ranked Razorbacks, who entered NCAAs as one of the pre-tournament favorites, having won seven times, including their first SEC title, couldn’t overcome a 308-300 start and finished 10th. Player of the Year favorite Maria Fassi finished her week at 19 over par and counted only two rounds toward the team total.