Els Goosen Head Strong Field in Germany

By Golf Channel NewsroomMay 18, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Deutsche Bank-SAP OpenOne of the best starting fields of the European Tour's 2004 campaign will descend upon the Golf Club St. Leon in Heidelberg, Germany, for the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open TPC of Europe.
 
Led by a pair of South Africans in world No. 3 Ernie Els and his compatriot Retief Goosen, the event is one of the more lucrative of the season and kicks of the tour's road to the Open Championship in July.
 
Along with Els and Goosen, others vying for the record purse of $3.82 million will be a slew of 20-somethings coming to the forefront on not only the European Tour but also the PGA Tour.
 
Chief among them is Australia's Adam Scott, who earlier in the year captured the PGA Tour's 'fifth major' by winning the Players Championship in dramatic fashion. His 10-foot bogey putt at the 72nd hole gave him the biggest victory of his young career and has since vaulted him to No. 13 in the world.
 
Not far behind are a trio of Englishmen in Justin Rose, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey, who between them have already racked up 10 career European Tour titles.
 
Poulter, who leads the group with five victories, is not only trying to win for the sixth time but is also trying extend his streak to five consecutive years in which he has been in a European Tour winner's circle.
 
Casey, who is coming off a sixth place finish at the Masters, is, at 26th, the highest ranked Englishman.
 
Not to be lost in the shuffle are Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke and the event's defending champion Padraig Harrington.
 
Clarke, who has garnered as much attention for his dramatic weight loss as for his quality play, has already amassed three top-5 finishes in just five European Tour starts. On the strength of his third-place showing at the WGC - Accenture Match Play in late February, Clarke currently sits in the No. 3 spot on the tour's Order of Merit list.
 
Harrington, ranked 8th in the world, held off a hard-charging Thomas Bjorn in last year's epic duel to claim the top prize and his second win of 2003. Bjorn, who fired a final-round 63 to force the playoff, could not, however, make par on the first hole of sudden-death to extend the match.
 
Despite such a strong field, the tournament is unfortunately being played not only without the world's No. 1 player in Tiger Woods, but also without Germany's own and Ryder Cup captain Bernhard Langer.
 
Citing personal reasons, Woods pulled out of the event back in February even though he had been a regular at the event for the past five seasons, three of the times in which he came home the champion.
 
Langer, who has won 11 times on German soil in his career, had been hoping to attempt title number 12, but a wrist injury ruled him out.
 
I am very disappointed that I cannot play in the Deutsche Bank ' SAP Open, said Langer. It would have been my tenth consecutive start in the Tournament Players Championship of Europe in Germany.'
 
Related links:
  • Full Coverage - Deutsche Bank-SAP Open
  • Getty Images

    Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

    By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

    It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open at Carnoustie. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

    Hauck was one of dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

    The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even continuing to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

    The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

    For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

    Getty Images

    Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

    By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

    After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

    But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

    Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

    Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

    Getty Images

    Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

    By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

    Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

    The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

    “There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

    “To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

    Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

    “To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.

    Getty Images

    Rose: T-2 finish renewed my love of The Open

    By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 9:00 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose made the cut on the number at The Open and was out for an early Saturday morning stroll at Carnoustie when, all of a sudden, he started putting together one great shot after another.

    There was no pressure. No one had expected anything from someone so far off the lead. Yet Rose shot 30 on the final nine holes to turn in 7-under 64, the lowest round of the championship. By day’s end he was five shots behind a trio of leaders that included Jordan Spieth.

    Rose followed the 64 with a Sunday 69 to tie for second place, two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. His 133 total over the weekend was the lowest by a shot, and for a moment he thought he had a chance to hoist the claret jug, until Molinari put on a ball-striking clinic down the stretch with birdies on 14 and 18.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “I just think having made the cut number, it’s a great effort to be relevant on the leaderboard on Sunday,” said Rose, who collected his third-career runner-up in a major. He’s also finished 12th or better in all three majors this year.

    In the final round, Rose was well off the pace until his second shot on the par-5 14th hole hit the pin. He had a tap-in eagle to move to 5 under. Birdie at the last moved him to 6 under and made him the clubhouse leader for a few moments.

    “It just proves to me that I can play well in this tournament, that I can win The Open,” Rose said. “When I’m in the hunt, I enjoy it. I play my best golf. I don’t back away.

    “That was a real positive for me, and it renewed the love of The Open for me.”