Els Making 2006 Debut in Qatar

By Golf Channel NewsroomJanuary 23, 2006, 5:00 pm
2005 Qatar MastersA fresh start on a new year. Or perhaps a fresh start on a second half of a career.
 
That's what faces Ernie Els as he tees it up this week in the European Tour's Qatar Masters at the Doha Golf Club.
 
The defending champion of this event, Els will be making his 2006 debut coming off a disappointing 2005 season that saw him go winless on the PGA Tour for the first time since 2001. He did manage a couple of European Tour wins early in the year, but had poor showings in the year's first three majors before his well-publicized season-ending knee injury.
 
But a return to the Middle East may be just what the doctor ordered for the Big Easy, as it was the scene of his lone bright spot last year. In back-to-back weeks Els won the Dubai Desert Classic and then the Qatar Masters.
 
'Maybe being in the Middle East will be good for me again. I always enjoy my time here and, hopefully, I can repeat what I achieved last season,' said Els on his website.
 
'Im looking forward to this new season maybe more than any other since I turned pro. That layoff through injury meant I could get some things straight in my head and evaluate some of my goals,' Els continued. 'Mentally and physically I feel good. And in the dunhill championship and the South African Open last month I was swinging the club great.
 
'You know, having recovered from such a bad injury, it almost seems that 2006 is going to be the start of the second half of my professional career. Im ready.'
 
Last year Els overcame a five-stroke deficit in the final round to capture the title. He fired a final-round, 7-under 65 to win by a stroke at 12-under-par 276. Joining Els in Qatar is quite an impressive field, with the llikes of world No. 2 Vijay Singh, Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Thomas Bjorn.
 
The Qatar Masters is a joint-sanctioned event between both the European Tour and the Asian Tour.
 
The 2004 champion of the tournament, Swede Joakim Haeggman, is set to defend his title against the mighty Els.
 
Haeggman captured the event last year after firing a final-round 7-under 65 to notch the come-from-behind victory over Nobuhito Sato. It was Haeggman's first win in over seven years.
 
The event will be played at the Doha Golf Club in Qatar for the ninth straight year and offers a purse of $2,000,000.
 
Related links:
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    Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

    By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

    Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

    The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

    Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

    The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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    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. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

    Hauck was among 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 as he continued 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.

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    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.

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    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.


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    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.