More Money More Problems for Els

By Tom AbbottOctober 17, 2007, 4:00 pm
Editors Note: Tom Abbott is the host of Golf Central UK. He will be filing a bi-weekly column on with news, opinions and his inside knowledge of the European Tour.
Els a Big Winner, Volvo Masters Not:
Its funny, really, how some players always seem to do well on a certain course, but I suppose when its your home club you can see why. Ernie Els lives just off the 16th hole at Wentworth; he could probably hit a wedge from his back garden over the house and almost hit the green. He feels comfortable on the West Course, which goes someway in explaining his seven titles at the HSBC World Match Play Championship.
Since 1994 and his first victory, beating Colin Montgomerie in the final, Els has ruled the event. Last week he added that magical seventh win, the most of any player in the tournament, taking out Angel Cabrera in the final with a comfortable 6-and-4 margin. Els then jetted off to Paris in a private jet to watch South Africa beat Argentina in the Rugby World Cup semi-final. His Springboks will now face England in the final, where this writer hopes the South African winning trend will come to an abrupt halt. But back to golf. With his victory Els won $2.03 million, the largest first-prize cheque in our sport. However, because such a large amount would alter the European Order of Merit so drastically, he only gained about $830,000 to be applied to the money list. The paycheck still takes him to the top of the Order of Merit, ahead of second placed Padraig Harrington.
There are three events left on the European Tour schedule: this weeks Portugal Masters; the Mallorca Classic; and the season-ending Volvo Masters ' easily enough time for Padraig, third place Justin Rose, or even fourth placed Henrik Stenson to come through and sneak past Els. All is set for an exciting finish to the season at Valderrama, except theres one problem. Els cannot play the Volvo Masters because hes already contracted to go to the Singapore Masters on the Asian Tour, where more than likely hes receiving a hefty sum just for turning-up. How sad, and embarrassing to all parties involved. Els said after his World Match Play win Id love to (play Valderrama), its a bit of an embarrassment I think, obviously for myself, the Asian Tour and European Tour, they have those two events on the same date. I signed a deal with the sponsor over there (Singapore) and I have to honour the deal. So once again big money talks in golf. How ironic in the first year of the FedExCup, which was a Tiger Woods walk-over, we have a great finale to the European Tour Order of Merit race, but not all the players will be there to face the music during the final few events sound familiar?
A New Star:
Does golf need a new star to fuel some enthusiasm, Wie tried but failed. Tadd Fuijikawa doesnt seem to be going anywhere at present. And Tony Finau well, length isnt everything. How about Rory McIlroy, then. The 18-year-old from Northern Ireland has had an outstanding summer: his performance at the Open Championship; a Walker Cup cap; third place at the Dunhill Links; and fourth last week in Madrid. This young man is a player and having interviewed him at the Open Championship this year, hes a very nice chap to boot. He has, roughly, just under four months to win on the European Tour and become the youngest winner in tour history, breaking the mark set by Dale Hayes at the 1971 Spanish Open. I dont think hes going to need all that time; a win could come very soon.
His finish in Madrid gets him into Portugal this week and at the time of writing, McIlroy is planning to play. One difference between McIlroy and the others I mentioned at the beginning of the article is that he didnt have as much media hype. Ive kept a close eye on his amateur career, which was very impressive. Players were beginning to talk about him, but aside from a few golf publications, he went quietly about his business. At the Open Championship folks were asking, Whos this McIlroy chap? Thankfully, hes let golf do the talking.
Another young star well keep an eye on this week is 20-year-old Melissa Reid, who plays Stage 1 of the L.E.T. Q-school. The reigning British Amateur Stroke-Play champion and lowest amateur at the Ricoh Womens British Open is gunning for a tour card next year. Shell be a great asset to the tour and hopefully will draw some attention to a circuit which deserves some more publicity.
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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.