Sunday, December 5, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 12-5-2010

MCDOWELL IS VICTORIOUS AT CHEVRON WORLD CHALLENGE
Graheme McDowell defeated Tiger Woods in a playoff to win the Chevron World Challenge. Tiger blew a four stroke lead earlier in the round but he  looked as though he would recover from losing the lead  when he stuffed his approach to inside 3 feet on the 18th hole, but McDowell knocked in a 20-foot birdie putt that forced a playoff.

On the first extra hole, McDowell got a lucky break as he hit a tree with his tee shot,then hit his second to a spot similiar to where he hit it in regulation. And again he made a birdie putt from 20 feet. This time, Woods couldn’t match him. His 15-foot birdie putt slid by on the right, and Woods ended a calendar year without winning.

Woods had never lost a tournament as a pro when leading by at least three shots going into the final round.




WESTWOOD WINS ENDS YEAR AS #1
Lee Westwood cemented his year-end No. 1 ranking with an eight-shot win at the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City on Sunday.


The Englishman closed with a 4-under 68, chipping in from the fringe at No. 18 for a birdie from nearly 40 yards to finish at 17-under 271.
The 37-year-old Westwood had led the 12-player field since Friday and was unchallenged on the final day to win his first Nedbank title in his seventh attempt, collecting $1.25 million for the victory.

Westwood started out with rounds of 68, 64 and 71, finishing with five birdies and a bogey Sunday to secure the top ranking for the remainder of 2010.




HJORTH WINS LPGA FINALE
Maria Hjorth won the LPGA Tour Championship on Sunday, using a final-round 72 to hold off a field that struggled to even make par.

Hjorth had three birdies and three bogeys on a picture-perfect day at Grand Cypress Golf Club, where only six of 120 players finished below par for the tournament. Third-round leader Amy Yang shot 74 to finish one shot back.

Hjorth finished at 5-under 283 for the tournament, the highest-winning score relative to par all year except for Paula Creamer’s 3-under victory in the U.S. Open at Oakmont. The firm and fluctuating greens at Grand Cypress played similar to the toughest major this week, and near-freezing conditions in the first two rounds only punctuated the challenges.
Yang made a birdie putt on the 18th from about 15 feet over a ridge, forcing Hjorth to sink an 8-foot putt slightly down hill to save par. She did, dropping her putter and lifting her arms in the air in triumph after it rolled in.

Yani Tseng also clinched LPGA player of the year, despite finishing 5 over for the tournament. None of the major season awards even changed hands this week.

The victory was only Hjorth’s fourth LPGA win and first since 2007. It also was a sweet homecoming victory for the Swedish native who now lives a few miles away from the tournament, the first LPGA event in Florida in two years.


OGILVY TAKES AUSTRALIAN OPEN
Geoff Ogilvy won the Australian Open on Sunday for his second professional victory in his home country, closing with a 3-under 69 for a four-stroke victory.
Ogilvy had a 19-under 269 total at The Lakes. The 2006 U.S. Open champion won the 2008 Australian PGA for his only other professional victory Down Under.
He slumped after winning the PGA Tour’s season-opening event at Kapalua.
Allistar Presnell, and Matt Jones tied for second, Jordan Sherratt  and John Senden followed at 12 under, and American David Oh  was in a group at 11 under. Sherratt was making his pro debut.



IN OTHER NEWS
Jim Furyk was voted by his peers as the PGA Tour Player of the Year.  Furyk was the favorite to win the award with his three PGA Tour victories, including the Tour Championship to capture the FedEx Cup. He was second on the money list and in scoring average to Matt Kuchar.

Furyk had gone more than two years without winning until his victory in the Transitions Championship in March, then won again a month later at Hilton Head. He ended the year with a par save from the bunker on the final hole at East Lake to not only win the Tour Championship, but the FedEx Cup.

He previously won player of the year from the PGA of America, an award based on points. This was a vote of PGA Tour players who had to choose among Furyk, Kuchar, Masters champion Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Ernie Els.

Rickie Fowler won Rookie of the Year on Tour.

Fowler won the award over Rory McIlroy and others,  McIlroy not only won Quail Hollow, he was third in two majors.

Fowler was a rookie in the purest sense, fresh out of Q-school at age 21. He had two runner-up finishes, at the Phoenix Open and Memorial, and was selected for the Ryder Cup team. In his singles match, he won the last four holes to earn a halve that gave the Americans a chance to win until Grame McDowell won the final singles match.

Fowler was the youngest rookie of the year since Tiger Woods won the award at age 20 in 1996.




The PGA Tour lost one tournament and picked up seven new title sponsors for a 2011 schedule that is not much different than last year and still offers about the same amount of prize money.


The schedule released Wednesday includes 45 tournaments that count toward official money, down one from last year after the Turning Stone Resort Championship decided not to renew.

Despite losing that tournament, however, total prize money hardly missed a beat. Assuming the majors keep their purses at least the same, the total is $288 million an increase of $3.8 million that offsets the $4 million Turning Stone purse. The 17 tournaments had slight purse increases built into their contracts.
FedEx will become title sponsor for one year at the St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn., held a week before the U.S. Open.

Six new title sponsors had already been announced, a strong showing in this economy. Those were Hyundai (Kapalua), Farmers Insurance (San Diego), Wells Fargo (Charlotte, N.C.), Cadillac (Doral, Fla.), McGladrey (St. Simons Island, Ga.) and CIMB (Malaysia).

That leaves only two tournaments on the schedule that do not have sponsors— The Heritage at Hilton Head and the Bob Hope Classic. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem has said both events could make it at least another year without one.




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