Monday, November 14, 2011


 Phil Mickelson, one of the winningest and best-known golfers in history, will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in May 2012.

Mickelson was elected to the Hall with 72 percent of the vote, the highest percentage since Greg Norman with 80 percent a decade ago. Since arriving on the professional scene two decades ago, Mickelson has been one of golf's most visible figures. He's won four majors, three Masters and one PGA Championship, and he's played on 17 Ryder and Presidents Cup teams, including the one kicking off next week. He reached a career high World Golf Ranking of No. 2.

Mickelson is the only member of the PGA Tour to be inducted; the inductees from International and Lifetime Achievement categories will be announced at a later date. The next-closest nominees were Fred Couples with 38 percent of the vote and Davis Love III and Mark O'Meara with 29 percent apiece.

 Greg Chalmers won his national championship for the second time Sunday, closing with a 3-under 69 to hold off a late charge by Woods and a 50-foot birdie putt by John Senden that nearly forced a playoff.

Woods had his best chance of winning all year.

“Two holes on the back nine today, and I putted awful yesterday, or I would have been right there,” Woods said.
Two tee shots led to bogeys on the back nine, though he also made birdie on the second-toughest hole at The Lakes on No. 12, then chipped in from just off the green for eagle on the 14th. Woods missed a 12-foot eagle putt on the 17th for a share of the lead.

Behind him, Chalmers made his final birdie with a brilliant tee shot on the par-3 15th hole to tap-in range, then played mistake-free down the stretch and picked up a meaningful par on the par-3 18th with an up-and-down from the bunker.

Chalmers last won the Australian Open in 1998 at Royal Adelaide, a week before the Presidents Cup in Melbourne.

The matches return to Royal Melbourne next week, and Woods at least showed that he wasn’t a complete waste of a captain’s pick by Fred Couples. He not only was the low American by finishing alone in third, he looked good doing it.

Chalmers finished at 13-under 275.

It was a strong field for the Australian Open, with eight Americans on the Presidents Cup team getting ready for next week. That included Woods, a steady presence on the leaderboard. For Chalmers, satisfaction came from his name on the silver trophy again.

Senden, the 54-hole leader, faltered early but gave himself a chance late with a good pitch across the 17th green for birdie. His long putt on the 18th went over the ridge and broke back toward the high side of the cup but missed by inches. He closed with a 72.

Defending champion Geoff Ogilvy had a 7-under 65 to tie for fourth with Adam Scott (68), Nick Watney (72), Nick O’Hern (72) and Jason Day, who hit his opening tee shot in the water and had a 74.

 Catriona Matthew won the Lorena Ochoa Invitational on Sunday for her fourth career LPGA Tour title, closing with a 1-under 71 for a four-stroke victory in the 36-player event.

Matthew, the 42-year-old Scot whose last victory came in the 2009 Women’s British Open, had a 12-under 276 total at Guadalajara Country Club and earned $200,000.

Anna Nordqvist and 2010 winner I.K. Kim tied for second. They each shot 71. Hall of Famer Juli Inkster had a 72 to tie for fourth with Ai Miyazato (71) and Hee Kyung Seo (69) at 5 under.
Michelle Wie, the 2009 winner, tied for ninth at 2 under after a 71.

Top-ranked Yani Tseng shot a 72 to tie for 19th at 3 over.

 Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano won the rain-delayed Singapore Open on Monday, beating Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines with a birdie on the second hole of a playoff.

After finishing level at 14-under 199 Sunday after the third and final round, Pagunsan and Fernandez-Castano teed off on the playoff hole before play was suspended for 90 minutes because of rain and the threat of lighting. The storm let up briefly, allowing players to hit one more shot before more rain stopped play again and forced the playoff into Monday.

Fernandez-Castano had started Sunday with a three-shot lead but faltered with three bogies on the back nine, allowing Pagunsan into contention.

Pagunsan had a chance to win on the first playoff hole but missed a short birdie putt

Fernandez-Castano earned $990,520 for his fifth victory on the European Tour. The $6 million event also was sanctioned by the Asian Tour.

Anthony Kim and Louis Oosthuizen  were tied for third, a stroke back.

Edoardo Molinari, Danny Lee and Joost Luiten tied for fifth at 12 under. Graeme McDowell finished 8 under, Ernie Els was 6 under and Phil Mickelson shot a 70 on Sunday to tie for 33rd at 5 under.

Long rain delays on Friday and Saturday forced organizers to shorten the tournament from four rounds to three.

John Daly hit seven balls into the water on the 11th hole Thursday and stormed off the golf course at the Australian Open.

Already with a tarnished reputation Down Under, Daly might have gone too far with Australia’s golf hierarchy. He was banned from playing in the Australian PGA in two weeks, and he might not be welcome back.

“It’s very disappointing for the tournament … that he has treated the championship this way,” said Trevor Herden, Golf Australia’s director of tournaments. “It is a bit of a habit.”

Daly was 7 over after 10 holes in the first round after becoming upset on the 10th hole when he hit a practice ball out of a bunker, believing it was his tee shot. The two-shot penalty and a three-putt that followed gave him a triple-bogey.

On the 11th, he hit ball after ball into the water, some landing in the center of the pond. Moments later, Daly shook hands with playing partners Craig Parry and Hunter Mahan and walked off the course.

He would have been hitting his 16th shot if he had more golf balls.

Daly wrote on Twitter to explain himself, saying “when u run out of balls u run out of balls. yes, I shook my player’s partners hands & signed my card w/rules official.”

In a text message to The Associated Press, Daly said he hasn’t had confidence in his game since he was injured five years ago, and that he never thought he would run out of balls during a round.

Herden said Daly’s actions were “unprofessional” and action needed to be taken against him. And Herden said running out of balls was no excuse for walking off the course.

“If you run out of golf balls, and you are acting in a professional manner, you will call a rules official and we will get the type of ball he is playing with and replenish his stock,” Herden said. “We can do that. For him to treat it as ‘that’s it’ and ‘see you later,’ that’s not good enough.”

The PGA of Australia later issued a statement saying no appearance fees had been paid to Daly. It also said Daly’s actions Thursday would be referred to a disciplinary committee.Daly, now ranked 666th in the world, was scheduled to play at the Australian PGA at the Hyatt Regency course at Coolum in two weeks. That won’t be happening, as the PGA of Australia withdrew the invitation.

 Luke Donald’s wife gave birth to a girl Friday morning in the north suburbs of Chicago, and both are said to be doing well. Sophia Ann Donald was born at 2:11 a.m. CST. Donald has another daughter, Elle, who was born last year.

Donald, poised to become the first player in history to win the money title on the PGA Tour and European Tour in the same year, next plays the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa on Dec. 1-4 before ending the European Tour season in the Dubai World Championship.

Greg Norman’s no-show at a black-tie dinner marking the 100th anniversary of the Professional Golfers Association of Australia prompted plenty of rumors, yet had a simple explanation.

The rumor mill flowed at the Australian Open on Saturday: that he had snubbed the PGA, that a courtesy car sent for him hadn’t arrived. Instead, as Norman revealed Saturday, he had a bad blister on his left heel—so bad that he left The Lakes course on Friday in bare feet.

So the thought of putting on dress shoes on to attend the function at Sydney Town Hall was out of the question, even if he is patron of the centenary celebrations.

Organizers got Adam Scott and Robert Allenby to replace him in a panel discussion, and PGA officials apologized to the crowd of 400 on Norman’s behalf.

Captain Fred Couples was worried about the health of his President's Cup squad but with a rested Hunter Mahan and a now healthy  Steve Stricker Couples can rest better at night.

Stricker presented the biggest concern, not only as the highest-ranked American at Royal American (No. 5), but as the partner for Tiger Woods when they won all four of their matches two years ago at Harding Park in another U.S. victory.

The pain in his neck began a year ago when he was in a deer stand during the offseason, taking aim with his bow when his left arm collapsed. Exercise got it up to full strength again, and Stricker went on to win the Memorial and the John Deere Classic. But he relaxed his workout regimen, and his left arm felt so weak in September that he withdrew from the BMW Championship outside Chicago.

 Stricker was among eight American team members on the course Monday. South Korea’s K.J. Choi was the only International player to practice, although Norman and his assistant captains Frank Nobilo and Tim Clark surveyed the course.

Stricker has played two rounds on the composite course at Royal Melbourne, one of the finest courses in the world, which put him ahead of the curve compared with the rest of the teams. Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk were the only Americans on the 1998 team at Royal Melbourne when the International team won in a landslide.

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