Tiger Woods to return at his tournament in the Bahamas

Tiger Woods to return at his tournament in the Bahamas
Tiger Woods reacts on the 9th green during his second round on the day 2 of The 150th British Open Golf Championship on The Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland on July 15, 2022. (AFP/File)
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Updated 10 November 2022

Tiger Woods to return at his tournament in the Bahamas

Tiger Woods to return at his tournament in the Bahamas
  • Woods, who announced his decision on Twitter, has not played competitively since he missed the cut in the British Open at St. Andrews in July

NEW YORK: Tiger Woods made it official Wednesday by announcing he would return to competition as part of the 20-man field at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

Woods is the tournament host of the unofficial event on Dec. 1-4 at Albany Golf Club, where the tournament has been played since 2015.

It will be the first time Woods has played the Hero World Challenge, which benefits his foundation, since 2019.

Woods, who announced his decision on Twitter, has not played competitively since he missed the cut in the British Open at St. Andrews in July.

 

 

That was only the third tournament he played in 2022, all of them majors. He made the cut at the Masters and PGA Championship, finishing 47th at Augusta National and withdrawing after three rounds at Southern Hills.

The Hero World Challenge is the start of a busy month for Woods, who also has agreed to play in a made-for-TV exhibition on Dec. 10 with Rory McIlroy as his partner in a 12-hole match against Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.

Woods also is expected to play in the PNC Championship a week later with his son, Charlie. They were runners-up a year ago in Orlando, Florida.

The 20-man field in the Bahamas receives world ranking points, with the caveat that sponsor exemptions must be among the top 50 in the world. There is an exception for the tournament host — Woods is at No. 1,245.

Woods said Tommy Fleetwood and Kevin Kisner would be the other exemptions, joining an already stacked field that has 17 of the top 20 players in the world. The only players from the top 20 not playing are McIlroy, Cameron Smith and Patrick Cantlay. Smith, the British Open champion, is ineligible because of his PGA Tour suspension for joining LIV Golf.

Also, tournament officials announced that Will Zalatoris has not fully recovered from a back injury that kept him out of the Tour Championship and the Presidents Cup. Zalatoris was replaced by former British Open champion Shane Lowry.


McIlroy comes out on top of bitter rival Reed in Dubai

McIlroy comes out on top of bitter rival Reed in Dubai
Updated 30 January 2023

McIlroy comes out on top of bitter rival Reed in Dubai

McIlroy comes out on top of bitter rival Reed in Dubai
  • McIlroy had fallen behind arch-rival Reed after a bogey on the 15th hole
  • The Northern Irishman bounced back with birdies on the 17th and 18th to prevail over Reed by a single shot

DUBAI: Rory McIlroy prevailed in a nail-biting finish over Patrick Reed, the man he “prefers not to acknowledge” after a spat between the two, in the rain-delayed $9 million Dubai Desert Classic on Monday.
It was the first time McIlroy has won the first start of his new season and is his 15th DP World Tour victory in 231 starts.
It was also his third Dubai Desert Classic victory in 13 appearances.
He will remain world number one, after Spaniard Jon Rahm failed to win the Farmers Insurance Open on the PGA Tour on Saturday.
McIlroy and Reed went into the tournament after a row when Reed reportedly threw a tee toward McIlroy on the practice range in Dubai.
The two have been at odds since McIlroy criticized players, including Reed, who joined the rival Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit.
McIlroy, who lost this tournament last year on the final hole when his second shot found the water and he ended up making a bogey, had fallen behind Reed after a bogey on the 15th hole.
However, the Northern Irishman made amends with birdies on the 17th and 18th in a round of four-under par 68.
McIlroy finished on 19-under par, while Reed, starting the day four shots behind the Northern Irishman, made a crucial bogey on the 16th and a par on the drivable par-4 17th hole in his round of 65.
Australian Lucas Herbert, champion in 2019, closed with a six-under par 66 to take solo third place at 16-under par 272.
England’s Callum Shinkwin, who started with three bogies in his first six holes playing in the lead group with McIlroy, made six birdies after that to shoot a 69 and take solo fourth place at 273.
The DP World Tour stays in the UAE for a fourth consecutive week and will head to the northern emirate of Ras Al Khaimah this week for the $2 million RAK Championship.


13 Major champions to compete in the Aramco Saudi Ladies International next month

13 Major champions to compete in the Aramco Saudi Ladies International next month
Updated 30 January 2023

13 Major champions to compete in the Aramco Saudi Ladies International next month

13 Major champions to compete in the Aramco Saudi Ladies International next month
  • Field includes multiple winners Anna Nordqvist and In Gee Chun
  • Event takes place at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City from Feb. 16-19

The Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by the Public Investment Fund has confirmed there would be a total of 13 Major champions competing in this year’s event, with a prize purse of $5 million up for grabs.

Major winners include three-time champion and last year’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship winner In Gee Chun, multiple Major champion Anna Nordqvist, world No. 7 Lexi Thompson and defending champion Georgia Hall.

These 13 Major champions, who hold 18 Major titles between them, are part of a star-studded field that is set to be the event’s strongest lineup, with more top stars set to be announced over the following weeks.

The Aramco Saudi Ladies International is the third stop in a record-breaking 2023 LET season, featuring 30 events across 21 countries with a total prize fund of $38 million.

The groundbreaking event made waves around the world last year following the announcement of its commitment to women’s golf through a prize purse boost to $5 million, which is the largest outside of the Majors and matches the men’s event, the PIF Saudi International.

World No. 8 Chun picked up the third Major title of her career when she took home the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship title last year, winning by a stroke over Lexi Thompson and Minjee Lee. It was an impressive performance, especially in the tournament's first round, as the South Korean put up an eight-under-64 score to equal the largest first-round Major lead in women’s golf history.

She also performed well at the 2022 AIG Women’s Open, narrowly losing out on the title to Ashleigh Buhai — who will also be competing at the tournament — in a four-hole sudden-death playoff.

The 28-year-old secured her previous Major title in 2016, winning the Evian Championship. She spectacularly captured the title, finishing with a score of 21-under-par, which is the lowest winning score recorded in a Major tournament in golf.

This will be the first time Chun will compete in Saudi Arabia, where she will hope to make a solid start to her 2023 season.  

“I’m excited to finally visit Saudi Arabia. I’m also looking forward to an event that is expected to elevate women’s golf in all parts of the global community. It will definitely be a great early season challenge with a very strong field competing.”

Another Major winner and top 10 player competing at the Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF is America’s Thompson. The world No. 7 ended her three-year title drought by winning the LET’s Aramco Team Series individual title in New York. In addition to the win in her home country, the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship titleholder also notched seven top 10 finishes in 2022.

As a player who has openly voiced her thoughts on equality in the game of golf, Thompson said: “Equal pay in golf has been something that all of us in the women’s game have wanted for so long, so seeing that huge prize purse increase at the Aramco Saudi Ladies International to match the men’s tournament was extremely heartening. For us, it’s always been about feeling equal and we are all focused on growing the game to leave in a much better place for future generation of female golfers.”

Crowd favorite and defending Champion Hall is also making a return to the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, where she created many fond memories last year by winning the Aramco Saudi Ladies International.

The world No. 24 and 2018 Ricoh Women’s British Open winner added: “It was great to win early in the season last year and I hope to defend my title this year. I’m a fan of the place and enjoy playing on this course as it suits my game well.

“Playing in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East gives me much confidence as I’ve done well in past competitions. The treatment we get during event week is absolutely top-notch and makes it much easier to put up great performances on the course for the fans.”

On the prize purse boost, the 26-year-old added: “It’s a massive boost for the women’s game, and it also goes beyond golf as it’s what women in sport deserve. We are all thoroughly grateful to Golf Saudi for what it’s doing for women’s golf.

“I’ve personally seen how the Aramco Team Series and Aramco Saudi Ladies International events have grown and developed every time I’m here, and I’m confident that it will continue on this path.”

Other Major champions who are competing at the event:

Ashleigh Buhai (2022 AIG Women’s Open)

Patty Tavatanakit (2021 ANA Inspiration)

Kim A-Lim (2020 US Women’s Open)

Hannah Green (2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship)

Jeong Eun Lee6 (2019 US Women’s Open)

Danielle Kang (2017 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship)

Lydia Ko (2016 ANA Inspiration; 2015 Evian Championship)

Hyo-Joo Kim (2014 Evian Championship)

Ji Eun-Hee (2009 US Women’s Open)


Rory McIlroy takes three-shot lead into final round of Dubai Desert Classic

Rory McIlroy takes three-shot lead into final round of Dubai Desert Classic
Updated 29 January 2023

Rory McIlroy takes three-shot lead into final round of Dubai Desert Classic

Rory McIlroy takes three-shot lead into final round of Dubai Desert Classic
  • Despite a bogey on the 18th, the World No.1 is in a strong position to clinch a record-equaling third title in Dubai
  • England’s Dan Bradbury and Callum Shinkwin are tied in second at 12-under after carding 68 and 67 respectively

DUBAI: World No. 1 Rory McIlroy produced a stunning birdie blitz to put himself in a strong position to clinch his third Hero Dubai Desert Classic title, taking a three-shot lead into the final day.

In front of thousands of fans at the Emirates Golf Club, the four-time Major champion showed the competition why he is the top-ranked player in the world with an impressive 65 to finish -7 for the day and -15 overall through three rounds.  

Beginning the day on 8 under, McIlroy got off to a flyer with four consecutive birdies, which saw him storm up the leaderboard. The 33-year-old also made three straight birdies in the back nine on the 13th, 14th and 15th as well as the 17th, but a bogey on the final hole denied him a flawless round.

Despite the finish, McIlroy feels confident he can continue his good form on Monday. “It’s my first week back out, and I have a chance to win, and it’s sort of what I wanted to do when coming here,” he said.

“I think tomorrow will show me where my game is, and I’m in the final group with the chance to win the tournament, so I’m excited to see what happens. I’m feeling better about my game than I was at this time last night.”

Behind the Northern Irishman are English duo Dan Bradbury and Callum Shinkwin, tied in second on -12.

Following his flawless 63 in Round Two to rebound from posting 73 in the opening round, Bradbury continued his good form to shoot 68, with five birdies on Sunday.

The 23-year-old said: “At the start of the day, I would have taken this position and I played some really good golf and I’m very happy overall. A bogey on the eight and knowing you’ve got the nine holes coming up is not ideal as it’s one of the hardest holes on the course. I’m just going to play my game, and Rory’s the best player in the world and today he showed why, and I can only do what I control.”

For Shinkwin, a score of 67 in a round featuring five birdies including back-to-back on 17th and 18th in the last nine saw the Englishman leap up to the top of the leaderboard alongside Bradbury.

Victor Perez, the winner in Abu Dhabi last week, is part of a seven-group tied for fourth place, which includes overnight leader Richard Bland and Patrick Reed.


Ryder extends Farmers lead to 3, Rahm gets hot on windy day

Ryder extends Farmers lead to 3, Rahm gets hot on windy day
Updated 27 January 2023

Ryder extends Farmers lead to 3, Rahm gets hot on windy day

Ryder extends Farmers lead to 3, Rahm gets hot on windy day
  • Ryder survived both the Santa Ana wind and the tougher South Course with just one bogey to reach 12-under 132

SAN DIEGO: Sam Ryder extended his lead to three shots in the Farmers Insurance Open with a 4-under 68 in challenging wind in the second round Thursday on Torrey Pines’ South Course while Jon Rahm had an eagle and three straight birdies late in his 5-under 67 on the easier North Course to get under the cut line.

Ryder survived both the Santa Ana wind and the tougher South Course with just one bogey to reach 12-under 132 and take a three-stroke lead over Brendan Steele, who shot a 70 on the South Course. Tano Goya was two more shots back after a 67 on the North Course.

The Santa Ana wind blowing out of the desert and down the mountains raked the course most of the day, with gusts up to 30 mph. It sent leaves, branches and even a tumbleweed onto greens, and cardboard trash cans tumbling down hillsides.

“Yesterday was very easy, today was very hard,” said Rahm, who took his first tour win here in 2017 and then won the 2021 US Open on the blufftop municipal course overlooking the Pacific Ocean. “It’s never easy out here on either one of the courses, especially the South, and when you get poa annua bumpy greens with this wind, it can be a bit of a nightmare, so glad I made a few.”

Rahm, ranked No. 3 in the world and looking to win for the third time three starts this year, rebounded from an opening 73 on the South Course by getting hot on his back nine. He eagled the par-5 fifth and then had three straight birdies. He had another eagle chance on the par-4 seventh but his long putt caught the left edge and skidded about a foot away.

After his frustrating opening round, “anything in the 60s would have been amazing,” Rahm said. “What I shot today, man, I’m going to be skipping out of the golf course today because it’s a great round of golf.”

Rahm, who won The American Express last weekend, started on the back nine and opened with consecutive birdies but bogeyed his third and ninth holes. He was even going into the par-5 fifth, when he started his run with an eagle.

“Holes five through nine, with or without wind is where you can take advantage of the course,” the Spanish star said. “Luckily, I’ve been hitting it really good. There’s no difference between those holes or any other five, four holes you can pick throughout the round, it’s just kind of guessed with the wind right in all of them. I think maybe I was a little more aggressive after that second shot on 6 and got in the mentality of making birdies instead of being a little tentative, which is easy to do when it’s blowing as hard as it was blowing today.”

Rahm, who went from tied for 116th on Wednesday to tied for 14th, said the cut line never came to mind.

“I was playing with the mindset of catching up to the leaders as much as possible, that’s it.”

Ryder, a 33-year-old who has never won on the PGA Tour, opened some distance after sharing the first-round lead with Aaron Rai and Brent Grant. Grant was in a group of six at 6 under.

“Yeah, it feels great. The thing I’ve been kind of telling myself is to just try and embrace it,” Ryder said. “It’s not a position that I’ve been in a lot, you know, so just trying to enjoy it. It’s kind of why we play, so just trying to look around and enjoy the moment.

“And I’m just doing everything pretty solid. It starts off the tee for me, I’m driving it well. My iron play is really good, so I feel like if I put it in the fairway, I can attack. And I don’t think I really missed many shots today. I missed a couple fairways, but the irons have been really good.”

Will Zalatoris, ranked No. 7 in the world, missed the cut after shooting 5-over 77 on the South Course.

The final two rounds will be on the South Course.


Reed fares better than McIlroy after delayed start in Dubai

Reed fares better than McIlroy after delayed start in Dubai
Updated 27 January 2023

Reed fares better than McIlroy after delayed start in Dubai

Reed fares better than McIlroy after delayed start in Dubai
  • Three English players — Matthew Jordan, Daniel Gavins and Oliver Wilson — held the clubhouse lead after shooting rounds of 4-under 68

DUBAI: Patrick Reed fared better than Rory McIlroy after some pre-tournament friction as the Dubai Desert Classic got off to a wet start Thursday with only 11 players managing to finish their weather-affected first rounds.

Play only began at the European tour event after a delay of six hours caused by heavy overnight rain that left the course unplayable at Emirates Golf Club.

By the time the siren sounded to suspend play because of fading light, Reed was 4 under par after 16 holes and top-ranked McIlroy was 2 under having played 15 holes.

Thomas Pieters was leading on 5 under, though he also had three holes to play. Three English players — Matthew Jordan, Daniel Gavins and Oliver Wilson — held the clubhouse lead after shooting rounds of 4-under 68.

“It’s certainly strange around here,” Jordan said of the wet conditions, “to see water hazards and stuff in places that you don’t expect it to be.”

Reed and McIlroy traded verbal blows Wednesday after an interaction — of sorts — at the practice range on Tuesday that saw McIlroy snub Reed, who had gone over to wish the Northern Irishman a happy new year. Reed walked away before tossing a tee — featuring a logo of his 4 Aces team in the LIV Golf league — in the direction of McIlroy, one of the most vocal critics of the global series.

Reed said it was “unfortunate” that McIlroy didn’t shake his hand and was quoted as describing McIlroy as “an immature little child.”

It has set the scene for a potential on-course head-to-head in Dubai between two of golf’s most high-profile players. It didn’t come Thursday, with McIlroy starting at No. 10 in his first event of 2023 and Reed opening at the first hole.

McIlroy bogeyed two of his first six holes after leaving chips from the fringe short. He got up and down from a greenside bunker for birdie at No. 18, picked up more shots at No. 2 and 3, and was lining up a birdie putt from inside 4 feet on No. 7 when the siren went off.

Reed birdied three of his first five holes and rebounded from a bogey at No. 10 by holing short birdie putts at Nos. 12 and 14.

Tommy Fleetwood (15 holes) and Victor Perez (16 holes), who won the Abu Dhabi Championship last week, were also on 4 under when they had to leave the course.

Half the field had yet to get on the course and will start their first rounds on Friday. Players were informed in the early hours of Thursday morning that Emirates Golf Club was “inaccessible” and told not to travel to the course due to several roads being flooded following heavy rain.

Play finally got underway following a few hours of dry weather and a massive clean-up operation by ground staff.

“It’s tough,” Jordan said. “I mean, it was nice to see that at 5.20 a.m. I could roll back over in bed and have a lie-in. So that was nice.”