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World Golf Championship. Calm Restored at Cadillac.

dragon logo darkWGC-Cadillac Championship

Calm was restored at the WGC Cadillac Championship at Doral on day three of the contest around The Blue Monster. Patrick Reed has the lead going into the final round.

Patrick Reed could be taking home his third trophy in seven months Sunday at Doral. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

Patrick Reed /Getty Images

In much calmer conditions Patrick turned his game around in four holes Saturday at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, finishing up with a -3 under par 69 and a two stroke lead at -4 under par. He said he was not bothered that Tiger was close behind;

“That’s fine, I’ve seen Tiger a lot on the driving range. Never had the opportunity to play with him and I still haven’t been able to play with him. Whenever he’s close to the lead, he’s a guy you have to watch out for. But at the same time, I have to go and just play my own game.”

“If you have a 54-hole lead, that means you’re playing the best golf of the group through three rounds. Tomorrow is Sunday, but at the same time, it’s another round of golf. We’ve won twice since August, we’ve played great. And if I continue doing what I’m supposed to be doing, come Sunday afternoon, hopefully we’re holding the trophy.”

Jason Dufner and Hunter Mahan are tied in second place at -2 under par for this tournament, Hunter thinks it will go down to the wire;

“The tournament will not be over until the last putt drops on eighteen. That always happens, but it seems like you just can’t coast in here. You can’t have a big enough lead going into eighteen this week. So I don’t think anyone is going to be too bothered if someone gets out to a three, or four-shot lead, because there’s so much golf out there. And there’s so much that can happen, good and bad.”

Tied in fourth place are Jamie Donaldson and Tiger Woods, both at -1 under par. Tiger did what he wanted to do, get back into the tournament. A third round of -6 under par 66 certainly did that;

“It was nice to get back in the tournament again Now it’s playing more like a normal course. I held it together yesterday, a long day, tough day, and that gave me a chance today.I figured, hey, I’m only six back. That’s definitely doable, especially with the conditions and how difficult this golf course is playing. If I just get back to even par for the tournament, I’ll be right there. And I did one better.”

Dustin Johnson,  Miguel Angel Jimenez and Zach Johnson share sixth place at even par for the three rounds. The weather conditions still hold the key around here, if it starts to blow again anything could happen. Another calm day and the winner will come from the top five.

Darness Descends at Doral, WGC Championship.

dragon logo darkWGC-Cadillac Championship

Darkness descends on The WGA Championship at the Blue Monster course at Doral, suspending the first round.

Harris English had the lowest round of the few who completed Round 1 on Thursday. (Greenwood/Getty Images)

Harris English / Getty Images

Harris English was one of just six players to finish the opening round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship after inclement weather delayed play at Trump National Doral. When the horn blew there were five players tied at the top the leaderboard on -3 under par. The only completed round was Harris English, the other four still to finish the opening round are; Jason Dufner, Hunter Mahan, Francesco Molinari and Patrick Reed

Harris explained how important it was to finish today, and not to come back in the morning to finish the round, and then continue with the second;

“It was getting really dark, very quickly, but I wanted to finish the hole, it really changes the way you approach the day, waking up and playing one hole at 8 in the morning and then waiting around for three or four hours for your tee time is tough to do. That way in the morning, we can have a normal day.”

Tiger Woods was +2 over par through ten holes, but said he was feeling a lot better, but he will have to play 26 holes tomorrow;

“Felt a lot better today, should be a long day for all of us. Hopefully I can get back out there in the morning, play well and work back to even par by the end of the first round, then shoot a low one in the afternoon.” 

Rory McIlroy was at -1 under par through fourteen holes, but there is a long way to go in this tournament and as usual anything could happen.

Accenture Match-Play. Garcia’s Gentlemanly Conduct. G-Mac King of Comebacks

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 Sergio Garcia was guilty of serious gentlemanly conduct in his loss to Rickie Fowler, conceding a seventeen foot putt. G-Mac came back from the dead once again, a resurrection indeed.

No regrets: Garcia concedes 17-footer in loss to Fowler

Sergio & Rickie / Getty Images

 Rickie Fowler defeated Sergio Garcia, 1 up, Friday at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship , but that included the conceded putt of seventeen feet. The incident took place took place at Dove Mountain’s seventh hole, Sergio felt that he  had taken too much time to take a drop at No. 6, and conceded the halving par putt to Rickie. Sergio’s 7-foot par was conceded in return.

Sergio explained the extraordinary event like this;

I don’t regret it at all. I think that this is a gentleman’s game and lately, it hasn’t felt like it’s been like that. This is the way I was brought up by my dad. I felt like my drop on six took too much time. If I would have been in his position, I wouldn’t have enjoyed waiting so long to hit my birdie putt after the great shot that he hit. I thought that was the only thing I could do on seven to make myself feel better and not feel guilty about anything.”

The real problem was bee’s, Sergio asked for a drop away from the bee colony, saying;

 “I don’t want to hit the shot, I’ve had bad experiences with bees.”

Rickie was confused for a while;

“I had to kind of find out what he was asking or offering there, it took me a minute to figure it out.  It would be stupid not to take a half. He said, ‘You wanna halve’ I didn’t know what he meant. I thought maybe he had a sandwich”

For a the third day on the trot, Graeme McDowell came from behind to win. Claiming victory in  his quarter-final clash with Victor Dubuisson at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

Graeme McDowell  (Getty Images)

G-Mac / Getty Images

Graeme was again on the ropes at two down with two to play, he rallied with two closing birdies, which saw the former US Open Champion force extra holes, and a 15 foot birdie putt at the third extra hole, after Hunter had found a greenside bunker. The victory sealed a last-eight spot for the Volvo World Match Play champion.

Graeme was amazed to still be in the tournament;

 “It’s entertaining for sure but I’d much rather have it much easier, believe me. I can’t get my head around it. I was pretty sure I was beat against Gary Woodland, yesterday I thought I had a chance and today walking off the 16th green I thought I was beat again. The par save on the second play-off hole was just ridiculous, he holed from 20 feet there. I can’t believe it really, I have just robbed three players at this tournament and I can’t believe I am still in it.”

Victor Dubuisson avoided a comeback by Bubba Watson, clinging on for a one up victory after being three up with four to play. Making his World Golf Championships debut, Victor feels he is ready to join the next Ryder Cup team;

“I’m definitely ready because I have good experience of match play as an amateur. I hope the three matches I have won will help me get into the team.”

Ernie Els came up with a brilliant approach shot to within two feet at the 18th to see off Jason Dufner 1 up, while the other South African Louis Oosthuizen dispatched Webb Simpson 5-4.

Jason Day defeated George Coetzee 3-1, and Jordan Spieth beat Matt Kuchar 2-1. Jim Furyk defeated Harris English 1 up.

So far this week I have manged to avoid using the word bracket, but thought I had better mention it just in case you thought I was not aware.

Accenture Match-Play. Rose & Rory Out. Magic McDowell Survives Again.

dragon logo darkAccenture Logo

Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy crashed out of the Accenture Match-Play tournament at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Course on Dove Mountain. Graeme McDowell survived another match where he looked like losing, once again.

Graeme McDowell  (Getty Images)

Survivor G-Mac / Getty Images

Justin went down to Ernie Els, 1 up, while Rory lost to Harris English, on the 19th hole. G-Mac went three down after six holes against  Hideki Matsuyama, of Japan. He then birdied the seventh and eighth to get within one hole, only to then lose the 14th to be two down with four holes to play. Graeme won the 15th and the 17th, and rounding off with  a ten foot putt on the final green to seal a one up win.

He joked afterwards;

“Why do it the easy way when the hard way will do. I just got off to a slow start again, probably less so today. I was quite proud of myself when I got a half on three, so I was only two down after three, as opposed to three down. I tried to go out there today and execute my game plan and try not to give him any room, try not to make any mistakes, try not to give him anything, and he kind of played the same kind of golf back. He played very, very well. 

“I made big putts on 15 and 16. The 16th especially was a massive putt to give me the opportunity.I feel very fortunate again today. I’ve certainly expended all my energy and emotions the last couple of days, but thankfully it’s early in the season and I’ve plenty left in the tank.”

Louis Oosthuizen dumped out Henrik Stenson 4-3, and Webb Simpson dispatched Brandt Snedeker by the same score.

George Coetzee is still doing fine, winning the 21 hole battle with Patrick Reed. Jason Day took even longer to overcome Billy Horschel, 22 holes.

Sergio Garcia is going along smoothly, a 3-1 victory over Bill Haas, while Jason Dufner eliminated Matteo Manassero by 2-1. 

Sergio said he had fun out there today;

“It was good fun, we both played hard. We both tried to play as well as we could to beat our opponent and I was fortunate to be just a little bit better than him today.”

A resurgent Rickie Fowler beat Jimmy Walker 1 up, Matt Kuchar beat Ryan Moore by the same score. Jim Furyk took care of Charl Schwartzel 3-2, and Jordan Spieth was too strong for Thomas Bjorn, beating him 5-4.

Victor Dubuisson continued to impress on his World Golf Championships debut as he overcame Peter Hanson 3 -1 to progress to face former Masters Tournament winner Bubba Watson, who saw off Jonas Blixt at the 17th hole when Jonas lost his ball under a bush. ( would have been ironic if Jonas had got a free drop, wouldn’t it)

Some good match ups tomorrow and any of the remaining players could win, as Graeme McDowell said yesterday, this is a brutal format.

Accenture Match-Play. Who Lost on Day 1

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The Accenture Match-Play tournament was most noted for who lost on day 1 of the competition, at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain.

Day 1 recaps: Accenture

Ricky Fowler / Getty

It was a great victory for Ricky Fowler, defeating legendary matchplay exponent Ian Poulter 2-1. Even Ricky thought Poults was on a winner;

“I was definitely an underdog coming in. Heck, if I was filling out a bracket, I would have picked Poulter, too.  It feels like a big win after those missed cuts, it was nice to be the underdog. I had nothing to lose.”

Another Englishman on the wrong side of the leaderboard was Lee Westwood, he was defeated by Harris English 5-3.

George Coetzee, fresh from his win in South Africa, defeated Steve Stricker, an unlikely result at the start of play.

Zach Johnson, coming back from a layoff, lost to Richard Sterne 5-4. Everyone must now wonder if the unenforced rest period was a disaster, as Zach was playing really well beforehand. Another loser on day 1 was Keegan Bradley, falling to Jonas Blixt 2-1. Luke Donald also packed his bags, losing 5-4 to Matteo Manassero.

G-Mac only just made it,  he was four down through seven holes, and still three holes behind with three to play, when he staged an improbable rally against Florida neighbor Gary Woodland

Daily Wrap-up

Graeme McDowell / Getty

Graeme said he was surprised to get through;

“I’m sure he’s extremely disappointed right now, and I’m extremely elated. I’m surprised to be sitting here, having won. Yeah, I hit a couple of quality shots down the last couple of holes, but he had mistakes, as well. It’s a brutal format. I thought it was over, you’re not coming back from 3 down against a guy that’s playing as well as him. Yeah, I’m still going to try to hit my shots. But it required a mistake from him to give me half a sniff, even. It feels like a Sunday afternoon on Wednesday.”

The big names that made it safely through include, Henrik Stenson, the number one seed here, Webb Simpson, Rory McIlroy, Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia, albeit after 22 holes, Jimmy Walker, Justin Rose, Ernie Els, Jason Dufner, Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson.

     

Two Tournaments in Two Weeks in Hawaii; Seem Like Heaven to You ?

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Logo ImageDoes two tournaments in two weeks in Hawaii seem like heaven to you ? Well it apparently does not suit everyone.Twelve of the thirty players who teed it up at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions on the Plantation Course have opted to miss next weeks Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, a short island hop away.

2012 SOIH winner Russell Henley

Russel Henley, last years winner / Stan Bedz PGA

Last years winner Russel Henley carded  26 birdies against only two bogeys during the tournament, the only real defense the Waialae Country Club has is the wind. If it doesn’t blow then low scores are the order of the day.

Weather conditions this year are predicted to be similar to last years event, sunshine periodically shrouded by passing clouds and the occasional rain shower are expected, as are manageable trade winds and seasonable highs right around the 80 degree mark.

Excuses are the usual, Jonas Blixt ho has missed the cut and finished T-54 in his two tries at Waialae Country Club commented;

 “It just doesn’t fit me. I just don’t hit enough fairways to compete there. I’m just not very good at it. Honestly, we want to play, if I could play every tournament, I would, but you just can’t play them all.”

This from Martin Laird;

“It doesn’t set up well for me, if you don’t hit right-to-left you’re at a disadvantage. My high fade is not the ideal shot there.”

Apart from Jonas and MartinDustin Johnson has also pulled the plug. along with nine others who have chosen to play the Hyundai, but not the Sony. The missing in action list is pretty impressive;

Brandt Snedeker, Bill Haas, Webb Simpson, Gary Woodland, Ryan Moore, John Merrick, Kevin Streelman, Patrick Reed, and Billy Horschel.

Seems like John Merrick just likes to play on the mainland;

“I just really love the West Coast events, I’ll play Humana (the week after the Sony), San Diego, Phoenix, Pebble Beach, and LA. You just have to pick your spots.”

Ryan Moore also prefers to go home;

 “For me, it’s 100 percent a scheduling matter.”

Billy Horschel has a corporate commitment to CVS;

 “Six months ago we gave them some days for an outing at TPC Sawgrass for a military event, and we came up with next Friday.”

Patrick Reed just feels knackered;

“I feel like we’ve walked over Mount Everest this week, it’s just very hilly. Besides, the Humana (and Palm Springs) area is one of our favorite places, I’ve had success at Torrey and I want to be well-rested going into those.”

So, who is going to play the Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club in lovely Honolulu, take a look at this bunch;

Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Jason Dufner, and Jordan Spieth, these guys alone are worth the entrance money.

To tell you the truth I could easily live in Hawaii, visited there four times and loved every minute.

Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Dustin Tied at the Top

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Dustin Johnson is at the top of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, in a three-way tie, and the end of play on day three.

Familiar face, familiar place

Dustin Johnson / Getty Images

Dustin shot a third round -4 under par 69, to share the lead at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions with Webb Simpson and Jordan Spieth, all at -14 under par. Webb had a -5 under par 68 round, while Jordan equalled Dustin’s effort of -4 under par 69.

Defending Champion Dustin thinks if he plays the par fives well he is in with a good chance;

“I need to go out and just take advantage of the par fives. Got to play those well, and then, yeah, I think it’s going to take 6  or 7 under. That would be my guess. You can shoot that in any weather out here pretty much if you get it going.”

Webb had an emotional round, his usual caddie and friend, Paul Tesori, was in a hospital in Florida, with his  newborn son Isaiah in intensive care. Paul tweeted that he tuned into the telecast at Kapalua in time to see his son’s name on Scott’s hat.

“Paul sent me a text this morning, just told me he loved me and wanted me to go out and fight as hard as I would any other day. And that’s what Teddy and I did. I felt like we were out there playing for Isaiah. Paul needs something to watch there in the hospital. It’s been a long few days, so hopefully, we gave him something good to see on TV. But it was tough. I was thinking about him a lot out there.”

Jordan was really happy with his first ever 54 hole lead,  didn’t lose patience over a few bad breaks;

“This is a new position for me, I’ve never slept on a 54-hole lead. I’m excited about it and it’s going to be a fun time tomorrow to get to play with Webb for the third time this week.  I got to the seventeenth tee box and thankfully, that view kind of calmed me down a little bit and I was able to snag a birdie there.”

Alone in fourth place is Zach Johnson, who had a three shot lead at the start of play. On moving day Zach moved backwards, shooting a +1 over par 74, for a total of -12 under par.

Zach still said he was pleased with the result;

” I feel good, I feel good about my game and I feel good about the way I’m going about the day and the way Damon and I are attacking it.”

View image on Twitter

Plantation Course at Kapalua / a golf fan

The Presidents Cup. The Presidents Men Prevail.

A wounded Tiger Woods won The Presidents Cup, well he would wouldn’t he. Tiger has a habit of converting the winning putt in Team events. Tiger suffered with a back problem on the back nine and looked in pain on the last few holes.

Watch U.S. win Presidents Cup

Tiger Woods shaking hands with Richard Sterne, after he won the necessary point for the Americans / Getty Images

Tiger won a tight match against Richard Sterne 1 up, to clinch the 18th point for the U.S.A. and a win at 18½ points to 15½ points at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Ohio. He said it was a team effort and it felt good;

“It feels good. It was a team effort this whole week. We played well and had a nice lead going into the Singles.”

Amazingly Tiger also clinched the wins at Harding Park four years ago and Royal Melbourne two years ago for Fred Couples, who captained the U.S.A. team for all three of those wins.

American Captain Fred Couples simply said they had out-putted the Internationals, and would not be returning to captain the side again, three times was enough;

“We just outperformed them by making a few more putts. A three-peat is good enough for me.”

PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem will present The Presidents Cup trophy to the winning team in the media center interview room upon completion of play. This modified trophy ceremony will be held as part of the press conferences already scheduled with the two teams. The usual ceremony has been cancelled due to the inclement weather. The rain may have been a factor here in Ohio, but it has not dampened the spirit of the game, nor indeed the spirit of anyone who was involved, players, spectators and staff.

The Presidents Cup heads to Asia for the first time in 2015, the biennial competition will be held at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in the Songdo International Business District , Incheon, Korea.

The singles matches results;

Steve Stricker WINS  1 UP
match details
Ernie Els

Hunter Mahan

WINS  3 & 2
match details
Hideki Matsuyama
Jason Dufner

WINS  4 & 3
match details
Brendon de Jonge
Brandt Snedeker WINS  6 & 4
match details
Jason Day

Jordan Spieth WINS  1 UP
match details
Graham DeLaet

Bill Haas WINS  2 & 1
match details
Adam Scott

Zach Johnson

WINS  4 & 2
match details
Branden Grace
Matt Kuchar WINS  1 UP
match details
Marc Leishman

Tiger Woods

WINS  1 UP
match details
Richard Sterne
Keegan Bradley WINS  2 & 1
match details
Charl Schwartzel

Webb Simpson HALVED
match details
Louis Oosthuizen
Phil Mickelson WINS  1 UP
match details
Angel Cabrera

The Presidents Cup. Americans Ahead in Rain Plagued Ohio

The Americans are ahead in the rain plagued Presidents Cup event at the Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.

On to Sunday

A happy Phil Mickelson & Keegan Bradley / Getty Images

Although the third round matches have not yet been completed the Americans are certain to take the lead going into the final round of singles matches tomorrow. Another rain delay kept the matches from finishing for the second straight day, so four matches will resume Sunday morning, followed by an early start to the 12 singles matches, because of even more rain in the forecast. Since The Presidents Cup began in 1994, no team has ever trailed going into singles and won outright. The United States Team currently lead by 11½ points to the Internationals 6½.

Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley were 3 down through seven holes when Phil made two big putts that led to them squaring the match through 14 holes, against Jason Day and Graham DeLaet.

Steve Stricker and Bill Haas went from 1 down to a 2-up lead through 10 holes against Adam Scott and Hideke Matsuyama.

Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar, who are undefeated in all three matches they have played this week, were 2 down against Ernie Els and Brendon de Jonge through nine holes.

Webb Simpson and Brandt Snedeker are 3 up through 12 against Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel.

Jason Duffer and Zach Johnson had already beaten Richard Sterne and Marc Leishman 4 & 3. Zach hit the shot of the day, holing out from the fairway on the par 5 fifteenth for an Eagle.

The foursomes will conclude tomorrow, but whatever happens the Americans are in complete control of The Presidents Cup.

International Team Captain Nick Price has not thrown in the towel yet, but The Americans wound up going 4-1 in the Four-balls in the morning session;

“We’re still in pretty good shape, if we can turn one of these games around tomorrow, it would make our life a lot easier going into singles. We had close games that went the U.S. way, we’ve still got another 17 points left. That’s what I keep telling the guys. They’re a little down after what happened this morning. The U.S. has really been unrelenting, they have just played superbly the last three days. Any slip from us and we find ourselves one or two down very quickly.”

 

 

The Presidents Cup. It Rained On The Presidents Parade.

It rained again on the Presidents Parade at Muirfield Village Golf Course, delaying once again The Presidents Cup.

Anybody's ballgame

Phil Mickelson & Keegan Bradley / Getty Images

The rain delay of 2 hours and 34 minutes could not stop Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradely romping home 4 and 3 in their foursomes match up against Graham DeLaet and Jason Day. 

Phil had this to say in interview about Keegan, and his hybrid shot over the water;

” Yesterday we just felt a fraction off but today we were on, starting on hole 5, we played some of our best golf together.I would be really worried about carrying the water with a hybrid, it was not even a consideration for him. .

Keegan just likes playing this format with Phil;

“I just think that when Phil and I get rolling in this alternate shot, we complement each other so well. And I was saying that I think that we both really enjoy kind of showing off in front of each other. Whatever Phil says, goes, I’m here to be his partner. It was amazing the theory that he had with the second shots into the par 5s, and they fit me a lot better. It really paid off today big time.”

American Team Captain Fred Couples summed it up thus;

“It was phenomenal golf.”

To even the score on the day  Ernie Els and Brendon de Jonge got the point back with a 4 and 3 win over Bill Haas and Hunter Mahan.

These are the only two matches that were completed on this soggy Friday in Ohio, play will resume again at 0735 ET on Saturday morning.

The American Team have a one point lead at 4½ points to 3½ points, with these matched still to complete:

Steve Stricker and Jordan Spieth have a commanding 3 up lead over Branden Grace and Richard Sterne through 14 holes.

Angel Cabrera and Marc Leishman are 1 up on Webb Simpson and Brandt Snedeker through 13 holes.

Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar are 3 up over Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel through 12 holes.

 Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama are 4-up over Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson through 11 holes.

Tough tasks ahead

The Captains, Nick Price & Fred Couples / Getty IMages.

If the yet to be completed rounds finish as they are at the moment, the difference will only be one point.

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