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Sahith Theegala claimed his first PGA Tour victory at the Fortinet Championship as Justin Thomas' late challenge faded.

The 25-year-old American started the final round at Napa, California two shots clear and picked up three shots in his first five holes.

He finished with seven birdies and three bogeys in a round of 68.

Theegala effectively sealed the win on the 14th hole with a superb 20ft birdie putt to pull five shots clear of South Korea's SH Kim who eventually finished two shots back in second with Australia's Cam Davis two shots further adrift in third.
McIlroy admits it will be weird without the LIV stars in the team

Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia were  part of the European Ryder Cup team and all three were vital cogs for the European side, having played in 28 Ryder Cups between them combined.

Paul Casey, Graeme McDowell, Martin Kaymer and Henrik Stenson also played key parts in former Ryder Cup teams.

However, having to give up their DP World Tour membership when they moved to LIV Golf, they had been ruled ineligible for selection for the biennial Ryder Cup competition

Stenson who was due to captain Team Europe in 2023 was replaced by Luke Donald following his departure to LIV.

McIlroy admitted that the absence of the old guard will take some getting used to for him personally.

"They have always been there and it's going to be weird for me not to have those guys in the team room" said McIlroy in an interview with Golf Digest. This will be McIlroy seventh appearance in coming Ryder Cup competition.

In the absence of these veterans, captain Luke Donald has opted for a fresh team with Sepp Straka, Nicolai Hojgaard and Swedish sensation, Ludvig Aberg, all set to make their Ryder Cup debuts having been selected as captain's picks.

(Photo credit: Getty Images)

Scottie Scheffler won The Players Championship on Sunday with an overall score of 17-under-par 271, beating his closest competitor by five shots to reclaim the world No. 1 position from Jon Rahm, who withdrew from the tournament on Friday.

The world's new No. 1 ran off five straight birdies from Nos. 8 to 12 in the final round on his way to win $4.5 million, the richest prize on the PGA TOUR. In a dominating performance, Scheffler beat Tyrrell Hatton by five shots, while tied for third was Viktor Hovland and Tom Hoge who scored 68 and 70 respectively for the day's round.

Scheffler's 5-shot win is now the largest margin of victory at The Players since Stephen Ames won the championship by six in 2006. 

This was Scottie Scheffler's sixth victory from 27 starts in the last 13 months in the PGA Tour. He now joins Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only men to hold the Masters and Players titles at the same time.

(Photo credit: Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union)

« Last post by KAKIGOLF on March 12, 2023, 04:45:41 PM »

McIlroy, who has been the most outspoken critic of LIV Golf, was asked if the imposition on his time since leading the counter-offensive against the Saudi-backed league that emerged as a rival to the U.S-based PGA Tour in 2022, might be catching up to him.

“Yeah, it’s fair,” the World No.3 said. “I’d love to get back to being a golfer. Look, it’s been a busy couple of weeks, and it’s been, honestly … a busy sort of six or eight months. But as I said at the start of the week, everything has sort of been announced now, and the wheels have been put in motion, so it should obviously quieten down from here.”

McIlroy was referring to the PGA Tour’s new scheduling initiative starting in 2024, that was introduced on Tuesday by commissioner Jay Monahan, which many argue mirrors LIV.

“It’s just the time management. That’s where I’ve maybe sacrificed a little bit of time with some of this other stuff. As I said, I’m ready to get back to being purely a golfer.” McIlroy added.

He admits being the face of the tour loyalists and the de facto leader among the player directors on the PGA Tour Policy Board, have not always easy and not always well received.

McIlroy's next start comes in two weeks at the final WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas, and will be his fourth start of the year. If he’s a bit tired, it’s not from too much golf.

28-year-old World No.1 Jon Rahm has withdrawn from the Players Championship and will not be playing in the second round. The Spaniard was seven shots behind the leader at the end of round one.

While third ranked Rory McIlroy looks set to miss the cut unless he produces something special to proceed to the weekend at Sawgrass.

The build-up to the PGA Tour's flagship tournament this week was all about the World's top trio - Rahm, Scheffler and McIlroy. In contrast, Scheffler cut a more serene figure as he improved his overall total to five under courtesy of successive birdies on the ninth and 10th holes.

A victory would see Scheffler, who's now the No.2, usurp Rahm at the top of the rankings.

(Image Credit: AFP)
« Last post by KAKIGOLF on March 10, 2023, 01:20:39 AM »

The BBC has turned down PGA Tour’s free offer to televise highlights of its events. The broadcaster’s stance is believed to have caused frustration in the upper echelons of the PGA Tour, where the importance of the UK market is known. This weekend PGA Tour’s Players Championship is among high-profile tournaments in the United States that will not be available to a UK terrestrial audience.

A marquee event on the PGA Tour’s calendar, The Players Championship will take place at TPC Sawgrass without a number of top-notch golfers who competed in the previous year’s tournament but have since joined LIV Golf, including reigning champion Cameron Smith.

In Smith’s absence, attention will largely focus on the star grouping of Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy, the top three in the world respectively.

Nonetheless, the Players still has the strongest field so far this year, helped by the 144-man field. But by pure numbers, it can be difficult to distinguish between The Players and the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week at Bay Hill, or from the Genesis Invitational at Riviera a few weeks back.

Bay Hill had 43 of the top 50 players in the world ranking. The Players has 44 of the top 50, the difference being Harold Varner III (another LIV player) dropped out of the top 50 this week.

The BBC has declined to comment on their PGA Tour stance.

(Image credit: Getty Images)


( Photo Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports | Reuters )

A star-studded field will contest a record $25 million prize purse at The Players Championship on Thursday.

The field includes a trio of stars who have already held the world No. 1 spot in 2023 – Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm, who currently tops the rankings – but there will be one glaring absence at TPC Sawgrass for the PGA Tour’s flagship event.

Not in the field will be the LIV contingent, which includes last year's winner and Open champion Cameron Smith who will be absent from the 144-man field teeing it up at the "fifth major".

Five of last year’s top 10 at the event – Smith, Anirban Lahiri, Paul Casey, Harold Varner III and Dustin Johnson – have joined LIV Golf.

“Yes, it’s awkward, he was a deserved champion” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan told reporters Tuesday when quizzed on the Australian world No.5’s absence.

“Would it be better if the defending champion was here this week? Absolutely,” McIlroy, champion in 2019, told reporters.

In the championship’s 49-year history, no player has ever successfully defended the title and with reigning champion Cameron Smith barred from competing due to his involvement in the LIV Golf Series, that run is guaranteed to tick over to half a century.

Claimed to be golf’s fifth major, ensuring a field packed with the best golfers has been a cornerstone of The Players Championship, yet six of the world’s top 50-ranked players – including Chilean duo Joaquin Niemann and Mito Pereira – will be absent for same reasons as Smith and co.

And as major champions in the previous five years, LIV Golf players Brooks Koepka, Bryson Dechambeau, Patrick Reed, and Phil Mickelson would all have been eligible to feature.

According to Pro Golf Weekly, the following 10 Players Championship records are owned by banned LIV Golf stars.

1. Low 9-Hole Score (Front)

29 (-7) – Dustin Johnson, 2022 (4th)
29 (-7) – Martin Kaymer, 2014 (1st)

2. Low Final-Round Score

63 (-9) – Dustin Johnson, 2022
63 (-9) – Brooks Koepka, 2018

3. Low 72-Hole Score

264 (-24) – Greg Norman, 1994

4. Most Career Eagles

17 – Sergio Garcia

5. Fewest Bogeys in Single Tournament

1 – Greg Norman, 1994

6. Most Rounds in the 60s

25 – Sergio Garcia

7. Longest Consecutive Cuts Made

18 – Sergio Garcia (2004-2022)

8. Top Career Money Earner

$5.9m – Sergio Garcia (22 starts)

9. Lowest Career Stroke Average

69.67 – Bryson DeChambeau (12 rounds)

10. Won PLAYERS and Major in Same Season

1978 – Jack Nicklaus (British Open)
1983 – Hal Sutton (PGA)
2001 – Tiger Woods (Masters)
2014 – Martin Kaymer (U.S. Open)
2022 – Cam Smith (British Open)

As a result, a string of questions posed to players ahead of the tournament focused on who was not playing, as opposed to who was.

Arguably also the most dominant theme of the pre-tournament press conferences, concerned last week’s announcement of the PGA Tour’s revamped 2024 calendar.

Under the new schedule, eight “designated events” by the PGA Tour will offer increased prize purses, smaller fields, and no cuts – all features of the LIV Golf Series.


Rory McIlroy, who 13 months ago, speculated that the LIV tour was "dead in the water" now admits its impact.

"LIV Golf has forced the PGA Tour to change its out-dated system for the benefit of professional golf at a high level. It already has had significant relevance because it's made the PGA Tour innovate and adapt," said McIlroy.

Last week, the PGA Tour announced some of its events will have no-cut, smaller fields which many argue mirrors LIV.

In an interview with BBC Sport Northern Ireland, the four-time major winner said LIV pushed the PGA Tour to make these changes that hopefully will consolidate its long-term future.

"There is no doubt that LIV has come along and it's benefited everyone that plays professional golf at a high level. I'm not disputing that," added McIlroy.

The LIV contingent, which includes last year's winner and Open champion Cameron Smith, are absent from the 144-man field teeing it up this week at The Players, the PGA Tour's flagship event at Sawgrass, Florida.
« Last post by KAKIGOLF on March 06, 2023, 10:48:16 PM »

Malaysian Natasha Andrea Oon closed off with a bogey-free 66 on Sunday to share a tie for 7th at the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic held from March 3-5 in Winter Haven. This was Natasha's maiden Epson Tour start

The 21-year-old rookie professional, a former San Jose State university student athlete, shared joint seventh alongside China’s Yan Liu and Perrine Delacour of France.

The next best placed Malaysian Alyaa Abdulghany was in joint 18th at three-under par. However another Malaysian rookie professional, Ashley Lau did not advance to the weekend after scoring identical 78s in her opening rounds.
« Last post by KAKIGOLF on March 06, 2023, 04:26:40 PM »

M. Ramayah, who was diagnosed with spinal cancer, has passed away at Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz UKM in Cheras today.

The former national golfer was Malaysia’s No. 1 golfer and a name to be reckoned with in the region between 1976 and 1997. Having played in 13 World Cups, Ramayah's best effort was in 1994 at Dorado Beach Resort in Puerto Rico. Partnering with the late P. Gunasegaran, he entered into the final round in third place but went on to finish ninth, which until today is still the best achievement by a Malaysian pair.

Like many players of his era, Ramayah started out as a caddie and turned professional at 18. He dominated the No 1 position in the MPGA Order of Merit for over two decades from 1976 to 1997.

He is survived by his wife Pathma and 14-year-old daughter, Bhakialakshmi.

His passing is a great loss to the golfing fraternity in Malaysia.
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