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Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy celebrates after he and Rickie Fowler win the Yas Island Mangrove Challenge.

ABU DHABI -- Four of the world's top 10 squeezed in an unexpected spot of short game practice in a unique 'pitch n' paddle' challenge on Yas Island ahead of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship 10-year milestone.

Firing biodegradable 'fish food' balls from a jetty against a backdrop of mangroves between the ninth and 18th holes of Yas Links Abu Dhabi, Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler paired up to take on Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose.

FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS: McIlroy lists his season goals on the back of his boarding pass

The session saw the two teams race to be the first to hit two floating targets attached to kayaks steered by their own caddies.

Watch the video here:



Stenson and Rose started strong, hitting the first 30 yard target in just three shots whilst McIlroy and Fowler struggled. However, panic struck for the dynamic duo -- and their caddie -- after world number one McIlroy evened up the score. Fowler sealed the deal by introducing his 'skip shot' -- skimming the ball across the water's surface to strike the final 60 yard target to take the title.

"We sort of struggled at the start," said McIlroy. "Once we finally hit the target at the first yardage then momentum was on our side."

Fowler added -- "We fed a lot of fish that's for sure!"

THE ROAD TO AUGUSTA: Rory McIlroy begins his Masters journey in Abu Dhabi

"It's a bit of a shock to the system to be honest," joked Rose. "We're going to have to go away and regroup and hopefully this won't affect us in the next Ryder Cup."

Tomorrow's Championship will see a host of the world's best challenging for the coveted Falcon Trophy, including four of top 10 (McIlroy, Stenson, Rose and Fowler), South African Ernie Els, three-time Falcon Trophy winner Martin Kaymer, Ryder Cup star Victor Dubuisson and Abu Dhabi's global golf ambassador Matteo Manassero, along with a host of past champions.

This article was from Khaleej Times and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. 


January 14, 2015 - 1:29pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Golf News Net
A recently-formed 14-foot deep sinkhole at Traigh Golf Course in Scotland came about as the result of a drainpipe issue.

It's not often that a hazard on a golf course can also serve as a hazard to your health (unless you're playing a course where the water hazards are populated by angry alligators).

But Traigh Golf Course in the West Highlands of Scotland has a new feature it'd rather not have -- a 14-foot sinkhole just in front of its seventh green.

According to a report from Golf News Net, the recently-formed sinkhole came about as the result of a drainpipe failure in November 2014.

RELATED: Sinkhole swallows man in middle of fairway | Chances of golf course sinkholes

The report says that the club estimates the repair -- fixing the drainpipe and filling in the sinkhole -- would cost approximately $30,000. That's money the club doesn't have.

Club spokesman Alec Stewart said, "Without repairing this pipe about half of the golf course will revert to bog and this would effectively be the end of our golf course."

Unfortunately, this isn't the first time we've seen a golf/sinkhole story.

Back in March of 2013, an 18-foot deep sinkhole on a course in Illinois swallowed a golfer who was walking down the middle of a fairway. Luckily, he was pulled out of the sinkhole after a frightening 20-minute rescue mission.

h/t Golf News Net

January 14, 2015 - 10:34am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Danielle Kang
LPGA player Danielle Kang got a helping hand (or paw?) from her pug, Booda, during a recent practice session.

LPGA player Danielle Kang -- winner of the 2010 and 2011 U.S. Women's Amateur -- is like most professional golfers in that she's putting in a lot of work preparing for a new season.

All that work on the course typically means sacrificing time with the people (or pets) we love most.

RELATED: McIlroy begins road to Masters | An underwater hole-in-one | Golf course webcams

That's not the case for Kang though. With her pug, Booda, by her side, Kang has been able to get in plenty of practice.

But Booda isn't just a bored bystander. He's actually a four-legged caddie of sorts, evidenced by this video Kang posted on her Instagram account:


Wedges at Saticoy Country Club today!.. I had my personal ball boy with me #Booda @boodakang

A video posted by Danielle Kang (@daniellekang) on

Man, just when you thought dogs couldn't be any more awesome, right?

January 14, 2015 - 9:00am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Charles Howell III
USA Today Sports Images
Charles Howell III has a remarkable eight top-10 finishes at the Sony Open, but not one of those has resulted in a win.

There's no doubt that starting a new year with back-to-back week's in Hawaii is special for the stars of the PGA Tour, who won in the 2013-14 season.

But for those players who teed it up at Kapalua last week and are playing again this week in Oahu at Waialae in the Sony Open, they'll find a course that could not be more different than the one they played in Maui.

While Kapalua is known for it's incredible views and elevation changes, Waialae might be the flattest course on Tour. The scenes are still spectacular, but the physical demand is nothing like it is at Kapalua.

RELATED: Sony Open tee times | 10 to watch in 2015 | 5 storylines of 2015

Jimmy Walker returns as the defending champion this week, fresh off a playoff loss to Patrick Reed at Kapalua.

At Waialae, birdies are a must. In the 2014 tournament, 18 of the 71 players who made the cut shot all four rounds in the 60s, including Ricky Barnes and Billy Hurley, who both tied for 38th. Imagine that -- four rounds in the 60s and not even a top-25 finish!

With that, here are the five players to watch this week in Honolulu for the first full-field event of the new calendar year.

5. Harris English
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T16 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Reason to watch: Each of the last two seasons have yielded a top-10 finish for English at the Sony Open -- a T9 in 2013 and fourth a year ago. English will come in well rested, too, having not played in a Tour event since mid-November. It's only a matter of time before English picks up his third PGA Tour win, so why not this week at Waialae where he's been knocking on the door the last two seasons?

4. Chris Kirk
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T4 The McGladrey Classic
Reason to watch: I'm really digging Kirk these days. On Monday in Maui, Kirk was the first off for the final round of the Tournament of Champions and playing by himself when Kevin Stadler's withdrawal reduced the field to an odd number. In a little over two hours, Kirk tied Kapalua's course-record with an incredible, 11-under 62 to tie for 14th. While 14th might not be all that impressive when you consider there were only 33 players in the field, it says a lot about Kirk's pride. Starting the round, he had nothing to play for. After the round, he nearly had himself a top 10. Kirk was the Sony Open runner up a year ago and also tied for fifth in 2013.

3. Russell Henley
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T3 Hyundai Tournament of Champions
Reason to watch: Henley has two top-4 finishes in three starts this season and won the Sony Open in 2013 -- his very first start as a PGA Tour member. With a couple of wins under his belt -- he also won the Honda Classic in a playoff that included Rory McIlroy last year -- it's time for Henley to establish himself as a more consistent contender. It looks like he's trending in that direction after the fast start this season. He enters this week with two kinds of confidence: 1. It's a course he's won on before; 2. He's coming off a T3 at Kapalua.

2. Charles Howell III
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T14 Sanderson Farms Championship
Reason to watch: I ponder this same question every year -- how is it that Charles Howell III has only two PGA Tour wins in his career, his last coming in 2007? It's crazy to me. It's also crazy to me that he's never won the Sony Open. Here's a look at Howell's eight top-10 finishes in the Sony since 2002, the first year he played the event: T4 in 2002; T3 in 2005; T2 in 2007; 4th in 2009; T5 in 2010; T2 in 2012; T3 in 2013; and T8 in 2014. He's got to win this tournament eventually, right?

1. Jimmy Walker
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
2nd (playoff loss) Hyundai Tournament of Champions
Reason to watch: Mainly, I'm interested in seeing how Walker bounces back from a tough playoff-loss to Patrick Reed at Kapalua. The reality is, that tournament never even should have gone to a playoff. Walker was leaking oil down the stretch which opened the door for Reed, who seized the opportunity. Walker has certainly established himself as a world-class player, but part of what comes along with that is dusting yourself off and moving on from a tough defeat. Can he do that this week at a place where he's the defending champ?

Here's how my five to watch fared at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions:

5. Geoff Ogilvy -- T27
4. Bubba Watson -- 10th
3. Jimmy Walker -- 2nd (lost in a playoff)
2. Zach Johnson -- 7th
1. Matt Kuchar -- T17 

Rory McIlroy road to Masters
HSBC Golf via Twitter
Rory McIlroy, along with Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson already have the Masters on their minds.
You've probably heard people in golf say that the Masters begins on the back nine on Sunday. Well, I'm here to tell you that's just not true.
For many of the world's best golfers, the Masters – or at least the road to the Masters – begins well in advance of the first full week in April. In fact, current world No. 1 Rory McIlroy was talking about the Masters – where he has a chance to complete the career Grand Slam – soon after winning the PGA Championship last August.
And now that we've turned the calendar to January and tournament play is back underway in earnest, the season's first major is clearly on a lot of players' minds. Among them are McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, who apparently began their "road" to Augusta National on Tuesday way over in Abu Dhabi.
In the photo above and below, McIlroy (in the gray shirt with pink accents) is clearly wondering which of those signs he ought to follow. Rose, behind McIlroy, is obviously pondering their predicament, while Fowler and Stenson are checking out their options. Which way to go, which way to go?
The photo was taken, and shared, by the folks at HSBC Golf, which is the sponsor of this week's Abu Dhabi Golf Championship in the United Arab Emirates, and I give them props for their sense of humor.  
And, just in case you're wondering – I certainly was – it is 7,510 miles from Abu Dhabi to Augusta National. So, gents, I suggest you better start walking.
January 13, 2015 - 12:03pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Miss Universe
On Monday, with the help of Miss Universe contestants, Donald Trump unveiled the new Tiger Red Course at Trump Doral.

Organizers say that the Miss Universe contest is more than a beauty pageant. Women aspiring to become Miss Universe, they say, must be intelligent, well-mannered, and cultured.

Luckily for all these beautiful contestants, having a golf game isn't a requirement.

RELATED: A must-see underwater hole-in-one | Patrick Reed's forehead tan line

On Monday, with the help of Miss Universe contestants, Donald Trump unveiled the new Tiger Red Course at Trump Doral.

In the video below by the Miami Herald, you can see Golf Channel's Charlie Rymer teeing up the ball for several Miss Universe contestants.

In defense of these beautiful ladies, it can't be easy to take a swipe at a golf ball in heels.

These ladies have nothing on Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Nina Agdal:


Too far. The ball never listens to me.

A video posted by Nina Agdal (@ninaagdal) on