Charl Schwartzel survives 18th hole, holds 1-shot lead at CA Championship at Doral

MIAMI - The Blue Monster was angry enough Thursday with winds howling at up to 25 miles an hour, and it saved its real punch for its final tentacle, the 18th hole. One by one, the world-class field at the CA Championship at Doral arrived at the tee and most of the players walked off the green humbled. The hole, which ranked as the second-hardest on the PGA Tour last year, was the most difficult on the course in Thursday's first round, with a 4.67 stroke average that was pumped up by 16 bogeys, 10 doubles and one triple. South African Charl Schwartzel can credit his one-shot lead and a 5-under 67 to being able to par the 443-yard par-4 while the three players tied for second at 68 all butchered it. Robert Allenby, who went out in 30 on the front nine and once led by five shots, actually bogeyed the final four holes, including the 18th. Vijay Singh was leading the tournament at 6-under before making double bogey there after a drive into the water. And while Singh said he played the hole "too aggressively," Ernie Els played it too timidly. He bogeyed it with his second shot in the water to fall out of a first-place tie. "If you hit a good drive you're still going in with a long iron," said Singh, whose ball-striking has been outstanding lately. "And the pin placement wasn't that easy. I mean, you just couldn't get up and down because if you miss it to the right, there's a good chance you could hit it into the water. You have to take all that into account." Els didn't play for bogey. But he got one. "Off the tee I was a bit too safe. I hit it far right," he said. "Actually I was a bit unlucky. It was a downhill lie. I didn't have a great lie so I tried to play a big hook shot there so it was a big miss. It's a very difficult hole." Meanwhile, Allenby stayed dry on No. 18 but couldn't get up and down from the right bunker. "I hit a good drive and just hit the wrong club. Should have hit five (iron). I hit a solid shot, just too much club," he said. "I hit Continue Reading

Appearance by Tiger Woods’ agent at CA Championship is another sign world’s No. 1 close to return

MIAMI - The CA Championship found a way to bring Tiger Woods to Doral. Banners sporting the defending champ's visage hung from streetlights on the entry way to the Doral Golf Resort, greeting spectators Tuesday as they filed in for a sleepy practice round. Fans will have to do without the real thing this week, although it appears to be the last big event that Woods will miss before he ends his hiatus. The presence of agent Mark Steinberg here Tuesday was another indication that Woods' return could be imminent. Steinberg, who has no other clients but the world's No. 1 golfer, had not been to a PGA Tour event all year. As reported in Tuesday's Daily News, swing guru Hank Haney's visit to Isleworth, where Woods resides in Florida, fueled speculation about him playing the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando March 25-28. The Masters is scheduled for two weeks later, April 8-11. Although Woods has dominated at Doral's Blue Monster course in the past, his absence, if last week's Honda Classic is any indicator, may not be felt at the gate. Record crowds poured into PGA National in West Palm Beach, where the event broke the 100,000 attendance mark for the first time. With Woods seemingly on the horizon, the speculation turns to just what kind of reception the embattled star will receive from the galleries when he finally tees it up again. "He's always been the golden boy of the spectators," tour veteran Rory Sabbatini said last week. "It's definitely going to be interesting to see how people react to that and how they respond to everything that's occurred." For the most part, a quick survey of golf fans at Doral indicated that while they expect the full gamut of reactions from their fellow spectators, they are willing to forgive and forget. "It's going to be mixed," said Cliff Mosson, a Woods fan from Cape May, N.J., who was here with his wife, Bonnie. "Some people are going to enjoy that he's still the best golfer to ever play the game and Continue Reading

Ernie Els shoots 66 in final-round victory in CA Championship at Doral

MIAMI - A smile crossed Charl Schwartzel's lips after Ernie Els pulled off a miraculous par save on the 14th hole Sunday. He'd seen it plenty of times before, rooting for his hero while growing up in South Africa. Now he had an up-close view with the CA Championship on the line. Had Els bogeyed No. 14, it would have moved him back into a tie. It was obvious the old man was going to be tough to crack. Then Schwartzel cracked himself. The 25-year-old ran out of gas as the 40-year-old Els finished in style and cruised to a four-shot victory. "I'm 40 and I've had a tough run. My hairs are standing up," Els said. "This really means so much. I didn't think that it would ever happen again. I just wanted to come out and prove it to myself for once." The 2008 Honda Classic was Els' only victory since 2004, but unlike that one, he didn't back into yesterday's triumph. Els shot a bogey-free 66, matching his best score of the week on the windy Blue Monster. He was 18-under for the four days with just five bogeys in sometimes wicked conditions. "The wind was blowing and I hit solid shots," Els said. "Charl came at me all day. I had to come up with the goods." Schwartzel put together a final-round 70 but he was tied with Els through 10 holes before a bogey on 11 gave Els a lead he was not going to relinquish. "All credit to Ernie. He played flawless golf today," Schwartzel said. "Whenever anyone makes six birdies and no bogeys on a windy day like this, you're almost bound to win. I thought I played really good... gave a good charge. I was on his heels all the time." Els pretty much won the tournament on the 14th hole after yanking his drive into the left rough and hitting a palm frond with his approach shot, leaving him 74 yards out in more primary rough. "Playing today, I was just different. I felt I wasn't going to mess up badly," he said. "Although it was a tough shot, I saw the shot clearly. I said, 'put it on the green, walk away with five and you'll be Continue Reading

$1K BarMax CA iPhone app to help students study for bar

Most of us would be willing to pay $1,000 for a nice piece of jewelry, a flat-screen TV or a brand-new laptop.  But an iPhone app?  Um, probably not.  Well, unless you're a frenzied law student facing the daunting bar exam.BarMax CA is a brand-new iPhone app to help law students in California (hence, the 'CA' in the name) study for the bar exam.  Its cost: $999.99.  The company plans to expand the app into other states like New York by the end of 2010.So what do you get with this expensive iPhone app?  Thousands of pages of test prep materials and hours upon hours of lectures. Thousands of law students around the country pay between $3,000 and $4,000 to take BarBri's bar prep classes each year.  The $1,000 app gets a lower price since it includes no in-class element.  Mike Ghaffary came up with the idea for the iPhone app while studying for the bar exam.  He figured there must be a less expensive way to get all the bar prep items you needed, so he gathered some iPhone app developers and Harvard Law grads to help him create BarMax.Ghaffary told that BarMax CA was the most expensive iPhone app in the app store.Read full article from TechCrunch here. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Mayor Bloomberg names Cas Holloway to head Department of Environmental Protection after long search

Mayor Bloomberg named a top advisor to head the Department of Environmental Protection Monday, picking someone who sits a few desks away after a year-long nationwide search. Cas Holloway, 36, a senior advisor and chief of staff to Deputy Mayor for Operations Ed Skyler, is a lawyer with no experience running an environmental or engineering agency. Holloway will have City Hall's ear though, as he tries to remake a drifting agency under federal monitoring that has been responsible for skyrocketing water bills. Another 12% increase is set for next year, though the head of the Water Board wants to get it below 10%. New Yorkers are using less water, so the city is taking in less money, which generates more pressure for a rate increase. "We're going to do everything we can in our power to make the rates be as reasonable as possible," Holloway said. "It's impossible to say right now whether or not we'll actually be able to make that kind of a reduction." Bloomberg also appointed Vincent Schiraldi, head of Washington, D.C.'s juvenile justice agency, as commissioner of the Probation Department, with an assignment to steer young offenders away from becoming career criminals. "Probation's the Rodney Dangerfield of the criminal justice system. I think it doesn't get much respect," Schiraldi said. "We need to do a lot more to help those young people who are on adult probation." Schiraldi, 50, grew up in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and built a national reputation as a leader in criminal justice. He will earn $192,000 a year. He replaces Martin Horn, who headed the corrections and probation departments before resigning under a cloud last summer. Bloomberg combined the departments when he took office in 2002. He split them again in September, when he named Dora Schriro to head the Corrections Department. Holloway came to City Hall with a University of Chicago law degree after a stint as a corporate lawyer, and tackled issues like rebuilding Ground Zero, figuring out Continue Reading

New DEP commissioner Cas Holloway makes agency changes in first two weeks on job

The new head of the city Department of Environmental Protection ripped out his office walls in his first two weeks on the job. It was a sign of changes to come.Soon after taking office Jan. 1, Cas Holloway also imposed an 8% spending cut across the agency - a stunning order for a department that once had trouble even figuring out who owed it money.He set a goal of resolving long-simmering labor disputes in the next few months, giving raises to more than 1,100 electricians, engineers and sewage workers who have gone as long as 15 years without one.And by April, he wants to revamp DEP's water rate structure - and perhaps avoid the 14.3% hike scheduled for July."It's a daunting job," said Holloway, 36, who lives with his wife in Brooklyn Heights. "It's been great so far, and that doesn't mean everything we deal with is pleasant, but it really is a great opportunity."As the $205,000-a-year commissioner of the agency that supplies the city's water, treats its sewage and regulates environmental hazards, Holloway has his work cut out for him.The top job at DEP was open for 13 months as Mayor Bloomberg tried - and failed - to find an outside expert qualified to run the sprawling agency.In the end he picked Holloway, who sat a few desks away from the mayor for much of his second term, in City Hall's open-cubicle bullpen.Holloway was a special advisor to Bloomberg and the chief of staff to Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler, who oversees DEP. He worked with the DEP staff on some thorny issues, and helped study the agency's needs after previous commissioner Emily Lloyd resigned in 2008."I like the guy a lot, in that he was already involved with DEP issues," said City Councilman Jim Gennaro (D-Queens), who chairs the committee that oversees DEP. "What DEP needs to do is to figure out how they can innovate, to do what they need to do a little bit less expensively."Holloway has brought some of Bloomberg's management hallmarks to DEP's offices in LeFrak City, Queens: He created an open Continue Reading

Tiger Woods finishes ninth at the CA Championship at Doral

MIAMI - Before this week, the last time Tiger Woods was out of contention in a stroke-play event was the '07 British Open at Carnoustie. But by the looks of how he finished the CA Championship at Doral, he should be in the mix when he defends his title at Bay Hill in two weeks."I'm happy with the way I progressed but not happy where I finished," he said Sunday after closing with a second straight 4-under par 68, good enough for a Top 10 finish (tied for ninth) at 11-under 277. "Obviously, I didn't win the golf tournament and wasn't in position to win the golf tournament. But hitting the ball this week, I got better each and every day. "I've been away so long, I figured it would take me a lot longer to get back," he said. "But this week was a big week for me." Woods was tied for ninth in driving distance, tied for 12th in greens in regulation but 74th out of 79 players in putting. He'll play in the Tavistock Cup outside Orlando between the Isleworth and Lake Nona clubs Monday and Tuesday. SMASHING DEBUT: South African Thomas Aiken, 25, playing in his first U.S. tournament, fired a 65 Sunday to finish tied for seventh at 276. That was with a bogey on No. 18. "One of my best rounds," Aiken said. "I just tried to hit one shot at a time. Finish as best as I could and the ball just got rolling. That's the funny thing about this game. As soon as you think about your game, you're going to struggle. If you just relax and let things happen, then things do happen." FABULOUS FINISH: Jim Furyk blitzed the back nine with five birdies to shoot 67 and charge into a third-place finish at 272, his best result of the year. Furyk also shot 31 on the back when he won at Doral in 2000. "I really felt like I played just as good on the front nine. I just didn't convert the putts," he said. "The back nine was the dead opposite. I felt like I couldn't miss it." Furyk was the only player besides Phil Mickelson to shoot all four rounds in the 60s. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Sickly Phil Mickelson holds off Nick Watney and wins CA Championship at Doral

MIAMI - Saturday night, when Phil Mickelson was supposed to be sleeping on the lead, he was in his bathroom, shivering with the "cold sweats."Maybe it wasn't Ken Venturi at Congressional in 1964 or Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines last year, but it was still impressive that Mickelson could play his best golf while feeling his worst. Guzzling Gatorade by the quart to keep himself hydrated, Mickelson held off Nick Watney by a shot to win the CA Championship at Doral Sunday, completing a 19-under par 269 week with a closing 3-under 69, a wire-to-wire victory, his second of 2009. "I felt the same the previous two days," Mickelson explained when asked if there was a chance he couldn't continue. But Saturday night, after feeling lethargic, Mickelson said he began "shaking for an hour. "I took a hot shower and that didn't do it ... a hot bath and almost burned myself trying to get warmed up." Finally, Mickelson was taken to Baptist Medical Plaza at Doral, where he received two bags of IV solution, according to his spokesman, T.R. Reinman. The attending physician diagnosed heat exhaustion and mild dehydration. Not that it affected him. "That's why they say, 'Beware of the ailing golfer.' I knew I was going to play well," he said. In some ways, Sunday's victory was similar to the duel Mickelson lost against Tiger Woods in the 2005 Ford Championship at Doral. Mickelson and Watney were four shots ahead when the day started and it remained a two-man race, with the lead changing hands seven times, including ties. Ultimately, bunker play cost Watney three bogeys, a bitter pill for someone who was 17-for-18 on par saves coming into the final round. Still, Watney threw a few more chills into Mickelson when he holed out for birdie from an impossible position behind the ninth green. It was so remarkable even Mickelson applauded as a wide-eyed Watney ran up the slope to see the result. Watney followed that up with a laser-like approach from 266 yards to eagle the 10th and even though Continue Reading

Tiger Woods’ winning streak ends at CA Championship; Geoff Ogilvy wins

MIAMI - Perhaps one of the best tributes to Tiger Woods' greatness came in a tournament he didn't win. As he completed his fourth round at the CA Championship at Doral Monday morning, trying in vain to catch Geoff Ogilvy from five back, you couldn't keep your eyes off him.He played the last seven holes and birdied three of them, but on every hole there seemed to be a chance that he could still do something to pull the thing out. Only the great ones have that. In the end, he ran out of good fortune, which instead smiled on Ogilvy in a big way. Woods closed with a 4-under par 68 and finished in fifth place at 15-under 273, just two shots back, or in his mind, two good bounces. Asked to put his streak into perspective, Woods said, "I think the people who truly understand are the players. "I don't think you guys (media) really understand or even the fans out there, just how small the difference is," he said after losing a tournament for the first time in six months, ending his PGA Tour streak at five and his overall streak at seven. "If I just clean up my round this week, then obviously I'm right there with Geoff, it not a little bit ahead of the 17 (under) he's at." "That's the way it goes. You need to have something happen, a positive thing happen to you out there in order to win tournaments. I heard Geoff bladed one in the hole for par. That's what you need to have happen. Those are the things that have happened to me and things weren't going that way this week." Tiger's morning move became intriguing because Ogilvy, shooting a final-round 71, was able to hold off Vijay Singh (68), Jim Furyk (68) and Retief Goosen (68) by one shot by parring all nine holes he finished yesterday, something he would not have thought could win the tournament. In winning for the first time since the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, the Aussie used the par-3 13th as his pivotal moment, chipping in for par on a shot that would have gone 20 feet past had it not hit the stick. Singh, his Continue Reading

Weather may change dynamic at CA Championship

MIAMI - If you're looking for a mudder when the CA Championship resumes this morning, try Adam Scott.The 27-year-old Aussie has on his résumé an unofficial win in '05 at Riviera in Los Angeles, where they were able only to play 36 holes. He'll be one shot behind fellow Aussie Geoff Ogilvy and two in front of Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh and Tim Clark when he returns to the Blue Monster with seven holes left in his third round. "It's going to be a totally different golf course," said Scott, who was 4-under for the 11 holes he played with Woods and Ogilvy Saturday. "It was in such perfect condition. It's going to make it more target golf, I guess." Scott is looking for his first win in a World Golf Championship event (and his first since last year's Houston Open). With a swing some think is the best in the game, some feel he's been somewhat underachieving. "I certainly don't think I've overachieved but I haven't done too badly," he said. "I think expectations have been set high since Tiger succeeded so young. It's simply not as easy as Tiger made it look. We're all trying our guts out and it's hard to get wins out here." Scott eagled the first hole and birdied Nos. 3 and 5 to briefly take yesterday's lead. His fellow Aussie, Ogilvy, got it back with birdies on seven and nine. PUTTS! Ian Poulter ran into the rules of golf yesterday when he was tapping his putter on the cart path walking between the 14th and 15th hole after missing an eight-footer. He admitted to "probably a little bit of frustration," but his tapping the putter against the road loosened the weight bar at the back of the club. That changed the characteristcs of the club and he had to take it out of play and putt with his wedge the rest of the round. "It's strange that it moved with such a light tap," he said. "I guess concrete and metal don't really mix too well." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading