8am Round-Up: Jim Furyk set for US Ryder Cup captaincy

Jim Furyk is believed to have edged ahead of Fred Couples for the role in Paris in 2018. Picture: Jane Barlow
Jim Furyk is believed to have edged ahead of Fred Couples for the role in Paris in 2018. Picture: Jane Barlow
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Jim Furyk is believed to be on the verge of being appointed as the United States captain for the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris.

It appears that the former US Open champion has edged ahead of Fred Couples for the role, with an announcement set to be made tomorrow by the PGA of America.

While Furyk’s playing record in the biennial event is far from impressive - he mustered only 10 wins in 34 games - the 46-year-old was part of the backroom team that helped Davis Love mastermind a commanding victory at Hazeltine last year.

The task force set up in the wake of a heavy defeat in the 2014 match at Gleneagles had talked about trying to maintain some consistency in the team room in a bid to improve US fortunes in the event.

That, rather than the success achieved by the popular Couples in the Presidents Cup, would seem to have swayed the nod Furyk’s way for France, where it has already been announced that Thomas Bjorn will be Europe’s captain.

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A star-studded line up has sparked a ticket rush for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the beginning of next month.

Tiger Woods’ decision to play in the event at Emirates Golf Club for the first time since 2014 has seen the sale of tickets pick up ahead of the event’s 28th staging on 2-5 February.

The two-time winner is joining world No 2 Rory McIlroy, Open champion Henrik Stenson and Masters winner Danny Willett as he makes an eighth appearance at the Majlis course.

“With so many big names in the field, we expect a great turn out of fans on all tournament days,” said Mohamed Buamaim, vice-chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAI.

“We have been fielding requests from a number of travel agencies, tour companies and golf fans around the world who want to visit Dubai and be part of the family atmosphere during the tournament.”

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Hot on the heels of announcing that he’s set to become a dad for the first time later this year, David Law has been handed another reason for a celebration.

His feat in holing out for an eagle during the Terre dei Consoli Open has been voted the 2016 European Challenge Tour Shot of the Year after taking more than a quarter of the public vote.

The Aberdonian’s effort, which came in the final round and helped him secure a top-15 finish in the event at Monterosi in Italy, saw him send a wedge shot into the hole from 115 yards on a sloping green at the par-4 third.

“When you hit a shot like that you never really believe it is in until you get to the green and see it for yourself,” admitted Law, a double Scottish Amateur champion. “I hit a 54 degree wedge. It was a blind shot but I knew that the slope took the ball to the right.

“There were about ten people behind the hole watching but I couldn’t hear them, so it was only when I heard Duncan Stewart shouting from the tee box on the next hole when I knew it was in.”

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New PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has hinted that the circuit’s end-of-season Play-Offs could be shortened from three to two events.

A possible shake up of the US schedule could be in the offing if the US PGA Championship becomes the second major of the season instead of the last by moving from its traiditional August slot to the end of of May.

“It’s not as though we’re going to say this is the schedule, everyone has to adapt,” he said In a Golf Channel interview in Hawaii. “Our responsibility is to work very closely with the PGA of America and it’s got to work for everybody.”

On speculation about the Play-Offs being changed, Monahan, who has just succeeded Tim Finchem, added: “If we were to execute the schedule that I just mentioned I think it’s likely.”

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Women’s world No 1 Lydia Ko has signed a deal to launch her own clothing line.

The Kiwi has joined forces with a new golfwear brand, Mckayson, in a three-year sponsorship.

“It’s only been four years since I became a professional and to be able to have my own apparel line at this time in my career is a tremendous honor,” said Ko. “I hope this relationship will last for a long time.”

The latest announcement comes hot on the heels of Ko switching to PXG clubs and signing a footwear deal with Ecco Golf.

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Ross Kellett celebrated his 29th birthday by putting himself in contention at halfway in the first Gecko Tour event of 2017 at Parador Golf in Malaga.

Helped by an eagle-3 at the 16th, the Motherwell man carded a first-round three-under-par 69 to sit joint-third as home hope Gonzalo Gancedo opened up a four-shot lead.

The Spaniard’s flawless 64 was sparked by a spectacular albatross 2 at the opening hole.

Clarke Lutton, the other Scot in the field, opened with a 76 to sit just outside the top 30.