Rory McIlroy joked he may have beaten Tiger Woods for the first and last time after a statistic shared on social media indicated the world number two had set a new record.

A Twitter post reported McIlroy, who turned 30 in May, had become the youngest player to spend 500 weeks inside the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

According to the post, this betters the great Woods, the present number seven, who was four months older than McIlroy when he achieved the same feat.

Taking to his official Instagram account, McIlroy posted a screenshot of the statistic to his story and wrote: "The first (and maybe last) thing I've ever beaten Tiger at."

McIlroy, a four-time major winner, first moved into the top 10 in 2009, going on to become world number one three years later. 

Tyrrell Hatton won his first European Tour event in over two years as he triumphed in a dramatic six-man play-off in the Turkish Airlines Open.

The Englishman, who was seeking his first Tour win since October 2017, parred the fourth extra hole at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal in Antalya, with a play-off finished under floodlights for the first time in professional golf.

Hatton came into round four three shots adrift of the lead, but a birdie on his final hole meant he closed with 67 – enough to put him into a six-man play-off, the third in European Tour history, at 20 under.

Alongside Hatton going back up the 18th were Benjamin Hebert, Victor Perez, Kurt Kitayama, Erik van Rooyen and overnight leader Matthias Schwab.

With Van Rooyen dropping out early in the play-off, Hatton looked set to follow the South African, but kept his hopes alive with a pinpoint chip for a birdie.

A poor drive from Schwab meant he had to lay up, but the Austrian still managed to find the green and secure a birdie.

French duo Hebert and Perez were unable to match Schwab's or Hatton's efforts, with Kitayama squandering a six-foot putt and the chance for victory on the next trip up the 18th.

Birdies from Hatton and Schwab then sent Kitayama packing the next time around, as six became two in tense scenes in Antalya.

Hatton's failure to convert a short putt for birdie looked set to prove costly, yet the $2million prize went his way when Schwab missed what should have been a simple shot and bogeyed.

"It's so surreal. I actually can't believe I've won. It's been quite a difficult year in terms of things happening off course," Hatton said after securing his fourth European Tour victory.

"The last month, I feel like I've found my game again. I said to people in my team that if I was lucky enough to win again I'd definitely savour the moment and not take it for granted.

"Sport's great when it's going well but when it's not it definitely hits home. I'm absolutely thrilled."

Eddie Pepperell exited the Turkish Airlines Open in the third round in bizarre fashion as he ran out of balls on Saturday.

The Englishman failed to complete the fourth hole and was disqualified but did not stick around to offer an explanation.

It was left to playing partner Martin Kaymer to divulge what had happened, with Pepperell losing "four or five" balls into the water next to the green at the par-five fourth.

Tiger Woods infamously won the 2000 U.S. Open after getting down to his last ball earlier in the tournament, but Kaymer had never previously seen a fellow professional run out entirely.

"Eddie hit his shots to the green, then came over to tell us he had run out of balls," two-time major winner Kaymer said. "Then he walked off.

"I thought he lost four or five. We are about 80 per cent sure it was five, 20 per cent four. He was quick, so it was hard to keep track.

"He did not ask if he could borrow one from me or George [Coetzee, fellow partner]. It did not look like he wanted to play.

"He did not putt with his putter on the third hole; he putted with a wedge. So there was a lot happening.

"I have never seen anything like that before. I only watched it on television, in [the film] Tin Cup. This is the first time I have seen it live."

Pepperell was two over for the day and par for the week before his round completely fell apart.

Matthias Schwab increased his Turkish Airlines Open lead to three shots as Patrick Reed, Tyrrell Hatton and Benjamin Hebert surged into contention.

Schwab – seeking a maiden European Tour win – slept on a one-stroke advantage over Danny Willett, Ross Fisher, Thomas Detry and Alex Noren, but only Fisher could cling to the Austrian's coattails in Antalya on Saturday.

Indeed, while Schwab – who eagled the first and birdied the last, just as he had on Friday – carded a composed 66, Detry signed for a 73 as Willett and Noren each hit 74.

Fisher's 68 puts him in a five-man chasing group that includes Hatton and 2018 Masters champion Reed, who both went round in 65, while Frenchman Hebert went one better in the joint-best round of the day.

Heading into Sunday on 18 under par and with some big names on his trail, Schwab has no intention to alter his aggressive approach. 

"The game plan is going to be the same as it's been the last three days," said the 24-year-old, who has secured nine top-10 finishes this season.

"The course is gettable and there are a lot of birdies out there so I'll just stay aggressive because pars won't be enough."

Justin Rose saw his bid for a third consecutive win at the tournament stymied by a one-over-par 73, while fellow Englishman Eddie Pepperell was disqualified after failing to complete the fourth hole - his 13th having started on the back nine - after making multiple visits to the water.

 

Patrick Reed says it is "going to be special" to play alongside captain Tiger Woods at the Presidents Cup after the reigning Masters champion picked himself for the United States team.

Woods will serve as player and captain for USA in Melbourne after revealing his four selections on Thursday.

Along with himself, the 15-time major winner selected Reed, Tony Finau and Gary Woodland as USA seek an eighth consecutive success over the International team when the event begins on December 12.

The picks mean Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler are among the big names to miss out, but Reed – who played with Woods at last year's Ryder Cup – was thrilled to join a team whose automatic qualifiers include the likes of Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas.

"To have Tiger as your captain, it's going to be special," Reed said to Sky Sports of Woods' decision, which saw him become the first Presidents Cup captain to use a wildcard on himself.

"It's going to be fun. It wouldn't be really a team event without having him there, especially with how he's been playing.

"Winning at Augusta and then going out and playing the way he did to win there in Japan, with the guy playing that well, we're happy to have him playing.

"I'm going to let captain decide who plays with who and once we get there, decide on the golf course. It's one of those things that we're going to pair ourselves up with who we think is the best for the team and the best for the golf course."

Woods will play in his ninth Presidents Cup, while Reed – who missed out on automatic qualification for the USA team – will appear for a third time.

"It means so much to me," said Reed, who is tied for 15th midway through a European Tour appearance at the Turkish Airlines Open.

"Representing our country and wearing red, white and blue is something I absolutely love and am so proud of.

"To be able to go out and get a pick, especially from captain Woods, was amazing. 

"The big thing is now that I've got a pick, is to go out and try to earn points for captain and go bring back the cup."

Matthias Schwab moved into an outright lead at the Turkish Airlines Open, with Danny Willett part of a closely bunched chasing pack after a low scoring round two.

Austrian Schwab shared the lead with Tom Lewis after round one and is now out ahead on his own after a five-under round of 67 moved him to 12 under for the tournament.

He has nine top-10 finishes this season but is still seeking his first win on the European Tour.

Friday's action also saw Pablo Larrazabal produce a hole-in-one at the fifth.

Schwab, 24, eagled the first hole to set himself up for a strong day in Antalya and was smooth from there, dropping just one shot on the fifth and finishing nicely with a birdie on the last.

"I think I scored well," said Schwab. "I wasn't really hitting them great at all, especially early on, but I kept it together. 

"I'll have to play aggressive golf and keep the foot on the gas pedal, pars will definitely not be enough this weekend."

Lewis, meanwhile, dropped down the leaderboard after a round of 70 left him three shots off the pace.

Four players – Willett, Ross Fisher, Thomas Detry and Alex Noren - sit one shot behind Schwab in a tie for second.

Willett scored 66 having birdied four of the first seven holes, while fellow Englishman Fisher had nine birdies in an impressive eight-under round of 64.

But it was Scotsman Robert MacIntyre who produced the best round of the tournament so far, not dropping a shot in a superb 63 that saw him hit the turn in 29.

MacIntyre is two shots behind Schwab along with Justin Harding, Jason Scrivener, David Lipsky and Justin Rose.

Rose therefore remains in contention to win this event, part of the Rolex Series, for a third straight year.

Tiger Woods has unsurprisingly selected himself for the United States with one of his captain's picks for next month's Presidents Cup.

The 15-time major champion revealed his selections on Thursday, choosing himself with one of his four picks for the event in Melbourne starting December 12.

Woods showed he was in decent form by winning the Zozo Championship in Japan last month.

The American's win was his 82nd on the PGA Tour as he equalled Sam Snead's record and added to his Masters success in 2019.

Woods also picked Tony Finau, Patrick Reed and Gary Woodland for the event, which USA have won over the International team the past seven times.

"As captain, I'm going to choose Tiger Woods as the last player on the team," he said during his announcement.

"He's made nine Cups, he's played in Australia twice in the Presidents Cup so this will be his third appearance there as a player."

"I find it interesting I'm talking in the third person," a laughing Woods added.

It means the star-studded USA team are without the likes of Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler for the tournament.

USA: Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau, Patrick Reed, Gary Woodland, Tiger Woods.

Matthias Schwab and Tom Lewis hold a share of the lead after the first round of the Turkish Open, with Justin Rose well poised in pursuit of a hat-trick. 

The in-form Schwab has nine top-10 finishes this season and the Austrian made a strong start at The Montgomerie Maxx Royal on Thursday, carding a seven-under 65.

Schwab hit the turn in 31 following a fine front nine that included an eagle three at the fourth, with the only blemish coming via a bogey on the ninth, before three birdies on the way back in enhanced his chances of securing a maiden European Tour win.

Lewis lit up the back nine as he capitalised on favourable conditions in Antalya by birdieing six of the last seven holes.

"I holed a lot of putts out there. It just happened to be my back nine and I had good fun," said Lewis. 

"The course suits me and hopefully I can make more [on Friday]."

Rose, winner of this tournament in each of the last two years, is just two shots off the pace after an impressive finish to his opening round, making gains at the last three holes.

The former world number one is a stroke behind Alex Noren, Thomas Pieters and David Lipsky.

Fellow major champion Danny Willett is among six players level with Rose on five under.

Joaquin Niemann will become the third youngest player to compete at the Presidents Cup after being named as one of four captain's picks for the International team.

International captain Ernie Els named the 21-year-old Chilean sensation, Jason Day, Im Sung-jae and Adam Hadwin as his picks on Wednesday.

Niemann claimed his maiden PGA Tour victory at the Greenbrier Classic in September and gets a spot at the Presidents Cup, which begins in Melbourne on December 12.

Day and Im, meanwhile, only narrowly missed out on qualifying automatically and were selected by Els.

Canada's Hadwin is the world number 44 and has five top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour this year.

The United States have won the past seven editions of the Presidents Cup, with the International team's only success coming in 1998.

International team: Marc Leishman, Hideki Matsuyama, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, Abraham Ancer, Li Haotong, Pan Cheng-tsung, Cameron Smith, Jason Day, Im Sung-jae, Joaquin Niemann, Adam Hadwin.

Tiger Woods will go down as golf's greatest and most resilient player, according to four-time major champion Rory McIlroy.

In his first tournament since undergoing knee surgery, Woods matched Sam Snead's record of 82 PGA Tour wins when he triumphed at the Zozo Championship in Japan last month.

Woods' victory followed on from his remarkable success at the Masters earlier in 2019, which capped a phenomenal comeback following the former world number one's fall from grace and persistent back problems.

McIlroy tasted success of his own over the weekend, edging out Xander Schauffele in a play-off to win the WGC-HSBC Champions, with the dramatic triumph making him the first European to win three World Golf Championship titles.

Asked to comment on Woods' comeback, McIlroy said: "It's incredible, to see first-hand what he did at the Tour Championship last year, what he did that final day to then him progressing to win the Masters and then winning in Japan.

"He does things that people just can't understand and people will never understand the state his body was in or where he was mentally.

"To fight his way back, he's going to go down as the greatest that ever played I think, but also the most resilient.

"We can talk about Ben Hogan and the car crash, but what Tiger has also been through, the injuries and everything else he's been through in his life, to come back and play at this high level is incredible.

"If you compare Tiger to everyone else who has played in their mid-40s then you'd say he'd start to slow down.

"He has slowed down, he got to 71 [PGA Tour] wins by the age of 33 [and] it's taken him 10 years to get to 82. There's obviously a lot that's gone on in-between with injuries and taking breaks.

"He's not going to win at the rate that he used to win but I can still see him pick off one or two wins per year, I think that's pretty realistic."

FedExCup champion McIlroy has won four tournaments in 2019, but the Northern Irishman is hopeful he can soon go head-to-head with Woods for a title.  

"It's what I dreamed of growing up," the world number two added. "I had putts to win The Open or win the Masters and to beat Tiger Woods.

"Now it's a real possibility that could happen which is really cool."

 

McIlroy was talking at the WGC-HSBC Champions, where HSBC invited five CGA Junior golfers from across China to participate in the annual launch event. Since 2006, HSBC have helped to put golf clubs in well over 100,000 children through their junior golf tournaments, training camps and school initiatives.

Greg Norman has claimed Tiger Woods is yet to respond to his letter of congratulations for winning the Masters in April.

Woods returned to the pinnacle of golf when he clinched a fifth triumph - and first in 14 years - at Augusta, taking his haul of major titles to 15.

Former world number one Norman, who won The Open in 1986 and 1993, stated he delivered a handwritten message to the 43-year-old, who resides close to the Australian in Jupiter, Florida.

However, Norman says he never received a response from Woods.

"I'm going to draw on my experience of the past in terms of what Jack Nicklaus did for me, what Arnold Palmer did for me, where there was that respect handed off from the generation before you," Norman said in an interview with Men's Health magazine.

"It's a code of conduct in a lot of ways. Very few people know this, when Tiger won the Masters this year, I wrote him a handwritten note and drove down my road, maybe a quarter of a mile, and hand-delivered it to his guard at his gate.

"I said, 'Hey, this is Greg Norman here. I've got a note for Tiger – can you please hand-deliver it to him?'

"Well, I never heard a word back from the guy. When I won my first major championship, Jack Nicklaus was the first person to walk down out of the TV tower and congratulate me.

"I don't know, maybe Tiger just dislikes me. I have no idea. I've never had a conversation with him about it.

"I've always been respectful about what his father did for him. I played nine holes with him at his father's and IMG's request when Tiger was 14 or 15 and I was the number one player in the world, to give an assessment of this kid. So, I have always been willing."

After returning from knee surgery, Woods matched Sam Snead's record of 82 PGA Tour victories with success at the inaugural Zozo Championship in Japan.

Phil Mickelson dropped out of the Official World Golf Rankings' (OWGR) top 50 on Monday, after almost 26 years in the sport's upper echelon.

He first entered the rankings in 1988 and made his debut in the top 50 five years later, producing the consistency to remain there for over a quarter of a century.

However, the first full week of November begins with Mickelson on the outside looking in, as he is now ranked 51 in the world.

Still, his remarkable spell in the top 50 is a testament to his longevity and staying power, and here we look at some of the key numbers from his incredible run.

 

5 - Mickelson has won five major titles, three of which have come in the Masters at Augusta, where he prevailed in 2004, 2006 and 2010.

47 - The 49-year-old has claimed a total of 47 victories in his career that count towards his OWGR. 

670 - Mickelson has competed in 670 OWGR-eligible tournaments in his career.

214 - He has finished in the top 10 in 31.9 per cent of those starts. In total Mickelson has 214 OWGR top-10s to his name.

774 - Mickelson spent 774 weeks inside the world's top 10 in an 18-year spell from 1996 to 2014.

269 - Mickelson spent a cumulative 269 weeks at second in the rankings. The man at number one in every time was Tiger Woods.

1,353 - With nearly 26 years in the top 50, Mickelson has been in the sport's upper echelon for 1,353 consecutive weeks.

Some of Phil Mickelson's rivals were not even born the last time he was outside the top 50 in the world rankings.

The American spent almost 26 years among the leading half-century of players before dropping out on Monday.

Mickelson was in the top 50 for 1,353 weeks from November 28, 1993 - the longest streak since the introduction of the official rankings in 1986.

The struggling 49-year-old fell to 51st after finishing in a share of 28th at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai on Sunday.

Mickelson said following his final round "It was a good run. Unfortunately, the last eight months I played terribly and have fallen out. But I'll get back in there."

Jon Rahm, Matt Fitzpatrick and Sung-jae Im - all ranked higher than Mickelson - had not come into the world when the five-time major champion first cracked the top 50.

 

Brendon Todd shot a stunning final-round 62 to claim only the second PGA Tour win of his career at the inaugural Bermuda Championship.

The American, who lost his tour card in 2016, started Sunday's round in Southampton two shots behind compatriot Harry Higgs but pulled four strokes clear by the finish.

Todd's only blemish on a fine scorecard came at the last hole, but an eye-catching streak of seven consecutive birdies in an inspired front-nine showing had already put him in prime position for his first title since 2014.

It denied Higgs what would have been his maiden PGA Tour success, the 27-year-old coming up short despite an eagle at the 17th.

Todd finished 24 under for the week and his fourth-round score matched the nine-under effort of Scottie Scheffler on day one.

An all-American top six was rounded out by a quartet of players on 18 under, with Scheffler joined by Hank Lebioda, Aaron Wise and Brian Gay.

Rory McIlroy came out on top in a play-off with Xander Schauffle to win the WGC-HSBC Champions and complete a historic hat-trick in Shanghai.

Four-time major champion McIlroy birdied the first extra hole to dethrone defending champion Schauffle at Sheshan International Golf Club on Sunday.

McIlroy's dramatic triumph made him the first European to win three World Golf Championship titles and took his tally of tournament victories this year to four.

The Northern Irishman started the day with a one-shot advantage and that is how he finished it after carding a bogey-free four-under 68, before a magnificent approach shot got him on the green in two on a second trip down 18.

FedEx Cup champion McIlroy missed a putt for an eagle, but his fifth birdie of the day was enough to win the tournament for the first time.

Schauffle, winner of a play-off at this event last year, birdied 18 to card a closing six-under 66 and join McIlroy on 19 under, but his tee shot in the play-off found thick rough at the side of a bunker and he me missed a birdie putt from 12 feet after having to lay up.

The American, suffering with the flu all week, reeled off three birdies in a row after a bogey at six to hit the turn in 32, trailing McIlroy by just a shot.

McIlroy was two strokes in front with four to play but gains at 15 and the last kept Schauffle in the hunt to defend his title before falling just short.

Louis Oosthuizen finished in third spot on 17 under after a three-under final round of 69, having been joint-leader with McIlroy when he drained a birdie putt at the eighth.

Dropped shots at nine and 11 cost the South African, while Matthas Schwab and Victor Perez finished with magnificent rounds of 66 to share third place along with Abraham Ancer.

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