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Padraig Harrington has named Robert Karlsson as his first vice-captain for the 2020 Ryder Cup.

Harrington will lead Europe at Whistling Straits as Europe bid to defend the cup, having regained it under the leadership of Thomas Bjorn, who also selected Karlsson as first vice-captain, in France last year.

The Irishman held a media conference at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, the event marking the first at which European players can earn points towards selection for the 2020 team, on Wednesday. 

He used the opportunity to reveal Karlsson will be a part of his leadership group in Wisconsin, having had a first-hand look at Karlsson's impact at Le Golf National.

"Anybody who was involved in 2018 in the backroom staff would see this as a no-brainer," Harrington said of his selection of Karlsson.

"[He's] a great sounding board, a very logical, a very straight sounding board for me for the next year.

"Robert is an icon for the northern Europeans, I need access to those guys, there can be a disconnect, Robert can help bridge that."

Chilean Joaquin Niemann secured his place in a select club after claiming a six-stroke victory at the Greenbrier Classic on Sunday.

Niemann, 20, fired a six-under 64 in the final round in West Virginia on his way to a resounding win at the opening event of the 2019-20 PGA Tour season.

He became just the third player born outside the United States to win on the PGA Tour before age 21, joining major champions Seve Ballesteros and Rory McIlroy.

Niemann produced a brilliant performance, shooting four rounds in the 60s to finish at 21 under.

He ended up well clear of Tom Hoge (65), while Brian Harman (65), Harris English (67), Nate Lashley (69) and Richy Werenski (69) were tied for third at 14 under.

"Amazing. I've been thinking about this my whole life, since I started playing golf, so unbelievable," an emotional Niemann told the Golf Channel after his victory.

"I think I realise what happened today so I just need to calm down a little bit and just celebrate."

Niemann holed eight birdies and two bogeys during his final round, sealing his victory by picking up shots on his final three holes.

Hoge mixed eight birdies with three bogeys in his 65, but the American finished six back from Niemann.

Joaquin Niemann edged into a two-stroke lead at the Greenbrier Classic after shooting a two-under 68 in the third round on Saturday.

The 20-year-old Chilean continued his fine showing in West Virginia, moving into 15 under and into the outright lead heading into the final round.

Niemann, a former top-ranked amateur, mixed three birdies with one bogey on a day when play was suspended for just under an hour due to dangerous weather.

His bogey at the par-four 11th was his first of the week, but he leads Richy Werenski (65), Nate Lashley (65) and Robby Shelton (70).

The 65s fired by Werenski and Lashley were the equal best rounds of the day as they chase Niemann, who is aiming for his first PGA Tour victory.

Lashley endured a rollercoaster round, making a flying start with five birdies on his first eight holes before a mixed back nine that included an eagle, a birdie and three bogeys.

Adam Long (70) and Scottie Scheffler (71) are at 12 under, a shot ahead of Joseph Bramlett (65) and Harris English (68).

Patrick Rodgers (66), Tom Hoge (67) and Im Sung-jae (67) are tied for ninth at 10 under.

Joaquin Niemann carded an eight-under 62 to move into a three-way tie for the Greenbrier Classic lead, but the second round belonged to Kevin Chappell.

Niemann, 20, sits at 13 under alongside Scottie Scheffler (62) and Robby Shelton (65) at the halfway mark of the opening event of the 2019-20 PGA Tour season.

But it was Chappell who stole the show, the American becoming the 11th man in PGA Tour history to card a sub-60 round, shooting an 11-under 59.

Chappell marked his first PGA Tour start since November 2018 following microdiscectomy surgery on his back by entering the record books in West Virginia.

He followed up his opening-round 71 with the bogey-free 59, which featured eight consecutive birdies from holes 11 through 18.

The spectacular round was enough to see Chappell sit in outright fifth at 10 under, behind the leading trio and Adam Long, who is at 12 under.

While not as impressive as Chappell, Niemann – a former top-ranked amateur – holed six birdies and an eagle during his round.

Scheffler and Shelton, meanwhile, continued their consistent starts to share a one-stroke lead over Long.

A group of six – Sam Ryder (66), Cameron Smith (64), Morgan Hoffmann (65), Harris English (65), Harold Varner III (66) and Brian Harman (66) – are tied for sixth at nine under.

Defending champion Kevin Na is back in a tie for 25th after following his opening-round 64 with an even-par 70.

Scott Stallings, the 2011 champion, was among the players to miss the cut.

Kevin Chappell became the 11th man in PGA Tour history to card a sub-60 round with a stunning 59 at the Greenbrier Classic.

Chappell marked his first PGA Tour start since November 2018 following microdiscectomy surgery on his back by entering the record books in West Virginia.

There was little sign of what was to come during his first round, however, as he cardeded a one-over-par 71 on his return.

However, he surged up the leaderboard on Friday, including posting nine successive birdies after opening with a par at the 10th.

Mark Calcavecchia is the only other player on the PGA Tour to record nine straight birdies and, though Chappell was unable to take sole ownership of the record, he was able to make further gains at the fifth and seventh.

"I'll be completely honest - I've been pretty uncomfortable for two days," he told the media after his superb round.

"I'm just kind of getting back into the swing of things, it's not as innate as I thought it was to get back out there and compete.

"But I really enjoyed it and embraced it today. Obviously, seeing the ball go in the hole, you can really embrace being uncomfortable."

His remarkable showing moved Chappell into fifth place, three strokes behind leader Scottie Scheffler.

Former world number one Justin Thomas has revealed that he suffered a recent melanoma scare.

The 2017 US PGA Championship winner says he was fortunate that a form of skin cancer was detected in a mole on his left leg at such an early stage.

"I recently had a scare at the dermatologist where a very small mole on my left leg was caught in the early stages of melanoma," the American posted, along with a picture of a big scare on his leg.

"Luckily, we found it at a time where there should be no problems going forward. That being said, EVERYBODY GO GET CHECKED!!

"No harm can come from it and it's the best way to catch anything before it becomes a serious issue. Especially for all the junior golfers (and other athletes) spending so much time in the sun.

"It is so important to make sure you're monitoring your body - no matter how old you are or how much sunscreen you use. It really got my attention, and hoping it does the same to y'all!"

Robby Shelton carded an eight-under-par 62 to lead the Greenbrier Classic after the opening round.

At the 2019-20 PGA Tour season-opening event, Shelton was almost flawless as he earned a two-stroke lead on Thursday.

Shelton – who turned professional in 2016 – had nine birdies and a bogey to finish day one ahead of fellow Americans Scott Harrington, Mark Hubbard, Kevin Na, Lanto Griffin and Zack Sucher.

The 24-year-old Shelton has spent time on multiple golf circuits, including the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and the Korn Ferry Tour.

Defending champion Na was in peak form to start the week but a bogey on his front nine kept him in a five-way tie for second place on The Old White TPC at The Greenbrier.

There is a sizable tie for seventh place at five under, with 10 golfers looking to play into the weekend, and even more just one stroke behind in 17th place.

Im Sung-jae is included in the 15-way tie at four under following his first-round 66.

Named Rookie of the Year last season, South Korean Im reached an impressive milestone after recording a hole-in-one on the par-three 15th hole.

Im became the first player on Tour to have two or more aces before the age of 22 since superstar Tiger Woods.

Bubba Watson (69), Branden Grace (70) and J.B. Holmes (71) are also playing this weekend but well behind the leaders.

FedEx Cup champion Rory McIlroy has been named the PGA Tour player of the year for a third time - and it gave him "goosebumps" to be told by Jack Nicklaus.

The 30-year-old Northern Irishman last month won the Tour Championship.to seal a second FedEx Cup triumph, earning a $15million windfall.

McIlroy has landed three PGA Tour titles - a tally matched only by Brooks Koepka - and finished in the top 10 on 14 occasions in a consistent season.

The four-time major champion receives the Jack Nicklaus Award for his year's achievement, five years after he last secured the honour.

He was presented with the trophy by Nicklaus himself, who surprised McIlroy with the news.

"I've got goosebumps. Thank you. Wow!" McIlroy said.

Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said: "On behalf of the PGA Tour, my congratulations to Rory McIlroy on being voted the 2019 PGA Tour player of the year by the Tour’s membership,

"While there are a number of honours one can receive in this game, PGA Tour player of the year has to be among the most satisfying as it comes directly from his peers.

"Rory's season was a model of consistency punctuated by milestone victories and ultimately the FedEx Cup in Atlanta."

South Korea's Sungjae Im was named PGA Tour rookie of the year, receiving the Arnold Palmer Award.

Dustin Johnson has undergone arthroscopic surgery to repair cartilage in his left knee, the PGA Tour has confirmed.

World number three Johnson is expected to make a full recovery from the procedure and return to action later this year.

Johnson recorded just one victory last season, that coming at the WGC-Mexico Championship, and finished 29th in the FedEx Cup standings.

The 35-year-old placed second in each of the two opening majors of 2019, at the Masters and US PGA Championship, but ended tied for 35th and 51st at the U.S. Open and The Open respectively.

Tom Watson celebrates his 70th birthday on Wednesday, a notable number for a golfer who appeared to defy time a decade ago at Turnberry.

The American won eight majors in a hugely successful career, but perhaps it is the one that got away that remains so fresh in many memories.

At The Open in 2009, Watson rolled back the years to produce a performance that delighted those watching on, both those lucky to be there at the course but also around the world on television.

To mark his notable milestone, we look back at a tournament that will never be forgotten...

Fairy tales have enthralled, entertained and educated us for centuries.

Whether it be a lesson in morality, a magical escape or a triumph for good over evil, fairy tales have the exceptional ability to let us escape from reality.

It is a formula that succeeds time and time again. The problem is when it comes to sport, however, the lines become blurred and there is no one formula to follow.

Sport has no room for sentimentality, no time for history, no interest in assuaging our desires for the feel-good narrative. There is not always a lesson to be taught, nor always a battle between good and bad.

Just ask Tom Watson and Stewart Cink, who were part of a real-life fable that will live forever in golfing folklore.

Once upon a time, Watson was considered among the best players on the planet. At the peak of his powers in the 1970s and early 80s there was a magic and aura about the American great that resulted in eight major championships.

But, as with any great sports star, time eventually caught up with the great champion, which is what made the story of the 2009 Open Championship at Turnberry so special.

By this point of his career, Watson was 59. His last major success was back in 1983, when he clinched a fifth Open at Royal Birkdale.

And yet, despite pre-tournament odds of 1500-1 and hip replacement surgery just nine months prior, Watson was on the brink of the most remarkable of victories, one that would have made him the oldest major winner of all time.

Even when Watson rolled back the years with an opening-round 65 that left him one off the lead, it was hard to imagine what we were witnessing was anything other than a nostalgic throwback to a bygone era.

Through 36 holes, though, there was an ever-increasing feeling of 'what if?' A gritty level-par round in tricky Ayrshire conditions left Watson tied for the lead. He couldn't... could he?

By the end of Saturday - which yielded a one-over 71, enough to take the outright lead - the most far-fetched dream was becoming a scarcely believable reality.

A couple of bogeys early on the Sunday hinted that the rigours of major golf on a 59-year-old's body had finally caught up. But even as Ross Fisher and then Mathew Goggin moved ahead, Watson refused to slip quietly into the background.

As the day progressed, there was drama that even Martin Scorsese in his full, creative flow could not have scripted.

While Lee Westwood played himself in and out of contention, Cink climbed the leaderboard and rolled in a 15-footer at the last to join Watson on two under and crank up the pressure. However, Watson replied to the situation with a gain of his own at 17, meaning he was just four strokes away from creating history.

Yet the fairy-tale nature of the weekend was replaced by the cruel reality of professional sport. A crisp eight iron sailed over the green, while his third back onto the putting surface left a tricky 10-footer for victory. The putt, as would be the case for Watson's efforts over the weekend, came up just short.

There was still the lottery of a play-off, yet the grind of the previous four days finally took their toll as Cink made a major breakthrough in a one-sided extra four holes.

So near, yet so far. For Watson, there was little solace to take from a herculean effort that had warmed the hearts of those watching, both at the venue and on television.

"It's a great disappointment. It [losing] tears at your gut, as it always has torn at my gut. It's not easy to take," he reflected after the final round.

For Cink, too, the gravitas of what had transpired on that fateful final day was tough to comprehend.

"I'm a little intimidated by this piece of hardware here," Cink admitted following his win. "There are a lot of emotions running through my mind and heart and I'm as proud as I can be to be here with this.

"It was fun watching Tom all week and I'm sure I speak for all the rest of the people too."

It's easy to feel for Cink. The 2009 Open was the crowning glory of his career but he is somewhat the forgotten champion, such was the narrative that played out around him.

Since lifting the Claret Jug, Cink has failed to win another trophy on the PGA or European Tour.

But this is where those blurred fairy-tale lines come into play. This was never a story of good versus evil, never a tale of morality.

More just an epic event encapsulating sporting theatre, with a dream ending never getting to see the light of day. Certainly from Watson's point of view, it was the greatest fairy tale never told.

"It would have been a hell of a story, wouldn't it?" Watson said.

It sure would have been, Tom, it sure would have been.

Rory McIlroy is eyeing top spot in the world rankings after winning the Tour Championship and then making a strong start to the European Masters this week.

Four-time major champion McIlroy claimed the FedEx Cup with a strong Sunday display at East Lake, moving up to number two in the rankings, behind Brooks Koepka.

The Northern Irishman, while also determined to win more majors and complete a career grand slam at the Masters, is now determined to top the points charts.

McIlroy knows unseating Koepka would prove he is the best player in the world, and he believes he can string the results together to achieve the feat.

"I feel like when I'm playing my best, I'm the best player in the world," McIlroy told Sky Sports after carding a three-under 67 in the first round at the European Masters.

"I'd like to get back there. It's been a goal of mine for a while. I haven't experienced that summit for the last four years.

"So I feel like with the work that I'm putting in and the consistent golf that I'm playing, hopefully it's only a matter of time."

McIlroy had six birdies and three bogeys on Thursday at the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club in Switzerland, a setting he considered ideal following the rigours of the Tour Championship.

"I think if I have to play a tournament this week, I wouldn't want to play anywhere else," he said. "That's the way I'd put it.

"It's a beautiful place and I'm glad I'm back after all these years. Hopefully I can play a bit of good golf over the next three days and give myself a chance."

Assessing his round, McIlroy added: "I played well on the back nine, which was our front nine. To play that nine in three under I thought was good.

"I took advantage of a couple of the shorter par-fours on the front nine but I made a couple of bogeys there as well. Overall, it was OK.

"It's so different to the golf I've been playing the past few weeks. I'm just trying to adjust and get used to these sort of greens again and how far the ball is going and what the ball is going to do out of the rough."

Tiger Woods has announced he had an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee last week to repair minor cartilage damage.

The 15-time major champion expects to return to action in October following the surgery.

Woods made a spectacular return from career-threatening back injuries in 2018, crowned by victory in the season-ending Tour Championship.

He then went on to secure a remarkable Masters success in April, his first major success in almost 11 years, but has since struggled for form and fitness.

As a result, he was unable to qualify for last week's Tour Championship, where he would have hoped to defend his title, and instead underwent surgery on his left knee.

"I expect Tiger to make a full recovery," said Dr Vern Cooley, who performed the arthroscopic procedure on Woods.

"We did what was needed, and also examined the entire knee. There were no additional problems."

Woods, who will captain the United States in the Presidents Cup in December, added: "I would like to thank Dr Cooley and his team. I'm walking now and hope to resume practice in the next few weeks. I look forward to travelling and playing in Japan in October [at the PGA Tour's Zozo Championship]."

The former world number one famously defied serious injuries to his left leg to win the U.S. Open in 2008.

He was diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament after initially undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee following a second-placed finish at that year's Masters.

Woods then went on to suffer two stress fractures to his tibia, but somehow prevailed at Torrey Pines for a truly remarkable triumph, his most recent in majors prior to this year's amazing Augusta success.

Tiger Woods has announced he had an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee last week to repair minor cartilage damage.

The 15-time major champion expects to return to action in October following the surgery.

Brooks Koepka edged Rory McIlroy to win a second straight PGA of America Player of the Year Award.

World number one Koepka claimed three victories during the 2018-19 PGA Tour season, winning The CJ Cup at Nine Bridges, US PGA Championship and WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

While McIlroy won the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup title on Sunday, he was edged by Koepka to the player of the year crown.

Koepka finished with 84 points, ahead of McIlroy (78) with Patrick Cantlay and U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland (42) well back.

The American is the first player to win back-to-back PGA of America Player of the Year crowns since Tiger Woods (2006 and 2007).

McIlroy did claim a prize, winning the Vardon Trophy for being the leader in adjusted scoring average.

The Northern Irishman added to his 2012 and 2014 titles with an adjusted average of 69.057, beating Cantlay (69.306) and Webb Simpson (69.377).

Rory McIlroy was delighted to join Tiger Woods as the only two-time winners of the FedEx Cup after his victory at the Tour Championship on Sunday.

McIlroy fired a four-under 66 in the final round at East Lake, winning by four strokes from Xander Schauffele despite briefly stumbling late.

The Northern Irishman added to his 2016 FedEx Cup title, joining Woods (2007 and 2009) as the only players to claim the crown twice.

McIlroy was thrilled to join Woods on the tally as he reflected on his victory and the ovation he received on the 18th hole.

"It was pretty cool. I turned to Harry [Diamond, caddie] when we were walking down the hill on 18 after I'd hit my second shot, and I said, 'well, this walk is a little more pleasant than last year, not running away from a stampede'," he told a news conference.

"It was cool. To have a moment like that again, I didn't play well at all last year with Tiger in that final group, so to get myself in a final group again this year.

"I thought a lot about that. I thought about the final group with Tiger last year, the final group with Brooks [Koepka] in Memphis a few weeks ago, and I really wanted to go out there and play well and really take it to him, and I did that for the most part. I went out, shot 66 on a really tough golf course and got the job done.

"Really cool, really cool to put my name on this trophy for a second time. Any time you can do something that only Tiger has done, you're doing something right.

"It was an awesome day, long day. To come back out in the morning and play 13 holes and then play that full 18, I'm going to sleep well tonight, put it that way."

McIlroy and Koepka were the final pairing, the world number one only able to shoot a two-over 72 to end up tied for third, five shots behind McIlroy.

Koepka came out on top when the pair were together during the last round at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational a month ago and McIlroy was pleased to secure his win this time.

"I think it just gives me a little bit of an extra incentive. It wasn't that important, but once I saw I was in the final group with Brooks, it just took me back to Memphis a few weeks ago, and I felt like I learned a few lessons that day," he said.

"Not that I wasn't going to focus, but it gave me that little bit of extra – not motivation, but I wanted to right some of the wrongs that I made that Sunday in Memphis a few weeks ago, and it was a good opportunity to do it."

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