Matt Kuchar earned a three-stroke lead after the opening round of the Genesis Invitational, where Tiger Woods started hot but faded.

American golfer Kuchar carded a seven-under-par 64 to set the early pace at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades on Thursday.

Kuchar – who was part of Tiger Woods' triumphant Presidents Cup team in Melbourne in December – is without a solo victory since the 2019 Sony Open in Hawaii more than a year ago.

But Kuchar made a strong start in California, where the nine-time PGA Tour champion was bogey-free as he holed seven birdies to top the leaderboard ahead of Lee Kyoung-hoon, Russell Henley, Wyndham Clark, Adam Schenk and Harold Varner III.

It is a star-studded field for the invitational event – one of only five tournaments given that status by the PGA Tour – and four-time major champion Rory McIlroy is in contention.

World number one McIlroy recorded two eagles, a pair of bogeys and a birdie for a three-under-par 68 on day one.

McIlroy headlines a group of 10 players tied for seventh, including Jason Day and Patrick Reed.

Woods is a stroke further back after the 15-time major winner faltered following a bright start in his pursuit of a maiden Genesis Invitational trophy.

The American superstar made an eagle on his first hole, opening a tournament with an eagle for just the second time since 2003 – the fourth of his career at Riviera.

Woods holed two birdies on a flawless front nine before fading after the turn, with the veteran bogeying twice – including the last for a two-under-par 69.

Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant – who tragically died in a helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter Giannia and seven other victims last month – was honoured around the course.

From a flag in Lakers colours and with Bryant's number eight, to Brooks Koepka sporting headcovers inspired by the five-time NBA champion.

Former world number one Koepka, reigning champion J.B. Holmes and Justin Rose are among the players at two under, while the likes of 2018 winner Dustin Johnson, two-time champion Phil Mickelson, three-time victor Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth ended the day one over the card.

Nick Taylor closed out his first PGA Tour win in over five years with a four-stroke wire-to-wire victory at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Sunday.

The Canadian carded a two-under 70 in windy conditions in the final round in California to finish at 19 under.

Taylor – the first Canadian to win wire-to-wire since 1960 – secured his second PGA Tour victory and first since November 2014, when he won the Sanderson Farms Championship.

An eagle at the par-five sixth hole set up Taylor's round and he managed to close out a win despite two bogeys and a double bogey on the back nine.

Kevin Streelman (68) ended up in second after Phil Mickelson struggled late in his final round on the way to a two-over 74.

Mickelson, the defending champion and a five-time winner of the event, bogeyed three of his final seven holes to finish at 14 under and in third.

The five-time major champion also made history – his 30th consecutive season with a top-10 finish.

Jason Day, who was also in contention heading into Sunday, posted a three-over 75 to finish at 11 under, his round including four birdies, five bogeys and a double bogey.

A five-under 67, belonging to Jordan Spieth, was the best round of the day as the American climbed the leaderboard to finish tied for ninth.

Maverick McNealy (68), Daniel Berger (69), Matt Jones (72) and Charl Schwartzel (72) were tied for fifth at nine under.

Nick Taylor will take a one-stroke lead into the Pebble Beach Pro-Am final round, with Phil Mickelson and Jason Day his nearest challengers.

Taylor, who fired an opening-round 63, carded a three-under 69 at Spyglass Hill Golf Course on Saturday to move into 17 under.

The Canadian was one over through his first 10 holes in the third round, but finished with two birdies and an eagle at the par-five seventh.

Taylor is a shot ahead of Mickelson, the five-time winner and defending champion shooting a five-under 67 at Pebble Beach to be outright second.

The American mixed six birdies – holing from the bunker at 13 and chipping in at 14 – with a bogey to continue what has been a strong showing in California.

Day, a runner-up at the tournament in 2018, carded a two-under 70 at Spyglass Hill to be outright third at 14 under.

Matt Every (68) and Kevin Streelman (68) are tied for fourth at 11 under, a shot ahead of Peter Malnati (66).

Dustin Johnson could only manage an even-par 72 on Pebble Beach to be in a five-man tie for seventh at nine under.

Jordan Spieth, meanwhile, is well back at tied for 55th after a one-under 71 – his third consecutive round in the 70s.

Phil Mickelson revealed he would not accept a special exemption into this year's U.S. Open, saying it would be a "sympathy spot".

Mickelson, who turns 50 in June, endured a difficult 2019, missing nine cuts in 23 events to drop down the rankings.

The five-time major champion, still only missing a U.S. Open to complete a career Grand Slam, is ranked 72nd and needs to crack the top 60 leading into the event, or win the Masters, US PGA Championship or The Players Championship, or go through qualifying.

Mickelson, a six-time runner-up at the U.S. Open, said he wanted to earn his place at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York.

"I won't accept it so I'm either going to get in the field on my own or I'll have to try to qualify, I'm not going to take a special exemption," he told a news conference on Wednesday ahead of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Asked why, the American responded: "I just won't."

Mickelson added: "They've never been an organisation that likes to give out special exemptions, I don't want a special exemption.

"I think I'll get into the tournament. If I get in, I deserve to be there and if I don't, I don't.

"I don't want a sympathy spot. If I am good enough to make it and qualify then I need to earn my spot there."

Victor Perez shot a second straight 65 to take the lead after two rounds at the Saudi International, with Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson falling further off the pace.

Frenchman Perez birdied four of his first nine holes after teeing off at the 10th but cancelled out two further gains with bogeys at the third and sixth.

However, he birdied the last to move to 10 under for the tournament and holds a one-shot lead over Malaysian Gavin Green, who had shared the overnight lead with Graeme McDowell – the Northern Irishman slipping at eight under in third.

"I was very pleased with the second round," said Perez, who led by four strokes at one point. "I think it was important to keep the hammer down after an unexpected 65 in the wind [on Thursday].

"I feel like I've been able to hole some good putts … and it also frees you up, you don't feel like you have to hit the ball really stiff. You feel like you're taking advantage of your opportunities and that's what I've done so far."

Johnson sits at five under in a four-way tie for eighth that includes Henrik Stenson, with three birdies on the back nine helping the American recover after he reached the turn one over par for his round.

Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson added a 70 to his opening 66 to remain four under for the tournament.

World number one Koepka is one under after signing for a 69 that included bogeys at the eighth and 18th.

Patrick Reed, the 2018 Masters champion, missed the cut after an even-par 70 left him at three over.

Phil Mickelson surged into early contention at the Saudi International, recovering from an unsteady start in Thursday's opening round.

Reported to be pocketing a huge appearance fee at the European Tour event this week, Mickelson could boost his earnings with a first professional win in close to a year.

The 49-year-old five-time major winner began slowly and reached the turn with a two-over 37 after a double bogey at the second was followed by a pair of birdies and two more dropped shots.

However, he then made six birdies in seven holes from the 10th to 16th, adding another at the 18th, and with only one blemish on the back nine, he carded a four-under 66 to sit two off the lead.

At the short 11th, Mickelson's tee shot struck the flag and almost dropped in for a hole-in-one. He made the two-foot putt for birdie.

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are among the players who turned down big money to play this week, and Mickelson's appearance - reportedly worth $3million - means he is absent from the Phoenix Open for the first time since 1990.

He last won a tournament in February 2019 at Pebble Beach.

Political considerations may have been a factor in some players missing the Saudi event, with McIlroy saying in December that "one hundred per cent, there's a morality to it". Saudi Arabia's human rights record has been heavily criticised by Amnesty International.

A strong field has nevertheless assembled, with Malaysian Gavin Green and Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell setting the early pace.

Six-under rounds of 64 nudged them one clear of Frenchman Victor Perez, Venezuelan Jhonattan Vegas, Sweden's Henrik Stenson and Sebastian Soderberg, and Spain's Adri Arnaus.

Mickelson sat tied for eighth in a group of six that also contained England's Andy Sullivan and Ross Fisher.

The Open champion Shane Lowry and former Masters winner Sergio Garcia were both one under, with world number one Brooks Koepka on even par, the same mark as Lee Westwood.

Rickie Fowler made a bright start to The American Express, sitting a stroke behind leaders Zac Blair and Grayson Murray after the opening round on Thursday.

Fowler carded a seven-under 65 at La Quinta Country Club at the PGA Tour event, which is played on three different courses in California.

The American, who started his 2020 by finishing tied for fifth at the Tournament of Champions, set up his round with a run of five straight birdies beginning at the fifth.

Fowler picked up shots at 11 and 13 before a bogey at the par-four 14th, but he managed another birdie at the last.

Blair and Murray fired eight-under 64s at La Quinta and the Stadium Course at PGA West respectively.

Hank Lebioda (65 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West) and Scottie Scheffler (65 at La Quinta) are alongside Fowler in a tie for third.

It is a hugely congested leaderboard, with Andrew Landry, Tyler Duncan, Adam Schenk, Tom Hoge, Russell Knox, Roger Sloan, Chase Seiffert and Cameron Davis at six under.

Davis, the 24-year-old Australian, is coming off a top-10 finish at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Adam Long, last year's winner when the event was called the Desert Classic, is tied for 49th at three under.

Tony Finau also opened with a 69, while Phil Mickelson is a shot further back in a tie for 74th.

Tiger Woods broke the record for the most matches won in Presidents Cup history on Sunday.

United States playing captain Woods outclassed International opponent Abraham Ancer 3 and 2 in the deciding singles session for his 27th victory.

American superstar Woods equalled Phil Mickelson's all-time record in Friday's foursomes at Royal Melbourne Golf Club, where he has remained perfect this week with three wins.

Woods - a 15-time major winner - has put defending champions the USA on track for an eighth consecutive Presidents Cup title.

Tiger Woods tied the record for most wins at the Presidents Cup as the United States rallied against the Internationals.

American superstar Woods earned his 26th win at the event, equalling Phil Mickelson's all-time record on Friday.

USA captain Woods moved level after the 15-time major champion and Justin Thomas beat Hideki Matsuyama and Byeong Hun An in the foursomes matchup.

Seven-time reigning champions the USA salvaged 2.5 points late in the day to halt the momentum of the Internationals at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

Heading into Saturday's third session, the USA trail 6.5 - 3.5 in the 13th edition of the Presidents Cup, with the Internationals seeking their first title since 1998.

Tiger Woods believes golf can help to "heal" the issues that have led to criticism of Phil Mickelson's decision to play the Saudi International in 2020.

The introduction of the tournament to the European Tour calendar in 2019 was controversial due to Saudi Arabia's human rights record.

Dustin Johnson won the inaugural event, held from January 31 to February 3 this year, and will again play for the $3.5million purse next year.

World number one Brooks Koepka will also feature in the field and Mickelson's decision to skip the Waste Management Phoenix Open to join them has proved unpopular in some quarters.

Responding to critics on Twitter, Mickelson wrote: "After turning down opportunities to go to the Middle East for many years, I'm excited to go play and see a place in the world I've never been. I understand those who are upset or disappointed. You'll be ok. I'm excited to experience this for the first time."

Masters champion Woods will not be making the trip and, speaking ahead of the Hero World Challenge, he said: "I just didn't want to go over there - it is a long way to go.

"I understand the politics behind it. But also the game of golf can help heal a lot of that, too. It can help grow it [the game]. And also a lot of top players are going to be playing there that particular week.

“It's traditionally not a golf hotbed, the Middle East. But it has grown quite a bit. I remember going to Dubai for my very first time and seeing maybe two or three buildings in the skyline. Now there is a New York City skyline.

"Again, golf has grown. There were only a few courses when I went to Dubai and now they're everywhere. Same with Abu Dhabi, and maybe eventually in Saudi Arabia."

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.


Nick Taylor grabbed a one-stroke lead at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open as Brooks Koepka made a slow start to his season on Thursday.

Canada's Taylor fired an eight-under 63 in the opening round in Las Vegas to edge into the lead ahead of Brian Harman (64).

Eyes were on world number one Koepka, who is making his first appearance of the 2019-20 PGA Tour season.

The American four-time major champion underwent a procedure on his left knee after the FedEx Cup playoffs and he was below his best in the first round in Nevada.

Koepka endured a rollercoaster round with four bogeys and four birdies through his first 15 holes, before picking up a shot at the last to shoot a one-under 70 and be tied for 85th.

Brooks' younger brother, Chase, fared far better, managing a five-under 66 to be tied for eighth.

Phil Mickelson is among a group of five players who are tied for third at six under.

The American veteran carded a 65 to sit alongside Brian Gay, Sam Ryder, Brian Stuard and Maverick McNealy.

On what is a congested leaderboard, there are 12 players tied for eighth, including defending champion Bryson DeChambeau and Adam Scott.

Former world number one Adam Scott ended the opening round in a tie for the Safeway Open lead alongside Andrew Landry, while former NFL quarterback Tony Romo produced a fine display.

Scott carded a seven-under-par 65 for a share of the one-stroke lead after day one of the PGA Tour tournament in Napa, California on Thursday.

The Australian golfer was almost flawless at the Silverado Country Club, where Scott bogeyed one hole while posting an eagle and six birdies.

American Landry joined Scott atop the leaderboard thanks to his bogey-free performance, which included seven birdies.

Francesco Molinari – winner of the Open Championship in 2018 – and Matthew NeSmith are a shot off the pace following their first-round 66s.

Ex-Dallas Cowboys QB Romo posted a two-under-par 70 to be among 22 players tied for 29th position heading into the second round.

Romo – a four-time Pro Bowler who retired in 2016 – is appearing in just his fourth PGA Tour event.

The 39-year-old, who won the 2018 celebrity tournament American Century Championship – used five birdies to help come back from an up-and-down round.

Amateur Romo upstaged stars Justin Thomas and Phil Mickelson in the opening round of the Safeway Open, as well as defending champion Kevin Tway following his 71.

Thomas – winner of the 2017 FedEx Cup and US PGA Championship – experienced a mixed round with an eagle, three birdies and four bogeys for a one-under-par 71.

Five-time major champion Mickelson struggled in his three-over-par 75, which left the American with plenty of work to do.

A lot has changed in the world over the past 25 years but one thing has remained remarkably consistent in that time – Phil Mickelson's Official World Golf Ranking.

Incredibly, the American has never been outside the top 50 players during the last quarter of a century.

During that time, Mickelson has become a three-time Masters champion and has also won The Open in 2013 as well as the US PGA Championship in 2005.

Mickelson, now 49, was presented with a special award for his astounding achievement at Royal Portrush on Tuesday, two days prior to the start of the 148th Open Championship.

"It's a special honour to be able to have this, I feel very fortunate to be able to play golf," said Mickelson, who surpassed 25 years in November. 

"To be recognised for this achievement, I'm very grateful.

"My passion for the game and my love for the game of golf always consumes my thoughts."

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