Welcome to The Links, GNN's new daily recap of the nine things you need to know, see and read in the world of golf each morning.
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1. POULTER SHARES LEAD IN DUBAI
It's a Ryder Cup year, so naturally Ian Poulter is finding his form. The Englishman shares the lead after Day 1 of the DP World Tour Championship with former world No. 1 Martin Kaymer, three-time 2015 winner Andy Sullivan and Aussie Marcus Fraser at 6-under 66. Francesco Molinari is fifth at 5 under. Eight players are tied for sixth at 4-under 68, including Race to Duabi Nos. 1 and 2, Rory McIlroy and Danny Willett.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) November 19, 2015
McIlroy feels good about his game, especially after holing out for birdie from the sand to finish his round. "I bogeyed the 10th hole and then got it back with a couple of good birdies straightaway," he said. "In between those birdies and the birdie at the last, there was a bit of ugly golf in there. But it's nice to get around in 68. I felt like it was a little struggle at times out there but to produce something like that and obviously the way I finished makes it feel a lot better. I'm very close."
2. SCOTT STANDS OUT
Adam Scott, short putter and all, leads the Uniqlo Australian Masters after Day 1 at Huntingdale Golf Club, shooting a bogey-free, 7-under 64 to take a one-shot lead over Daniel Fox. Three players, including Matthew Goggin, are tied for third at 4 under par. Scott, who started on No. 10, said he didn't play very aggressive golf.
"I don't think I challenged the course very much. But we had really nice conditions to play this morning," he said. "There was no wind, and weighing everything up, there was no need to challenge it." Reigning U.S. Amateur and NCAA individual champion Bryson DeChambeau is in the field and tied for eighth after Day 1, sitting on 2 under. George McNeill is the only other American in the field and is 1 under par.
3. 12-FOOT GATOR CAPTURED ON TEXAS COURSE
Gators on golf courses have been all the rage in 2015. On Wednesday, a 12-foot, 600 lbs. gator named Chubbs -- you know, from "Happy Gilmore" -- was wrangled up at River Pointe Golf Club near Houston.
The retired House Speaker played in the pro-am for the LPGA Tour's CME Group Tour Championship on Wednesday in Naples, Fla. The lefty (of course he stands on the Right side of the ball) putts with a wide-open stance, and seems to grip the flat stick like he were about the pick up a sledgehammer. Hopefully playing partner Lexi Thompson helped him out a little.
5. THIS IS WHAT RORY McILROY CONSIDERS A BAD SHOT
If this shot sucks, then the rest of us have no hope. I'd kill for 15 feet away, pin-high.
6. COULD TIGER WOODS RETIRE AFTER 2016?
Nick Faldo suggested in an interview with Reuters that Woods, who is recovering from two back procedures in the last two months, may wind up giving up the pro game if his 2016 return doesn't work out as he'd like.
“Who knows? It might be the end of the road for Tiger in a way. The hardest thing is, how determined can he be to come back?
“If he has another season like this one, mixed with poor play and injuries, what decisions will he make? If it was me, how can you pick it up?”
7. WOODS, FURYK, STRICKER NAMED RYDER CUP ASSISTANT CAPTAINS
Davis Love III announced Wednesday that Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker will serve as 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup assistant captains. Love hopes to send a message to his potential players that this brain trust has their back at Hazeltine next October. However, all of the players are still trying to make the team, and they'll likely be replaced if they're successful. So...
8. TIGER WOODS IS WORTH AN ESTIMATED $700 MILLION
Even if it's the end for Tiger Woods in 2016, who has been named one of Davis Love III's four 2016 Ryder Cup assistant captains, the 14-time major winner is doing just fine. Forbes estimates his worth at $700 million. That's down from $1 billion some six years ago, but what's $300 million between friends...or ex-wives.
9. HENRIK STENSON IN DFL IN DUBAI
We end The Links with a surprise: Two-time defending DP World Tour Championship winner Henrik Stenson is tied for DFL (T-58 of 60 players) after Day 1. Stenson shot 5-over 77 on an Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates that he has demolished the last two years. The Swede is battling a meniscus issue and will soon be heading in for off-season surgery.
"I'm definitely still playable, but I want to do it as a bit of a precaution before next year," Stenson said Tuesday. "Rather clean it up now in the off-season and get some rehab done than to have to take some breaks in the middle of the season if it goes bad."
THAT WAS FUN, RIGHT?!
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