Americans in command early at Ryder Cup - COPIED

By Associated PressSeptember 20, 2008, 4:00 pm
Ryder CupLOUISVILLE, Ky. ' Phil Mickelson pointed his putter toward the cup, took a step and punched his fist to celebrate a clutch birdie. Boo Weekley revved up the crowd after holing a 50-foot putt from just off the green. Anthony Kim set a record for high-fives.
 
Yes, those were the Americans having all the fun Friday at Valhalla.
 
At the Ryder Cup, no less.
 
My cheeks are sore from smiling all day long, Justin Leonard said. This was a lot different than my other Ryder Cup experiences.
 
Anthony Kim
Anthony Kim went 1-0-1 with Phil Mickelson Friday. (Getty Images)
In a stunning turnaround, the Americans rallied from a back-nine deficit four times to take a 5 1/2 -2 1/2 lead, their largest margin after the opening day since continental Europe first was included in the Ryder Cup in 1979.
 
Mickelson and Kim twice came back from a 3-hole deficits and picked up 1 1/2 points, as many as Lefty earned in the last two Ryder Cups combined. Leonard had never won a match in any Ryder Cup until two blowout victories with Hunter Mahan, one of six U.S. rookies who played like recent European dominance really was ancient history.
 
Were in a good place, U.S. captain Paul Azinger said. Who would have thought?
 
The Americans hadnt led after any session since last winning the Ryder Cup in the Miracle at Brookline in 1999. But with six rookies and no Tiger Woods, they lost only one of eight matches and left European captain Nick Faldo wringing his hands.
 
Europe has won the last three Ryder Cups ' and five of the last six ' but now finds itself desperate to catch up.
 
Weve had a tough time, Faldo said. We lost a few points, but we havent lost any spirit.
 
One of the few bright spots for Europe was Lee Westwood, who tied Arnold Palmer by running his unbeaten streak in the Ryder Cup to 12 matches. Westwood and Soren Hansen birdied the last three holes in the final fourballs match of the afternoon, the last one enough to earn a halve against Weekley and big-hitting J.B. Holmes.
 
Its a novelty, isnt it? Westwood said. Its not the position we wanted to be in, thats for sure.
 
Westwood landed in an even worse spot after the long day. In a surprising move, Faldo decided to bench Westwood and Sergio Garcia for the Saturday morning foursomes. Neither has ever missed a Ryder Cup match ' 27 straight for Westwood, 22 straight for Garcia. Combined, they have a 27-5-8 record in team play.
 
Rarely has a European captain shook up his lineup so drastically. But then, rarely is Europe behind.
 
Azinger sent out the same players for Saturday morning foursomes that he used on the opening day, which produced a 3-1 lead. It was the first time the United States won the first session of the Ryder Cup since 1991.
 
Even so, Captain America was cautious.
 
Weve got a long, long way to go, he said. And we know how good they are.
 
Even so, it was an amazing start for the Americans.
 
In the opening match, Mickelson and Kim trailed by three holes with six to play until winning three straight holes and earning a halve against Padraig Harrington and Robert Karlsson. Down by three after four holes in the afternoon, Kim gave them their first lead of the day with a 7-foot birdie on the 14th, and Mickelson dropped in a 20-foot birdie on the 17th that led to a 2-up victory.
 
We played with a lot of heart and a lot of emotion today to pull the halve and win out, Mickelson said. We have a lot of work to do. This is a fun day. I love playing with this guy. Anthony has got this youthfulness to him, and he has a lot of game.
 
It was a big day for most of the U.S. rookies, who went 3-2-3.
 
Leonard teamed with one of those rookies, Hunter Mahan, and they won both matches without reaching the 17th hole. The afternoon victory came at the expense of Sergio Garcia, who finally looked ordinary in the Ryder Cup.
 
It was the first time Garcia failed to win a match in a single day.
 
Garcia had been undefeated in foursomes (8-0) but had to settle for a halve with Westwood in the morning. Kenny Perry, the lone disappointment for Kentucky, missed a 5-foot par putt that would have won the match on the 17th, then drove into the water on the 18th hole to allow Europe to catch them.
 
Leonard and Mahan then handed Garcia only his second loss in team matches by going 9 under through 15 holes, with Leonard finishing it off with a chip-in for birdie that had him pumping his fists.
 
It was a familiar scene across Valhalla.
 
Weekley, with a pinch of snuff jutting out of his lip and his arms flapping to exhort a spirited crowd, knocked in a 50-foot birdie from just off the green at No. 12 to give his team a lead it never relinquished until the last hole.
 
And while Weekley and Holmes didnt win the match, they illustrated the Americans resolve.
 
Europe had the lead in all four morning matches in the first hour and only came away with one point. It was the first time since 1991 that the United States won the opening session of the Ryder Cup.
 
In the afternoon, Europe had the lead in three matches going to the back nine, and came away with only 1 1/2 points.
 
The Americans had watched 11 consecutive matches go to the final hole without winning until Chad Campbell, the final captains pick, hit a 5-iron to 20 feet on the par-5 18th as he and Stewart Cink went 1-up over Ian Poulter and Justin Rose.
 
Poulter and Rose won the only match for Europe, a 4-and-2 victory over Steve Stricker and Ben Curtis.
 
But that wasnt enough to quiet the crowd.
 
There was a lot of noise all day, from the first tee on, Cink said. Just to hear them excited about the way we were playing for a change in the Ryder Cup was refreshing. Ive never been able to experience that myself when we were ahead. So its great.
 
Azinger told the Kentucky crowd ' he called them the 13th man ' at a pep rally Thursday night that it was OK to cheer if Europe missed a putt. He defended that remark as educational, and said the crowd did nothing to embarrass itself.
 
Westwood, however, took issue with Weekley whipping the crowd into a frenzy before the 12th hole was completed.
 
You walk a fine line when you start doing that sort of thing, Westwood said. I dont mind raising your arms and whipping the crowd up. But at 12 when Boo holed off the back (of the green), Ive still got a putt for the halve. Theres no need to do it between shots. At least wait until were walking off the green.
 
Westwood glared at him, and occasionally shook his head. But he kept his opinions to himself on the course.
 
Its not my job to tell people how to behave, he said.
 
Harrington, Europes best player with three majors since the last Ryder Cup, had no problem with the exuberance from the 23-year-old Kim, who high-fived Mickelson after an array of great shots and clutch putts.
 
None was bigger than Mickelson, who has struggled with his putting all summer, knocking in the 20-footer on the 17th hole that gave the Americans a 1-up lead going to the 18th in a match that swung momentum to his side.
 
Anthony, its his first Ryder Cup and he was excited out there, Harrington said. And he hit some great shots at times, and he had a right to be excited.
 
So did the rest of the American team.
 
Even though they were on home soil, they found themselves in foreign territory ' in the lead at the Ryder Cup.
 
Related Links:
  • U.S. Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • European Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • Full Coverage - 37th Ryder Cup
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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.

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    Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

    “Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.


    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


    “We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

    In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010.