Cink and Verplank Tabbed as Captains Picks

By Associated PressAugust 21, 2006, 4:00 pm
36th Ryder Cup MatchesMEDINAH, Ill -- Tom Lehman filled out the U.S. Ryder Cup team Monday by taking Stewart Cink and Scott Verplank as his captain's picks, hoping experience and accuracy will help his squad end a dozen years of European dominance.
 
Cink was a captain's pick two years ago, and the 33-year-old has been one of the few Americans to play well over the last two months in moving up to No. 12 in the standings.
 
Verplank was a surprise.
 
He was a top candidate to be a pick going into the PGA Championship because of his accuracy off the tee and his putting, along with his 2-1 record at The Belfry in 2002 when Verplank became the first Ryder Cup rookie to make the team as a pick.
 
But Verplank, 42, missed the cut at Medinah after taking two double bogeys over the final three holes. He finished 20th in the Ryder Cup standings and was picked over players like Lucas Glover (No. 14), Davis Love III (No. 15) and Tim Herron (No. 17).
 
Lehman said he had a short list of six players -- the two picks, Glover, Love, Steve Stricker and vice captain Corey Pavin. He didn't make his decision until Monday morning, and said the phone call to Glover was the toughest.
 
'Our team is unbelievably motivated to win,' Lehman said. 'I feel very confident with this team.'
 
It will be a largely unknown U.S. team that goes to The K Club in Ireland on Sept. 22-24 to try to beat Europe for the first time since 1999. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson easily qualified, and the top six are loaded with players familiar to these matches -- Jim Furyk, Chad Campbell, David Toms and Chris DiMarco.
 
But the bottom four are not exactly household names.
 
Vaughn Taylor has never played match play in his life. Also on the team is J.J. Henry and Brett Wetterich, who won PGA Tour events for the first time in their career over the last four months, along with Zach Johnson.
 
Missing from the U.S. team for the first time since 1993 is Davis Love III.
 
Love has played on every team -- Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup -- since 1993, the longest streak of any American. He was fourth in the standings at the start of the season, but has not finished in the top 10 since his runner-up finish to Geoff Ogilvy in the Accenture Match Play Championship at La Costa.
 
'Davis hasn't played well, plain and simple,' Lehman said. 'He's been injured. He's still slightly injured. With all the experience he has and all he has accomplished, I still want to have guys playing well.'
 
After two years of qualifying and two captain's picks, the U.S. team isn't much different from last time.
 
The 2004 team had five rookies and five players who had won on the PGA Tour that year. This American squad has four rookies, but seven players who have won in 2006.
 
The new points system was designed to emphasize playing well in the year of the matches, with a 75-point bonus for winning and quadruple points in the major championships.
 
But that only raised questions about Lehman's picks.
 
Cink hasn't won on the PGA Tour since the NEC Invitational two years ago, right after Hal Sutton picked him for the '04 team. He was a safe pick, and one of the few Americans who have shown any form the last two months with three top 5s. Cink tied for 24th at the PGA Championship, closing with a 69 while playing with Pavin.
 
Verplank last won at the 2001 Canadian Open, two weeks after Curtis Strange made him a captain's pick.
 
In the four majors this year, the captain's picks have only one top 10 between them -- Cink was 10th at the Masters.
 
Lehman relied heavily on a separate, unofficial list that awarded points to U.S. players in PGA Tour events, concerned that so many international players on tour made it difficult for Americans to finish in the top 10.
 
Cink was sixth on those standings, while Verplank was ninth.
 
Cink will be playing in his third Ryder Cup team. He has a 2-4-1 record and lost both his singles matches. Verplank was strong in 2002 at The Belfry, beating Lee Westwood in singles. He also is a former U.S. Amateur champion.
 
Verplank said he slept with his cell phone under the pillow, hopeful of a call from Lehman.
 
'I'm so pumped,' he said. 'To me, it's the premier event in the world. I haven't won a major -- maybe one day I'll get that done if Tiger takes a couple of years off or something. I don't know how you can have a better event than the Ryder Cup. I told Tom I was put on this earth to play in things like this.'
 
Europe's will be decided in two weeks, after the Bridgestone Invitational this week and the BMW International Open in Germany.
 
European captain Ian Woosnam was not surprised by the U.S. picks.
 
'Clearly, Tom's decision to go with experience provides the United States with balance, considering that there are four rookies in their team,' Woosnam said. 'Both have played Ryder Cup, World Cup and Presidents Cup golf for their country, and therefore will bring a lot of international experience to Ireland.'
 
Europe has captured the cup seven of the last 10 times. It won 18 1/2 -9 1/2 last time, its largest margin of victory ever.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - 36th Ryder Cup Matches
  • U.S. Ryder Cup Points List
  • Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

    By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

    Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

    Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

    Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

    Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

    It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

    The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

    Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

    Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

    ''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

    They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

    ''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

    Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

    ''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

    Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

    Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

    Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

    Getty Images

    Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

    Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

    Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

    Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

    Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

    The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

    Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.