Civility Rules at Presidents Cup

By Associated PressSeptember 21, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PresidentGAINESVILLE, Va. -- There is plenty of history at this Presidents Cup, mostly the monuments and landmarks around the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, and the roadside markers that tell about key moments from the Civil War.
 
These matches are mostly about being civil.
 
Jack Nicklaus and Phil Mickelson
U.S. captain Jack Nicklaus jokes with Phil Mickelson during Wednesday's practice round.
``This is a game. That's all it is,'' U.S. captain Jack Nicklaus said. ``It's not a war.''
 
The reference was to the Ryder Cup, which took on a life of its own over the last two decades with marketing ploys such as the ``War on the Shore'' and the ``Battle at Brookline.'' It made the Ryder Cup one of the marquee golf events in the world, but brought along plenty of acrimony.
 
That's hard to find at the Presidents Cup.
 
As the sun rose over the trees behind the driving range Wednesday morning, Fred Couples was loosening up with a few wedge shots when he realized his grips were too smooth.
 
Standing behind him was Brennan Little, the caddie for Mike Weir of Canada.
 
``You want some sand paper?'' Little said.
 
``Yeah. Do you have some?'' Couples said, then realized he had fallen for a trick. ``Oh, I get it. There's a Home Depot down the street, right?''
 
Both laughed, and Little headed inside to get the sand paper.
 
``You're on the International side, and you're helping me out?'' Couples said, feigning incredulity.
 
Later in the afternoon, Nicklaus and International team captain Gary Player sat at a table with their assistants next to them to talk about the first session of pairings Thursday. Player's assistant is Ian Baker-Finch, who pulled out a stack of 5-pound British notes with Nicklaus' image on the front.
 
``Jack, I've got 100 5-pound notes. Can you sign them for me?'' Baker-Finch said.
 
``Now?'' Nicklaus replied. ``I've got nothing better to do.''
 
Turns out he only had 18 bills, but Nicklaus sat at the table and scribbled away until it was his turn to talk.
 
And how's this for everyone getting along?
 
Tiger Woods walked off the first tee with Butch Harmon at his side. Harmon was there with Couples, with whom he has worked the last two years; Woods and Couples will be paired in the first match Thursday afternoon against Adam Scott and two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen.
 
The Presidents Cup once was described as the United States against a bunch of guys from Florida, which is only a slight exaggeration. Most players from the International team (every country but Europe is eligible) have homes in the United States and play primarily on the PGA Tour.
 
They see each other just about every week. Vijay Singh lives a mile or so away from Jim Furyk and Fred Funk in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. They will be opponents Thursday, with the Furyk-Funk team taking on Singh and Mark Hensby of Australia (who lives in Arizona) in the second of six alternate-shot matches.
 
But don't get the idea this is a hit-and-giggle affair, a team event in which no one cares who wins.
 
``Just because the match is friendly doesn't mean that it can't be intense,'' Furyk said. ``These matches have always had a great spirit to them. We all have a lot of pride. If one side is going to win this week, you can bet that one of us is going to be crowing a little bit, all winter, talking about the matches.''
 
There was more confusion than crowing the last time.
 
The Presidents Cup ended in a bizarre tie two years ago in South Africa. After four days left the teams at 17-all, Woods and Ernie Els played a nail-biting playoff that lasted three holes and more pressure over par putts than either had faced in the 11 majors they have won.
 
When it was too dark to continue, Nicklaus and Player agreed to a tie. But when Nicklaus gently reminded Player that the United States would retain the cup because it was defending champion, the International team revolted.
 
They agreed to share the cup, leaving a score to settle this time around.
 
The advantage goes to the Americans.
 
Both teams have an array of stars -- most agree that the International team is stronger than anything Europe can offer in the Ryder Cup -- but the Americans have dominated on their home course at the Presidents Cup. They are 3-0 at RTJ, and five years ago turned the biggest rout in the short history of this event, winning 21 1/2 -10 1/2 .
 
One reason might be that a more civil atmosphere makes the Americans more relaxed.
 
``Our team tends to be a little more loose,'' Furyk said. ``We have a little bit more fun during the Presidents Cup.''
 
The Presidents Cup still has its moments.
 
Woods still gets bent out of shape over his match five years ago against Singh, when the Fijian's caddie wrote ``Tiger Who?'' on the back of his cap. Most people got a laugh out of it, especially because it was clear the United States was going to win handily.
 
``At the time, I certainly didn't appreciate it,'' Woods said. ``I thought it wasn't real respectful. I know he tried to do it in fun, but I didn't take it that way. I went out there and beat him, 2 and 1. So that's my response to it.''
 
Woods and Singh likely will play against each other in Sunday singles, because captains fill in their lineups one at a time and they try to create entertaining matches.
 
Singh said it was no big deal, and time to let it go.
 
``I think the issue was in 2000, and it's 2005 now,'' he said. ``It's five years away and it's gone. I think I've forgotten about it as everybody else has but you guys. So let's just forget about it.''
 
After all, this is a civil affair.
 
Related Links:
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    Lesson with Woods fetches $210K for Harvey relief

    By Will GrayDecember 13, 2017, 2:51 pm

    A charity event featuring more than two dozen pro golfers raised more than $1 million for Hurricane Harvey relief, thanks in large part to a hefty price paid for a private lesson with Tiger Woods.

    The pro-am fundraiser was organized by Chris Stroud, winner of the Barracuda Championship this summer, and fellow pro and Houston resident Bobby Gates. It was held at Bluejack National in Montgomery, Texas, about an hour outside Houston and the first Woods-designed course to open in the U.S.

    The big-ticket item on the auction block was a private, two-person lesson with Woods at Bluejack National that sold for a whopping $210,000.

    Other participants included local residents like Stacy Lewis, Patrick Reed and Steve Elkington as well as local celebrities like NBA All-Star Clyde Drexler, Houston Texans quarterback T.J. Yates and Houston Astros owner Jim Crane.

    Stroud was vocal in his efforts to help Houston rebuild in the immediate aftermath of the storm that ravaged the city in August, and he told the Houston Chronicle that he plans to continue fundraising efforts even after eclipsing the event's $1 million goal.

    "This is the best event I have ever been a part of, and this is just a start," Stroud said. "We have a long way to go for recovery to this city, and we want to keep going with this and raise as much as we can and help as many victims as we can."

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    LPGA schedule features 34 events, record purse

    By Randall MellDecember 13, 2017, 2:02 pm

    The LPGA schedule will once again feature 34 events next year with a record $68.75 million in total purses, the tour announced on Wednesday.

    While three events are gone from the 2018 schedule, three new events have been added, with two of those on the West Coast and one in mainland China.

    The season will again start with the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic on Paradise Island (Jan. 25-28) and end with the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla., (Nov. 15-18).

    The LPGA played for $65 million in total prize money in 2017.

    An expanded West Coast swing in the front half of the schedule will now include the HUGEL-JTBC Championship in the Los Angeles area April 19-22. The site will be announced at a later date.

    The tour will then make a return to San Francisco’s Lake Merced Golf Club the following week, in a new event sponsored by L&P Cosmetics, a Korean skincare company. Both new West Coast tournaments will be full-field events.

    The tour’s third new event will be played in Shanghai Oct. 18-21 as part of the fall Asian swing. The title sponsor and golf course will be announced at a later date.

    “Perhaps the most important aspect of our schedule is the consistency — continuing to deliver strong playing opportunities both in North America and around the world, while growing overall purse levels every year,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said in a statement. “There is simply no better [women’s] tour opportunity in the world, when it comes to purses, global TV coverage or strength of field. It’s an exciting time in women’s golf, with the best players from every corner of the globe competing against each other in virtually every event.”

    While the Evian Championship will again be played in September next year, the tour confirmed its plans to move its fifth major to the summer in 2019, to be part of a European swing, with the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

    The Manulife LPGA Classic and the Lorena Ochoa Invitational are not returning to the schedule next year. Also, the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open will not be played next year as it prepares to move to the front of the 2019 schedule, to be paired with the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

    The U.S. Women’s Open will make its new place earlier in the summer, a permanent move in the tour’s scheduling. It will be played May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek Golf Club outside Birmingham, Ala. The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (June 28-July 1) will be played at Kemper Lakes Golf Club on the north side of Chicago and the Ricoh Women’s British Open (Aug. 2-5) will be played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in England.

    For the first time since its inception in 2014, the UL International Crown team event is going overseas, with the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea, scheduled to host the event Oct. 4-7. The KEB Hana Bank Championship will be played in South Korean the following week.

    Here is the LPGA's schedule for 2018:

    Jan. 25-28: Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic; Paradise Island, Bahamas; Purse: $1.4 million

    Feb. 15-18: ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open; Adelaide, Australia; Purse: $1.3 million

    Feb. 21-24: Honda LPGA Thailand; Chonburi, Thailand; Purse: $1.6 million

    March 1-4: HSBC Women's World Championship; Singapore; Purse: $1.5 million

    March 15-18: Bank of Hope Founders Cup; Phoenix, Arizona; Purse: $1.5 million

    March 22-25: Kia Classic; Carlsbad, California; Purse: $1.8 million

    March 29 - April 1: ANA Inspiration; Rancho Mirage, California; Purse: $2.8 million

    April 11-14: LOTTE Championship; Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii; Purse: $2 million

    April 19-22: HUGEL-JTBC Championship; Greater Los Angeles, California; Purse: $1.5 million

    April 26-29: Name to be Announced; San Francisco, California; Purse: $1.5 million

    May 3-6: Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic; The Colony, Texas; Purse: $1.3 million

    May 17-20: Kingsmill Championship; Williamsburg, Virginia; Purse: $1.3 million

    May 24-27: LPGA Volvik Championship; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Purse: $1.3 million

    May 31 - June 3: U.S. Women's Open Championship; Shoal Creek, Alabama; Purse: $5 million

    June 8-10: ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer; Galloway, New Jersey; Purse: $1.75 million

    June 14-17: Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Purse: $2 million

    June 22-24: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G; Rogers, Arkansas; Purse: $2 million

    June 28 - July 1: KPMG Women's PGA Championship; Kildeer, Illinois; Purse: $3.65 million

    July 5-8: Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic; Oneida, Wisconsin; Purse: $2 million

    July 12-15: Marathon Classic presented by Owens-Corning and O-I; Sylvania, Ohio; Purse: $1.6 million

    July 26-29: Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open; East Lothian, Scotland; Purse: $1.5 million

    Aug. 2-5: Ricoh Women's British Open; Lancashire, England; Purse: $3.25 million

    Aug. 16-19: Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim; Indianapolis, Indiana; Purse: $2 million

    Aug. 23-26: CP Women's Open; Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; Purse: $2.25 million

    Aug. 30 - Sept. 2: Cambia Portland Classic; Portland, Oregon; Purse: $1.3 million

    Sept. 13-16: The Evian Championship; Evian-les-Bains, France; Purse: $3.85 million

    Sept. 27-30: Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Purse: $1.8 million

    Oct. 4-7: UL International Crown; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $1.6 million

    Oct. 11-14: LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $2 million

    Oct. 18-21: Name to be Announced; Shanghai, China; Purse: $2.1 million

    Oct. 25-28: Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship; New Taipei City, Chinese Taipei; Purse: $2.2 million

    Nov. 2-4: TOTO Japan Classic; Shiga, Japan; Purse: $1.5 million

    Nov. 7-10: Blue Bay LPGA; Hainan Island, China; Purse: $2.1 million

    Nov. 15-18: CME Group Tour Championship; Naples, Florida; Purse: $2.5 million

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 4, Jordan Spieth

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 1:00 pm

    Dismissed because he’s supposedly too short off the tee, or not accurate enough with his irons, or just a streaky putter, Jordan Spieth is almost never the answer to the question of which top player, when he’s at his best, would win in a head-to-head match.

    And yet here he is, at the age of 24, with 11 career wins and three majors, on a pace that compares favorably with the giants of the game. He might not possess the firepower of Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, but since he burst onto the PGA Tour in 2013 he has all that matters – a better résumé.

    Spieth took the next step in his development this year by becoming the Tour’s best iron player – and its most mentally tough.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    Just a great putter? Oh, puhleeze: He won three times despite putting statistics (42nd) that were his worst since his rookie year. Instead, he led the Tour in strokes gained-approach the green and this summer showed the discipline, golf IQ and bounce-back ability that makes him such a unique talent. 

    Even with his putter misbehaving, Spieth closed out the Travelers Championship by holing a bunker shot in the playoff, then, in perhaps an even bigger surprise, perfectly executed the player-caddie celebration, chest-bumping caddie Michael Greller. A few weeks later, sublime iron play carried him into the lead at Royal Birkdale, his first in a major since his epic collapse at the 2016 Masters.

    Once again his trusty putter betrayed him, and by the time he arrived on the 13th tee, he was tied with Matt Kuchar. What happened next was the stuff of legend – a lengthy ruling, gutsy up-and-down, stuffed tee shot and go-get-that putt – that lifted Spieth to his third major title.

    Though he couldn’t complete the career Grand Slam at the PGA, he’ll likely have, oh, another two decades to join golf’s most exclusive club.

    In the barroom debate of best vs. best, you can take the guys with the flair, with the booming tee shots and the sky-high irons. Spieth will just take the trophies.

    THE MAJORS

    Masters Tournament: Return to the 12th; faltering on Sunday (T-11)

    Spieth pars 12, but makes quad on 15

    Spieth takes another gut punch, but still standing

    Article: Spieth splashes to worst Masters finish

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    U.S. Open: 1 over usually good ... not at Erin Hills (T-35)

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    The Open: Unforgettable finish leads to major win No. 3 (1st)

    Spieth survives confusing ordeal on 13

    Photos: Spieth's incredible journey on 13

    Take it, it's yours: Spieth gets claret jug

    Chamblee: Spieth doesn't have 'it' - 'he has it all'

    Article: Spieth silences his doubters - even himself

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    PGA Championship: Career Grand Slam bid comes up well short (T-28)

    Article: Spieth accepts that Grand Slam is off the table


    TWO REGULAR TOUR WINS

    AT&T Pebble Beach

    Article: Spieth rising from 'valley' after Pebble Beach win

    Travelers Championship

    Spieith wins dramatic Travelers in playoff

    Watch: Spieth holes bunker shot, goes nuts


    FUN OUTSIDE OF TOUR LIFE


    PHOTO GALLERIES

    Photos: Jordan Spieth and Annie Verret

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    Photos: Jordan Spieth through the years

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 12:30 pm