Donald Looks to Extend Team Success Rate

By Associated PressDecember 5, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 WGC - Barbedos World Cup ST. JAMES, Barbados -- Something about team golf simply works for Luke Donald.
 
The former Northwestern standout is 5-1-1 in his two Ryder Cup appearances, including a 3-0 mark this year to help Europe retain the trophy with an easy win over the United States. He was 7-1 in Walker Cup play before turning pro in 2001, and paired with Paul Casey to win the World Cup for England in 2004.
 
This week, he'll team with David Howell at the World Cup in Barbados -- the final event of the World Golf Championships season.
 
'I've been very fortunate in my career to have a lot of success in team events,' Donald said Tuesday after a practice round. 'I've been on two winning Walker Cup teams, two winning Ryder Cup teams ... they've been very kind to me. I don't know why I've done so well.'
 
Donald and Howell finished tied for second at last year's World Cup, two strokes behind Wales' entry of Stephen Dodd and Bradley Dredge in an event where rain washed out the final round.
 
There are 24 two-man teams in this year's field at Sandy Lane, including Dodd and Dredge, Ryder Cup teammates Stewart Cink and J.J. Henry of the U.S., and the Irish duo of Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley -- who have been in the World Cup in all seven years since it was added to the WGC schedule.
 
It's a stroke-play event with a match-play feel. The format calls for four-ball (best ball) competition Thursday and Saturday, then foursomes (alternate shot) Friday and Sunday.
 
'You have to play some good golf to get it around here,' Donald said. 'It's an interesting format and if the wind stays like this you're going to have to play good golf.'
 
Sandy Lane's best golf-related claim to fame is that it hosted Tiger Woods' wedding to Elin Nordegren two years ago, and that prompted some speculation that Woods would return for this event. But he declined, as did several other top Americans before Cink agreed to play World Cup for the second straight year and chose Henry to join him.
 
The 7,069-yard track is usually breezy, with trade winds steadily blowing off the Atlantic Ocean -- and making it seem, at times, much longer.
 
'There are plenty of birdie chances out there,' Howell said. 'Don't get me wrong, it's not the world's hardest golf course. But it's like the British Open, a mix of a few easy holes tee-to-green if you can hit it straight and then a few tough ones as well. It's no cinch.'
 
This tournament comes at a busy time of year for Donald, who was in Atlanta for the Tour Championship four weeks ago, then Shanghai to play for the Goodwill Trophy, now back across the Atlantic to Barbados. From here, he'll head to California to defend his title in the Target World Challenge next week.
 
At No. 9 in the current world rankings, Donald is the second-ranked player in the field, one spot below Harrington.
 
And as England's highest-ranked player, he got to choose his teammate -- going again with Howell instead of Casey.
 
'I just went with the philosophy of choosing whoever was lowest and at the point when I had to choose, David was lowest,' said Donald, who had 10 top-10 finishes in 18 PGA TOUR events this year, earning over $3 million. 'So, you know, nothing against Paul. I'm sure Paul and I would have made a good team as well.'
 
Then again, any team that has Donald -- who turns 29 when the tournament opens Thursday -- usually does pretty well. Counting his Ryder Cup, Walker Cup and World Cup appearances, Donald has been part of five wins in six tries.
 
'I enjoy it. I kind of relish it,' Donald said. 'And I've been lucky to have good partners every time.'
 
Related Links:
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  • Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

    Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

    With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

    Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

    The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

    Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

    In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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    Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

    By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

    After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

     There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



    It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

    It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

    “The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

    In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



    Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

    Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

    “You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

    Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



    Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

    If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

    For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

    Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



    Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

    While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

    When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

    Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



    After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

    The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

    That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

    The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

    While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



    Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

    Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

    “We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

    The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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    Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

    John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

    That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

    Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

    Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

    Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


    Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


    Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

    World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

    Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.