Europe celebrates victory, dedicates it to Seve

By Associated PressOctober 1, 2012, 6:26 pm

LONDON – Not even the family of Seve Ballesteros could have imagined a Ryder Cup finish quite like this.

It was after midnight in Spain when a European team inspired by the ''spirit of Seve'' and captained by his close friend Jose Maria Olazabal completed its improbable comeback victory over the Americans in Medinah, Ill.

''What happened yesterday went beyond sports,'' Ivan Ballesteros, Seve's nephew and vice president of the Madrid-based Seve Ballesteros foundation, told The Associated Press on Monday.

''We want to thank Jose Maria for remembering Seve, not just throughout the week but for always keeping his memory alive. I would say that not even Hollywood screenwriters could have imagined what happened yesterday.''

Seve Ballesteros died in May 2011 from a brain tumor, and the team played in his honor, overcoming a 10-4 deficit to win 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 after an epic day of singles matches.

Ballesteros was everywhere Sunday. His image adorned European bags and shirts, his name was sung by Europe's fans well into the night, and his spirit was invoked by players wearing the navy trousers and white polo shirt that were the Spaniard's trademark.

To a man, Europe's players said it was Seve's memory they were attempting to uphold.

''Lots of feelings and emotions were revived again,'' the Seve Foundation, which collects funds to promote brain tumor support, said in a statement. ''It was great to see the European team showing that fighting spirit Seve always showed.''

Olazabal was emotional again Monday morning as he cradled the cup and recalled his former playing partner.

''If someone had to write a script for it, that would be the ideal one,'' Olazabal told Britain's Sky Sports. ''For that to happen, Seve had to have something to do with it.''

Britain, already spoiled by an unprecedented summer of sporting success this year that included the London Olympics and the country's first Tour de France victory, added another memorable triumph to the list.

''After London 2012, Bradley Wiggins, Andy Murray and the rest, we were due an anti-climax. But this sporting year is incapable of dullness, one-sidedness, hollow drama,'' the Daily Telegraph said.

Britain had heroes everywhere – from Luke Donald beating Bubba Watson in the opening singles to the tight victories secured by Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood.

Justin Rose beat Phil Mickelson with a birdie on the 17th hole that was perhaps the key turning point Sunday. And then there was Ian Poulter, who started Europe's charge by making five straight birdies in the final match of Saturday's fourballs to take a crucial point and leave the score at 10-6 going into the final day.

''I'm officially taking two years off, and I'll see you at the next one,'' said Poulter, who won a match-high four points and was labeled the ''modern-day Seve'' by McIlroy.

It was a German, Martin Kaymer, who rolled in a putt on the 18th hole to beat Steve Stricker on Sunday and ensure that Europe retained the cup.

''I never had such a feeling before,'' Kaymer said. ''I'll never forget it, and I'll be telling my grandchildren about it.''

''Wunderbar,'' blared the headline in Britain's Daily Express.

With a nod to Europe's economic troubles, the Irish Times said, ''Martin Kaymer, a cool German, gave Europe a massive bailout that contributed to the most unlikeliest comeback in Ryder Cup history.''

Belgium – hardly a golfing stronghold – reveled in having one of its own in the winning lineup. Nicolas Colsaerts was a virtual unknown in Belgium a few months ago, but Europe's biggest hitter graced the front pages of two of the country's main newspapers Monday after making a memorable debut that included beating Tiger Woods in Friday's fourballs.

Twitter was awash with Ryder reaction from sports personalities past and present who stayed up late to cheer on Europe from afar.

''The victory was epic!'' Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal, a keen golfer, tweeted.

Paul Casey, an English golfer who played in three Ryder Cups from 2004-08, added, ''Woke up this morning and it wasn't a dream. The most amazing Ryder Cup ever! Well done lads, especially JMO.''

Four-time Olympic rowing gold medalist Matthew Pinsent of Britain offered his own take.

''Ironic that in the cold light of morning the US played better in the team formats than we did and EUR were great 'individually,''' Pinsent tweeted.

Associated Press sports writer Raf Casert in Brussels and Associated Press writers Joe Wilson in Barcelona, Spain, and Ciaran Fahey in Berlin contributed to this report.

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.

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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.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.