Euros Look to End Drought - Once Again

By Associated PressApril 4, 2007, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Padraig Harrington is a two-time champion at Augusta National.
 
Of the Par-3 Tournament.
 
When it comes to Europeans and the major championships, that's as good as it gets lately.
 
It's been almost eight years since a European player won a major title. Granted, that coincides with the rise of Tiger and Phil. But in the time since Paul Lawrie hoisted the claret jug in 1999, a couple of South Africans, some Aussies, a Canadian, even a guy from New Zealand have managed to win majors.
 
'When you look at the success we've had in the Ryder Cup and then our (results) in the majors, it doesn't really stack up,' England's Justin Rose said Tuesday. 'Our players have the ability, for sure.'
 
There's no doubting that. Europe has owned the United States in Ryder Cup play for more than a decade. The Americans can send teams of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk and a slew of other guys who've won majors, and they can't compare with the European squads.
 
But as Spain's Sergio Garcia shows often enough, there's a big difference between team golf and medal play.
 
'It's like breaking the four-minute mile,' Harrington said. 'Once one person does it, everybody will be able to do it.'
 
The 'streak' gets brought up at every major, but there's a particular sting here at the Masters. Unlike the U.S. Open, where a European hasn't won since 1970, or the PGA Championship, where Tommy Armour was the last European-born player to win back in 1930, Europeans had a stretch where they dominated the Masters.
 
From 1980 to 1999, Europeans put on that green jacket 10 times. And from 1989 to 1996, the Europeans basically passed it back and forth. Nick Faldo to Ian Woosnam. Bernhard Langer to Jose Maria Olazabal. And back to Faldo again.
 
Ben Crenshaw and Fred Couples each got to wear it for a year during that span, but it was pretty clear they were only raiding the closet.
 
Since Olazabal won his second Masters title in 1999, though, the only jackets the Europeans brought home from Augusta National were the ones they bought in the pro shop.
 
'It's not for a lack of opportunities,' Olazabal said. 'Europeans haven't been all that far from winning. We've had a few chances the last few majors, it's just a matter of getting it done on the last day.'
 
At every major, it seems, a European is in contention the last day.
 
Kenneth Ferrie of England had the 54-hole lead at the U.S. Open last summer, only to come in with a 76. Long-suffering Colin Montgomerie was poised to win at Winged Foot, going into the 72nd hole tied with Mickelson. But just as Mickelson blew his chance, Montgomerie did the same -- though in far less dramatic fashion.
 
Monty wound up finishing a stroke behind winner Geoff Ogilvy -- an Australian.
 
Garcia went into the final day at Hoylake a single stroke behind Woods. By the time they got through five holes, he was down five. He finished seven strokes behind Woods, in a tie for fifth.
 
England's Luke Donald was paired with Woods in the final group at last year's PGA Championship -- in his adopted hometown of Chicago, no less. He staggered home with a 2-over 74 that left him in a three-way tie for third that included Garcia.
 
'If I'm not going to win, I'm certainly rooting for one of my fellow Europeans to win. This is pure selfish reasons,' said Harrington, whose best finish in any major is fifth.
 
'Knowing somebody who has won a major, somebody you played practice rounds with, that you have a game with every couple of weeks, if they go on and win a major, that makes it in your head so much easier to do it,' the Irishman added. 'It's a psychological thing that you just need to see.'
 
Though dominating in the Ryder Cup is different than winning a major, the lessons from one might eventually carry over to the other. The up-and-comers who have been the staple of Europe's recent Ryder Cup teams -- Donald, Garcia, Harrington, Paul Casey of England, and Sweden's Robert Karlsson and Henrik Stenson -- are the same who grew up watching their European idols win at Augusta National.
 
The more they play, the more they see they can beat Woods and Mickelson, the more confident they are likely to become. At some point, the thinking goes, that's got to carry over to the majors.
 
Maybe even this week.
 
After Woods and Mickelson, Stenson is a popular pick to win. He arrives as one of the hottest players in the game after winning at star-studded Dubai and Accenture Match Play Championship.
 
Casey won at Abu Dhabi earlier this year, and Harrington won Europe's money title last year. Don't ever discount Garcia or Donald, either.
 
'It'd be great for golf right now if one of the young players could win a major,' Rose said. 'Obviously, I hope it would be me.'
 
And once one of the Europeans wins, look out.
 
'It's like a bus,' Rose said. 'You wait all day for one, and then two turn up.'
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Masters Tournament
     
    Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • 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.

    Getty Images

    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.