Mickelson salvages pride with win

By Associated PressOctober 4, 2010, 11:33 pm

Ryder Cup

NEWPORT, Wales – Phil Mickelson salvaged some pride with his first win in this Ryder Cup, a 4 and 3 pounding of Sweden’s Peter Hanson in singles.

The world’s second-ranked player finished the team portion of the matches 0-3. That pushed the total number of losses in his eight Ryder Cup appearances to 17 – one more than Raymond Floyd and the most by a U.S. player.

“Every one of us can look back on a match and say that this could have been the deciding factor, that could have been the deciding factor,” Mickelson said after the U.S. lost 14 1/2-13 1/2.

“I want to try to be a leader, and the best way to lead is through play. … And when I didn’t win any of my first three points, I felt more disappointment than I’ve ever felt, because this was an opportunity for us to win here in Europe. The fact that we came so close, and I let some of these opportunities to gain points for our team slide, it does hurt more than some of the past losses.”


ONCE IS ENOUGH: Even though Colin Montgomerie said last week that he wouldn’t consider another stint as Europe’s captain, Lee Westwood decided to give it a shot.

Discussing Montgomerie’s legacy in the Ryder Cup – eight appearances, five wins, an unblemished record in singles as a player and now this victory as captain – Westwood said, “It’s difficult to talk about it when he’s 15 feet down the table from me.

“I grew up watching Colin. … Sorry, that’s not meant in a bad way, that, Colin. It’s not meant to make you feel old. But you know, unless he wants to do it next time, it’s the cherry on the top, isn’t it, when you can become a winning captain?”

Westwood barely finished talking when Montgomerie cut off any further speculation.

“I would just say to finish off that, that this is a one-hit time. I’m delighted that Europe has won this trophy, and I will not be doing this again, I can assure you,” Montgomerie said.

“We have a number of fantastic vice captains, plus (Jose Maria) Olazabal, and one of those five, I’m sure, will be your next European Ryder Cup captain who will defend, hopefully defend the trophy at Medinah in 2012,” he added. “It will not be me.”


THANKS, BUT NO THANKS: Handed a convenient alibi, Jim Furyk handed it right back.

Earlier in the week, the teams debated whether playing in the FedEx Cup would help or hurt a player. Some thought it would help them stay sharp, others that it would result in fatigue.

Nine members of the U.S. team qualified for the 30-man field compared to just one from Europe. Considering the soggy course conditions and the number of matches jammed into the third session – when Europe took 5 1/2 of a possible 6 points and built a 9 1/2-6 1/2 lead going into Monday’s singles – Furyk was asked whether winning the FedEx cost him his legs here.

He earned a half-point in the alternate-shot match, but lost both his better-ball and singles matches.

“I’m not making any excuses. I didn’t play the first session, so basically, I slept all week,” Furyk said. “I got to sleep in no matter what. So I’ve got no excuse, no regrets. I’m well rested, and I said it after I won the FedEx Cup in the media room there, if you can’t get up for a Ryder Cup, you can’t get up.'

“There’s 12 guys here that were committed to trying to win the Cup, trying to bring it back to the United States, and we have got no excuse for ‘I was worn out.’ I had a week off before going to Atlanta, so playing two weeks in a row is not tough, trust me.”


OLE! OLE! OLE!: The Ryder Cup might take a back seat to the Olympics and World Cup in terms of global popularity. But when it comes to serenading the players, the fans in Wales were the equal of any.

Supplementing the “Ole! Ole! Ole!” chant that has become a staple of European sporting events, fans rocked the grandstands at Celtic Manor nearly every time the Italian brothers Edoardo and Francesco Molinari passed by, singing “There’s only two Molinaris …” to the tune of “Guantanamera.”

When Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell passed by during a match against American opponents, the chants became “We’ve got G Mac, you’ve got Big Mac!”

Fans even greeted the fog wafting above the valley where the Twenty Ten course sits.

“Foggy, foggy, foggy!” one grandstand alongside the first tee chanted.

“Oi, oi, oi!” the other roared back responsively.

The singing also produced one of the most sportsmanlike moments of the final day. Europe’s Martin Kaymer was playing Dustin Johnson in singles when fans launched into “He’s got your major, he’s got your major!” The reference was to Kaymer’s win at the PGA Championship, where Johnson grounded his club in a bunker at the 18th hole and after being penalized, finished one shot out of the playoff in which Kaymer beat Bubba Watson.

Upon hearing it, Kaymer put up his hands calling for the fans to stop. They did.

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Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.