Monster Mash Europe Routs Americans

By Associated PressSeptember 19, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Ryder CupBLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Over here, over there, it no longer matters. Europe again proved to be the best in the Ryder Cup with its biggest romp over the Americans.
The final blow Sunday was a scene all too familiar at Oakland Hills: With the cup already won, Padraig Harrington made a 25-foot par putt on the 18th hole of the last match that only counted in the record books.
Europe 18 1/2, United States 9 1/2.
It was the Americans' worst loss in the 77-year history of the Ryder Cup, and there was no doubt who the underdogs are now.
'We haven't been winning it,' Davis Love III said. 'If they keep bringing the cup back on their airplane, we are the underdog.
'It's a long two years until we get to do it again.'
Lee Westwood ended the slightest suspense with a 4-foot par putt on the 18th to beat Kenny Perry. With Colin Montgomerie 1 up on the 18th hole and assured a half-point, Europe had the 14 points it needed to retain the cup.
Montgomerie also made a 4-foot par putt to beat David Toms and secure outright victory for Europe for the fourth time in the last five Ryder Cup matches.
The Europeans are not only winning, they are winning big.
And there is no doubt who the underdogs are now.
'Obviously, our results would suggest that,' Darren Clarke said. 'We come here with a big heart, full of hopes, full of expectations.'
The Europeans' last blowout was 16 1/2-11 1/2 in 1985 at The Belfry when they won for the first time in 28 years. Since then, they have captured the cup seven out of 10 times with a collection of players not many people know in the States until they are posing with the 19-inch gold trophy.
'We came here again as underdogs. It's amazing how well we do,' Montgomerie said. 'I don't know how it happens.'
The Americans haven't figured it out, either. They have the higher world ranking, more majors, greater star power.
But when it comes to the Ryder Cup, it's no contest.
The Europeans won for the third time on U.S. soil, and they made sure there was no rally like Brookline five years ago when the Americans stormed back from a 10-6 deficit by putting its best players at the top of the lineup and riding a tidal wave of momentum.
Tiger Woods finally did his part, the only player not to lose a single hole in an easy victory over Paul Casey. The Americans had early leads in the first five matches as cheers of 'USA! USA!' rang out across the course, the crowd trying to urge them to pull off another improbable comeback.
But just as it had gone all week, the Americans simply couldn't keep it up.
Sergio Garcia made three straight birdies to quickly turn the tide against Phil Mickelson, then won the match when Lefty tried a peculiar shot at a crucial moment -- a low punch that came up short and rolled into the water on the 16th.
Clarke was two holes behind with three to play when he made an 8-foot birdie on the 16th, chipped in from behind the green on the 17th to square the match and wound up halving his match with Love after both missed par putts.
Westwood also rallied from an early two-hole deficit, winning the 15th with a par to go 1 up, and then holing his cup-clinching putt to seal the victory.
'I had a fair idea the way everyone was biting their nails,' Westwood said when asked whether he knew his putt was for the Ryder Cup.
This was no nail-biter. It was a rout from the start.
Europe led 11-5 going into the 12 singles matches and needed only three points to retain the cup. Five matches were still in progress when it clinched the cup, and the celebration was under way.
Fans began lustily singing 'Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole!' and players swarmed captain Bernhard Langer with hugs. Garcia waved the European flag on the back of a cart, as he sped off to watch the final matches.
Champagne filled the air over the 18th green, and Langer took a sweet sip as his players roared.
'The Europeans are great,' U.S. captain Hal Sutton. 'They played ferociously. There are a lot of great players in America, but we got outplayed this week.'
Fred Funk and Perry, in their first Ryder Cup, were the only players who failed to win a point. Mickelson went 1-3, while Woods had another losing record at 2-3.
Garcia and Westwood were the European stars, each going 4-0-1. And when Thomas Levet beat Funk for his first point of the week, he assured every European player contributed something to this record victory.
It was a disastrous week for Sutton, whose tough talk didn't do the Americans much good on the course.
He said he had a Woods-Mickelson pairing in mind since being appointed captain two years ago because, 'History needed it. ... The fans needed it,' even though it sure looked as if Woods didn't want it: They lost twice on Friday when Europe took a five-point lead.
'We just never got any charisma going that we needed,' he said.
Sutton let Chris Riley skip the Saturday afternoon match, even though Riley was unbeaten in two matches.
Asked if he would do anything differently, Sutton held his ground.
'That will be debated until the day I die,' he said. 'They've debated past and future captains, and I knew it was part of the job. I'm not going to second-guess myself.'
But that's what will happen until the Ryder Cup is next played at The K Club in Ireland in 2006.
Europe should be the clear favorite.
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    After Further Review: Woods wisely keeping things in perspective

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 3:17 am

    Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On Tiger Woods' career comeback ...

    Tiger Woods seems to be the only one keeping his comeback in the proper perspective. Asked after his tie for fifth at Bay Hill whether he could ever have envisioned his game being in this shape heading into Augusta, he replied: “If you would have given me this opportunity in December and January, I would have taken it in a heartbeat.” He’s healthy. He’s been in contention. He’s had two realistic chances to win. There’s no box unchecked as he heads to the Masters, and no one, especially not Woods, could have seen that coming a few months ago. – Ryan Lavner

    On Tiger carrying momentum into API, Masters ...

    Expect Jordan Spieth to leave Austin with the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play trophy next week.

    After all, Spieth is seemingly the only top-ranked player who has yet to lift some hardware in the early part of 2018. Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas have all gotten it done, as have Jason Day, Phil Mickelson and most recently Rory McIlroy.

    Throw in the sudden resurgence of Tiger Woods, and with two more weeks until the Masters there seem to be more azalea-laden storylines than ever before.

    A Spieth victory in Austin would certainly add fuel to that fire, but even if he comes up short the 2015 champ will certainly be a focus of attention in a few short weeks when the golf world descends upon Magnolia Lane with no shortage of players able to point to a recent victory as proof that they’re in prime position to don a green jacket. – Will Gray

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    Davies not giving up on win, HOF after close call

    By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 3:06 am

    PHOENIX – Laura Davies knows the odds are long now, but she won’t let go of that dream of making the LPGA Hall of Fame.

    At 54, she was emboldened by her weekend run at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. She tied for second, five shots behind Inbee Park.

    “The more I get up there, I might have a chance of winning again,” Davies said. “I'm not saying I will ever win, but today was close. Maybe one day I can go closer.”

    Davies is a World Golf Hall of Famer, but she has been sitting just outside the qualification standard needed to get into the LPGA Hall of Fame for a long time. She needs 27 points, but she has been stuck on 25 since her last victory in 2001. A regular tour title is worth one point, a major championship is worth two points.

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    Over her career, she has won 20 LPGA titles, four of them major championships. She was the tour’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996. She probably would have locked up Hall of Fame status if she hadn’t been so loyal to the Ladies European Tour, where she won 45 titles.

    Though Davies didn’t win Sunday in Phoenix, there was more than consolation in her run into contention.

    “Now people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

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    Davies impresses, but there's no catching Park

    By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 2:40 am

    PHOENIX – Inbee Park won the tournament.

    Laura Davies won the day.

    It was a fitting script for the Bank of Hope Founders Cup on Sunday, where nostalgia stirs the desert air in such a special way.

    Two of the game’s all-time best, LPGA Hall of Famer Inbee Park and World Golf Hall of Famer Laura Davies, put on a show with the tour’s three living founders applauding them in the end.

    Park and Davies made an event all about honoring the tour’s past while investing in its future something to savor in the moment. Founders Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork and Marlene Hagge Vossler cheered them both.

    For Park, there was meaningful affirmation in her 18th LPGA title.

    In seven months away from the LPGA, healing up a bad back, Park confessed she wondered if she should retire. This was just her second start back. She won feeling no lingering effects from her injury.

    “I was trying to figure out if I was still good enough to win,” Park said of her long break back home in South Korea. “This proved to me I can win and play some pain-free golf.”

    At 54, Davies kept peeling away the years Sunday, one sweet swing after another. She did so after shaking some serious nerves hitting her first tee shot.

    “It’s about as nervous as I’ve ever felt,” Davies said. “I swear I nearly shanked it.”

    Davies has won 45 Ladies European Tour events and 20 LPGA titles, but she was almost 17 years removed from her last LPGA title. Still, she reached back to those times when she used to rule the game and chipped in for eagle at the second hole to steady herself.

    “It calmed me down, and I really enjoyed the day,” Davies said.

    With birdies at the ninth and 10th holes, Davies pulled from three shots down at day’s start to within one of Park, sending a buzz through all the fans who came out to root for the popular Englishwoman.

    “People were loving it,” said Tanya Paterson, Davies’ caddie. “We kept hearing, `Laura, we love you.’ It was special for Laura, showing she can still compete.”

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    Davies relished giving all the young players today, who never saw how dominant she once was, some flashes from her great past.

    “Yesterday, after I had that 63, a lot of the younger girls came up and said, `Oh, great playing today,”’ Davies said. “It was nice, I suppose, to have that. I still am a decent player, and I actually used to be really good at it. Maybe that did give them a glimpse into what it used to be like.”

    She also relished showing certain fans something.

    “Now, people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

    Davies was the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996, when she won two of her four major championships. She was emboldened by the way she stood up to Sunday pressure again.

    In the end, though, there was no catching Park, who continues to amaze with her ability to win coming back from long breaks after injuries.

    Park, 29, comes back yet again looking like the player who reigned at world No. 1 for 92 weeks, won three consecutive major championships in 2013 and won the Olympic gold medal two years ago.

    “The reason that I am competing and playing is because I want to win and because I want to contend in golf tournaments,” Park said.

    After Davies and Marina Alex mounted runs to move within one shot, Park pulled away, closing ferociously. She made four birdies in a row starting at the 12th and won by five shots. Her famed putting stroke heated up, reminding today’s players how nobody can demoralize a field more with a flat stick.

    “I just felt like nothing has dropped on the front nine,” Park said. “I was just thinking to myself, `They have to drop at some point.’ And they just started dropping, dropping, dropping.”

    Yet again, Park showed her ability to win after long breaks.

    In Rio de Janeiro two years ago, Park the Olympic gold medal in her first start back after missing two months because of a ligament injury in her left thumb. She took eight months off after Rio and came back to win the HSBC Women’s World Championship last year, in just her second start upon returning.

    “I'm really happy to have a win early in the season,” Park said. “That just takes so much pressure off me.”

    And puts it on the rest of the tour if she takes her best form to the year’s first major at the ANA Inspiration in two weeks.



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    Rose: 'Never' has Rory putted as well as Bay Hill

    By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:20 am

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose didn’t need to ponder the question for very long.

    The last time Rory McIlroy putted that well was, well …?

    “Never,” Rose said with a chuckle. “Ryder Cup? He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”

    And the Englishman did well just to try and keep pace.

    After playing his first six holes in 4 over par, Rose battled not just to make the cut but to contend. He closed with consecutive rounds of 67, finishing in solo third, four shots back of McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

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    Rose said this weekend was the best he’s struck the ball all year. He just didn’t do enough to overtake McIlroy, who finished the week ranked first in strokes gained-putting and closed with a bogey-free 64.

    “Rory just played incredible golf, and it’s great to see world-class players do that,” Rose said. “It’s not great to see him make putts because he was making them against me, but when he is, he’s incredibly hard to beat. So it was fun to watch him play.”