Nicklaus Ryder Cup Nice But No Major

By Associated PressSeptember 17, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Ryder CupBLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Jack Nicklaus thinks a justifiable lack of urgency has led to Tiger Woods' well-documented struggles at the Ryder Cup.
Nicklaus had a sterling 17-8-3 record in six Ryder Cups, while Woods is just 5-10-2 in four events, including two losses Friday.
'I don't put a whole lot of stock in Ryder Cup records,' Nicklaus said in a phone interview. 'I think Tiger is far more focused when he plays a U.S. Open or a Masters, and rightfully so.'
Nicklaus said he thoroughly enjoyed his Ryder Cup experience, which included being captain in 1983 and '87, but said majors are where a player's career is made or broken.
'They are the most important things in golf,' Nicklaus said.
Nicklaus won a record 18 majors, and Woods has plenty of time to win the 10 more he needs to match that mark.
'When you look at Stewart Cink, who is playing in his first Ryder Cup, or Jay Haas, who could be playing in his last, they may get more focused because it hasn't been their norm,' he said. 'Tiger knows he's the best player in the world and he knows he'll be back again. There's a little difference in how guys look at it.'
Woods has been compared to Nicklaus his entire career, and it's no different when it comes to the Ryder Cup.
Woods had another tough day at Oakland Hills. He and partner Phil Mickelson, the Americans' two big guns, lost to Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington in better-ball and to Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood in alternate shot.
Nicklaus said he normally wouldn't remember how he fared at the Ryder Cup, but he had a little help Friday.
'I read it in the paper this morning,' Nicklaus said.
The Golden Bear was speaking from New York, where he was preparing for the Jack Nicklaus Heart and Stroke Challenge, a golfing event held to raise awareness for cardiovascular fitness.
U.S. captain Hal Sutton made good on his promise to play every one of his players on the first day. European captain Bernhard Langer was not as diplomatic.

First-timers Paul Casey, David Howell and Ian Poulter were on the sidelines for both the morning and afternoon matches Friday.
That was by design. Langer said he wanted the three rookies to watch the action on their first day to soak up the pressure-packed environment.
'I wanted them to experience the atmosphere, watch the guys in action, see how the course plays,' Langer said. 'I think they had a great day of getting more experience and will be ready for tomorrow.'
All three will play in four-ball on Saturday morning.
Poulter is partnered with Darren Clarke, and Casey and Howell will play together.
Paul McGinley was the only European who played better ball in the morning but didn't return for alternate shot in the afternoon. Thomas Levet took his place.
'Some have to sit out,' Langer said. 'You can only play eight out of 12. Some have to sit out and they'll see some action sooner or later.'
Fellow rookie Luke Donald, who played two matches Friday, worried the layoff would make his teammates a little rusty.
'It's going to be hard for some of the guys who didn't play today to go out there,' Donald said.
Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke weren't fazed when they were paired against the Americans' top duo of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
They've done this before.
Westwood and Clarke were the opponents the last time the United States paired its best two players for the Ryder Cup: Woods and David Duval at Brookline in 1999.

Westwood and Clarke won that match five years ago, and did it again on Friday, rallying for a 1-up win.
'We didn't think about it when we first went out, but we talked about it when we finished,' Clarke said. 'The truth is, we can play a little bit. We're not easily intimidated by anybody.'
While fellow U.S. Ryder Cup rookie Chris Riley had a strong showing in his debut, Chad Campbell struggled.
Campbell and Davis Love III were dominated in a 5-and-4 loss to Darren Clarke and Miguel Angel Jimenez.
Campbell missed three straight birdie putts on Nos. 3, 4 and 5 as the Americans fell behind by three holes in the early going.
'It would have been nice to get at least two out of the three, but I really just didn't putt that well,' Campbell said. 'It's not easy out there.'
The gallery reached 20-deep in some places along the first hole for the highly anticipated match between Americans Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson and Europeans Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington.
While many complained of having trouble seeing the action amid the huge crowds, Paul Davis didn't see what all the fuss was about.
The 6-foot-11 center for the Michigan State basketball team was in the middle of the pack on No. 1, but had a clear view of the play.
'It's perfect,' said Davis, who came to Oakland Hills with his father. 'It's like getting a VIP ticket. I didn't realize Tiger was so short.'
Retired basketball star and golfing aficionado Michael Jordan was at Oakland Hills on Friday, walking the course with several Americans and supporting them from the stands.
Jordan had dinner with the team Tuesday night, giving the Americans a pep talk.
Jordan wouldn't get into specifics about his conversation, but he made one thing abundantly clear -- he's not doubting Tiger Woods this weekend.
'Don't worry about Tiger,' he said.
'If anyone told me, 'You're going to lead 6-1 at the end of the day, I would have sent a very strange look at them.' -- European Darren Clarke.
Jay Haas is the 11th U.S. player -- 21st overall -- to compete in Ryder Cups in three or more decades. Haas has played in 1983, 1995 and 2004. American Raymond Floyd and European Dai Reese lead the category with appearances in four decades. ... Faces in the crowd included former President Bush and ex-Detroit Pistons coach Chuck Daly.
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    Door officially open for Woods to be playing vice captain

    By Ryan LavnerFebruary 20, 2018, 11:50 pm

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Thirteen months ago, when Jim Furyk was named the 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup captain, one of the biggest questions was what would happen if Furyk were to play his way onto his own team.

    It wasn’t that unrealistic. 

    At the time, Furyk was 46 and coming off a season in which he tied for second at the U.S. Open and shot 58 in a PGA Tour event. If anything, accepting the Ryder Cup captaincy seemed premature.

    And now?

    Now, he’s slowly recovering from shoulder surgery that knocked him out of action for six months. He’s ranked 230th in the world. He’s planning to play an 18-event schedule, on past champion status, mostly to be visible and available to prospective team members.

    A playing captain? Furyk chuckled at the thought.

    “Wow,” he said here at PGA of America headquarters, “that would be crazy-difficult.”

    That’s important to remember when assessing Tiger Woods’ chances of becoming a playing vice captain.

    On Tuesday, Woods was named an assistant for the matches at Le Golf National, signing up for months of group texts and a week in which he'd sport an earpiece, scribble potential pairings on a sheet of paper and fetch anything Team USA needs.

    It’s become an increasingly familiar role for Woods, except this appointment isn’t anything like his vice captaincy at Hazeltine in 2016 or last year’s Presidents Cup.

    Unlike the past few years, when his competitive future was in doubt because of debilitating back pain, there’s at least a chance now that Woods can qualify for the team on his own, or deserve consideration as a captain’s pick. 

    There’s a long way to go, of course. He’s 104th in the points standings. He’s made only two official starts since August 2015. His driving needs a lot of work. He hasn’t threatened serious contention, and he might not for a while. But, again: Come September, it’s possible.

    And so here was Woods’ taped message Tuesday: “My goal is to make the team, but whatever happens over the course of this season, I will continue to do whatever I can to help us keep the cup.”

    That follows what Woods told reporters last week at Riviera, when he expressed a desire to be a playing vice captain.

    “Why can’t I have both?” he said. “I like both.”

    Furyk, eventually, will have five assistants in Paris, and he could have waited to see how Woods fared this year before assigning him an official role.

    He opted against that. Woods is too valuable of an asset.

    “I want him on-board right now,” Furyk said.

    Arnold Palmer was the last to serve as both player and captain for a Ryder Cup – in 1963. Nothing about the Ryder Cup bears any resemblance to those matches, other than there’s still a winner and a loser. There is more responsibility now. More planning. More strategy. More pressure.

    For the past two team competitions, the Americans have split into four-man pods that practiced together under the supervision of one of the assistants. That assistant then relayed any pertinent information to the captain, who made the final decision.

    The assistants are relied upon even more once the matches begin. Furyk will need to be on the first tee for at least the first hour of the matches, welcoming all of the participants and doing interviews for the event’s many TV partners, and he needs an assistant with each of the matches out on the course. They’re the captain’s eyes and ears.

    Furyk would need to weigh whether Woods’ potential impact as a vice captain – by all accounts he’s the best Xs-and-Os specialist – is worth more than the few points he could earn on the course. Could he adequately handle both tasks? Would dividing his attention actually be detrimental to the team?

    “That would be a bridge we cross when we got there,” Furyk said.

    If Woods plays well enough, then it’s hard to imagine him being left off the roster, even with all of the attendant challenges of the dual role.

    “It’s possible,” Furyk said, “but whether that’s the best thing for the team, we’ll see.”

    It’s only February, and this comeback is still new. As Furyk himself knows, a lot can change over the course of a year.

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    Furyk tabs Woods, Stricker as Ryder Cup vice captains

    By Will GrayFebruary 20, 2018, 9:02 pm

    U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk has added Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker to his stable of vice captains to aid in his quest to win on foreign soil for the first time in 25 years.

    Furyk made the announcement Tuesday in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., site of this week's Honda Classic. He had previously named Davis Love III as his first vice captain, with a fourth expected to be named before the biennial matches kick off in France this September.

    The addition of Woods and Stricker means that the team room will have a familiar feel from two years ago, when Love was the U.S. captain and Furyk, Woods, Stricker and Tom Lehman served as assistants.

    This will be the third time as vice captain for Stricker, who last year guided the U.S. to victory as Presidents Cup captain. After compiling a 3-7-1 individual record as a Ryder Cup player from 2008-12, Stricker served as an assistant to Tom Watson at Gleneagles in 2014 before donning an earpiece two years ago on Love's squad at Hazeltine.

    "This is a great honor for me, and I am once again thrilled to be a vice captain,” Stricker said in a statement. “We plan to keep the momentum and the spirit of Hazeltine alive and channel it to our advantage in Paris."

    Woods will make his second appearance as a vice captain, having served in 2016 and also on Stricker's Presidents Cup team last year. Woods played on seven Ryder Cup teams from 1997-2012, and last week at the Genesis Open he told reporters he would be open to a dual role as both an assistant and a playing member this fall.

    "I am thrilled to once again serve as a Ryder Cup vice captain and I thank Jim for his confidence, friendship and support," Woods said in a statement. "My goal is to make the team, but whatever happens over the course of this season, I will continue to do what I can to help us keep the cup."

    The Ryder Cup will be held Sept. 28-30 at Le Golf National in Paris. The U.S. has not won in Europe since 1993 at The Belfry in England.

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    Watch: Guy wins $75K boat, $25K cash with 120-foot putt

    By Grill Room TeamFebruary 20, 2018, 8:15 pm

    Making a 120-foot putt in front of a crowd of screaming people would be an award in and of itself for most golfers out there, but one lucky Minnesota man recently got a little something extra for his effort.

    The Minnesota Golf Show at the Minneapolis Convention Center has held a $100,000 putting contest for 28 years, and on Sunday, Paul Shadle, a 49-year-old pilot from Rosemount, Minnesota, became the first person ever to sink the putt, winning a pontoon boat valued at $75,000 and $25,000 cash in the process.

    But that's not the whole story. Shadle, who describes himself as a "weekend golfer," made separate 100-foot and 50-foot putts to qualify for an attempt at the $100K grand prize – in case you were wondering how it's possible no one had ever made the putt before.

    "Closed my eyes and hoped for the best," Shadle said of the attempt(s).

    Hard to argue with the result.

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    Tiger draws Sneds, Kizzire at Honda Classic

    By Ryan LavnerFebruary 20, 2018, 7:43 pm

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods will play alongside Patton Kizzire and Brandt Snedeker for the first two rounds of the Honda Classic.

    The threesome will tee off at 7:45 a.m. ET Thursday off PGA National’s 10th tee, then 12:35 p.m. off the first tee in the second round Friday.

    Woods is making his first start at the Honda, his hometown event, since 2014. He tied for second here in 2012, after a final-round 62.

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    This is the first time he has ever played with Kizzire, a two-time winner this season and the FedExCup points leader.

    Other notable groups for the first two rounds:

    • Justin Thomas, Sergio Garcia, Daniel Berger: 7:35 a.m. Thursday, 12:25 p.m. Friday
    • Tommy Fleetwood, Alex Noren, Gary Woodland: 7:55 a.m. Thursday, 12:45 p.m. Friday
    • Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, Kevin Kisner: 12:25 p.m. Thursday, 7:35 a.m. Friday
    • Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Padraig Harrington: 12:35 p.m. Thursday, 7:45 a.m. Friday