Notes Dismal Showing for Ryder Cup Hopefuls

By Associated PressJuly 21, 2006, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship HOYLAKE, England -- Tom Lehman had plenty of reasons to be disgusted Friday at Royal Liverpool.
He celebrated the 10-year anniversary of his British Open victory by taking triple bogey on the seventh hole to tumble out of contention. Needing a birdie on the par-5 18th hole to make the cut, he took a bogey and was headed home.
Worse yet was the performance of his potential Ryder Cup team.
Of the Americans between Nos. 6 and 18 in the Ryder Cup standings, Vaughn Taylor was the only one who made the cut.
Zach Johnson and Stewart Cink spent two days playing practice rounds with captain Lehman, and neither broke par in the first two rounds. Lucas Glover (No. 10 in the standings), shot 73 and has not made the cut in a major this year.
Perhaps the most troubling was Davis Love III, who is 11th in the standings and is no guarantee to be a captain's pick.
Love went from the lead to missing the cut at The Players Championship. He finished outside the top 20 at the Masters, and now has missed the cut in the U.S. Open and the British Open. He wasn't even close at Hoylake, not making a birdie until the final hole for a 72 that put him at 3-over 147.
Fred Couples is No. 12 and started with a 70, appearing to cope with his ailing back. Then came a 76 in the second round, and he was gone.
Taylor birdied the final hole for a 71 to make the cut on the number.
The other ray of hope came from Chris DiMarco, who shot 65 and was three shots out of the lead. DiMarco started the year at No. 4 in the standings, but only one top 10 -- an eight-way tie for ninth at the Match Play Championship -- has sent him tumbling to No. 21.
'Hopefully, I can get some points,' DiMarco said. 'And if not, at least show Tom that my game is back and I'm ready to go. I know he knows the drive and the competitiveness in me is there, but he has to see some signs of good golf, and hopefully that will carry over to the weekend.'
DiMarco showed Lehman a pulse for two days. The rest of the Ryder Cup wannabes showed a flat line.
Even par wasn't enough to keep playing at Royal Liverpool.
Birdies by Vaughn Taylor, then Andrew Marshall, pushed the cut to 1-under 143 on Friday, the lowest for any major championship since the 1990 British Open, when the cut was 1-under 143 at St. Andrews.
Among those missing the cut were Vijay Singh, who started bogey-double bogey on his way to a 76. It was the first time the big Fijian has played only two rounds in a major since the '02 British Open at Muirfield.
It also was a major disappointment for Padraig Harrington and David Howell, two Europeans expected to contend this week. Harrington shot 75-74 and Howell, who is No. 10 in the world ranking, shot 76 to miss the cut by six shots.
'You have to accept the bad times with a pinch of salt like you do the good times,' said Howell, who won Europe's biggest tournament in May at the BMW Championship. 'I have had some good performances this year, but this one was one of my worst.'
John Daly began his week playing in the same pub that launched The Beatles.
He finished his week at Royal Liverpool on a long and winding road that led to a triple-bogey 8 on the final hole and a surprising departure.
Daly made an eagle on the par-5 16th and was 2 under for the tournament when he hit his driver well to the right and out-of-bounds on the closing hole. He reloaded from the tee and found the fairway, but trying to reach the green to limit the damage to a bogey, he hit fairway wood OB. He hit the green on his sixth shot, then took two putts for an 8.
Daly shot 73 and finished at 1-over 145.
Tom Watson and Fred Funk competed against each other two weeks ago in the U.S. Senior Open.
Now they get to play the weekend at the British Open.
Watson, a five-time British Open champion and the oldest player in the field at 56, was 4 under for the tournament until he stumbled at the end, taking bogey on the 16th and a double bogey on the 17th. Even so, he shot a 70 and goes into the weekend at 2-under 142, the third straight year he has made the cut in the British Open.
'My body is not in very good shape right now, and I'm favoring my back a little bit,' Watson said. 'It has been a struggle. But at least I planned my play pretty well today, and I made the best of it.'
Watson will defend his title in the Senior British Open next week at Turnberry.
Funk, who made his Champions Tour debut at the U.S. Senior Open, showed great fight at the end of a tough day. He opened with a triple bogey, and a double bogey on the 12th left him at 5 over for the round. But he birdied three of his last four holes for a 74 to make the cut on the number.
David Duval wasn't thrilled with Royal Liverpool when he arrived, but the links course is growing on him.
Duval made only one mistake -- a tee shot out-of-bounds at No. 3 for double bogey -- and had four birdies for his second straight 70, making the cut for the second straight major and leaving him in the middle of the pack at 4-under 140.
'I've just gotten very little out of it, but I've played really well,' Duval said. 'I'd be pleased if I could play as well the next couple of days as I have the first two. All I need to do is make a couple of putts and I could put up some good scores.'
Jack Nicklaus, the runner-up in 1967 the last time the British Open came to Royal Liverpool, thought the links course might be too short with bunkers not far enough from the tees to stop low scoring.
Tiger Woods led at 12-under 132, and Nicklaus was surprised the leading score wasn't better.
'I expected scores to be a lot lower than they are,' he said in an interview with TNT Sports. 'When I was here in May, there really wasn't much rough and there's been virtually no rain since. That's probably kept the scores up. If there was a little rain, the rough still probably wouldn't have gotten up very high, yet they could still keep the ball on the fairway and probably stop the ball on the greens.'
Kenneth Ferrie, who played in the final group at Winged Foot in the U.S. Open, withdrew Friday because of a bad back. ... In an unusual move by the Royal & Ancient, tickets for next year's British Open at Carnoustie will go on sale early and offered at 40 percent discounts for weekly badges. The price will be about $270. Tickets will be sold online at ... European Amateur champion Marius Thorp (142) and U.S. Amateur champion Edoardo Molinari were the only two amateurs to make the cut.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - 135th Open Championship
  • Course Tour - Royal Liverpool
  • Full Coverage - 135th Open Championship
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

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    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.