Notes Euro Picks Do Their Part

By Associated PressSeptember 19, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Ryder CupBLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- European captain Bernhard Langer outdid counterpart Hal Sutton in every phase of the Ryder Cup, and the captain's picks were no different.
 
With Monty on their side, was there ever any doubt?
 
Colin Montgomerie and Luke Donald thoroughly outplayed Sutton's wild cards - Jay Haas and Stewart Cink - in Europe's 18 1/2-9 1/2 victory over the United States.
 
Langer had a tough decision to make between Donald and Fredrik Jacobson, but Donald rewarded Langer's faith with 2 1/2 points in four matches.
 
'This is the pinnacle. It's what every player wants to do,' Donald said.
 
His other pick was a no-brainer. Montgomerie had a sterling record in six Ryder Cups, and he built on that in No. 7 at Oakland Hills.
 
Monty teamed with Padraig Harrington for two wins on Friday, including one over Sutton's 'Dream Team' of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
 
Fittingly, it was Montgomerie who clinched the win with a 1-up victory over David Toms on Sunday, which also improved his career Ryder Cup record to 19-8-5, tops among Europeans.
 
'Bernhard Langer, I knew he would be good from the word go,' Montgomerie said. 'But he had good troops with him as well.'
 
Sutton's picks, like all of his decisions, will be questioned.
 
He passed on Scott Verplank, who had an outstanding Ryder Cup at The Belfry two years ago, and British Open champion Todd Hamilton to select Haas and Cink.
 
The 50-year-old Haas started strong with 1 1/2 points in his first two matches. But he faded, losing on Saturday in foursomes and on Sunday in singles.
 
And Cink rarely came up with the big putts that the U.S. expected, and needed. He went 1-2-1, including a 3-and-2 loss to Paul McGinley on Sunday.
 
'It's a lot tougher to be a captain than it is to be a player,' Sutton said. 'I'm going to be second-guessed. That's the life of a golfer.'
 
A SILVER LINING
Jim Furyk and Chad Campbell capped a long three days with easy victories Sunday.
 
Furyk cruised to a 6-and-4 victory over David Howell, and Campbell finally got his putter going in a 5-and-3 win over Luke Donald.
 
It was a nice change for the pair, who squandered a one-hole lead with two to play in Saturday's momentum-changing loss to Donald and Paul Casey in four ball.
 
The Europeans said that rally was the fuel for a dominating afternoon in alternate shot that yielded a commanding 11-5 lead heading into Sunday.
 
Furyk jumped on Howell early with three birdies in the first five holes, improving to 3-1 in singles in four Ryder Cups.
 
Campbell bounced back from losses in his first two matches, taking advantage of bogeys by Donald on Nos. 3 and 4. He made a long birdie putt at No. 8 to go 3-up en route to his first Ryder Cup victory.
 
NICE SHOTS
Hole No. 13 in the match between Fred Funk and Thomas Levet provided a microcosm the weekend.
 
After winning two straight holes, Funk stuffed his tee shot within a foot of the hole and looked to be in good position to tie the match.
 
But Levet followed with an even better shot, sticking an 8-iron within 6 inches.
 
Funk could only stare at the Frenchman and smile in disbelief. Levet just shrugged and smiled back, high-fiving his opponent as they walked up the fairway.
 
'That was pretty sweet,' Funk said. 'That was good TV golf right there.'
 
Levet extended his lead to 2-up on the next hole, and Funk never threatened after that, losing 1-up.
 
HOME CROWD
The early charge by the Americans got the home crowd rocking on Sunday afternoon. Then Europe's dominance turned Oakland Hills into The Belfry West.
 
Shortly before Tiger Woods teed off on No. 1, a fan yelled, 'We believe in miracles! Go get 'em Tiger!'
 
Woods kept them believing in the first hour of the match, holing a 35-foot eagle putt on No. 12 for a 3-up lead on Paul Casey. Woods then yanked off his hat, shouting 'C'mon!' while pumping his fist.
 
The gallery obliged, chanting, 'U-S-A! U-S-A!'
 
Phil Mickelson also got off to a quick start against Sergio Garcia, knocking his approach on No. 6 within 6 feet.
 
Garcia decided to concede the putt, which was no gimme, to avoid a thunderous roar from the raucous fans.
 
At that point, there was much to cheer about. The Americans led the first five matches early in the day, before Europe started to roll.
 
An hour later, Europe was leading in seven matches, and it was clear that the Cup was heading back across the pond.
 
That's when the party started.
 
European chants of 'Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole!' started to drown out the shellshocked Yanks, and the bubbly started flowing as the victorious 'underdogs' gathered on the 18th green.
 
'Unbelievable,' Paul McGinley said of the boisterous supporters. 'It's like WE'RE at home.'
 
WAIT TILL NEXT TIME
The Americans were only too eager to look past this shellacking to the next Ryder Cup.
 
The 2006 Ryder Cup will be played at the K Club in Dublin, where a regular European Tour event is played every year.
 
The Americans can't wait to get there.
 
'I can tell you right now that two years ago when I missed making this team, I really didn't know what I was missing,' Chris DiMarco said. 'Now that I know, it really ticks me off that I missed this team last time.'
 
The Europeans will be ready, too.
 
'I don't ever want to miss again,' Ian Poulter said. 'It's the best week in golf history.'
 
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.