Notes Faldos secrets revealed

By Associated PressSeptember 17, 2008, 4:00 pm
Ryder CupLOUISVILLE, Ky. ' Nick Faldo might want to keep his ideas close to his vest.
The European captain was in a cart in front of the 11th green Wednesday at the Ryder Cup when he called Henrik Stenson over for a chat and pulled out a small notepad. Little did Faldo know, a British photographer was perched on a hill by the 12th tee. With a zoom lens, he was able to capture the notes on the paper, which appeared to be pairings.
They were only initials, but it wasnt hard to figure them out.
SG was next to LW'Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood, who have gone 4-1-1 in two previous Ryder Cups; JR and IP would be Justin Rose and Ian Poulter, who are the best of friends with similar games. RK and PH would indicate Faldo was considering matching Robert Karlsson and three-time major champion Padraig Harrington.
Stensons initials were next to the initials of Graeme McDowell and Paul Casey.
Thats assuming those were pairings he had in mind for the start of the Ryder Cup on Friday.
We pretty much have a very clear idea of what were going to do, Faldo said at his press conference.
But he squirmed in his seat a few minutes later when someone pointed out that a photographer caught on camera a piece of paper with what appeared to be pairings.
It just had the lunch list, Faldo said. It had sandwich requests for the guys, just making sure who wants tuna, who wants the beef, who wants the ham. Thats all it was.
The microphone went dead when the reporter tried to follow up, letting him off the hook. But only for a short time. Another reporter pointed out that only 11 initials were on the paper (Miguel Angel Jimenez was left out).
Put my name down, then, Faldo said.
He later said he did not mention the order those teams might play, so some are safe. And Faldo pointed out that he could always change his mind. Whether he was referring to ham-on-rye or Poulter and Rose remains to be seen.
A dispute in 1999 over money the PGA of America makes off the Ryder Cup resulted in a plan that allows American players to direct $200,000 to charities of their choice, with $90,000 this year going to a golf education program at their alma maters.
To celebrate the donations, players posed with a shirt and football helmet from the school that received the money.
Phil Mickelson cradled a yellow helmet with a red Sun Devil from Arizona State. Anthony Kim (Oklahoma), Hunter Mahan (Oklahoma State) and Justin Leonard (Texas) represented the Big 12.
Some players donated to two colleges'Chad Campbell has roots in west Texas (Texas Tech) and played at UNLV.
And then theres Boo Weekley.
He picked three colleges, and only one of them has a football team, Kent State alum Ben Curtis joked.
Weekley split the $90,000 among Alabama, West Florida (near his Panhandle home) and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Ga., the only place he actually attended.
He had to settle for a straw hat with ABAC across the front, holding a pennant from the two-year school.
Everyone remembers the putt, and the celebration that followed on the 17th green at Brookline when Justin Leonard knocked in a 45-footer for the only U.S. victory in the Ryder Cup the last six matches.
But take a closer look at video highlights, and youll see a large man in a bright red shirt.
He was the first one to give Leonard a high-five, and Leonard didnt even know who it was at the time.
He was way inside the ropes, practically on the green, Leonard said. I didnt give it a second thought.
A few years later when he was playing in a corporate outing in the Boston area, someone asked Leonard if he remembered running into a fan wearing a red shirt, and if he recalled the credential he was wearing.
It said clergy. But this guy was no priest, Leonard said. Apparently, he has forged his way into every sporting event known to man. Hes got pictures of him sitting next to Shaq (Shaquille ONeal) at All-Star games and NBA finals.
That wasnt the last Leonard saw of the impostor that day.
Walking off the 18th green, somebody reached over and snaked my hat, Leonard said. I didnt care. We were celebrating. But I turned around it was the same guy. Hes got my hat. Im sure hes got a lot of stuff.
A decade ago, Europe always seemed to have a player that nobody knew until he came up with great shots and big points in the Ryder Cup' Peter Baker in 1993 and Philip Walton in 1995 come to mind.
Such surprises are rare these days because more Europeans are playing on the PGA Tour, and even if they dont, all three World Golf Championships and three majors are held in the United States.
The exception might be Oliver Wilson.
If hardly anyone knows him, theres a reason. The 28-year-old from England is the only player at Valhalla who has not won on any tour since turning pro. He earned the 10th and final spot on the team on the strength of four runner-up finishes.
Im well aware that not a lot of guys know my name, Wilson said. But Im comfortable enough, and I think Ive been around long enough, to feel I know what I need to do. Ive seen guys hole the winning putts. Ive seen the celebrations. I want to be there Sunday night, and I think that would be the most incredible feeling to go through that.
Thats the holy grail, you know? To have something like that in your career to look back on would be amazing.
The Europeans practice round on Tuesday took more than six hours as they studied Valhalla, and spent a good part of the time signing autographs to endear them to the majority of Americans in the gallery.
It took so long, that three players missed their obligatory interviews' Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey and Graeme McDowell. Instead of walking off the course at the appointed time, captain Nick Faldo said it was more important to stay on the course. The interviews were rescheduled'to 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Stenson was the first to yawn.
He was asked if he would have been up so early in a normal tournament.
Sometimes you want to get an early practice round, he said. It all depends if youre playing early or late on Thursday. But I dont think I would have seen you at 5:30 in the morning. Any of you.
It was worse for Casey, who only arrived on Monday from his home outside Phoenix.
Im on West Coast time right now, so its 4 oclock in the morning, he said. Please excuse me if I yawn once or twice. Its not your questions. Im just tired.
Related Links:
  • U.S. Report Cards
  • European Report Cards
  • U.S. Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • European Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • Full Coverage - 37th Ryder Cup
  • Getty Images

    Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

    By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

    JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

    The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.

    Full-field scores from the Joburg Open

    Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

    ''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

    Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm
    Getty Images

    Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

    Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

    Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

    Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

    The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 6, Dustin Johnson

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:00 pm

    Only Dustin Johnson could win four times in 2017 and it still feels as though he underachieved.

    That’s unfair, perhaps, but it’s a testament to Johnson’s awesome ability – and his incredible run of form last spring – that observers can’t help but shake the feeling that his year could have been even better.

    In February, he rose to the top of the world rankings for the first time, the culmination of a long, bizarre journey in which he often battled himself (through major blunders and, reportedly, drug-related suspensions) as much as his peers. Johnson’s blowout victory at Riviera was his first of three consecutive titles (including two WGCs), as he achieved Tiger-like levels of dominance and rolled into the Masters as the prohibitive favorite.

    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

    Expectations for this star-crossed talent are always different, and so the surprise wasn’t that he blew that major but that he didn’t even give himself a chance. In one of the biggest stunners of the year, Johnson’s manager announced on the eve of the first round that his client had suffered a back injury while slipping on a set of stairs in his rental house. Just like that, the year’s first major was thrown into chaos, with Johnson unable to play – the line of demarcation in his good-but-not-great year.

    Though he added a playoff victory at the end of the season, Johnson failed to factor in any of the remaining three majors and was surprisingly inconsistent, perhaps because of swing compensations after the injury.

    Would DJ have denied Sergio Garcia a green jacket? Would he have created even more separation at the top of the world rankings? Would he have defended his Player of the Year title? Unfortunately, we’ll never know.

    In typical DJ fashion, he left us to ponder what could have been.

    Johnson becomes world No. 1, starts season with three straight wins

    Article: Johnson officially ascends to No. 1 for first time with Riviera win

    DJ on reaching No. 1: 'It's been a long journey'

    View from the top: How long will DJ stay at No. 1?

    Article: DJ's star once again shines brightest at WGC-Mexico

    DJ on win: 'Means a lot' with the pressure of No. 1

    DJ breaks it down: How No. 1 won WGC-Mexico

    Video: DJ withstands Rahm's rally to win WGC-Match Play final

    DJ on beating Rahm: 'I didn't give him anything'

    Johnson: 'I definitely didn't play my best today'

    Johnson enters Masters as odds-on favorite, withdraws after falling down stairs

    Article: After uneasy warmup, DJ withdraws from Masters

    Article: Johnson installed as Masters betting favorite

    Article: DJ injures back in fall, hopes to play Masters

    DJ on Masters WD: 'Want to play ... it sucks'

    DJ: 'I was playing the best golf of my career'

    DJ welcomes second child with fiancée Paulina Gretzky

    DJ, Paulina welcome baby boy before U.S. Open

    It's a(nother) boy! DJ-Paulina's gender reveal

    This and that: DJ and Paulina in 2017

    DJ, Paulina make new music video on ski vacation

    DJ, Paulina unwind with Bahamas vacay

    DJ: 'Absolutely' no input on Paulina's social media

    Watch: Paulina shows off pretty swing at TopGolf

    Johnson adds fourth win of season, blows chance at fifth

    As good as it gets: DJ-Outduels Spieth at Northern Trust

    Johnson's HSBC collapse surprising, but not major

    DJ beats Spieth in playoff to earn fourth win of year

    Burr: 'For a great win there is an epic collapse'