Notes Riley Runs Out of Steam

By Associated PressSeptember 18, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Ryder CupBLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Chris Riley's seemingly endless supply of energy ran out when the U.S. Ryder Cup team needed it most.
 
After teaming with Tiger Woods for a dominating win in better-ball on Saturday morning, the 30-year-old told U.S. captain Hal Sutton that he was too tired to come out for alternate-shot play in the afternoon.
 
'I'm pretty drained right now,' Riley said after the 4-and-3 victory over Darren Clarke and Ian Poulter. 'So I told (Sutton) I wasn't ready to go. And look at our U.S. team, we have tons of guys that will step up and play.'
 
Maybe not.
 
Sutton paired Woods with Davis Love III for the afternoon match, but the two fell 4-and-3 to Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley. Woods just didn't look as comfortable without his childhood buddy from California by his side.
 
Woods seemed to feed off Riley's enthusiasm and emotion in his first victory of the weekend, smiling often and high-fiving the charismatic rookie.
 
But Riley, who has been one of the U.S. team's lone bright spots with 1 1/2 points in two matches, has been bouncing off the walls since arriving at Oakland Hills, and it may have caught up with him on Saturday.
 
'I just said, 'I'll do whatever you want me to do, but if it was up to me, I'm pretty emotionally drained, and let's get a fresh guy out there,'' said Riley, who also became a father for the first time on Sept. 2.
 
That didn't sit well with Sutton, who played five times in the Americans' 1999 win at Brookline.
 
'I said, 'A 42-year-old fat man in '99 went five straight matches, so I'm sure that a 30-year-old flat-belly that's hyper can go four, can't ya?''
 
When Riley hesitated, Sutton didn't.
 
'I just thought, 'Well if he really doesn't feel like it, well then I'm not sure he can help us as much as somebody who is really energetic about being out there. So I went a different direction.'
 
Love was a natural alternative after teaming with Woods for two wins at The Belfry in 2002.
 
But Woods wasn't the same with the reserved Love as his partner, and the lackluster loss helped Europe build an 11-5 lead by the day's end.
 
Riley was relegated to the role of cheerleader in his team's disastrous afternoon of alternate-shot play, even though his morning match went just 15 holes and he only played one match on Friday.
 
'I want to be fresh and ready to go tomorrow morning because I think it's going to be a big deal tomorrow,' Riley said.
 
From the look of things, that may be too late.
 
GOOD ADVICE
Things didn't look good for Europeans Paul McGinley and Padraig Harrington early in their alternate-shot match against Tiger Woods and Davis Love III.
 
The Irishmen lost the first two holes, and it took some wise words from McGinley to right the ship.
 
As the teammates strode off the second green, McGinley pulled Harrington aside and said, 'Let's stop playing the two guys. Let's concentrate on our own ball like it's a U.S. Open and try to shoot under par.'
 
It worked. McGinley and Harrington methodically chipped away at the lead, then blew by Woods and Love after the turn en route to a 4-and-3 win.
 
'We've been pals for 20 years and it's the first time he's ever paid heed to me,' McGinley quipped.
 
HOME CROWD ADVANTAGE?
The Ryder Cup may be taking place on U.S. soil, but there's definitely an Irish presence at Oakland Hills.
 
Irish players Paul McGinley, Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke have seen plenty of friendly faces amid the red, white and blue.
 
'It was great to have the Irish support out there,' McGinley said. 'We have massive support from everybody.'
 
One of the most vocal and visible supporters was Tony Reynolds, who was dressed head-to-toe in the national colors of orange, white and green and a huge orange wig.
 
'He's my caddie's father,' McGinley said. 'My caddie's girlfriend was bumped off the plane to put him on. But he didn't come on dressed like that.'
 
NICE GESTURE
Tiger Woods carried partner Chris Riley through the first 11 holes of their better-ball match until a smart move got the rookie going on No. 12.
 
Woods was responsible for the pair's score on nine straight holes and 10 of the first 11 when he allowed Riley to putt on No. 12, even though Woods was away.
 
'He's a veteran and he's been there before,' Riley said. 'He told me, 'You just knock it in.''
 
Riley holed the 4-footer to give the team a 3-up lead over Darren Clarke and Ian Poulter.
 
The birdie propelled Riley to a strong finish.
 
He followed with a brilliant tee shot on 13 that led to another birdie and a 4-up lead and closed the match out with one more birdie on 15 for a 4-and-3 victory.
 
SURPRISE GUEST
The anchor match in better ball on Saturday morning was crawling along at a snail's pace, even before things got squirrelly on No. 9.
 
A squirrel scurried on to the tee box and lingered in the area, forcing Colin Montgomerie to wait for the critter to get out of the way.
 
The squirrel finally obliged, slipping off into the rough on the right side of the fairway, and an irritated Monty finally was able to tee off after a two-minute delay.
 
ALMOST DONE
Tournament director Andy Odenbach's three-year stay in Michigan may be nearing an end, but he'll always have something to remember it by.
 
Odenbach moved to Michigan in 2001 to prepare the course and the community for one of golf's biggest events.
 
'It's crazy to think that I've spent three years of my life preparing for six days,' Odenbach said. 'It's like going to college, but there's no midterm. Only the final exam.'
 
He anticipated staying for only two years. But the 2001 Ryder Cup at The Belfry was delayed a year after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, pushing the Oakland Hills event back to this year.
 
But after the matches conclude on Sunday, it's all over.
 
'It's a letdown. You spend so much time here and then the sports world has moved on,' he said.
 
Odenbach will move on as well, to Pebble Beach, but he'll never forget his time in Michigan.
 
His wife gave birth to their first child in December. After choosing Gavin for the first name, Andy said, 'I think we need a little symbolism here.'
 
Gavin's middle name? Ryder, of course.
 
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    Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

    The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

    Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

    Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

    Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

    Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.

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    Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:10 pm

    SINGAPORE - Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his newfound self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title.

    Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

    Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended on Saturday because of lightning strikes, Garcia finished his last nine holes in 4 under for a round of 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

    With organizers desperate to avert the constant threat of more bad weather and finish the tournament on time, Garcia promptly returned to the first tee shortly after and fired a flawless 3-under 68, cruising to victory with 10 straight pars as his rivals floundered in the stifling humidity.

    ''It may have looked easy, but it wasn't easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there,'' Garcia said. ''It's always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren't easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.''

    Garcia's closest rivals at the end were Japan's Satoshi Kodaira (71) and South African Shaun Norris (70). Both birdied the last hole to share second spot but neither was ever close enough on the last day to challenge the leader.


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    ''I could not reach Sergio. I was thinking, 12 or 13 under for the win, but he went beyond that,'' Kodaira said.

    Jazz Janewattananond (71) and his fellow Thai Danthai Bonnma (73) finished equal fourth at 8 under, earning themselves a spot in this year's British Open, while American Sean Crocker, who was given an invitation to the event after turning pro late last year, also won a place at Carnoustie by finishing in a tie for sixth.

    Garcia made just three bogeys in 72 holes and his victory provided the 38-year-old with the 33rd title of his professional career and his sixth on the Asian Tour.

    He has also won three titles in the last 12 months, including the Masters, and his game looks to be in better shape now than it was a year ago.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for Augusta National because of the steamy conditions and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament, which is regularly stopped because of inclement weather.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore a year ago, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    "I'm extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can't wait to get a cold shower,'' Garcia said. ''I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn't miss many shots.''

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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


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    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.