Notes Tie Will Lead to Playoff

By Associated PressNovember 19, 2003, 5:00 pm
GEORGE, South Africa -- If the Presidents Cup ends in a tie, it could lead to the most exciting aspect of these matches -- a sudden-death playoff.
 
Neither captain likes the idea.
 
'I think that's an awful lot of pressure on one player to do that,' U.S. captain Jack Nicklaus said Tuesday. 'However, that's the rules of how we're playing.'
 
The defending champion retains the trophy if the Ryder Cup matches end in a tie.
 
In the Presidents Cup, each captain places the name of one player in an envelope before the first day of matches are completed on Thursday. If both teams have 17 points at the conclusion of play Sunday, those players -- Tiger Woods and Ernie Els, for example -- have a playoff to determine which team wins the Presidents Cup.
 
So far, it hasn't come down to that.
 
The closest Presidents Cup was in 1996, when Fred Couples holed a long putt on the 17th green to beat Vijay Singh in the final match for a 16 1/2-15 1/2 victory.
 
International team captain Gary Player agreed with Nicklaus, saying it was too great of a burden on one player to decide four days of team competition.
 
'I would like to see it the same as the Ryder Cup,' Player said. 'If you tie it, you tie. I'm in the horse business, and when I see a Kentucky Derby ... in a tie, they don't go back 200 yards and have a race-off.'
 
Player referred to Bernhard Langer missing a 6-foot putt on the final hole at Kiawah Island in the 1991 Ryder Cup, which cost Europe the trophy. The photo of Langer throwing his head back and yelling in agony is one of the lasting images in golf.
 
'You've seen some very cruel things,' Player said.
 
ON SAFARI: Masters champion Mike Weir didn't wait for The Presidents Cup to begin to get his fill of adventure.
 
Weir and his wife went to Shamwari Game Reserve about five hours east of George for a safari. They saw rhinos and lions, and got a close glimpse of a leopard.
 
'It was like a cat, just playing with our truck,' Weir said. 'It wasn't that big, only about 75 or 80 pounds.'
 
The only letdown was going to Mossel Bay, where people can go into a cage that is submerged for a view of Great White Sharks.
 
'I didn't go into the cage because there were no sharks around,' he said.
 
HOME SOIL: The only other time The Presidents Cup was played outside the United States was 1998 in Australia, which is the only year Robert Allenby of Australia didn't make the International team.
 
Allenby was severely injured in a car accident in 1996 and was just starting to regain his form when the teams were selected. He thought his knowledge of Royal Melbourne would get him a captain's pick, but Peter Thomson left him off the team.
 
'That was a tough one to miss,' Allenby said.
 
He went to the Crown casino and had dinner with the International team, and even went to the course the first day to watch some matches and show support.
 
'It was tough to get me out there,' Allenby said. 'This was a course where I had the best record of any other player in the event. It was hard to watch.'
 
That won't be the case at Fancourt.
 
BAG MAN: Coming off the 17th green during a practice round, Jay Haas pulled out a pen and asked Tiger Woods to sign his golf bag.
 
Ebay?
 
Not quite. Haas, who previously played on two Ryder Cup teams and the '94 Presidents Cup team, later asked Chris DiMarco for his signature. He planned to get all of his teammates to turn his bag into a memento.
 
'I've got a couple of these bags at home without anything on them,' Haas said.
 
DIVOTS: Half of the U.S. team looked bleary-eyed at a press conference Tuesday, and for good reason. Phil Mickelson, Davis Love III, Jim Furyk, Justin Leonard and David Toms all arrived Monday night. 'We haven't seen much yet,' Toms said. 'It was dark last night. Hotel is nice.' Love said later he had a migraine, about the fifth one this year.
 
  • At stake in The Presidents Cup is bragging rights at home. Jim Furyk lives near Vijay Singh. Tiger Woods lives in the same neighborhood as Stuart Appleby. 'I don't want to go home and have Vijay popping off for the next couple of months,' Furyk said. 'That's not fun.'
     
  • Mike Weir of Canada brought each of his teammates a jersey that Canada wore when it won the gold medal in hockey at the Salt Lake City Olympics, each with their name stitched on the back. 'There's 11 (players) on the team that probably don't know a lot about ice hockey,' assistant captain Ian Baker-Finch said. 'That was kind of a unique thing.'
     
    STAT OF THE WEEK: For the first time since The Presidents Cup began in 1994, the reigning PGA champion is not on either team.
     
    FINAL WORD: 'I don't need a lot of incentive to get my batteries charged.' -- Arnold Palmer, 74, who will play in the Office Depot Father-Son Challenge next month with his grandson.
     
    Related Links:
  • Meet the Teams
  • Full Coverage - The Presidents Cup
     
    Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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    Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

    Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

    Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

    In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

    Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

    “I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

    Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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    Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

    In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


    Made Cut

    Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

    Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    September can’t get here quick enough.

    Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

    There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

    In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

    “I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

    The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

    Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

    Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

    The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

    The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

    “My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


    Missed Cut

    Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

    After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

    It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

    Tweet of the week:

    It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

    The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”