Old Guard Looking To Go Out on Winning Note

By Associated PressSeptember 4, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 Solheim CupThe pictures were supposed to be for posterity.
 
As European players doused themselves with champagne to celebrate a Solheim Cup victory in Sweden two years ago, Meg Mallon gathered the old guard on the U.S. team for group photos of what many figured would be the last time together playing for their country.
 
Mallon and Beth Daniel had played on seven teams. Rosie Jones was on six teams, Juli Inkster on five. They were in their 40s and had combined to play in 87 matches. All of them had a winning record.
 
We thought that might be our last one, Mallon said. Now we have another chance.
 
Yet the ninth Solheim Cup, which starts Sept. 9 at Crooked Stick in Carmel, Ind., is not about making memories, rather purging them. Still fresh in their minds is the beating the Americans took two years ago in Sweden, and the chaotic finish that contributed to the biggest blowout in these matches.
 
Catriona Matthew earned the decisive point for Europe, and confusion joined the celebration. Spectators ran through the bunkers and across the course, even with five matches still in progress. Some players were told to stop playing, others continued. Ultimately, it was decided that whoever was behind would concede her match.
 
The final score: Europe 171/2, United States 101/2.
 
I dont even look at it as a proper score, Mallon said.
 
If there is a score to settle at this Solheim Cup, it comes with the added pressure of having never lost on U.S. soil. The closest Europe has come was three years ago at Interlachen in Minnesota, where it led 9-7 going into the singles until succumbing to an American rally.
 
Im not quite sure how this course is going to set up, but I feel like our team is playing good, Inkster said. Theres nothing better than winning at home. I cant imagine anything worse than losing at home, and we dont plan on doing that. We just need to get off to a better start.
 
For the quartet in their 40s to go out in style, theyll need help from kids young enough to be their daughters. Never has there been such an infusion of youth on the U.S. team, led by 19-year-old Paula Creamer, whose two victories enabled her to become the first LPGA Tour rookie to earn a spot on the Solheim Cup team.
 
Creamer was in Sweden two years ago, with red, white and blue paint on her face, having played in the Junior Solheim Cup. She also starred for the U.S. at the Curtis Cup last summer in England.
 
And she is not afraid to speak her mind.
 
Standing with her teammates last week in Ohio, Creamer oozed so much confidence that even the veterans were shocked at her message to the Europeans.
 
All I can say is they had better get ready, Creamer said. Because theyre going to get beat.
 
Also playing for the first time are 22-year-old Natalie Gulbis and 21-year-old Christina Kim. Joining them on the team is 27-year-old Cristie Kerr, the woman atop the U.S. standings.
 
And to think that only a few years ago there was a dearth of good young U.S. players. The next team might include Morgan Pressel and Michelle Wie, if she ever joins the LPGA Tour.
 
I have to say, four years ago I was like, Whos going to play? There was no one out there, Inkster said. Im quite pleased we have some good young players that can carry on that tradition. Younger players are stepping up. It used to be younger meant you were 25 or 26. Now its 18 and 19.
 
While the United States brings young and old, Europe answers with power.
 
Crooked Stick, a Pete Dye creation outside Indianapolis, is where the world was introduced to the grip-it-and-rip-it style of John Daly, the ninth alternate who overpowered the course to win the 1991 PGA Championship.
 
Its the toughest Solheim Cup course ever, European captain Catrin Nilsmark said. Asked what type of players Crooked Stick suited best, she mentioned long hitters, good short games and Sorenstam.
 
Europe has no shortage of length, led by Sorenstam, Laura Davies, Maria Hjorth and Sophie Gustafson, all of whom are among the top six in driving distance on the LPGA Tour.
 
The Europeans also have a collection of players unknown in these parts, the way the Ryder Cup used to be in the 1980s and most of the 1990s. Newcomers include Ludivine Kreutz and Gwladys Nocera of France, and Karen Stupples of England, whose eagle-double eagle start carried her to the Womens British Open title last year.
 
America has got a lot of young, non-afraid players, Nilsmark said. But so do we.
 
The U.S. captain is Nancy Lopez, which should lead to an emotional week at Crooked Stick for a Hall of Famer who teared up while speaking to her team before a practice session last month.
 
She made her captains picks'Daniel and Wendy Ward'on instinct. But she studied past results and set up two practice rounds for the Americans to work on the alternate-shot format that has crippled them.
 
Two years ago, Europe won 61/2 points from the eight alternate-shot matches; the Americans got their points from that format by halving three matches.
 
We all know we stink at it, and we dont know why, Inkster said. Sometimes, we try too hard for each other. But these practice rounds have helped.
 
Despite the vast difference in age, Lopez has seen them come together over the last few months at tournaments and practice sessions. She sees the quiet determination of Mallon, Daniel and Jones, who is retiring after this year; and the unbridled excitement of Creamer, Kim and Gulbis.
 
This team has all the experience we need to win the Solheim Cup, Lopez said. Weve got young players who are so enthusiastic, and I think theyre going to keep us going. And then youve got the veterans to help them along if they have any problems with pressure. But I dont think thats going to happen.
 
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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.

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    Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

    “Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.


    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


    “We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

    In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010.