Pavin not concerned about Woods passion for Ryder Cup

By Associated PressSeptember 18, 2010, 3:41 am
Ryder Cup

LOS ANGELES – Corey Pavin has no concerns about Tiger Woods’ passion for Ryder Cup play, even if he doesn’t choose the world’s top player for every match next month in Wales.

Pavin praised Woods’ talent and teamwork Friday while discussing his final preparations for the Ryder Cup, which will be held Oct. 1-3. The U.S. captain also realizes everybody will be watching Woods, who could rebound from a mediocre season on tour and a nightmare year in his personal life with a strong performance for his country.

“We’ve talked about how many times he wants to play,” Pavin said. “He said, ‘I want to play five matches.’ We talked about him not playing as many, and he said, ‘Whatever’s best for the team.''

Pavin selected Woods 10 days ago as a captain’s pick. Woods missed the 2008 competition while recovering from knee surgery, but is eager to play – despite occasional questions in the past about his motivation and results in international team play.

“He’s more than ready,” Pavin said. “When he’s there, he’s 100 percent there. I think people maybe look at his record and come to some conclusion from that. Just because he doesn’t have a winning record in the Ryder Cup doesn’t mean he’s not fully committed to it.”

Pavin believes his Americans are underdogs against a powerful European team that has more familiarity with the course built specifically for the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, the site of the European Tour’s Wales Open for the past three years. He expects European captain Colin Montgomerie to add tweaks to the course to negate the U.S. team’s few advantages, perhaps countering the Americans’ greater power off the tee with additional rough at about 280 yards.

“That’s what I’d do if I were him,” Pavin said, laughing.

Pavin has spent plenty of time poring over possible pairings in the past several weeks, but wasn’t ready to reveal any decisions. He got a list of preferred partners from each player, but hasn’t promised he’ll stick to them.

“I didn’t see any surprises,” Pavin said, noting every player suggested at least three potential partners. “There might be surprises in there for the fans, but I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary.”

Pavin is aware of Woods’ past success playing with Steve Stricker, who teamed with Tiger to win all four of their team segments least year in the Presidents Cup in San Francisco, and Jim Furyk – the only other player on the U.S. roster who has a winning record as Woods’ partner.

“I did notice that,” Pavin said coyly of Stricker’s success with Woods. “I noticed a lot of things. It’s important to look back at the history of who has played where, but it’s not the only factor.”

After serving as an assistant captain four years ago, Pavin is relishing his chance to run the team. He has consulted with several CEOs and a handful of coaches – Doc Rivers of the Boston Celtics, former Lakers executive Jerry West, Texas football coach Mack Brown and UCLA basketball coach Ben Howland – about motivation, management and overall athlete psychology.

With the help of his four assistant captains, Pavin is planning a low-key, entertaining week for his players, hoping to keep their minds off the pressure.

“Emotions run high during a Ryder Cup week for everybody, and you have to be very aware of your emotional level,” Pavin said. “There’s a drain emotionally on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and you have to be ready to go Thursday.”

Pavin will be in Atlanta on Wednesday for a team meeting before the Tour Championship, but he’ll go home to Dallas for the weekend before returning to Atlanta to catch Sunday’s charter flight to Cardiff with his team.

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

 

 

Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.