Rookie bring no baggage just confidence - COPIED - COPIED

By Associated PressSeptember 18, 2008, 4:00 pm
Ryder CupLOUISVILLE, Ky. ' A recurring theme when Paul Azinger huddles with his U.S. team is to forget the past at the Ryder Cup.
 
He can be sure at least half of them get the message.
 
Ben Curtis was playing the mini-tours when Phillip Price and Paul McGinley delivered crucial points in Sunday singles to win at The Belfry in 2002, the opening blow in this decade of domination for Europe.
 
Anthony Kim was still in college when Padraig Harrington dropped one last putt at Oakland Hills to give Europe its biggest rout.
 
Anthony Kim
Anthony Kim tees off Wednesday at Valhalla. (Getty Images)
Boo Weekley?
 
He doesnt watch much golf on TV, so he might have been in a deer stand with a rifle slung over his shoulder when Darren Clarke provided the inspiration and Sergio Garcia provided most of the points in another record romp for Europe at The K Club.
 
They are among six rookies on the American team, the most in nearly 40 years, who have no Ryder Cup experience. Considering what happened the last three times ' and eight of the last 11 dating to 1985 ' they might be the Americans greatest asset.
 
Not being a part of the last few U.S. teams is not necessarily a bad thing, said Phil Mickelson, whose best Ryder Cup was his first one in 1995 when he went 3-0. So the guys who havent played, they have never lost this event.
 
It is an eclectic group, for sure.
 
Steve Stricker is a 41-year-old father of two with impeccable Midwestern manners who has been grinding away at golf for nearly two decades. He won twice on the PGA TOUR the year before Tiger Woods turned pro, plunged into a slump so deep he wondered if he would ever get out, then emerged over the last two years to rise as high as No. 3 in the ranking.
 
His greatest thrill in golf was when Azinger called to tell him he was a captains pick.
 
Right at the top, Stricker said. Its a great opportunity, something that Ill have forever.
 
Kim is a 23-year-old who grew up in LA and walks with a swagger, assuming he is not weighed down by his garish AK belt buckles. His college years at Oklahoma were marred by skirmishes with his coach, but the kid settled down and showed his potential this year, winning the Wachovia Championship and AT&T National at Congressional to become the youngest U.S. rookie since Woods made the team at 21.
 
Even as the tension builds, Kim breezes along Valhalla without a care.
 
I dont see anybody being tight, Kim said. Im sure as the tournament nears, theres definitely a little bit more added pressure. But were out here to have a good time. We have nothing to lose. Like Paul said, were the underdogs this week. Were going to go out there and freewheel it and make a lot of birdies and have some fun.
 
Kim played in a Walker Cup with J.B. Holmes, another rookie picked primarily for his roots (Kentucky) and his power. He has stopped traffic at Valhalla with some of his tee shots, including his drive onto the island green at the 352-yard 13th hole that players from both teams have been talking about.
 
The other rookie is Hunter Mahan, who made it through his first big test on Tuesday when the British press grilled him over his comments earlier this year in a magazine interview, in which he referred to the Ryder Cup as a moneymaking machine and said he heard that players were treated like slaves by the PGA of America.
 
Im just looking forward to playing golf now, Mahan said.
 
This is his second trip to the Ryder Cup, although the first one didnt last long. He was part of the Junior Ryder Cup team in 1999 that hung around on Saturday to watch the real show at Brookline.
 
That was the last time the Americans won the Ryder Cup.
 
Ive never seen anything like it, Mahan said, referring to the partisan support from the gallery, although he could have just as easily been talking about a U.S. victory.
 
Europe had five rookies on its 2004 team, and captain Bernhard Langer kept three of them out of action until the second day. One of those rookies, Paul Casey, thought that was a smart move because it gave them time to get used to noise and the nerves.
 
Azinger doesnt have that option. At least two of them will in the opening lineup Friday morning.
 
He might use all six.
 
I wouldnt have any trouble putting rookie and rookie together, he said. Sometimes, I think its more difficult to go out with an experienced player. I think sometimes the rookie feels like he has something to prove to that guy. But when you talk about rookies these guys all know that theyre equally as good as the guys who have played in the Ryder Cup before.
 
Weekley and Curtis are probably the most inexperienced.
 
Jack Nicklaus had Mahan hit the opening tee shot in the Presidents Cup last year in Montreal, and he split the middle. The only hiccup was when the strap on his bag broke leaving the first tee, a slightly embarrassing moment. Mahan played with Stricker, and they won both their matches. Stricker also went 5-0 at the Dunhill Cup in St. Andrews in 1996.
 
Kim and Holmes were teammates at the Walker Cup in 2005, which the Americans won outside Chicago.
 
Weekley is soaking it all in, starting with his uniform. The guy who first joined the PGA Tour by wearing rain pants and tennis shoes found himself in some mighty fine threads during the first day of practice.
 
I can tell you right now, these pants Ive got on are probably the most expensive thing Ive ever owned, Weekley said. These things here, they felt like a pair of silk underwear when youre getting ready to go hunting. Theyre unreal.
 
More important than how they look is how they play ' and how much they can put the last three Ryder Cups behind them.
 
I think the past has got to change, Weekley said. You dont know what youve got until you get out there and play with it. Its like getting a new pack of hounds when we were growing up and going deer hunting. You dont know what kind of dogs youve got until you run them. So lets run them and well see.
 
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
  • Rahm, Koepka both jump in OWGR after wins

    By Will GrayNovember 20, 2017, 1:19 pm

    Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka both made moves inside the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings following wins in Dubai and Japan, respectively.

    Rahm captured the European Tour season finale, winning the DP World Tour Championship by a shot. It was his third worldwide victory of 2017 and it allowed the Spaniard to overtake Hideki Matsuyama at world No. 4. It also establishes a new career high in the rankings for Rahm, who started the year ranked No. 137.

    Koepka cruised to a nine-shot victory while successfully defending his title at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix. The victory was his first since winning the U.S. Open and it helped Koepka jump three spots to No. 7 in the latest rankings. Reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele, who finished second behind Koepka in Japan, went from 30th to 24th.

    After earning his maiden PGA Tour victory at the RSM Classic, Austin Cook vaulted from No. 302 to No. 144 in the world. Runner-up J.J. Spaun jumped 48 spots to No. 116, while a hole-out with his final approach helped Brian Gay rise 73 spots to No. 191 after finishing alone in third at Sea Island.

    Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas with Rahm and Matsuyama now rounding out the top five. Justin Rose remains at No. 6, followed by Koepka, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson. Rory McIlroy slid two spots to No. 10 and is now in danger of falling out of the top 10 for the first time since May 2014.

    With his return to competition now less than two weeks away, Tiger Woods fell four more spots to No. 1193 in the latest rankings.

    Love to undergo hip replacement surgery

    By Rex HoggardNovember 20, 2017, 1:08 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Two days removed from arguably the most hectic week of his year, Davis Love III will undergo replacement surgery on his left hip.

    Love, who hosted and played in last week’s RSM Classic, said he tried to avoid the surgery, but the pain became too much and he will undergo the procedure on Tuesday at the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, Ala.

    “I had a hip problem the last few years, and I had a hip resurfacing trying to avoid hip surgery because I’m a chicken, but after playing [the CIMB Classic and Sanderson Farms Championship] I realized it was an uphill battle,” Love said.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    Love said doctors have told him recovery from the procedure will take between three to four months, but he should be able to start work on his chipping and putting within a few weeks.

    Love, who missed the cut at the RSM Classic, said earlier in the week that his goal is to become the oldest PGA Tour winner and that the only way to achieve that was by having the surgery.

    “Now I’m excited that I’ve crossed that bridge,” said Love, who will turn 54 next April. “Once I get over that I can go right back to the Tour. I won after a spine fusion [2015 Wyndham Championship] and now I’d like to win with a new hip. That’s the reason I’m doing it so I can get back to golf and keep up.”

    LPGA awards: Ryu, S.H. Park tie for POY

    By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:56 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – In the end, the CME Group Tour Championship played out a lot like the entire 2017 season did.

    Parity reigned.

    Nobody dominated the game’s big season-ending awards, though Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park came close.

    Thompson walked away with the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the Vare Trophy for low scoring average. If she had made that last 2-foot putt at the 72nd hole Sunday, she might also have walked away with the Rolex Player of the Year Award and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Park shared the Rolex Player of the Year Award with So Yeon Ryu. By doing so, Park joined Nancy Lopez as the only players in LPGA history to win the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year titles in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park also won the LPGA money-winning title.

    Here’s a summary of the big prizes:

    Rolex Player of the Year
    Ryu and Park both ended up with 162 points in the points-based competition. Park started the week five points behind Ryu but made the up the difference with the five points she won for tying for sixth.

    It marks the first time the award has been shared since its inception in 1966.

    Ryu and Park join Inbee Park as the only South Koreans to win the award. Park won it in 2013.


    Vare Trophy
    Thompson won the award with a scoring average of 69.114. Sung Hyun Park finished second at 69.247. Park needed to finish at least nine shots ahead of Thompson at the CME Group Tour Championship to win the trophy.

    There were a record 12 players with scoring averages under 70.0 this year, besting the previous record of five, set last year.


    CME Globe $1 million prize
    Thompson entered the week first in the CME points reset, but it played out as a two-woman race on the final day. Park needed to finish ahead of Thompson in the CME Group Tour Championship to overtake her for the big money haul. Thompson tied for second in the tournament while Park tied for sixth.

    By winning the CME Group Tour Championship, Jutanugarn had a shot at the $1 million, but she needed Park to finish the tournament eighth or worse and Thompson to finish ninth or worse.


    LPGA money-winning title
    Park claimed the title with $2,335,883 in earnings. Ryu was second, with $1,981,593 in earnings.

    The tour saw a tour-record 17 players win $1 million or more this season, two more than did so last year.

    Ryu came into the week as the only player who could pass Park for the title, but Ryu needed to win to do so.


    Rolex world No. 1 ranking
    The top ranking was up for grabs at CME, with No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Sung Hyun Park and No. 3 So Yeon Ryu all within three hundredths of a ranking point. Even No. 4 Lexi Thompson had a chance to grab the top spot if she won, but in the end nobody could overtake Feng. Her reign will extend to a second straight week.


    Rolex Rookie of the Year
    Park ran away with the award with her U.S. Women’s Open and Canadian Pacific Women’s Open victories among her 11 top-10 finishes. She had the award locked up long before she arrived for the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.

    Ko ends first winless season with T-16 at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:07 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Lydia Ko carved a hybrid 3-iron to 15 feet and ended the most intensely scrutinized year of her young career with a birdie Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship.

    “Nice to finish the season on a high note,” Ko said after posting a 3-under-par 69, good for a tie for 16th. “Obviously, not a top-10 finish, but I played really solid. I feel like I finished the season off pretty strong.”

    Ko posted two second-place finishes, a third-place finish and a tie for fifth in her last eight starts.

    “Ever since Indy [in early September], I played really good and put myself in good positions,” Ko said. “I felt like the confidence factor was definitely higher than during the middle of the year. I had some opportunities, looks for wins.”

    Sunday marked the end of Ko’s first winless season since she began playing LPGA events at 15 years old.

    Let the record show, she left with a smile, eager to travel to South Korea to spend the next month with family after playing a charity event in Bradenton, Fla., on Monday.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    Much was made of Ko beginning the year with sweeping changes, with new equipment (PXG), a new coach (Gary Gilchrist) and a new caddie (Peter Godfrey).

    In the final summary, it wasn’t a Ko-like year, not by the crazy high standards she has set.

    She saw her run of 85 consecutive weeks at No. 1 end in June. She arrived in Naples holding on to the No. 8 ranking. She ends the year 13th on the LPGA money list with $1,177,450 in earnings. It’s the first time she hasn’t finished among the top three in money in her four full years on tour. She did log 11 top-10 finishes overall, three second-place finishes.

    How did she evaluate her season?

    “I feel like it was a better year than everyone else thinks, like `Lydia is in a slump,’” Ko said. “I feel like I played solid.

    “It's a season that, obviously, I learned a lot from ... the mental aspect of saying, `Hey, get over the bads and kind of move on.’”

    Ko said she learned a lot watching Stacy Lewis deal with her run of second-place finishes after winning so much.

    “Winning a championship is a huge deal, but, sometimes, it's overrated when you haven't won,” Ko said. “Like, you're still playing well, but just haven't won. I kind of feel like it's been that kind of year.

    “I think everybody has little ups and downs.”