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
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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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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.