Ryder Cup Forecast Noise

By Associated PressSeptember 14, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Ryder CupBLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Bernhard Langer walked off the plane and cleared customs with his right fist wrapped tightly around the Ryder Cup trophy.
 
The key is to get back on the plane at the end of the week with the 19-inch gold chalice.
 
The 12-man European team was together for the first time Monday afternoon, captain Langer and 11 players arriving on an Airbus 300 from London, with Luke Donald having driven up from the Chicago area where he makes his home.
 
U.S. captain Hal Sutton and his wife formed a receiving line, and Sutton couldn't keep his eyes off the trophy.
 
'What is this you have here?' Sutton said.
 
'Just a little something,' Langer said. 'We'll fight for it the next few days.'
 
During the flight, Langer removed the trophy from its case and passed it among his players, posing for pictures and taking care not to scratch it. The Europeans had no reason to act as if they had never seen the Ryder Cup, especially after it has gone home with them six times in the last nine matches.
 
'We certainly had some fun with it, took some memorable pictures on the plane and off the plane and all that kind of stuff,' Langer said.' It's nice to have it in my grasp. And I'm not going to try and let go of it.'

Langer has reason to believe his team can capture the Ryder Cup for the seventh time in the last 10 matches, even though the Americans again look stronger on paper.
 
One of his captain's picks, Donald, won the European Masters two weeks ago for his second victory in two months. Padraig Harrington, the highest-ranked player in Europe, picked up his first victory of the year Sunday in the German Masters.
 
'For the first time, I think we are going over there not so much as underdogs,' Colin Montgomerie said as the team left London. 'Of course, it will be difficult - don't get me wrong. Playing away from home is always harder. At the same time, I'll be very, very disappointed if we don't bring back what we're taking with us.'
 
Tiger Woods, who lost his No. 1 ranking two weeks ago for the first time in five years, held a corporate clinic about 20 miles from Oakland Hills on Monday.
 
The U.S. team met for the first time together for dinner Monday night, although a few of them played casual practice rounds Monday - Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Fred Funk, Chad Campbell and David Toms.
 
Mickelson was particularly dialed in. He took nearly six hours to play a practice round by himself, preparing for these matches like he does a major. A caddie placed six tiny flags at various spots on the green, and Mickelson chipped to all of them, pausing to fill his yardage book with notes.
 
The Americans have five Ryder Cup rookies, and not all of them can be called fresh-faced kids. The newcomers include the 47-year-old Funk and 44-year-old Kenny Perry, both of whom played in the Presidents Cup in South Africa last year against an International team comprised of players from everywhere in the world except Europe.
 
The International team was stronger than anything Europe can muster, with players such as Vijay Singh, Mike Weir, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen. The golf was at a higher level than usually seen in the Ryder Cup.
 
What the Presidents Cup is lacking is the sheer passion of playing under the flag of a single continent, the 77 years of history and over-the-top expectations built up by the British press.
 
It has been two years since the Ryder Cup was last played - a 15 1/2-12 1/2 victory for Europe at The Belfry - but there was another reminder of what the matches are all about last week in the Canadian Open, where Singh beat Weir in a three-hole playoff.
 
There was deafening noise, so loud that Weir had to force a yawn to pop his ears when he got to the tee.
 
The pressure was so great that Weir felt the weight of a nation riding on his every shot in the Canadian Open, where some 40,000 fans were eager to celebrate one of their own claiming the championship for the first time in 50 years.
 
Crowds were so partisan that they could not stifle cheers when Singh missed a putt.
 
'You understand that's part of it,' Singh said after spoiling the party Sunday.
 
And that's a big part of the Ryder Cup, which gets under way Friday in a biennial match that transforms the sport from genteel appreciation of good golf to a football mentality of 'Us versus Them.'
 
Monday was as quiet as it will get all week at Oakland Hills.
 
Related Links:
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  • Full Coverage - 35th Ryder Cup

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    If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''