Tiger who New breed carries US to victory

By Associated PressSeptember 21, 2008, 4:00 pm
Ryder CupLOUISVILLE, Ky. ' Finally, the Americans figured it out.
 
They didnt need to all come from the same background, or play a similar style of golf, or even have the best player in the world leading them into the Ryder Cup.
 
They just needed some passion, some camaraderie, some sense of purpose.
 
So, it was a country boy from Floridas Panhandle who kept everyone in stitches. It was a brash kid from LA who stared down one of Europes superstars. It was two native sons of Kentucky who brought the sort of desire that only comes from playing in front of the home folks.
 
Boo Weekley
Boo Weekley was one of the U.S. rookies who helped carry the team to victory. (Getty Images)
Tiger Woods wasnt at Valhalla. But Boo Weekley was. So were Anthony Kim, Kenny Perry and J.B. Holmes.
 
Sunday evening, they joined hands on the balcony of the clubhouse at Valhalla Golf Club, sprayed champagne on the crowd below and celebrated the Ryder Cups return to this side of the Atlantic.
 
With Woods back home in Florida, recovering from knee surgery, the Americans turned to an unlikely band of seeming misfits to wrest the gold chalice away from Europe for the first time since 1999.
 
This is a week Ill never forget, said Perry, at 48 the oldest member of the team. Its the greatest experience of my life.
 
Kim set the tone by winning the first match of the day in a rout. Perry, Weekley and Holmes each added a point to the U.S. cause. When it was done, the Americans had romped to a 16 1/2 -11 1/2 victory that ended a streak of three consecutive European wins, the last two of them not even close.
 
Their records over three days were stunning: Kim and Perry each went 2-1-1; Weekley and Holmes both went 2-0-1. Together, they had a hand in 8 1/2 points.
 
That was more excitement than Ive had in a loooooong time, said Weekley, who certainly came out of the week as a folk hero ' and surefire target of the Europeans should he make the team in 2010. Its hard to describe. Its not all sank in yet.
 
As one Ryder Cup loss after another piled up, five of the last six in all, the Americans were accused of being too robotic, too individualistic when it came to team golf. There was no doubt they had most of the best players, but they were a disjointed, disparate bunch when joined as one.
 
That all changed in the bluegrass state.
 
At the very first hole, Weekley galloped down the fairway like Happy Gilmore after hitting his tee shot, using his driver as a toy horse while whipping his behind. The gallery roared with delight. Hard to imagine Woods doing anything like that.
 
An amazing moment, U.S. captain Paul Azinger said. Never to be duplicated.
 
Weekley revved up the crowds all weekend ' so much so that Europes Lee Westwood complained about him broaching the lines of proper decorum ' but theres little doubt from all those chants of Boooooooo! that American golf has its new John Daly.
 
I kind of took it on my own, said Weekley, who beat Oliver Wilson 4 and 2.
 
I felt like I needed to do it in a way. Im not going to say Im the most outgoing guy on the team, but if there was one who was going to cut up the most, it was going to be me. I thought I might want to do this and see if I could help get the team fired up and the fans fired up.
 
Kim broke out one of his gaudy belt buckles, this one bejeweled in red, white and blue with the letters USA, and conceded nothing to Garcia ' not even 2-foot putts. It was over by the 14th hole, though Kim didnt even fathom his 5-and-4 victory until someone stopped him on the way to 15.
 
That said, the 23-year-olds greatest contribution might have come behind the scenes, where his youthful exuberance and cocky demeanor gave him a leadership role that no one could have expected from the youngest team member.
 
That guy is the funniest guy on the team, said Phil Mickelson, who paired up with Kim three times and basically just got out of the way on Sunday. Everything that comes out of his mouth is a hoot.
 
Certainly no one on the team had more on the line than Perry.
 
Two years away from the old-timers tour, he built his whole schedule this year around qualifying for the Ryder Cup, even when it meant skipping a chance to qualify for the U.S. Open and choosing to play in Milwaukee rather than at the British Open. That certainly subjected him to plenty of criticism, but he was born, raised and still lives right down the road in Franklin, Ky.
 
No event ' not even a major ' meant more to Perry than this one.
 
He birdied four of the five holes and never let up in a 3-and-2 win over Henrik Stenson, who had been one of Europes best in the match-play format. When it was done, Perrys overall-clad father hugged him along the 16th green.
 
I said this was going to define my career, Perry said. You know what? This made my career.
 
Holmes was the lesser-known of the two Kentuckians on the team, a monstrous hitter who first joined his high school team in the third grade and overcame dyslexia to make it at the states flagship university. He was one of four players added to the team by captain Paul Azinger, who figured he might benefit from the home-course advantage.
 
Feeding off Weekleys energy ' the two paired up twice in fourball ' Holmes had to go it alone on Sunday. He was up to the challenge, winning a crucial point with a 2 and 1 victory over Soren Hansen.
 
It ended in true Holmes fashion: a huge drive that headed left and looked as though it might not stop until it got to downtown Louisville. The crowd parted like the Red Sea and the ball caught the trees, bounced off a cart path, hopped along the trampled down rough, caught a bank and rolled back toward the fairway, finally stopping some 370 yards from where it started.
 
Holmes flipped a wedge toward the green, the ball checking up some 3 feet from the pin. Hansen missed his birdie try and the American sank his gimme to pull the Americans within one point of the win. A few minutes, it was over.
 
It was pretty much perfect, Holmes said. You couldnt draw it up any better.
 
Jim Furyk actually clinched the win when Miguel Angel Jimenez conceded a putt at that same 17th hole. But there was no doubt who carried the load for the Americans.
 
Tiger who?
 

Related Links:
  • U.S. Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • European Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • Full Coverage - 37th Ryder Cup
  • Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

    By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

    Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

    Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

    Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

    Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

    It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

    The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

    Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

    Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

    ''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

    They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

    ''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

    Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

    ''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

    Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

    Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

    Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

    Getty Images

    Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

    Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

    Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

    Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

    Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

    The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

    Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.