Tough Day for Ryder Cup Hopefuls

By Associated PressAugust 18, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 PGA ChampionshipMEDINAH, Ill. -- Scott Verplank knew he needed a good week to make his case for the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
 
He didn't get it. Now, instead of a probability for Ireland, he's no better than a remote possibility.
 
'It's a big deal. It's something that was a goal of mine,' Verplank said after double bogeys on two of his last three holes Friday took him from a weekend tee time to the wrong side of the cut line at the PGA Championship.
 
'I'm disappointed I didn't make a better showing this week.'
 
He's not the only one. The top 10 players in the Ryder Cup rankings after the PGA automatically make the team, and captain Tom Lehman has two additional picks. Five players have already clinched their spots, and Chris DiMarco is a virtual lock.
 
But those remaining four guaranteed spots were very much up for grabs this week. And all the moving and shaking Friday affected far more than the PGA leaderboard.
 
Tim Herron and Davis Love III helped their chances immensely, and J.J. Henry is in good shape. The verdict is still out for Lucas Glover and Stewart Cink, though they at least bought themselves two more days to make good impressions.
 
Three players who were in the top 10 coming into this week may have cost themselves spots on the team. Vaughn Taylor (7th), Zach Johnson (9th) and Brett Wetterich (10th) all missed the cut. So did John Rollins, who was 11th.
 
The Ryder Cup will be held Sept. 22-24 at The K Club, an Arnold Palmer design about 25 miles west of Dublin.
 
'When you're a guy that's somewhere in that selectable area, you think about it,' said Verplank, who began the week 20th in the standings and was a longshot to begin with. 'But I don't think it's dominated my thinking.'
 
Verplank's problem was bad luck. And even worse timing.
 
Every golfer has a week where bad shots find the deepest rough possible or land in a divot. Where any shot in the sand is plugged. Verplank just happened to have that week at the PGA.
 
He had worked himself back to even par -- the cut line -- with birdies on the 14th and 15th holes. But he double bogeyed the par-4 16th and then took a 5 on the par-3 17th.
 
Just like that, his weekend at Medinah -- and maybe a trip to Ireland -- was gone.
 
'I just didn't do anything great,' Verplank said. 'I didn't play very well and got punished whenever I made a mistake. ... I want to play better every time I play. I feel like I wasted my time if I don't come out and play well.'
 
But Verplank wasn't the only one. All Taylor, Johnson and Wetterich had to do was put up decent scores and they likely could have locked up their spots. Instead Taylor blew up with a 78 Friday and was 5-over for the tournament. Wetterich went 76-77, with two quadruple bogeys the first day and a 9 on the par-4 18th Friday.
 
Johnson only missed the cut by a shot. But with so many guys below him in the standings playing well, he could find himself on the bubble.
 
One of those guys who could push Johnson out is Love.
 
Love has been on every Ryder Cup team since 1993, the longest active streak of the Americans. Though he was fourth in the standings when the year began, he had dropped down to 15th and needed a top eight finish here to clinch one of the automatic berths.
 
He's certainly put himself in good position. Love is at 7-under, one stroke behind the leaders.
 
Herron, who was 17th in the rankings, did even better. He closed his round Friday with two birdies, giving him a 5-under 67 -- and a share of the lead.
 
'I think this year I've started playing for points, and it's really been a distraction,' Love said. 'I've enjoyed the last couple of weeks because it's been a challenge to put that out of your head.
 
'Yeah, I've backed myself into a corner,' he added. 'Sometimes you start doing the things you're supposed to be doing a little bit better when you're backed into a corner. ... I'd love to play my way on.'
 
Related Links:
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    Pepperell among co-leaders early in Qatar

    By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 5:06 pm

    DOHA, Qatar – Eddie PepperellGregory Havret, and Aaron Rai made the most of calm early morning conditions at Doha Golf Club to set the pace in the opening round of the Qatar Masters at 7-under-par 65 on Thursday.

    Havret went bogey free, Pepperell made one bogey and eight birdies, while fellow English golfer Rai eagled his last hole to add to five birdies.

    One shot behind the leaders were four players, including former Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari of Italy and former champion Alvaro Quiros of Spain.

    Defending champion Jeunghun Wang of South Korea started with a 68, and Race to Dubai leader Shubhankar Sharma of India shot 69 despite a double bogey on the 15th hole.


    Full-field scores from the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters


    Pepperell, who is fast gaining a reputation on the European Tour for his irreverent tweets and meaningful blogs, showed his clubs can also do an equal amount of talking after missing cuts in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Malaysia.

    Pepperell birdied Nos. 10, 11, 14, 16 and 18 with a single blemish on 13 after starting on the back nine. He made three more birdies on his back nine.

    He was joined on top of the leaderboard by Havret, who made five birdies in six holes from the sixth, and Rai, who eagled the last.

    ''I surprised myself, really,'' said Pepperell, who finished third in Portugal and Netherlands last year.

    ''I've made some changes this week with personnel, so I've been working on a couple of new things and I surprised myself out there with how well I managed to trust it.

    ''I hit some quality tee shots, that's the area I feel that I've been struggling with a bit lately. We had a good time.

    ''It's definitely a bigger picture for me this week than tomorrow and indeed the weekend. I'm not overly-fussed about my early season form.”

    Molinari, a three-time champion on the tour including last year in Morocco, started with eight straight pars, and then made seven birdies in his last 10 holes, including a chip-in for birdie on the last.

    ''I hit every green apart from the last one. I hit a lot of fairways, I had a lot of chances for birdie,'' said Edoardo, the older brother of Francesco.

    ''Last week in Oman, I had a decent week, I had a bad first round and then three very good rounds. It's been the case for the last few weeks so my focus this week was to try and get a good start.''

    Oliver Fisher of England was the best among the afternoon groups with a 6-under 66, joining Molinari, Quiros and Germany's Marcel Schneider in a tie for fourth.

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    Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

    By Tiger TrackerFebruary 22, 2018, 4:45 pm

    Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.


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    Honda Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

    By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 22, 2018, 2:15 pm

    The PGA Tour heads back east to kick off the Florida Swing at PGA National. Here are the key stats and information for the Honda Classic. Click here for full-field tee times.

    How to watch:

    Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET

    Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET


    Purse: $6.6 million ($1,188,000 to the winner)

    Course: PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (par-70; 7,140 yards)

    Defending champion: Rickie Fowler (-12) won by four, picking off his fourth PGA Tour victory.


    Notables in the field:

    Tiger Woods

    • Making his fourth start at the Honda Classic and his first since withdrawing with back spasms in 2014.

    • Shot a Sunday 62 in a T-2 finish in 2012, marking his lowest career final-round score on the PGA Tour.

    • Coming off a missed cut at last week's Genesis Open, his 17th in his Tour career.


    Rickie Fowler

    • The defending champion owns the lowest score to par and has recorded the most birdies and eagles in this event since 2012.

    • Fowler's last start was at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he failed to close a 54-hole lead. Fowler is 1-for-6 with 54-hole leads in his Tour career, with his only successful close coming at last year's Honda.

    • On Tour this year, Fowler is first in scrambling from the fringe, second in total scrambling and third in strokes gained around the green. 


    Rory McIlroy

    • It's been feast or famine for McIlroy at the Honda. He won in 2012, withdrew with a toothache in 2013, finished T-2 in 2014 and missed the cut in 2015 and 2016.

    • McIlroy ascended to world No. 1 with his victory at PGA National in 2012, becoming the second youngest player at 22 years old to top the OWGR, behind only Woods. McIlroy was later edged by a slightly younger 22-year-old Jordan Spieth.

    • Since the beginning of 2010, only Dustin Johnson (15) has more PGA Tour victories than McIlroy (13). 

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    Lexi, J. Korda part of four-way tie in Thailand

    By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 1:01 pm

    CHONBURI, Thailand – Three-time tour winner Minjee Lee of Australia finished with a superb eagle putt to be among the four leaders after Day 1 of the LPGA Thailand at Siam Country Club on Thursday.

    Lee sank a 45-foot putt on the 18th hole to card a 6-under-par 66 to tie for the lead with 2016 champion Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, and local hope Moriya Jutanugarn.

    ''I just hit the collar. I didn't know if I was going to have enough. Such a big break there. I'm glad it caught the hole,'' Lee said.

    ''It's a second-shot golf course. Your approaches are really important, and obviously being in the right spots with the undulation. And if you have a hot putter that's going to help.''


    Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand


    Lee won the Vic Open near Melbourne this month and opened her 2018 LPGA tour account last week at the Women's Australian Open, finishing fifth.

    Thompson, who won this event in 2016 by six shots with a 20-under total and tied for fourth last year, started her latest round in style with an eagle followed by a birdie only to bogey the third hole. She carded four more birdies.

    ''It definitely helps to get that kind of start, but I was just trying to keep that momentum and not get ahead of myself,'' Thompson said.

    Her compatriot Korda had a roller-coaster round which featured eagles on the first and 17th holes, five birdies, a double bogey on the sixth, and two bogeys.

    Jutanugarn was the only player among the four to end the day without a bogey.

    ''I had a good start today, it was better than I expected,'' said Jutanugarn, who was seventh here last year.

    She's trying to become the first Thai winner of the tournament.

    Two-time champion Amy Yang and world No. 2 Sung Hyun Park were among six players at 5 under.