US Holds Slim Lead After Nasty Day 1

By Associated PressSeptember 14, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Solheim CupHALMSTAD, Sweden -- Tromping through the bushes, Laura Davies looked as lost as she'd ever been on a golf course.
 
Then, she made two shots that will go down in Solheim Cup lore to win the hole, save her match and turn a rough opening day for the Europeans into something much better.
 
Laura Davies
Laura Davies reacts to her holded chip shot on 17 Friday afternoon. (Getty Images)
The United States led 4 -3 after a windy, wet and frigid Friday in Sweden -- a good sign for a team that hasn't been ahead after the first day of this event since 1998.
 
But it was the Europeans who walked off the course with all the momentum. Davies was a big part of that.
 
Playing in the final fourball match of the day, she was the last player to hit on the tricky par-3 16th hole. She didn't learn a lesson by watching Americans Morgan Pressel and Paula Creamer and her own teammate, Trish Johnson, all hit to the wrong side of Backen -- the creek that runs in front of and down the right side of the green.
 
In fact, Davies hit the worst shot of the foursome.
 
So bad, that she found herself climbing through the shrubbery simply to get to her ball.
 
Once there, she took a wild swing and a gash of underbrush, blasting the ball out to the fringe on the opposite side of the green. Still away, she chipped in her next shot from 50 feet to win the hole and draw even in a match she and Johnson had trailed all day.
 
'Just a hack and hope,' Davies called it. 'Something a 36-handicapper might try. Just hit it and hope for the best.'
 
Davies and Johnson played the last two holes to a draw. Creamer and Pressel both had decent looks at putts to win, but missed them and graciously conceded testy putts to their opponents to wind up with a tie that, in many ways, felt more like a win for the Europeans.
 
That, plus a rally by Annika Sorenstam and Maria Hjorth to salvage another half point, helped the Europeans split the afternoon matches after being behind in all four of them at one point about halfway through.
 
'Not a bad day, considering,' Davies said.
 
In other afternoon matches, Catriona Matthew and Iben Tinning teamed up to defeat Pat Hurst and Brittany Lincicome 4 and 2, while Cristie Kerr got her second point of the day, teaming with Nicole Castrale for a 3-and-2 victory over Sophie Gustafson and Gwladys Nocera.
 
The Americans took 2 1/2 points in the morning rounds, led by some clutch putting from Sherri Steinhauer, who teamed with Laura Diaz to defeat Sorenstam and Matthew 4 and 2.
 
'I have a long time in my career, and it's been rejuvenated, and to be back, it's unbelievable,' said Steinhauer, the 44-year-old who is back at the Solheim Cup for the first time since 2000.
 
Steinhauer missed a 3-foot putt on No. 10 to bring a match the Americans had led by two back to all-square.
 
But from there, she was simply terrific. After the Americans regained the lead on No. 11, Steinhauer saved par from 8 feet to halve No. 12, then hit her tee shot on the par-3 13th to near tap-in range to go 2 up.
 
On No. 14, Matthew hit her approach shot to 6 inches, putting herself and Sorenstam in line to trim the lead. That's when Steinhauer, who works with a long putter, knocked in a 20 footer to halve the hole and suck away whatever momentum the Europeans may have felt moments earlier.
 
In other morning matches, Creamer and Juli Inkster defeated Davies and Becky Brewerton 2 and 1, while Hjorth and Nocera defeated Pressel and Natalie Gulbis for Europe's lone victory.
 
Gustafson and Suzann Pettersen salvaged a tie for Europe against Kerr and Hurst -- also something of a European victory, really, considering they played most of their match from behind trees and in the rough.
 
It was a day of wild weather, one that started under cloud cover, but turned to wind and rain squalls, then alternated between sunshine and more squalls at the end.
 
'From start to finish, probably one of the worst I've ever seen,' said Johnson, who is from England and is used to bad conditions.
 
She and Davies looked miserable through most of their match against two of America's up-and-coming stars.
 
But Creamer and Pressel, good as they were for parts of the match, did nothing to put it away. And when Pressel missed what was essentially a tap-in that would have put the Americans 2 up after 13 holes, it left things open for the kind of finish Davies fashioned.
 
Asked where it ranked on her list of all-time great par saves, Davies didn't hesitate.
 
'Probably the best given the circumstances,' she said.
 
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    Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

    By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

    After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

     There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



    It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

    It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

    “The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

    In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



    Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

    Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

    “You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

    Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



    Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

    If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

    For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

    Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



    Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

    While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

    When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

    Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



    After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

    The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

    That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

    The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

    While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



    Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

    Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

    “We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

    The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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    Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

    John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

    That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

    Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

    Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

    Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


    Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


    Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

    World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

    Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

    Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

    Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

    The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

    Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

    "I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

    Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

    Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

    Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.