Youngest Curtis Cup Team Ever

By Associated PressFebruary 4, 2004, 5:00 pm
U.S. captain Martha Wilkinson Kirouac expects to preside over one of the youngest Curtis Cup teams ever -- something that might have made her nervous a year ago.
But having watched some of America's teens compete, her confidence is high.
''They're not lacking,'' Kirouac said. ''You can't hold age against them.''
Among the candidates to make the U.S. team, which likely will be announced this weekend, are Michelle Wie (14), Paula Creamer (17), Jane Park (17) and Arizona sophomore Erica Blasberg (19).
Kirouac's job could get even more interesting if Carol Semple Thompson, 55, gets picked for her 13th Curtis Cup.
It's one thing to have a teammate young enough to be your daughter.
But young enough to be your granddaughter?
Captain's style: Based on the last two guys Hal Sutton played for in the Ryder Cup, captains aren't always the way they were as players.
Curtis Strange, a two-time U.S. Open winner, was renowned for his fierce focus during the biggest events, a guy that utterly despised making anything worse than par.
Sutton expected that personality at The Belfry in 2002, but found a captain who was more relaxed and in tune with the players. Part of that was because Strange and European captain Sam Torrance tried to restore civility and perspective to the matches.
''Curtis was not as intense of a captain as he was a player,'' Sutton said. ''That's not a knock against Curtis. I thought Curtis did a great job from a player's perspective, but he was a little different than he was as a player.''
Then there's Ben Crenshaw, known as ''Gentle Ben.''
He was hardly that, according to Sutton.
''I would call him 'seriously calculated' in some ways,'' Sutton said.
Sutton was playing well in the '99 matches at Brookline. He and Jeff Maggert had just finished winning an alternate-shot match on the second day when Crenshaw said he needed them to play again in the afternoon.
Sutton was ready to go. Maggert said he was tired and needed to sit.
''Ben looks at me and he said, 'Well, who do you want to play with, because I'm going to have to put you out there,''' Sutton said.
Sutton suggested Payne Stewart. Crenshaw said Stewart was spraying the ball all over the place and sent him out with Justin Leonard.
''I thought I might have a little influence on Ben,'' Sutton said. ''I don't know why he asked me in the first place. He had no intentions of doing what I said. I kind of liked that about Ben.''
Divots: The Evian Masters has raised its purse to $2.5 million, second-highest on the LPGA Tour behind the U.S. Women's Open. ... Judy Rankin will receive the Linda Vollstedt Award next Monday in Phoenix for service and leadership in women's sports. ... The USGA might hand out exemptions to the U.S. Open during its annual meeting this weekend in Orlando, Fla. Among those under consideration are Tom Watson. ... Casey Martin is in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on a sponsor's exemption. ... The winner of the Ford Championship at Doral will get a Ford GT. Priced just under $140,000, it will be the most expensive car awarded on the PGA Tour. ... Retief Goosen has shot par or better in his last 25 rounds on the PGA Tour.

Stat of the week: Eight men played in the first four PGA Tour events of the year. Jonathan Kaye and Retief Goosen were the only ones to make every cut.
Final word: 'I must have picked up 10 yards, because last year Hank Kuehne hit it 70 yards by me. And today, he only hit it 60 by me.'' -- Scott Verplank
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Watch: Tiger highlights from Round 2 at Honda

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 23, 2018, 8:12 pm

Tiger Woods started at even par in Round 2 of the Honda Classic. Friday began with a bogey at the par-4 second, but Woods got that stroke back with a birdie at the par-4 fourth:

Following four consecutive pars, Woods birdied the par-4 ninth to turn in 1-under 34.

At 1 under for the tournament, Woods was tied for 10th place, three off the lead, when he began the back nine at PGA National. And the crowd was loving it.

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Defending champ Fowler misses cut at Honda

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 23, 2018, 7:14 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The roles might be reversed this weekend for Rickie Fowler.

Last year, when he won at PGA National, Fowler was greeted behind the 18th green by Justin Thomas, one of his Jupiter neighbors. Thomas had missed the cut in his hometown event but drove back to the tournament to congratulate Fowler on his fourth PGA Tour title.

It’s Fowler who will be on the sidelines this weekend, after missing the Honda Classic cut following rounds of 71-76.  

Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos

“I haven’t been swinging it great the last month and a half,” he said afterward. “Obviously playing in the wind, it will pick you apart even more.”

After a tie for fourth at Kapalua, Fowler has missed two of his last three cuts. In between, at the Phoenix Open, he coughed up the 54-hole lead and tied for 11th.

Fowler said he’s been struggling with commitment and trust on the course.

“It’s close,” he said. “Just a little bit off, and the wind is going to make it look like you’re a terrible weekend golfer.”

Asked if he’d return the favor for Thomas, if he were to go and win, Fowler smiled and said: “Of course.”  

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 23, 2018, 7:00 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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Cut Line: Woods still eyeing Ryder Cup dual role

By Rex HoggardFebruary 23, 2018, 6:57 pm

In this week’s edition, Jack Nicklaus makes the argument, again, for an equipment rollback, Tiger Woods gets halfway to his Ryder Cup goal and Paul Lawrie laments slow play ... in Europe.

Made Cut

Captain’s corner. Last week Tiger Woods coyly figured he could do both, play and be a vice captain for this year’s U.S. Ryder Cup team. On Tuesday, he made it halfway to his goal.

U.S. captain Jim Furyk named Woods and Steve Stricker vice captains for this year’s matches, joining Davis Love III on the team golf cart.

Whether Woods will be able to pull off the double-header is now largely up to him and how his most recent comeback from injury progresses, but one way or another Furyk wanted Tiger in his team room.

“What Tiger really has brought to the table for our vice captains is a great knowledge of X's and O's,” Furyk said. “He's done a really good job of pairing players together in foursomes and fourball. When you look at our team room and you look at a lot of the youth that we have in that team room now with the younger players, a lot of them became golf professionals, fell in love with the game of golf because they wanted to emulate Tiger Woods.”

Woods is currently 104th on the U.S. points list, but the qualification process is designed for volatility, with this year’s majors worth twice as many points. With Tiger’s improved play it’s not out of the question that he gets both, a golf cart and a golf bag, for this year’s matches.

#MSDStrong. Every week on Tour players, officials and fans come together to support a charity of some sort, but this week’s Honda Classic has a more personal impact for Nicholas Thompson.

Thompson graduated from nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and last week’s horrific shooting there inspired the former Tour member to work with tournament organizers and find a way to help the victims.

Officials handed out 1,600 maroon ribbons to volunteers to honor the victims; and Thompson and his wife, who is also a Stoneman Douglas graduate, donated another 500 with the letters “MSD” on them for players, wives and caddies.

Thompson also planned to donate 3,100 rubber bracelets in exchange for donations to help the victims and their families.

“I’m not much of a crier, but it was a very, very sad moment,” Thompson told “To see on TV, the pictures of the school that I went through for four years and the area where it occurred was terrible.”

The Tour makes an impact on communities every week, but some tournaments are more emotional than others.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Golden moment. Jack Nicklaus has never been shy about expressing his thoughts on modern equipment and how far today’s professionals are hitting the golf ball, but this week the Golden Bear revealed just how involved he may be in what is increasingly looking like an equipment rollback of some sort.

During a recent dinner with USGA CEO Mike Davis, Nicklaus discussed the distance debate.

“Mike said, ‘We’re getting there. We’re going to get there. I need your help when we get there.'” Nicklaus said. “I said, ‘That’s fine. I’m happy to help you. I’ve only been yelling at you for 40 years.’ 1977 is the first time I went to the USGA.”

The USGA and R&A are scheduled to release their annual distance report before the end of the month, but after the average driving distance jumped nearly 3 yards last year on Tour – and nearly 7 yards on the Tour – many within the equipment industry are already bracing for what could be the most profound rollback in decades.

Stay tuned.

Geographically undesirable. Although this will likely be the final year the Tour’s Florida swing is undercut by the WGC-Mexico Championship, which will be played next week, the event’s impact on this year’s fields is clear.

The tee sheet for this week’s Honda Classic, which had become one of the circuit’s deepest stops thanks to an influx of Europeans gearing up for the Masters, includes just three players from the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking, and none from top three. By comparison, only the Sony Open and CareerBuilder Challenge had fewer top players in 2018.

On Monday at a mandatory meeting, players were given a rough outline of the 2018-19 schedule, which features some dramatic changes including the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players shifting back to March, and numerous sources say the Mexico stop will move to the back end of the West Coast swing and be played after the Genesis Open.

That should help fields in the Sunshine State regain some luster, but it does nothing to change the fact that this year’s Florida swing is, well, flat.

Missed Cut

West Coast woes. Of all the highlights from this year’s West Coast swing, a run that included overtime victories for Patton Kizzire (Sony Open), Jon Rahm (CareerBuilder Challenge), Jason Day (Farmers Insurance Open) and Gary Woodland (Waste Management Phoenix Open), it will be what regularly didn’t happen that Cut Line remembers.

J.B. Holmes endured the wrath of social media for taking an eternity - it was actually 4 minutes, 10 seconds - to hit his second shot on the 72nd hole at Torrey Pines, but in fairness to Holmes he’s only a small part of a larger problem.

Without any weather delays, Rounds 1 and 2 were not completed on schedule last week in Los Angeles because of pace of play, and the Tour is even considering a reduction in field size at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open to avoid similar schedule issues.

But all this seems to miss the point. Smaller fields aren’t the answer; rules that recognize and penalize slow play are the only solution.

Tweet of the week: @PaulLawriegolf (Paul Lawrie) “Getting pretty fed up playing with guys who cheat the system by playing as slow as they want until referee comes then hit it on the run to make sure they don't get penalized. As soon as ref [is] gone it’s back to taking forever again. We need a better system.”

It turns out slow play isn’t a uniquely Tour/West Coast issue, as evidenced by the Scot’s tweet on Thursday from the Qatar Masters.