Kissing Your Sister

By Brian HewittSeptember 21, 2005, 4:00 pm
Two years ago at the Presidents Cup in South Africa 24 players kissed their sister.
This was because the competition ran out of daylight on the last day resulting in a hastily-declared tie.
In sports, a tie is like kissing your sister. Not, with apologies to Jerry Seinfeld, that theres anything wrong with that.
But the 2003 Presidents Cup was, indisputably, great theater anyway.
Which is more than can be said for the Presidents Cup before that at which the Americans thrashed the International team 21 to 10 at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Prince William County, Va.
That was more like shock theater. The highlight was an in-your-face Sunday singles match between Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh. Woods prevailed 2 and 1 and a heated debate broke out over whether it mattered that Singhs caddie, Paul Tesori, was wearing a cap with the words Tiger Who? stitched on the back.
Look for Singh and Woods to hook up again this year in the singles as the golf returns to RTJ. This is one of the edges the Presidents Cup has over the Ryder Cup'the captains can jury-rig the match-ups on the final day. Everybody wants to see the World No. 1 (Woods) against the World No. 2 (Singh) including the players themselves. And if their much-anticipated Virginia rematch turns out to be the last game of the day with the Cup on the line, so much the better.
A decision, by the way, to abandon a tiebreaker singles match in the event of a 17-17 late Sunday has been made by the powers that be. So if the teams tie again this time, they will continue to share the Presidents Cup.
The Americans appear to be the favorites on paper. The latest world rankings show them to have 11 team members placed in the top 25 of the most current world rankings. The Internationals have seven.
But one of those seven is Ernie Els, arguably the Internationals team leader. Els, alas, will not be playing this time around due to recent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.
And about those world rankings: The Internationals have three players ranked between No. 25 and No. 30. Which simply underscores the fact that they will play these matches on 7,315 yards of grass. Not on paper.
Most experts will tell you the intensity of the Ryder Cup'between Europe and America'is greater than that generated by the Presidents Cup. But it depends to whom you are speaking. South Africas Nick Price recently had this to say to the Washington Post when asked about the drama surrounding Woods singles match against Els two years ago:
For the first time in my life I was nervous for a teammate. I was chewing on my shirt. I was eating grass..The intensity of it was almost too much to bear.
But there wasnt a winner. To a man, I guarantee the 24 players that comprise both sides would rather, if given the choice, kiss their wives or, as the case may be, their girlfriends than their sisters.
The captains will do well to remind their squads how contagious enthusiasm can be. All they will have to do is look to weeks back at the Solheim Cup matches in Indianapolis where the American women showed how much exuberance can add to an already compelling stage.
The Americans men have been accused, in the last decade or so, of approaching Ryder and Presidents Cup matches with all the excitement of sitting for root canal. There is at least a grain of truth to this accusation. And it is partially to blame for the fact that only 700 media credentials have been issued to the Presidents Cup compared to the 1,000 media credentials distributed by the PGA of America at last years Ryder Cup near Detroit.
The two captains'American Jack Nicklaus and South African Gary Player'are on record as saying they dont want to foster a war-like us-against-them atmosphere at the Presidents Cup.
One of the jobs I try to do is let the guys have fun, Nicklaus has said. I dont want to put any pressure on them. If they want to play a practice round, go play. If you dont want to play a practice round, dont go play. Just show up Thursday and be ready to play.
Fair enough. Who are we to question Jack Nicklaus?
But the opinion here is that if a few more players on both teams are chewing on their shirts late Sunday, the Presidents Cup will be a better event for the mastication.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook played a six-hole stretch in 6 under and shot an 8-under 64 in breezy conditions Saturday to take the lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook began the run at La Quinta Country Club with birdies on Nos. 4-5, eagled the sixth and added birdies on No. 7 and 9 to make the turn in 6-under 30.

After a bogey on the 10th, he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 15 and saved par on the 18th with a 20-footer to take a 19-under 197 total into the final round on PGA West's Stadium Course. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player is making his first start in the event. He won at Sea Island in November for his first PGA Tour title.

Fellow former Razorbacks star Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were a stroke back. Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 on the Stadium Course. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. They are both winless on the PGA Tour.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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Jon Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium Course to reach 17 under. The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3, Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

Scott Piercy also was two strokes back after a 66 at the Stadium.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Harkins shot 68 on the Stadium Course.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium Course to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time.

The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. The Southern California recruit had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over for the week.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine – and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Mickelson misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

“I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.