Ryder Cup Odds and Ends

By Brian HewittSeptember 16, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Ryder CupBLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Odds and ends on the eve of the Ryder Cup:
 
  • First the odds: I make the Europeans 11-10 favorites to retain the Cup. Remember: A 14-14 tie at the end of the matches Sunday means the Euros get to take the Cup home with them across the Atlantic. Because of that, they have a virtual half point lead before the matches begin Friday morning. The Americans need 14 1/2 points to recapture the Cup last won by them in 1999 at The Country Club in Massachusetts. I set the odds of the U.S. emerging victorious at 5-4.
     
  • Caveat: I am not a bookmaker. I do not promote or encourage gambling. But I am not Mary Poppins either. I don't find office pools morally reprehensible. Anyway, those are my odds.
     
  • On the subject of form: It's overrated. In 2002 England's Lee Westwood arrived at the Ryder Cup with his game in tatters. In the eight tournaments leading up to the matches at The Belfry, Westwood missed four cuts and produced a grand total of one top 40. So what happened when the bell rang Friday morning? Westwood got hotter than a whistling tea kettle, teamed with Sergio Garcia and won three huge points for the Europeans.
     
  • If Hal Sutton decides to pair Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods in foursomes, I'd love to be a fly on the wall when the two decide which ball they will play.
     
  • Sam Torrance, the Euro captain two years ago, famously said this at those matches: 'Out of the shadows emerge heroes.' Two of those heroes were Paul McGinley, who made the winning putt Sunday, and Philip Price, who took down Mickelson in the singles even though he wasn't ranked in the world's top 100 at the time. If you're looking for one of those heroes this time on the Euro side, try rookie Luke Donald. Oakland Hills is more than a ballhitter's course, it's an iron player's course. Donald may be the best pure blade striker on either side.
     
  • And as to the question of which player on either side would you choose to make a 10-foot putt Sunday with the entire Ryder Cup outcome hanging in the balance? That's easy for me. Give me David Toms for the Americans and Colin Montgomerie for the Europeans.
     
  • On Golf Central Wednesday night I argued that the 'captaincy' is overrated. The captains--Hal Sutton and Bernhard Langer--are not overrated. It's impossible to overstate the importance of their roles. But they are more managers than captains or coaches. This is a little bit of semantics here. The main point is this: Captains can't hit any shots. Although by Sunday night some of their players may wish Sutton or Langer--two longtime Ryder Cup warriors--could have played a match or two.
     
  • The winner? I am sticking to my guns. I predict a 14-14 tie with the Europeans retaining the Cup. As an American, I root for our side. As a journalist, I root for the story. The best story for the U.S. team would be Tiger Woods winning the final match Sunday to beat the Euros by half a point. The best story for the Europeans would be Montgomerie doing the same to Woods.
     
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  • Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

    He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

    Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

    Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

    Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

    Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

    Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

    Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title


    Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

    Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

    Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open


    Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

    Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

    Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59


    Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

    Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63


    Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

    Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut


    Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

    Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club


    Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

    Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth


    The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ


    Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year


    And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

    Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win


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    Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm

    Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

    By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

    The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

    They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

    Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

    Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

    Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

    ''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

    The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

    In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

    Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

    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.