Ryder Cup Rookies Myth

By Brian HewittSeptember 13, 2006, 4:00 pm
Time to debunk the myth that rookies are a liability in the Ryder Cup. Time to posit the notion that the U.S. is at an instant disadvantage just because the American side has four players with no Ryder Cup experience compared to just two for the Euros.
 
The Europeans have had 21 rookies on their squads in the last five Ryder Cups compared to only 18 rookies during that same span for the Americans. Yet the Europeans have won four of those five highly-charged meetings.
 
Four rookies, the critics say, is too many to carry on a roster if youre expecting to keep or take away the Cup. Yet the Europeans fielded five rookies at Oakland Hills two years ago while smashing the Yanks to bits 18 to 9 .
 
In fairness, it should be pointed out that the Americans also had five rookies on their team at Oakland Hills. And it should be pointed out that the Euro rookies had a semi-respectable combined record of 5-7-1 two years ago compared to the semi-disrespectable 4-9-2 of the American first-timers.
 
The tougher Ryder Cup result to figure when it comes to rookies is 1999. The U.S. team, which squeaked by 14 to 13 thanks mostly to an improbable Sunday putt by Justin Leonard and some questionable captaining by Englishman Mark James, brought just one rookie'David Duval'to Brookline. The Euros herded up a whopping seven rookies. Thats more than half the squad.
 
James didnt play three of them'Andrew Coltart, Jarmo Sandelin and Jean Van de Velde'until the singles. All three lost. But James fearlessly trotted out rookies Sergio Garcia and Paul Lawrie, both of whom compiled 3-1-1 marks for the week.
 
For his part, Duval was 1-2-1.
 
In 1995 Europe defeated the United States 14 to 13 at Oak Hill with only two rookies on board. They were Philip Walton and Per-Ulrik Johansson. They compiled a combined 2-3-0 record.
 
The American team at Oak Hill had five rookies. But their combined record was 11-6-0.
 
Go figure.
 
And while youre at it, please explain why Tiger Woods, the surpassing player of his or any other generation, was 1-3-1 as a rookie at Valderrama on a losing American team in 1997.
 
Beginning in 1995 the American rookies have gone 26-25-11. The Euro rookies have gone 21-28-15.
 
So, yeah, maybe this rookie thing is overrated. Brett Wetterich hadnt even met Woods until Tiger took the rookies to dinner a couple of weeks ago in Ohio. Euro rookie, Swedens Robert Karlsson, said recently he has never spoken to Luke Donald.
 
Karlsson and Donald are teammates this time.
 
Rookie all-stars in the last 10 years include Garcia, Lawrie, Loren Roberts (3-1-0 in 1995), David Toms (3-1-1 in 2002), Scott Hoch (2-0-1 in 1997, Chris DiMarco (2-1-1 in 2004), Scott Verplank (2-1 in 2002), and Phil Mickelson (3-0 in 1995).
 
Note more Americans on that list than Europeans.
 
So what does all this mean?
 
It all comes back to Toms observation that experience is a good thing if it has been good experience. You can make a strong argument that there is much more pressure on Woods, 7-11-2 in four Ryder Cups, than there is on any of the rookies.
 
Maybe Wetterich should have taken Woods out to dinner.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - 36th Ryder Cup
  • Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

    By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose shot a 7-under 65 Saturday to take a one-shot lead into the final round of the European Tour's season-ending Tour Championship.

    The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for an overall 15-under 201. The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.

    Rose is chasing his second Race to Dubai title but leading rival Tommy Fleetwood is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

    Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.

    U.S. Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Order of Merit crown, is tied for 13th on 10 under.

    Fleetwood needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

    Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey

    If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”