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.
 
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.