All thats left is the golf

By Doug FergusonOctober 1, 2010, 2:00 am

Ryder Cup

NEWPORT, Wales – Good thing for the Americans the Ryder Cup ultimately comes down to golf shots, not style points.

U.S. captain Corey Pavin, his voice unsteady at the opening ceremony Thursday, introduced the 11 players on his squad and was about to sit down when he realized each team had 12 to a side.

He overlooked Stewart Cink, one of his captain’s picks.

Then came the lineups for the opening session, with Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in the third slot. It was the first time since 1999 that Woods was not in the first match, leading European captain Colin Montgomerie to suggest the Americans were trying to hide him.

Leading off for the Americans in fourballs is Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, a big hitter whose driver broke on the range.

Asked if Europe already felt it was 1-up based on Pavin’s gaffe, Montgomerie said:

“I suppose that was a mistake. He just missed the one. He read the wrong name, but that was just unfortunate. I think he was very, very good in covering his tracks. It went very well. It was a first-class show up there.

“And yes,” he added, “we are 1 up.”

Europe had other reasons to feel confident about winning back the Ryder Cup when the matches get under way Friday. It has not lost on its home soil since 1993, and the crowd can play such a huge role in golf’s biggest bipartisan event.

It was evident on the final day of practice, when fans gave a standing ovation from the bleachers behind the greens on the back nine of Celtic Manor just at the sight of the European players approaching the green.

By Sunday, all that matters are the points on the board.

The Americans, who won two years ago at Valhalla to end a decade of European dominance, need only 14 points from the 28 matches to take the 17-inch gold trophy back home.

“I cannot wait,” said Ian Poulter, who will join Ross Fisher in taking on the Woods-Stricker tandem. “This crowd tomorrow is going to be electric. The roar on that first tee will be sensational. I can’t wait to hear it and I can’t wait to get pumped for it. I can’t wait to give them some feedback.”

The big mystery was the weather.

Celtic Manor already is lush and soggy from rain in recent weeks, and the forecast is for more rain and blustery wind for most of the day. And while Montgomerie said he didn’t try to alter the setup, it has become clear that the best strategy is to play out of the short grass.

This is one of the longest American teams in history. But the straightest?

They should find out immediately with a compelling match – Mickelson and Johnson, who play big-money games just about every week on tour, going against Lee Westwood and PGA champion Martin Kaymer, Europe’s best player and its most recent major champion.

For Westwood, it will be his first competition in six weeks while he recovered from a calf injury. Playing his seventh Ryder Cup, he went to Montgomerie a few days ago and asked to be in the leadoff match.

Montgomerie had thought about U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy leading off.

“It was just seen that Lee should hit the first shot,” Montgomerie said. “I think it’s a real honor to do that, and I’ve had that honor twice. And it’s only right that Lee Westwood at this time should have that.”

McDowell and McIlroy, the duo from Northern Ireland, play in the second match against Georgia Tech alums Cink and Matt Kuchar. For now, that deprives fans of a McIlroy-Woods match of any form. McIlroy had said he would “love to face” Woods, and Woods countered with a no-nonsense “Me, too,” that stirred Ryder Cup tensions.

Stricker is the 12th partner for Woods in this event – two short of the Ryder Cup record. But everyone saw this one coming. They went 4-0 at the Presidents Cup last year, the first tandem in any cup to do that in 30 years.

“Hopefully, Tiger and I can go out there and do the things that we know how to do,” Stricker said. “And, hopefully, it’s good enough for a win.”

Montgomerie stoked speculation, however, by feigning surprise that Woods was in the middle of the lineup.

“I was expecting Tiger to go first or fourth,” he said. “I think Tiger being hidden is a different move. But, as we all know, every point is important wherever it might be. It’s a very difficult game, mind you, probably the two best putters on the U.S. team.”

He was even more surprised to see Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton – a pair of rookies whom many consider the most likely affected by Ryder Cup nerves – in the final spot against Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald.

In doing so, Pavin sat out Jim Furyk and Hunter Mahan.

Furyk is the only American with three victories this year, including his $11.35 million payoff for winning the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup on Sunday.

“He’s been counting the money, and he’s been very tired,” Pavin said with a laugh.

Mahan went unbeaten in all five matches at his Ryder Cup debut two years ago. Pavin said only that four players have to sit, and he planned to get all 12 a match on Friday.

“If you have any better suggestions, I’d love to hear them,” he said. “I guess it’s a little too late for those suggestions.”

Nothing matters now.

Starting Friday, it’s all about winning holes, winning matches, putting up points. The morning fourballs are to be followed by four alternate-shot matches in the afternoon.

Montgomerie made it clear how badly he wants to get his team in front quickly, putting his best two teams at the top of the lineup.

“My goal is to lead Friday evening if at all possible,” he said. “It’s all set up for that. That’s the plan.”

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


Masters victory


Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


Man of the people


Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


Departure from TaylorMade


Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


Victory at Valderrama


Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
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Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.