U.S. hangs on, captures Presidents Cup

By Doug FergusonNovember 20, 2011, 5:30 am

MELBOURNE, Australia – The Americans returned Down Under and this time wound up on top in the Presidents Cup.

Jim Furyk became the fourth player to win all five of his matches, and the bottom half of the lineup was strong enough Sunday to give the Americans their fourth straight win in this lopsided series.

Perhaps it was only fitting that Tiger Woods clinched the Cup for the second straight time.

U.S. captain Fred Couples was criticized for using a pick on Woods, who had been out with an injury most of the summer and had not won since his personal life crumbled two years ago. Woods played well all week, even if he wasn'i always rewarded with a point. In his singles match against Aaron Baddeley, he was never seriously challenged.

Woods closed out Baddeley, 4 and 3, and the celebration was on. The only thing left was for Steve Stricker in the anchor match to beat Y.E. Yang for the final score, 19-15.

“I was hoping it wasn’t going to come down to us,” Woods said. I was hoping that Stricks and I could take a victory lap back here. But we didn’t get off to a good start early. I was telling Joey (LaCava) on the range, ‘It’s probably going to come down to the last four matches.’ We needed to get our point, so we went out there and played really well today and put a lot of heat on Badds.”

Couples said Woods was ready to go all week at Royal Melbourne.

“He was ready for a month,” Couples said. “Certainly, I couldn’t answer how he was going to play, but this week I think he showed to himself that his swing is back and he’s healthy, and that’s more important to me. Obviously, we want to win the Cup, but it’s more important for me to have people realize that he can play the game.”

He can celebrate, too.


Match by match: Presidents Cup singles recap

Hoggard: Grading players, captains


Woods took his turn in joining in the Fanatics, the Aussie group that goes to big sporting events. Woods even donned one of their green caps and slapped hands in the crowd.

It was a small measure of revenge for the Americans, whose only loss came at Royal Melbourne in 1998. And it was vindication for Couples, who said a month early that he was taking Woods because he was the “best player forever.”

International captain Greg Norman got in on the debate, saying he would have taken PGA champion Keegan Bradley over Woods.

“He stepped up to the plate. He putted extremely well,” Norman said. “Any player hates to see another great player struggle, because we all know what it’s like to go through the ins and outs of the game. At the end of the day, you want to see the player who has dominated the game come back.”

As for Couples’ taking Woods over Bradley?

“I did make those comments,” Norman said. “I probably still would have gone for Keegan Bradley because he’s a major champion.”

The International team’s only win came 13 years ago at Royal Melbourne, when the Americans suffered their biggest loss in any team competition. There was no repeat this time, not even close.

The Americans led after each session, and their 13-9 lead going into the final session Sunday was too much for the International team to overcome, even with a loud and boisterous Australian crowd behind it.

Ryo Ishikawa, Charl Schwartzel, K.T. Kim and Geoff Ogilvy got the International side going. But the outcome was never seriously in doubt. Furyk, David Toms and Woods were at the bottom of the lineup, and none ever trailed.

Toms routed Robert Allenby, 7 and 5, giving the Australian a dubious distinction. He joined John Huston as the only captain’s picks to not win a single point.

Furyk, coming off his worst season since he was a PGA Tour rookie, joined Woods, Shigeki Maruyama and Mark O’Meara as the only players to record a 5-0 record in the Presidents Cup. Furyk made an eagle on the par-5 second and beat Ernie Els 4 and 3.

“I felt better about my game than what I’ve been playing this year, and I kind of want to thank my partners,” said Furyk, who won three matches with Phil Mickelson and another with Nick Watney.

Mickelson, 3-0 going into singles, conceded the first three holes to Adam Scott and conceded another hole at the eighth to fall 4 down. He rallied far too late and lost, 2 and 1.

Couples wasn’t planning on Furyk winning all his matches. Then again, nothing ever surprises him.

“We needed it. He was a leader,” Couples said. “He and Phil told me, which was very odd – I wasn’t planning on it on Tuesday night – that they wanted to play together. And they rode and rode and rode. Jimmy going 5-0 is great. It’s cool. It’s unique. It’s fun. And I think he’s happy, as the rest of the 14 guys are.”

Not so happy was an International team that can’t figure out how to win.

“It’s disappointing to not get the Cup this year, but to have this event here at home, it has been a fantastic week and one I’ll remember for my whole career,” Scott said. “We played hard. I think it’s just a really demanding golf course. No matter how good you are, on this course it’s just too hard to hit the ball well to get it around here. And they might have done it just a little bit better than us this week.”

Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai

By Grill Room TeamNovember 18, 2017, 5:20 pm

While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.

Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.

The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and 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 looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, 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.

''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''


DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship


Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.

Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and 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.

Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.

''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''

The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.

Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.

''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''

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: