US wins Presidents Cup once again

By Doug FergusonOctober 12, 2009, 12:37 am
Presidents CupSAN FRANCISCO – Tiger Woods provided a fitting conclusion Sunday to a perfect week at the Presidents Cup, for him and an American team that remains perfect at home.

With a flop shot out of the trees to set up one last birdie, Woods won the point that clinched the cup and made him only the third player in the Presidents Cup to win all five matches.

His 6-and-5 victory over Y.E. Yang was a tiny token of revenge for Woods blowing a final-round lead to him in the PGA Championship this summer. Even so, it was the first time in either the Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup that Woods earned the decisive point.

And he didn’t even know it.

Elin Woods Fred Couples Presidents Cup
Fred Couples and Elin Woods celebrate after Tiger Woods' winning putt to beat Yang on Sunday. (Getty Images)

“Oh, perfect,” Woods said, an apt choice of words. “All I knew was I was trying to get my point, and I was 5 up trying to make it 6.”

Phil Mickelson wrapped up another anticlimactic finish with a 7-foot birdie putt for a 2-and-1 victory over Retief Goosen, leaving Lefty unbeaten (4-0-1) in the Presidents Cup for the second time in the last three contests.

The Americans won 19 1/2 -14 1/2 , the same margin as last time against an overmatched International team.

The United States leads 6-1-1 since the Presidents Cup began in 1994, and it improved to 5-0 on home soil, the previous four victories coming across the country in Virginia.

“I’m sure we tried our best all week,” Geoff Ogilvy said after his 2-and-1 victory over Steve Stricker. “Coming in today, we had too much to do and the U.S. team was obviously very motivated.”

British Open champion Stewart Cink, disgusted with his performance Saturday, asked to play early and put the first point on the board by overwhelming Adam Scott, a questionable captain’s pick who contributed only one point for the week.

Sean O’Hair and Anthony Kim followed with big victories of their own, while Hunter Mahan eventually won his leadoff match over Camilo Villegas of Colombia, the only player to get shut out at Harding Park.

That set the stage for Woods, whose performance has been mediocre since he started playing these team competitions in 1997.

He won four holes in a five-hole stretch in the middle of the round, pouring in one birdie putt after another, then sealed it with a 9-foot birdie on the 13th hole.

Woods went 5-0 for the week, joining Mark O’Meara (1996) and Shigeki Maruyama (1998) as the only players to win all five matches in the Presidents Cup. Woods has 18 victories, the most of any player in this event.

Woods and Stricker became the first partnership in the Presidents Cup to win all four of their matches, with Stricker making all the putts and Woods providing the defining moment Saturday morning with a 25-foot birdie and a 3-iron to 8 feet on the par-5 18th that turned a certain loss into an inspiring victory in foursomes.

U.S. captain Fred Couples was the first to greet Woods with a hug.

When Couples was appointed captain, he called Woods and jokingly asked for a big favor: Make the team so Couples wouldn’t have to waste a captain’s pick on the world’s No. 1 player.

What he didn’t tell Woods were the expectations Couples had for him at Harding Park.

“I needed him – this is going to sound stupid – to go 5-0,” Couples said.

It was the first time Woods and Yang have played together since the South Korean became the first player to rally in the final round at a major to beat Woods. This wasn’t quite the same.

“He got me there, and I figured I could get him here,” Woods said. “It certainly was not exactly the same atmosphere, but then it still was an important point.”

Mickelson might have played the best for the Americans, carrying along three partners in the team matches and hanging on to beat Goosen. He went 4-0-1 for the week, and revealed after his match that his wife, Amy, had joined him on the weekend.

She is recovering from breast cancer and has not traveled with Mickelson since The Players Championship, a week before she was diagnosed. Amy Mickelson did not come to Harding Park on Sunday.

“I didn’t think she was coming up, and she actually hid in the bathroom when I walked in my room,” Mickelson said. “I didn’t know she was there, and she scared me pretty good. It was an awesome surprise, though.”

Among the few bright spots for the International team on a cold autumn afternoon was Tim Clark, who made eight birdies in 15 holes for a 4-and-3 victory over Zach Johnson. Ryo Ishikawa of Japan, at 18 the youngest player ever in these matches, kept his cool down the stretch to beat 49-year-old Kenny Perry.

Another moment came from Vijay Singh, who led the International team with a 2-0-3 record. It might have been slightly better, but after narrowly missing an eagle putt on the 18th hole, he graciously conceded Lucas Glover’s 7-foot birdie putt to halve the match.

Glover had been 0-3 for the week, and it kept the U.S. Open champion from being shut out.

“He would have made it, anyway,” Singh said.

By then, the Presidents Cup had long been decided. The Americans had a three-point lead going into singles, and picked up seven points in the final session.

Next up is a trip to Royal Melbourne in Australia in 2011, site of the International team’s only victory. Greg Norman is expected to return as International team captain. The Americans, meanwhile, start qualifying in earnest next year for the Ryder Cup in Wales.

This is the first time since 2000 that the Americans held the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup at the same time.

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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.