Its Solheim Time - Nuff Said

By George WhiteSeptember 8, 2005, 4:00 pm
You want a little controversy? You got it, and believe me, it wasnt provoked by the media. You want patriotism? Got that, too, and its on both sides of the Atlantic. You want the best woman player, maybe in all of history? Yep, she will be there. And you want a legend to be coaching one of the teams? Yes, you have a legend.
The Solheim Cup is all of this. Paula Creamer is the controversy, saying absolutely that the U.S. will win. Patriotism was rampant at the news conference last week with Go USA! reverberating throughout the American squad. Of course, the Americans will be contesting a team of Europeans led by possibly the greatest womens player in history, Annika Sorenstam. And a legend steps up to lead the U.S. team ' Nancy Lopez.
They settle the score this weekend at Crooked Stick near Indianapolis. You cant say it is a match of the greatest womens players in the world because, like the mens Ryder Cup, no Koreans are present, no Australians, no Japanese or Canadians or South Africans. But it is what it is, two teams of very good players, with several little intriguing twists at play.
First, of course, is Creamers declaration that the U.S. is going to win: They (the European team) better get ready, because they are going to get beat. Paula is only 19, a rookie, not yet experienced enough to guard her sentiments. But I kind of like what she said ' and I would feel the same way if Annika or Laura Davies said it about Europe.
Creamer, you see, isnt anti-Annika or anti-Europe or anti-anything. Deep down, she probably isnt nearly so certain of a U.S. victory. But she is trying valiantly to be positive about her team, and I find that admirable. Lopez refused the opportunity to downplay Paulas unbridled optimism ' She's awesome, she's pumped up. I love it. We want that. You did good, Paula!
And even Davies appreciated Creamers sassy verve. `I like what she said. She's a rookie. She's in that press conference with Nancy Lopez and Beth Daniel. She's a top quality player and she'll only get better. Why shouldn't she be confident? That's good,' said Davies appreciatively.
Sorenstam is bound to score beaucoup points for the Europeans. She has a 16-8 record covering the six Solheims in which she has played, but, like Tiger Woods, she has had troubles in the singles. She has won only three while losing to Tammie Green and Juli Inkster and being halved by Wendy Ward.
That should make the Americans concerned, however, when they see her in a team event ' especially alternate shot (foursomes). She is nearly unbeatable in that one, owning a 9-1-1 record. Her only loss came in 1998 to Dottie Pepper and Brandie Burton when she played with Catrin Nilsmark.
I love the Solheim Cup, said Annika. I do for the reason that it's a team event and we don't play a lot of team events throughout the year. It's a great honor to be selected and kind of represent your country. You know, I represent Europe. And once we do get together, it's a lot of fun.
She hasnt commented directly on Creamers remarks, though its a well-known fact that these sort of things quietly simmer inside her. She deeply resented some of the out-and-out patriotic actions of Pepper, for example, and it was Sorenstam who had to replay a holed chip shot in 2000 when it was determined that she played out of turn.
And then there is Lopez. Nancy played in only one Solheim, the first one in 1990. She was well into her role of being a mother by then, and though she tried very hard to make the team two other times, U.S. captains didnt select her.
Lopez, who had to make similar selections this time when she picked Ward and Beth Daniel for the wild cards and overlooked several deserving players, says she understood. But there can be no mistaking that each time she was considered and rejected, it was painful to her.
I know how they feel, Nancy said of those who werent picked, because there were a couple of times I wasn't chosen for two Solheim Cups. And it's heart-breaking because you know how hard you work and you feel like you deserve to be on the team.
As usual, the Euros arrive with several team members who arent widely known. Ludivine Kreutz and her French compatriot, Gwladys Nocera, are two who made the team via points on the Ladies European Tour but have rarely competed elsewhere, at least as professionals. And it might be noteworthy that Europe has never won on American soil.
But, the Americans misfortunes in the recent Ryder Cups speak volumes about reputations and what that means when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of playing the matches. There is no question that the U.S. has the better singles players. But is the U.S. the best team?
Englishwoman Trish Johnson says it just isn't natural for the U.S. side to really be teammates. 'The American team, in all honesty - they try to beat each other every single week of the year apart from once every two years, when all of a sudden they're supposed to be best mates. That's really difficult,' she said.

Maybe yes, maybe no. But one thing is definite here ' this one is big. It may not be a meeting of the worlds best players, but it is surely the worlds best competition.
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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

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    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

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    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

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    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

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    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.