Phillip Price Lives Out His Dream

By George WhiteSeptember 30, 2002, 4:00 pm
You will forgive an American for just a moment while we commemorate the actions taken 10 years ago by one Phillip Price.
 
He was the one European whose win Sunday was the most improbable. It was his win that ultimately won the whole danged Ryder Cup. I know all about Paul McGinley and the putt that meant the decisive half-point, but believe me ' it was Price beating Phil Mickelson that inspired the whole European team. He had it won about an hour before the numbers told the shocking story, and the lift to the Europeans ' and the jolt to the Americans ' were undeniable.
 
He just wouldnt let Mickelson beat him. He got 2-up, then 3-up, but no one really sweated it. Mickelson would come back, everyone assumed, but wasnt it nice that Price had put up such a game fight?
 
But by the time 13, then 14 rolled around, the incredible truth became apparent ' Mickelson was going to lose. The man who was 119th in the world was going to win. And not just eke out a victory ' Price was going to win decisively.
 
Phillip Price seemed to have an answer every time, said Mickelson, who didnt play all that badly in going down to defeat. Every time I knocked it close, he followed it up. He played great.
 
The Price-Mickelson match, unfortunately, didnt get much TV time. We didnt see much of the front nine when Price was erecting his 3-up lead. My only recollection of the action was when Mickelson gagged a three-footer somewhere on the front. Thats when I, and most everyone in the world, knew there was a good chance this point would not be in the American column. Forget Tiger ' it would all be over by the time his score was tallied. You knew something was amiss when you saw Mickelson's eyes after he missed that shorty. That something was Price.
 
It was the culmination of an entire life, a long series of ups and downs for the 35-year-old Welshman. He joined the European Tour at 23, but that was just out of desperation. He had to eat, and he had pretty well exhausted all avenues of doing so. Golf was his final alternative. He wasnt very good at it, but it was all he could do now. It was either do that, or go back home to Pontypridd, Wales, and serve out a lifetime in the steel mills.
 
That, incidentally, was what he did when he was 20. He sweated over hot trays containing steel bars. He would come home filthy with dirt. He tried a saner job, sticking addresses on envelopes, but that only paid him the equivalent of about $1.50 an hour. That, in short, was no option, he quickly discovered. He simply had to make a go of it in golf, a sport he had tinkered around with since childhood.
 
Price joined the European Tour at 23, and almost cashed out two years later. It was at the Dutch Open and he was struggling. Three holes remained and he was on verge of missing another cut. This was it ' he had reached the last option. It was back to the searing heat and filth of the steel mines, he had decided.
 
He sent his caddy up ahead to the clubhouse to line up transportation back to Wales. Price took just three clubs to finish the last three holes of the tournament. It really didnt matter, did it, that he might finish 120th or 130th or whatever? Finish the tournament and let me outta here.
 
So he finished, but he didnt leave. He thought about it those last 30 minutes as he played 16, 17 and finally 18. At the end, I decided to play some more golf because I wanted to keep my card and so have the choice of what to do the following year, Price told the European Tour website a couple of years ago. Then, a couple of weeks later, I finished fourth in the European Open.
 
That gave him his card the following year. And since then, he has lived the life of a true journeyman, showing flashes of brilliance but never reaching the upper levels reserved for golfs elite.
 
Then, 10 years later, he finally had his real moment in golf, defeating Mickelson in the Ryder Cup to put a stake in the heart of the Americans. It was oh-so-grand after his off year last year, a year in which a European writer had the temerity to ask, Do you think you should withdraw from the Ryder Cup?
 
The shy Welshman was hurt by the question. Making the team seemed so remote that day 10 years ago at the Dutch Open, and when it finally came via good play two years ago, Price was overwhelmed. Never, not in his wildest dreams, could he have conceived of such an honor.
 
Regardless of what he does in his career in the future, he has a memory that can never be taken away. Think he should withdraw from the Cup? How ridiculous! Phillip Price played the most meaningful role in his sides victory Sunday.
 
He experienced the steel mills, he experienced work at $1.50 an hour, and he experienced years of mediocre play. Then in one heroic weekend, it all came together. Price might have considered quitting golf, but he wouldnt consider quitting the team. And after all he has been though, come Sunday he was the hero.

Vegas lists Woods at 20-1 to win a major in 2018

By Will GrayNovember 22, 2017, 12:53 pm

He hasn't hit a competitive shot in nearly a year, but that hasn't stopped one Las Vegas outlet from listing Tiger Woods among the favorites to win a major in 2018.

The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook published betting odds this week on dozens of players to win any of the four majors next year. Leading the pack were Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth at 3/2, with Rory McIlroy next. But not far behind was Woods, who has been sidelined since February because of a back injury but was listed at 20/1.

Woods will make his much-anticipated return next week at the Hero World Challenge, and next month he will turn 42. Next summer will mark the 10-year anniversary of his last major championship victory, a sudden-death playoff win over Rocco Mediate at the 2008 U.S. Open.

Here's a look at the odds for several marquee players on winning any of the four biggest events in golf next year:

3/2: Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth

5/2: Rory McIlroy

7/2: Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day

9/2: Justin Rose

5/1: Brooks Koepka

15/2: Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey

10/1: Adam Scott

12/1: Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Marc Leishman, Thomas Pieters, Patrick Reed

15/1: Daniel Berger, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Patrick Cantlay, Branden Grace, Kevin Kisner, Alex Noren, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Charl Schwartzel, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson

20/1: Tiger Woods, Francesco Molinari, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Tony Finau, Martin Kaymer

25/1: Ryan Moore, Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Lee Westwood, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Chappell, Bryson DeChambeau, Bill Haas, Jason Dufner, Charley Hoffman

30/1: Pat Perez, Gary Woodland, Bernd Wiesberger, Brian Harman, Padraig Harrington, Emiliano Grillo, Ross Fisher, Si Woo Kim, J.B. Holmes

Open Qualifying Series kicks off with Aussie Open

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 4:24 pm

The 147th Open is nearly eight months away, but there are still major championship berths on the line this week in Australia.

The Open Qualifying Series kicks off this week, a global stretch of 15 event across 10 different countries that will be responsible for filling 46 spots in next year's field at Carnoustie. The Emirates Australian Open is the first event in the series, and the top three players among the top 10 who are not otherwise exempt will punch their tickets to Scotland.

In addition to tournament qualifying opportunities, the R&A will also conduct four final qualifying events across Great Britain and Ireland on July 3, where three spots will be available at each site.

Here's a look at the full roster of tournaments where Open berths will be awarded:

Emirates Australian Open (Nov. 23-26): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

Joburg Open (Dec. 7-10): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

SMBC Singapore Open (Jan. 18-21): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

Mizuno Open (May 24-27): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

HNA Open de France (June 28-July 1): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

The National (June 28-July 1): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (July 5-8): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

The Greenbrier Classic (July 5-8): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (July 12-15): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

John Deere Classic (July 12-15): Top player (not otherwise exempt) among top five and ties

Stock Watch: Lexi, Justin rose or fall this week?

By Ryan LavnerNovember 21, 2017, 2:36 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Jon Rahm (+9%): Just imagine how good he’ll be in the next few years, when he isn’t playing all of these courses for the first time. With no weaknesses in his game, he’s poised for an even bigger 2018.

Austin Cook (+7%): From Monday qualifiers to Q-School to close calls on the Web.com, it hasn’t been an easy road to the big leagues. Well, he would have fooled us, because it looked awfully easy as the rookie cruised to a win in just his 14th Tour start.

Ariya (+6%): Her physical tools are as impressive as any on the LPGA, and if she can shore up her mental game – she crumbled upon reaching world No. 1 – then she’ll become the world-beater we always believed she could be.  

Tommy Fleetwood (+4%): He ran out of gas in Dubai, but no one played better on the European Tour this year than Fleetwood, Europe’s new No. 1, who has risen from 99th to 18th in the world.   

Lexi (+1%): She has one million reasons to be pleased with her performance this year … but golf fans are more likely to remember the six runners-up and two careless mistakes (sloppy marking at the ANA and then a yippy 2-footer in the season finale) that cost her a truly spectacular season.


FALLING

J-Rose (-1%): Another high finish in Dubai, but his back-nine 38, after surging into the lead, was shocking. It cost him not just the tournament title, but also the season-long race.  

Hideki (-2%): After getting blown out at the Dunlop Phoenix, he made headlines by saying there’s a “huge gap” between he and winner Brooks Koepka. Maybe something was lost in translation, but Matsuyama being too hard on himself has been a familiar storyline the second half of the year. For his sake, here’s hoping he loosens up.

Golf-ball showdown (-3%): Recent comments by big-name stars and Mike Davis’ latest salvo about the need for a reduced-flight ball could set up a nasty battle between golf’s governing bodies and manufacturers.

DL3 (-4%): Boy, the 53-year-old is getting a little too good at rehab – in recent years, he has overcome a neck fusion, foot injury, broken collarbone and displaced thumb. Up next is hip-replacement surgery.

LPGA Player of the Year (-5%): Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu tied for the LPGA’s biggest prize, with 162 points. How is there not a tiebreaker in place, whether it’s scoring average or best major performance? Talk about a buzzkill.

Titleist's Uihlein fires back at Davis over distance

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 12:59 am

Consider Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein unmoved by Mike Davis' comments about the evolution of the golf ball – and unhappy.

In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, the outlet which first published Davis' comments on Sunday, Uihlein took aim at the idea that golf ball distance gains are hurting the sport by providing an additional financial burden to courses.

"Is there any evidence to support this canard … the trickle-down cost argument?” he wrote (via Golf.com). “Where is the evidence to support the argument that golf course operating costs nationwide are being escalated due to advances in equipment technology?"

Pointing the blame elsewhere, Uihlein criticized the choices and motivations of modern architects.

"The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate," he wrote.

The Titleist CEO even went as far as to suggest that Tiger Woods' recent comments that "we need to do something about the golf ball" were motivated by the business interersts of Woods' ball sponsor, Bridgestone.

"Given Bridgestone’s very small worldwide market share and paltry presence in professional golf, it would seem logical they would have a commercial motive making the case for a reduced distance golf ball," he added.

Acushnet Holdings, Titleist's parent company, announced in September that Uihlein would be stepping down as the company's CEO at the end of this year but that he will remain on the company's board of directors.