Slim Pickings for Ryder Cup

By George WhiteAugust 15, 2006, 4:00 pm
This week is the PGA Championship, last chance for a rather mediocre group of U.S. players to show us what theyve got. And what the Ryder Cup crew has got isnt much, judging by the recent results.
Tiger Woods and his partner in last years Presidents Cup, Jim Furyk, are the only two players whose games are sharp enough to please captain Tom Lehman. David Toms has played fairly well. But everyone else ' well, they arent anywhere near up to snuff.
Heres a look at the U.S. squad going into the PGA:
1 ' TIGER WOODS Won his last two (British Open and Buick Open), won four over-all this season. Without a doubt, the best player in the world.
2 ' PHIL MICKELSON Great first half, but last three tournaments are cause for concern - Western T65, British Open T22, missed the cut at the International.
3 ' JIM FURYK Last four tournaments, lowest finish was a fourth place (T2 U.S. Open, T4 Western, 4 British, T2 Buick Open). Note that two of those were majors.
And now, the rest
4 ' CHAD CAMPBELL Missed cut in three of last four. Missed cut in U.S. Open, finished T65 in British.
5 - DAVID TOMS Nothing to get excited about, but compared to remainder of the team, hes one of the better ones. Last five were T10 at FedEx St. Jude, T15 at Barclays, WD at U.S. Open after opening round of 79, a missed cut at Buick Open, T19 at International.
6 - CHRIS DiMARCO Raised hopes when he chased Woods to the end at the British, but hes missed the cut in the other four of his most recent events. Loss of his mother undoubtedly had much to do with this.
7 - VAUGHN TAYLOR Tied for fourth in recent Buick Open, but in four previous events, best finish was t42.
8 ' J.J. HENRY Missed cut in three of his last seven, missed the cut in both majors he has participated in this year (U.S. Open and British). He did win the Buick Championship in early July.
9 ' ZACH JOHNSON Missed the cut in each of the last two majors. Had a poor final round at the International after leading through three rounds. Its rather disturbing, though, to say that Johnson is probably Americas fifth best player, judging from the recent form charts: in his last six starts, he has finished T21 twice, T33 twice, as well as 13th last week.
10 ' BRETT WETTERICH Missed the cut four times in his last seven events. In the other three, had a best finish of T24.
Number 11 John Rollins? Hes missed the cut in eight of his last 13. Stewart Cink at No. 12 has been good in his last five with three finishes of T5 or better. Jerry Kelly at No. 13 has shown some signs of life, finishing second at Milwaukee and tying for 26th in his only major this year, the British. Number 14 Lucas Glover? Hes missed the cut in five of his last nine events.
That brings us to two old Ryder Cup veterans, No. 14 Davis Love and No. 15 Fred Couples. Love has missed the cut in the last two majors, U.S. Open and the British. Couples hasnt really done anything since he tied for third in the Masters. Hes missed the cut in three of the six events hes played in, and finished T25, 83 and T48 in the other three.
All this leads up to very slim pickings for Lehman. He would be totally justified if he picked himself for one of the two wildcards ' but then again, he himself also missed the cut at the U.S. and British Opens. And his putting has been very poor throughout the year ' he stands 189th in the rankings. That stat alone is why he isnt even considering Tom Lehman.
Folkss, there isnt much reason to feel optimistic if you are a red-white-and-blue type. Of course, you can say the U.S. should go with youth since the Americans havent fared well in these matches the past 10-12 years. But this meager lot doesnt tell you WHICH youngsters you should pick. Everywhere you look, theres mediocrity.
Of course, the Europeans have shown conclusively that past records arent particularly indicative of play in the Ryder Cup. The Americans will have to lean heavily on that adage. Switch em up, a lot of people say, and let the new guys try. But its like fumbling around in the dark for your clothes. You have no idea if you are getting a shirt and pants that matches. IF, that is, anything matches in this rather shallow pool of contenders.
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Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose shot a 7-under 65 Saturday to take a one-shot lead into the final round of the European Tour's season-ending Tour Championship.

The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for an 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 chasing his second Race to Dubai title but leading rival 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.

U.S. Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Order of Merit crown, is tied for 13th on 10 under.

Fleetwood 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

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:

Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

“I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”

RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Tour finals.

“He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”