Sutton Wildly Enthusiastic About Cuppers

By George WhiteMay 25, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Ryder CupTiger Woods is definitely in, as are Phil Mickelson and Davis Love. John Daly, Bob Tway and Justin Leonard are teetering. Lee Janzen, Fred Couples and Mark Calcavecchia appear to be out.
 
Above it all, U.S. Ryder Cup captain Hal Sutton peers intently at the list of who his team might be come September at Oakland Hills. All I do know is that the 12 players from each side show up, said Sutton, and we will decide who the best team of those 24 guys are.
 
The fact that European captain Bernhard Langer will possibly be handicapped by ineligible players doesnt make Sutton feel any more secure. Jesper Parnevik, Luke Donald, Carl Pettersson and Mathias Gronberg, players who might figure in Langers choice for wild card, have been nixed by the European Tour since they will not play in 11 tour events back home. Sutton will not be soothed by the thoughts of a Euro squad made more beatable by the group's absence.
 
Every time the Ryder Cup comes along, on this sheet of paper right now, everybody seems to think that the American team is the best, said Sutton, perusing the latest rankings at the recent EDS Byron Nelson Championship.
 
There's only one thing I can guarantee you - the Europeans always seem to pose a very worthy test because they've won six out of the last nine Ryder Cups. Whoever is on their team, I'm sure it will be testy for the United States to win it, and they're a formidable opponent, always.
 
Actually, in 1989 the two teams battled to a 14-14 tie, but Europe got the cup because it had won the time before. So Sutton is well aware that Europe has been plenty tough for the U.S. in recent years. Sutton himself has been on four American teams, three of them in the down years.
 
Now he is charged with pulling the strings, deciding the pairings and then selecting the order in which the American team will go out for singles Sunday. Its an awesome assignment for anyone, and Sutton knows that regardless of what happens, he will receive far too much credit, win or lose. He is particularly aware of the singles situation Sunday.
 
What I do know would help that situation is for us to do some awesome playing on Friday and Saturday, he said. That would make those decisions much easier, and that's my whole thing - to be ready to go Friday morning at 8 o'clock whoever hits the first shot for the United States (Sunday morning), he has to be ready.
 
Sutton is very sincere when he says he is pleased with his team should the Ryder Cup be played next week. And he says he particularly likes the zeal of those Americans who will be carrying the U.S. banner.
 
There's not a guy in the top 25 that I don't like and that I don't think wouldn't have burning desire if they made the Ryder Cup team, because I think they're aware of the opportunity of it, said Sutton.
 
'I'm not going to single anybody out yet, and the reason why I'm not going to do that is because it's too early to do it. It puts too much pressure on that person if they think I'm already just madly in love with them. But I will tell you that the 15 names right below the top 10, I like them all. And I love the top 10.
 
The top 10 this week is comprised of Woods, Mickelson, Love, Jim Furyk, Kenny Perry, Chad Campbell, David Toms, Jerry Kelly, Steve Flesch and Chris Riley.
 
The next 15, in order, are Jonathan Kaye, Jay Haas, Scott Verplank, Chris DiMarco, Fred Funk, Scott Hoch, Jeff Maggert, Stewart Cink, Kirk Tripkett, Tim Herron, Daly, Brad Faxon, Charles Howell III, Tway and Leonard.
 
And Sutton says that whoever makes the American team, they will have an inspirational captain if nothing else.
 
You know, we're going to run this a little bit more like a team, he says. We're going to be - I'm going to be more of like a jockey. I'm going to call on them. If they're running fast, I'm going to let them run. If they need a little whip, I'm going to give them a little whip.
 
I'm pretty emotional. I'm pretty passionate about what I think. There's a darn good chance I might pump my fist even if I don't hit the first drive or the last putt. I'll still be excited about it.
 
In short, it will be Hal Suttons job to make sure the team is as ready as possible when that day in September rolls around. Sutton will make certain of that. Hey - we have to be ready, no excuses. More than anything else, that will be my job, he says.

The Ryder Cup captaincy is Suttons primary job, he believes, to the extent that his duties take precedence over anything that Hal Sutton does on the golf course this season.
 
I'm thinking about it all the time, he said. You know, I want to do a good job.
 
That will maybe play a small part in making us a victorious team, so when you take pride in what you're doing, well, then it can affect what you're doing (on a personal basis.)
 
But that's all right. I said a few weeks ago, somebody asked me the state of my game, and I said, Does it matter? That's kind of how I feel. It matters to me. I like to play well, but this is the Ryder Cup year, and I'm excited about it.
 
Related links:
  • Hal Sutton Bio

  • Current U.S. and European Ryder Cup Points Lists

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    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.


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    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.”


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    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 Web.com Tour finals.

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

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


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    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''