This Years Ryder Cup Cant Have Next Years Face

By George WhiteSeptember 24, 2001, 4:00 pm
In a perfect world, time would virtually stand still and the 2001 Ryder Cup would proceed in 2002 as if a year hadnt really passed. Starting with No. 1 Tiger Woods and ending with No. 10 Stewart Cink, Americas top golfers would remain exactly the same as they are today. None of the young guys would proceed at the accelerated pace expected of them. None of the old guys would show signs of age further creeping up on them. We would have the event exactly as it would have been back in 2001, and the world could then get back to the more important business at hand.
That is what has been decreed. Ryder Cup 2001 will be played in 2002, and every thing is the same as it would have been this year - same coach, same players, same uniforms.
The reality one year from now, unfortunately, will be quite different. Woods will still be No. 1, but after him, there really isn't much telling. The Ryder Cup will go on, though, exactly as it would have had it been held this year. That is the way Curtis Strange, Sam Torrance and PGA head Jim Awtrey wants it, and its a fitting tribute to the mind-numbing events of Sept. 11.
The reality of the situation, however, is that professional golf could be quite different a year from now.
The deal cut was the best way, perhaps, to get through a very bad situation. The captain ' Strange ' had been chosen two years ago. He had put in countless hours preparing for the event. To deny him the chance to coach a Ryder Cup team would have been unthinkable. He could have slid to 2003, admittedly, but that would have left Paul Azinger, Hal Sutton, Corey Pavin, Fred Couples, Tom Lehman, Davis Love, Mark OMeara, etc., as the odd man out in the race to be captain. The PGA doesnt normally pick captains who are over 50, so that already leaves a couple of those 40-somethings on the outside looking in. To expect Curtis to hang on for two more years, after he has already been captain for two years, is too much to ask.
To cancel the event entirely seemed almost unthinkable, considering the millions (billions?) of dollars that it generates, both on this side and the other of the Atlantic Ocean. So ' cancel the Ryder Cup until 2003? I hardly think so.
But this grand scheme isnt very workable, either. At the very least, two or three very deserving men are going to have to go fishing come next September. It is too much to expect for our gents in their 40s to continue the good years.
Scott Hoch will be 46 when the 2001 Ryder Cup finally gets around to being played near the end of the 2002 season. Mark Calcavecchia, Sutton and Azinger will all be 42. Scott Verplank will be a 39-year-old rookie. Davis Love III will be 38. The American team will definitely be long of tooth.
Its most unfortunate that there will be nothing for the other guys to play for next year. Next year was supposed to be the Presidents Cup, but it, too, has been put back a year. Charles Howell is likely to have big year. Or Bryce Molder or David Gossett, two other young guys. Too bad - they will just have to take their putters and go sit in the corner while we finish 2001s business.
Chris DiMarco? Justin Leonard? Lehman? Nope. They, too, wont have a chance until 2003, when they might make the Presidents Cup team. Lehman almost assuredly wont have another chance at a Ryder Cup ' he will be 45 in 2004 when the next squad will be chosen.
Is there any way to make this Ryder Cup fair for everyone? No, certainly not. But maybe there is a better way. Make this qualifying period last three years instead of two. Leave the points as they are. And allow Strange two new picks when next season rolls around.
If a Howell or a DiMarco can make the team, so be it. If a Lehman or a Leonard can regain the old magic, dont they deserve the honor? But if this years team can tread water another 12 months and make the squad as it stands in 2002, then more power to them. And they would have a definite edge since they have already qualified for the 2001 team, which would be two-thirds of the way there.
Ryder Cup 2001 will never be perfect, except in the 2001 season. It might be okay at the beginning of 2002, but at the end of 2002? Hardly.
To merely postpone this years matches until 2002 presumes something enormous. There is no right way to do it. There is, however, something of a fair way. Give the 2002 matches a 2002 face. The year 2001 is gone. Dont do something inequitable by merely brushing on a little makeup and pretending an entire year isnt going to happen.
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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 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.


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.