Love: Woods, Mickelson already team leaders

By Will GrayOctober 14, 2015, 1:22 pm

According to 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III, any questions over the leadership capabilities of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are out of bounds.

Love came to the defense of both players Wednesday on "Morning Drive," praising Mickelson's leadership last week at the Presidents Cup and confirming a report that Woods contacted him during the event about a potential assistant captaincy should he not make the Ryder Cup team next year.

"Tiger was really interested in the pairings and what was going on," Love said. "Because of what we did at the task force, because of him being on the Ryder Cup committee, because of him being such a great advisor to me since I was announced (as captain) back in March, he's like, 'What are you guys doing over there? Why are you putting this guy with that guy?'

So he was talking to me, talking to Fred (Couples), talking to (Steve) Stricker about what was going on at the Presidents Cup. That led to conversations about what we are going to do at Hazeltine."



Mickelson was a controversial addition to the team by captain Jay Haas, but he more than validated his selection by going 3-0-1 in South Korea. Last week, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee questioned whether Woods or Mickelson should receive future captaincies based on their perceived passion for both the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup during their playing careers, saying that neither "deserves" to be a captain.

According to Love, both players have already earned the respect of the team room and would be well-suited for captaincies at some point.

"If you've been paying attention to the last few Ryder Cups or Presidents Cups, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods have become respected leaders of this team," Love said. "Whether you're playing in Korea or Medinah, these guys have stepped up to the plate and been leaders. So now the players respect them, they look to them for leadership and they're expecting that in the future."

It was a sentiment echoed by Haas, who spoke just days removed from leading the U.S. to a dramatic Presidents Cup victory.

"From what I've seen, they certainly have the passion," Haas said on "Morning Drive" on Wednesday. "I couldn't disagree more, not necessarily with Brandel, but with anyone that says Phil and Tiger don't like these team events."

Love also refuted the notion that their relatively mediocre individual records in the team events should preclude them from someday taking the helm.

"Ryder Cup record really doesn't have anything to do with being a leader, because Paul Azinger and Ben Crenshaw both had losing Ryder Cup records but they were great leaders as Ryder Cup captains," Love said. "Being a leader and winning matches don't always go together."



"There's world-class golfers at these events, both Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup," added Haas. "In an 18-hole match, it's a short series so to speak. It doesn't take much. A guy gets 1- or 2-down, and he's fighting an uphill battle ... It's not just a tap-in that these guys are going to go 5-0 every time."

Despite Woods facing another road to recovery after a second back surgery, Love expects to have the 14-time major champ helping the U.S. cause at Hazeltine next year - in one form or another.

"I'll tell you this. Tiger Woods wants to play for me at Hazeltine," Love said. "He wants to be on the U.S. team. He wants to win points, and that's his main focus. But he also said, as did Phil, Strick, Jim (Furyk), Tom Lehman, 'We will do whatever it takes to help you win.'"

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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 Web.com 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.

@tommyfleetwood_1

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.