U.S. ousted from International Crown in playoff

By Randall MellJuly 27, 2014, 12:39 am

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Republic of Korea eliminated the United States on Saturday in a sudden-death playoff to win the wild-card berth into Sunday singles at the inaugural International Crown.

Five teams advanced  at Caves Valley Golf Club, but the No. 1-seeded Americans were not among them.

Thailand won Pool A with Spain taking the second spot from that pool.

Japan won Pool B with Sweden taking the second spot in that pool.

As the third-place finishers in each pool, the Americans and Koreans battled for the final spot in a sudden-death fourball playoff. The South Koreans won with Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu both making birdies at the first hole. Cristie Kerr also made birdie, but the format called for the second ball to serve as a tiebreaker. Lexi Thompson missed a 15-foot birdie chance after watching a nearly brilliant second shot roll back off the front of the green and come to rest in a divot.

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Spain 7 3-2-1
Thailand 7 3-2-1
USA 6 3-3-0
Chinese Taipei 4 2-4-0
Japan 8 3-1-2
Sweden 7 3-2-1
S. Korea 6 3-3-0
Australia 3 1-4-1

Match 1

Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall and Anna Nordqvist def. Australia’s Minjee Lee and Karrie Webb, 5 and 3.

The lowdown: Nordqvist and Hedwall combined to go 6 under over the first eight holes in making it a blowout early. The Swedish tandem finished pool play unbeaten in fourballs at 2-0-1.

Match 2

Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg and Mikaela Parmlid def. Australia’s Katherine Kirk and Lindsey Wright, 7 and 5.

The lowdown: Lindberg birdied the first hole and the Swedes never looked back. Lindberg and Parmlid were the only players who had failed to score a point coming into Saturday, but their victory was timely, helping the Swedes sweep Australia and qualify for Sunday singles.

Match 3

Spain’s Carlota Ciganda and Azahara Munoz def. Chinese Taipei's Yani Tseng and Phoebe Yao, 6 and 5.

The lowdown: It wasn’t Tseng’s and Yao’s day. They didn’t make a birdie until after they were 7 down.

Match 4

Spain’s Belen Mozo and Beatriz Recari def. Chinese Taipei’s Candie Kung and Teresa Lu, 1 up.

The lowdown: Mozo chipped in for eagle at the 16th to give Spain its first lead in the match and then she holed a 25-footer for birdie to halve the 18th to close out the victory.

Match 5

South Korea’s Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu def. Japan’s Mamiko Higa and Mika Miyazato, 4 and 3.

The lowdown: Park and Ryu were 8 under through 13 holes to go 4 up in this runaway.

Match 6

Japan’s Ai Miyazato and Sakura Yokomine def. South Korea’s Na Yeon Choi and I.K. Kim, 3 and 2.

The lowdown: Miyazato and Yokomine went on a tear on the back nine, with Yokomine holing out from a fairway at the 10th for eagle and chipping in for another eagle at the 12th and Miyazato holing a bunker shot at the 14th for birdie.

Match 7

USA’s Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson def. Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn and Ariya Jutanugarn, 3 and 2.

The lowdown: With Kerr a steadying hand as partner, Thompson caught fire. She birdied the 11th, eagled the 12th and birdied the 13th to put the Americans 4 up coming home.

Match 8

Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum and Onnarin Sattayabanphot def. USA's Paula Creamer and Stacy Lewis, 1  up.

The lowdown: The Thais pulled the upset of Rolex world No. 1 Lewis and No. 12 Creamer. Phatlum is No. 28 in the world, Sattayabanphot No. 88. Lewis and Creamer shot a best-ball 64, but the Thais shot a 63.

The Playoff

South Korea’s Park and Ryu def. USA’s Kerr and Thompson on the first hole of sudden-death fourballs. With the second ball acting as a tiebreaker in the best-ball format, Park and Ryu both made birdie at the 16th, a par 5. Kerr made birdie and Thompson made par.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.