U.S. rebounds with sweep at International Crown

By Randall MellJuly 25, 2014, 9:01 pm

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Japan staged a terrific comeback Friday at the International Crown while the Aussies collapsed.

The Americans rebounded from being shut out on Day 1 with a sweep of Spain.

Thailand swept Chinese Taipei.

The International Crown heads to the final day of fourballs with Thailand in control of Pool A and Japan in control of Pool B and the Americans right back in the mix. The top two nations from each pool advance to Sunday singles with points carrying over. A fifth wild-card team also will advance. The third-place team from each pool will stage a sudden-death playoff on Saturday evening to determine who advances as the wild card.


International Crown: Articles, videos and photos


DAY 2 RESULTS

STANDINGS

POOL A POINTS W-L-T POOL B  POINTS W-L-T
Thailand 5 2-1-1 Japan 6 2-0-2
Chinese Taipei 4 2-2-0 Korea 4 2-2-0
U.S. 4 2-2-0 Australia 3 1-2-1
Spain 3 1-2-1 Sweden 3 1-2-1

 


FRIDAY FOURBALLS

Match 9
Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn and Moriya Jutanugarn def. Chinese Taipei’s Candie Kung and Teresa Lu, 3 and 2.

The lowdown: Moriya, the older sister, hasn’t been as celebrated as Ariya in their careers, despite winning LPGA Rookie of the Year in 2013, but Moriya has been a match-play dynamo this week, making nine birdies over the first two days to Ariya’s four. The Jutanugarns haven’t been beaten through two days. They halved their match against Spain on Thursday.

Match 10
Thailand’s Onnarin Sattayabanphot and Pornanong Phatlum def. Chinese Taipei’s Yani Tseng and Phoebe Yao, 1 up.

The lowdown: Tseng had a chance to win another match dramatically with a birdie at the last, but her 20-footer slid left. Sattayabanphot took advantage, ramming home her 18-footer for birdie to win the match and give Thailand a sweep of Chinese Taipei.

Match 11
Japan’s Mamiko Higa and Mika Miyazato def. Australia’s Karrie Webb and Minjee Lee, 3 and 2.

The lowdown: Higa made birdies at three of the first five holes, helping Japan get control of this match early. This Japanese team has yet to be beaten. They halved their match against Sweden on Thursday.

Match 12
Japan’s Ai Miyazato and Sakura Yokomine halved Australia’s Katherine Kirk and Lindsey Wright.

The lowdown: This halve felt like a victory for the Japanese and a loss to the Aussies. After going 6 up with seven holes to go, the Aussies couldn’t close the deal, making a double bogey and two bogeys down the stretch in this best-ball format. Like their teammates, Miyazato and Yokomine have yet to be beaten in this competition. They defeated Sweden on Thursday.

Match 13
Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall def. Korea’s Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu, 1 up.

The lowdown: Hedwall made a pair of eagles, her first after driving the green at the 282-yard par-4 fifth hole. She hit her drive to 4 feet and the Koreans gave her the putt.

Match 14
Korea’s Na Yeon Choi and I.K. Kim def. Sweden’s Mikaela Parmlid and Pernilla Lindberg, 1 up.

The lowdown: In a terrific match, the Swedes shot a best-ball 62 and lost. The South Koreans shot 61.

Match 15
USA’s Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson def. Spain’s Bele Mozo and Beatriz Recari, 3 and 2.

The lowdown: With Thompson holing a 3-foot birdie at the par-5 16th, the Americans closed out Spain and put their first points on the board. Thompson bombed her driver around Caves Valley, making eagle at the 12th hitting driver and 7-iron. Kerr made three birdies in a row on the back nine.

Match 16
USA’s Stacy Lewis and Paula Creamer def. Spain’s Carlota Ciganda and Azahara Munoz, 2 up.

The lowdown: Lewis and Creamer are two of the best ball strikers in the women’s game. They beat a formidable Spanish tandem by constantly applying pressure with their shot making.

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.