Azinger Its OK to Applaud Euro Mistakes

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 19, 2008, 4:00 pm
Ryder CupLOUISVILLE, Ky. ' U.S. captain Paul Azinger knows the Ryder Cup is as much about sportsmanship as it is about golf.
 
Sportsmanship, however, takes on a little different hue during the Cup. Azinger told fans at Valhalla it was OK to applaud when the Europeans make a mistake.
 
Azinger knows it doesnt sound sporting, but he has played on enough U.S. Ryder Cup teams to know cheering against the opponent is common practice in Europe.
 
Essentially, you know, when we go over there, they cheer when we miss, Azinger said. I dont think that the American fans are really into what the Ryder Cup is all about in the fact that, you know, there is that other element.
 
Azinger stressed it wasnt a slam on European fans. In fact, he praised them.
 
If we lose a hole or we miss a putt, they cheer, Azinger said. I dont think the American fans get that part. Golf is, everybody oohs and aahs, but the European fans, they get it. The American fans, they dont, and they are not used to that.
 
Theyre not used to having massive pep rallies either at the Ryder Cup, but thousands of fans packed the pep rally. Azinger planned on attending the event alone and even ordered his team to stay behind to rest up for the long Friday ahead.
 
When Azinger hopped on the bus with his 13th man shirt on, he found the rest of the team waiting for him.
 
He just looked at us and said, Good to see my authority is being followed as the captain, Hunter Mahan said.
 
A MESSAGE FROM TIGER
 
One of the more meaningful text messages that Paul Azinger received on the eve of the Ryder Cup came from the one player he wished he had on the team ' Tiger Woods.
 
He sent me one last night that said, Kick their (behind), Azinger said after the morning matches. I told him the team was in a good place, practicing well and very prepared. And to call me if he had any input.
 
There was no need for Woods to call. The United States had a 3-1 lead in the morning, the first time since 1991 that it won the opening session of matches.
 
PHILS PATIENCE
 
Phil Mickelson rarely shows much of a temper, but he couldnt help himself Friday morning.
 
With his foursomes match all square, and Europe inside 4 feet for a birdie attempt, Mickelson was trying to hold his chip from just off the 10th green. He turned around and glared at photographers right after his ball made contact.
 
Someone had clicked his camera early, causing a distraction.
 
Cmon, guys, Mickelson complained. Who did that?
 
He didnt let it go there. Mickelson panned the cluster of photographers, trying to figure out the culprit. Once he identified the photographer, Mickelson stared at him.
 
Im going to ask you to be removed, Mickelson said. That is so uncool.
 
Police and marshals walked toward the photographer, who quickly ducked outside the ropes until they caught up to him. Later, he was seen cleaning out his locker.
 
LAST MAN SITTING
 
European Ryder Cup rookie Oliver Wilson, a surprise wild card selection by Faldo, was the only player on either team to sit out Fridays matches.
 
Faldo introduced Wilson during the Opening Ceremonies by saying maybe youve not heard of him, but you will soon.
 
Apparently, soon wont come until at least Saturday.
 
The 28-year-old Wilson has yet to win on the European tour, though he has been remarkably consistent this year, posting four runner-up finishes and seven Top 10s.
 
GET THIS MAN A CLUB
 
Michael Jordan is a veteran Ryder Cupper.
 
The retired NBA great and current managing partner of the Charlotte Bobcats was on hand Friday at Valhalla Golf Club, marking the sixth consecutive time Jordan has attended the matches. He stood on the porch of a corporate skybox behind the 14th tee Friday, a perfect vantage point to watch a U.S. surge that began on the back nine and gave the home side a 3-1 lead after the morning alternate-shot competition.
 
Just before the Kenny Perry hit his tee shot, Jordan showed that while he no longer plays, hes still as competitive as ever. Despite a growing lead for the Americans, Jordan said, Theres no such thing as a lead thats too big. Weve got to get them all.
 
Then he looked over at the tee and like the fans on every side of him, yelled, Cmon Kenny! before putting an ever-present stogie back in his mouth.
 
Jordan wasnt the only American luminary rooting on the home team. Former president George H.W. Bush stopped by during the afternoon foursomes round, wearing the same shirt as the U.S. team.
 
MONTYS HERE, SORT OF
 
Longtime European Ryder Cup star Colin Montgomerie failed to make the team for the first time since 1989.
 
Still, Montgomeries presence was felt at Valhalla, sort of. A group of European fans toted a life-size cardboard cutout of Montgomerie around the grounds.
 
The cutout was done up to make the Scotsman proud. The figure was adorned in a red tartan plaid kilt and a blue waistcoat with silver button and a sash. A look also modeled by the men who brought the cutout.
 
The Europeans could have used Montgomerie and his 20-9-7 Cup record on Friday morning.
 
There were actual, live, former European Ryder Cuppers in the crowd. Frenchman Thomas Levet, a member of the 2004 team, walked along with Englishmen Ian Poulter and Justin Rose during the morning round, even helping a marshal replace a stake at one point.
 
BATTLE OF THE STANDS
 
Before the players ever made it to the first tee Friday, the battle within the gallery had already begun.
 
Waiting for the first foursome to finish up on the practice range, U.S. fans began a rousing U.S.A. chant. Euro fans, several wearing the Euro teams blue flag with gold stars as a cape, responded with a sing-songy Eurrrr-up, Eurrrr-up. They followed it up with the ubiquitous Ole chant heard often at European soccer matches.
 
Undaunted, U.S. fans fired back with a chant of soccer sucks as the stands ' the Euros included ' laughed.
 
Related Links:
  • U.S. Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • European Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • Full Coverage - 37th Ryder Cup
  • Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

    By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

    Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

    Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

    Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

    Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

    It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

    The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

    Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

    Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

    ''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

    They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

    ''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

    Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

    ''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

    Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

    Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

    Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

    Getty Images

    Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

    Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

    Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

    Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

    Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

    The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

    Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.