One for the Ages

By Golf Channel NewsroomNovember 17, 2003, 5:00 pm
While the top players in the world will be half-way around the world competing in the Presidents Cup, many veteran stalwarts will be competing in another team competition ' the UBS Cup (Friday, 8:00 PM ET on TGC).
 
Two 12-man teams, representing the United States and the Rest of the World, will play a Ryder Cup-style format over three days in Sea Island, Ga. Each team will consist of six players 40-49 and six players 50 and older.
 
Arnold Palmer will head the American roster, which consists of 40-49-year-olds Brad Faxon, Scott Hoch, Rocco Mediate, Mark OMeara, Curtis Strange and Hal Sutton, and Champions Tour regulars Raymond Floyd, Hale Irwin, Bruce Lietzke, Craig Stadler and Tom Watson. Palmer is also a playing member.
 
This is Palmers third stint as UBS captain. He led the U.S. to wins in 2001 (12 - 11 ) and 2002 (14 - 9 ). He also captained the U.S. Ryder Cup team to wins in 1963 and 1975, as well as the U.S. Presidents Cup team to victory in 1996.
 
My players have always been quite good, Palmer said. I tried to juggle them into the right positions and get their interest and focus on what they were doing.
 
Tony Jacklin is making his debut as the Rest of the World captain. Englishmen Nick Faldo and Barry Lane, Germanys Bernhard Langer, Scotlands Colin Montgomerie, Eduardo Romero of Argentina and Welshman Ian Woosnam are the 40-49-year-olds on the ROW team. Australian Rodger Davis, Argentine Vicente Fernandez, Bill Longmuir of Scotland, Englands Carl Mason and Irishman Des Smyth join Jacklin as the 50-and-older players.
 
Though never a UBS captain, the Englishman is 2-1-1 as a Ryder Cup leader. He directed the Europeans to their first win in 28 years, in 1985. Two years later, he helped Europe win for the first time ever on American soil.
 
Jacklin takes over from Gary Player, who was the Rest of the World captain for the first two UBS Cups. The UBS Cup is sanctioned by the European Seniors Tour and the PGA Tour.
 
The Americans would seem, on paper at least, to be the favorites.
 
A member of both previous UBS Cup teams, Hoch captured this years Ford Championship.
 
He was joined in the 2003 PGA Tour winners circle by 50-year-old Craig Stadler. Stadler became the first Champions Tour member to win on the primary circuit. He also won three times on his regular tour, including the Ford Senior Players Championship.
 
Lietzke, Watson and Irwin were all multiple winners on the 50-and-over circuit.
 
Lietzke won twice, including the U.S. Senior Open; Watson won the Senior British Open and Jeld-Wen Tradition; Irwin claimed two titles, giving him a record 38 for his Champions Tour career.
 
On the ROW side, Davis won the Toshiba Senior Classic on the Champions Tour, while Carl Mason and Bill Longmuir finished 1-2, respectively, on the European Seniors Tours Order of Merit.
 
Both teams have a mixture of veteran UBS competitors and rookies. They each have seven players with experience and five first-timers.
 
Raymond Floyd has the best record on the American side with a 4-0-2 mark in two prior Cups. Smyth is the only undefeated player on the ROW side. He went 3-0-0 in his lone appearance in 2001.

The third annual UBS Cup will be played at the Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club.
 
Six foursome matches will be played on Friday, six four-ball matches on Saturday, and 12 singles matches will conclude play on Sunday.
 
The Golf Channel will devote 45 hours of worldwide coverage to the UBS Cup, with much of that in prime time. Replays of the action, which include the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, will begin Saturday, Nov. 22 and run through the week following the event.
 
Related Links:
  • Meet the Teams
  • TGC Airtimes - UBS Cup
  • Full Coverage - UBS Cup
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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.

    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.

    Enrique Berardi/LAAC

    Ortiz leads LAAC through 54; Niemann, Gana one back

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 8:15 pm

    Mexico's Alvaro Ortiz shot a 1-under 70 Monday to take the 54-hole lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship in Chile.

    At 4 under for the week, he leads by one over over Argentina's Jaime Lopez Rivarola, Chile's Toto Gana and Joaquin Niemann, and Guatemala's Dnaiel Gurtner.

    Ortiz is the younger brother of three-time Web.com winner Carlos. Alvaro, a senior at Arkansas, finished tied for third at the LAAC in 2016 and lost in a three-way playoff last year that included Niemann and Gana, the champion.

    Ortiz shared the 54-hole lead with Gana last year and they will once again play in the final group on Tuesday, along with Gurtner, a redshirt junior at TCU.

    “Literally, I've been thinking about [winning] all year long," Ortiz said Monday. "Yes, I am a very emotional player, but tomorrow I want to go out calm and with a lot of patience. I don't want the emotions to get the better of me. What I've learned this past year, especially in the tournaments I’ve played for my university, is that I have become more mature and that I have learned how to control myself on the inside on the golf course.”

    In the group behind, Niemann is the top-ranked amateur in the world who is poised to turn professional, unless of course he walks away with the title.

    “I feel a lot of motivation at the moment, especially because I am the only player in the field that shot seven under (during the second round), and I am actually just one shot off the lead," he said. "So I believe that tomorrow I can shoot another very low round."

    Tuesday's winner will earn an invitation to this year's Masters and exemptions into the The Amateur Championship, the U.S. Amateur, sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open, and final qualifying for The Open.