bThe Golf Channel Counts Down to Unprecedented Solheim Cup CoverageB
The Golf Channels comprehensive, week-long coverage of the 2005 Solheim Cup tees off Monday, Sept. 5, with a special Solheim Cup-version of Golf Central. The cable networks signature wraparound news coverage continues in the days leading up to the biennial match, carrying the pre-match press conferences live, as well as the competitions Opening Ceremony. The Golf Channels team of experts also will be on hand to provide instant analysis, breakdowns and predictions on Golf Central and Sprint Post Game.
The three days of match play will be covered live from the moment the first pair tees off until the last putt drops ' eight consecutive hours of live coverage on Friday and Saturday and seven hours on Sunday.
In addition to the networks dedicated match-play coverage, more than 40 programming hours in the week leading to the competition will be Solheim Cup-themed.
Leading The Golf Channels team of experts during tournament week will be Indiana native Brian Hammons and LPGA legend Dottie Pepper ' herself a veteran of six U.S. Solheim Cup teams. Supporting Hammons and Pepper in the booth, will be Donna Caponi, Kay Cockerill and Val Skinner on the golf course, and Rich Lerner providing essays and special reports.
The biennial contest pits the top European-born players from the Robe Di Kappa Ladies European Tour (LET) against the top U.S.-born players from the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) in a three-day, match-play-style competition. Just three LPGA Tour events remain before the final roster spots are determined, and 22 players are still within striking distance of capturing one of 10 coveted spots on the U.S. roster, with Cristie Kerr holding a comfortable lead, followed by Meg Mallon and LPGA legend Juli Inkster. Several roster spots are still up for grabs, and The Golf Channel will provide expert analysis of each event and its impact on the 2005 Solheim Cup.
Live match-play coverage of the 2005 Solheim Cup tees off Friday, Sept. 9, at 9 a.m. ET.
Quotes from the Broadcast Team:
Tournament Host Brian Hammons on returning home to Indiana to announce the 2005 Solheim Cup for The Golf Channel:
Even though I've been living in Orlando for 10 years, I still consider Indiana 'home'. So to return to my favorite town in the world and anchor our coverage of one of the biggest events in golf is truly a thrill and an honor. I'm looking forward to this event more than any other in my career at The Golf Channel.
The golf fans of Indiana are in for a real treat. Three days of unbelievable competition between some of the biggest names in women's golf. This will be the biggest event in women's athletics in 2005.
Hammons about the upcoming Solheim Cup:
The great thing about the United States team is that all of the players fighting for a position on the team are playing well. That has to make Nancy Lopez happy. One of the things a captain looks for are players who are 'hot' going into the Solheim Cup. She has a lot of 'hot' players.
The European team has a great mix of veterans and talented young players. Anytime you have Annika Sorenstam leading your team you have a shot.
I think Crooked Stick will provide some terrific theater. I can not believe the intensity of the Solheim Cup. I thought players were into the Ryder Cup, but the LPGA players have been talking about this event since the middle of last year.
Six-time U.S. Solheim Cup team member and The Golf Channel Analyst Dottie Pepper on her Solheim Cup playing experience:
The Solheim Cup was definitely one of the highlights of my career, especially since I was involved in the first playing back in 1990. It was always a huge goal; the opportunity to play as a team as well as represent your country was a determining factor in the schedule I set for two years in an effort to accumulate the necessary points.
Pepper on her first Solheim Cup broadcast experience for The Golf Channel:
The biggest challenge in this new capacity will be that of 'just calling golf' and not rooting outwardly for the U.S. team, many of those players being former teammates of mine. I am also looking forward to managing a 10 hour telecast with no breaks!
Pepper about the upcoming Solheim Cup:
I think the greatest thing about the potential team members is that nearly all of them are playing great golf now where as that was not the case two years ago going to the event staged in Sweden. Crooked Stick is a fabulous test, especially for match play, with water coming into play on several of the closing holes and huge swings in momentum being a huge possibility.
1996 Solheim Cup U.S. team member and The Golf Channel On-course Reporter Val Skinner on her Solheim Cup memories:
I consider my experience in the Solheim Cup one of the competitive highlights of my career.
The intensity of every match, hole and shot matches only the feelings experienced in a major
championship. To play along side the peers you respect and admire while representing your country creates total pride. I will always relish these moments in my golf career.
For more information contact, The Golf Channel Public Relations, 407/355-4653
Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters
Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.
Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.
In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.
Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.
“I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”
Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking.
Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup
In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.
Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.
Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.
“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”
McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.
“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”
September can’t get here quick enough.
Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.
There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.
In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.
“I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”
The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”
Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.
Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.
The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.
The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.
“My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.
Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.
After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.
It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.
Tweet of the week:
Welp I didn’t get hit by a ballistic missile today so that’s a plus! #imalive— John Peterson (@JohnPetersonFW) January 14, 2018
It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”
The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.
Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake
Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.
While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.
“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.
Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.<
DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi
Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.
“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”
Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).
“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.”
Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.
Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace).
“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”