Analyzing Ryder Cup first-session matches

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 27, 2012, 10:30 pm

MEDINAH, Ill. – The match-ups for Friday's first session of the Ryder Cup have been announced. Golf Channel writers Rex Hoggard and Randall Mell analyze the pairings:


8:20 a.m. (ET): Jim Furyk-Brandt Snedeker (United States) vs. Rory McIlroy-Graeme McDowell (Europe).

This could qualify as the only surprise from the morning foursomes draw. Snedeker, a Ryder Cup rookie and fresh off an emotional victory on Sunday at the Tour Championship, and Furyk were both captain’s picks who will meet the Continent’s top two-ball in McIlroy and McDowell, who went 1-1-1 together at the 2010 matches.

Both captains talked about striking first to either inspire or quiet the Chicagoland masses. Europe’s Jose Maria Olazabal answered with his first line, only time will tell if Davis Love III responded in kind. – Rex Hoggard


8:35 a.m. (ET): Luke Donald-Sergio Garcia (Europe) vs. Phil Mickelson-Keegan Bradley (United States).

The new Mickelson-Bradley pairing will play an important role in trying to get the Americans off to a fast start. They’re going up against Europe’s most formidable tandem. Donald and Garcia have never been beaten when paired together in the Ryder Cup. They are 4-0 together, all those wins coming in this foursomes (alternate-shot) format. Donald has a marvelous short game and terrific putter. Garcia is a masterful ball striker whose putting has significantly improved.

Mickelson and Bradley have become great chums, the veteran Mickelson taking Bradley under his wing in so many practice-round matches. Mickelson did so with this kind of day in mind, with future Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup battles in mind, but Mickelson has a tough task. He has never won a Ryder Cup match when playing against Donald or Garcia. He’s 0-4 in matches that included Garcia, 0-1 against Donald.

Mickelson and Bradley have chemistry going for them, and the course setup should help. If Mickelson isn’t sharp with his driver, this generous rough will help Bradley recover. Donald and Garcia also have terrific chemistry and a proven record together. – Randall Mell


8:50 a.m. (ET): Jason Dufner-Zach Johnson (United States) vs. Lee Westwood-Francesco Molinari (Europe).

Although low-key, the American twosome may be the U.S. side’s best foursome combo. They have similar games and demeanors but they will have their hands full in the day’s third match.

Westwood has a 7-2-4 foursomes record and Molinari may be the European side’s most underrated player. – Rex Hoggard


9:05 a.m. (ET): Ian Poulter-Justin Rose (Europe) vs. Tiger Woods-Steve Stricker (United States).

This could be the best match in the morning foursomes. Poulter and Rose are 2-1 overall when playing together in the Ryder Cup with both of their victories coming in foursomes. Stricker and Woods are 2-1 overall together and 1-1 in foursomes.

Poulter is an especially feisty Ryder Cup player. The event brings out the best in his game, but he has had his most trouble in this event when pitted against Woods. Poulter is 8-3 overall in Ryder Cup play with two of his losses involving Woods. He has never won a Ryder Cup match with Woods on the other side of the pairing.

Rose is in good form, ranking first in GIR on the PGA Tour, 20th in total driving and seventh in scoring. His putter can run hot and cold. Poulter is a terrific scrambler, ranking second on the PGA Tour in that stat. Still, if Woods and Stricker are making putts, nobody may be able to beat them. They’re two of the best putters in the game. – Randall Mell


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PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

PGA Tour:

The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

LPGA:

We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

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Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm

Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.