Changing the Rules

By Mercer BaggsAugust 23, 2009, 4:00 pm

REBEL YELL: The United States claimed their third consecutive Solheim Cup and remained undefeated on American soil, knocking off the visiting European team, 16 to 12, at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill.
Backspin It wasn't quite Florida-Charleston Southern, but the U.S. was heavily favored to win yet again. If there was a points spread, the Americans likely covered, which is a bit of a shame. The matches were all tied after two days, and then came Sunday Bloody Sunday. If I was the LET, I'd be willing to trade two home games each decade in exchange for three days of team play and no singles ' and no more Christina Kim.

OH, CAPTAIN, WHY, CAPTAIN?: U.S. captain Beth Daniel decided prior to the Solheim Cup matches that she was not going to play anyone in all five sessions. Ultimately, her plan worked as the U.S. won eight of 12 possible singles points Sunday in clinching the Cup.
Backspin Daniel's move was a big gamble. Had her squad lost, she would have taken some serious heat for sitting out the likes of Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr and Michelle Wie. For years, the European Ryder Cup teams employed a Ride-Your-Horses-Till-They-Drop strategy, and it worked quite well. That was a map to success. Daniel forgoing such a philosophy was like someone telling Christopher Columbus, 'Hey, here's directions to the Americas.' And Columbus responding, 'Nah, I'll find my way there.'

CUP UP, CUP DOWN: It's hard to single out just one American and one European who deserve the best- and worst-played awards. Paula Creamer went 3-1 for the U.S., but Michelle Wie has to get Woman of the Matches for her 3-0-1 record in her debut. Meanwhile, Gwladys Nocera of France went 3-0-1 as well for Europe.
Backspin On the flipside, several candidates could have won the Razzie for Europe (Laura Davies: 0-1-1, with three sit-outs; Helen Alfredsson: 1-3), but the award goes to Suzann Pettersen. The Norwegian was supposed to anchor this team, but instead helped sink it with a 1-4 record. Nicole Castrale took the dubious prize on the American side, going 0-3 ' the only player on either team not to win at least a half-point.

JUST WYN, BABY: Ryan Moore earned his first PGA Tour title, denying Kevin Stadler and Jason Bohn in a playoff at the Wyndham Championship. The victory came in Moore's 112th start on Tour.
Backspin Sergio Garcia must feel like it's been 112 starts since he won on Tour. The Spaniard, winless on Tour since last year's Players Championship, held a three-shot lead during the final round, but needed to make a 35-yard bunker shot on 18 to join the playoff. He came up inches short. And so the drought ' and frustration ' continues.

JUST WEN, BABY: Mike Reid made a 10-footer on the first hole of sudden death Sunday at the Jeld-Wen Tradition, while John Cook missed one of similar length. The result gave Reid his second career Champions Tour major (2005 Senior PGA) and left Cook winless on the senior circuit.
Backspin What a brutal loss for Cook. He led by one entering the par-4 18th, but made bogey to force the playoff. He then couldn't match Reid's birdie in the extra session. That's now four majors down on the Champions Tour in 2009. Only seven more to go before the season ends.

JUST WHAT WIE NEEDED: Touching base with Wie again, the 19-year-old was stellar in her maiden Cup appearance. Aside from her near-perfect record, she appeared to be a well-received teammate and even showed she could overcome adversity after blowing a 3-up lead to Helen Alfredsson in the singles, only to rally and win, 1 up.
Backspin Wie was supposed to be the female Tiger Woods. But in actuality, they are little alike. Tiger exceeded expections at the start of his career; Wie has underachieved. Tiger immediately won twice upon turning pro and earned his PGA Tour card; Wie went through Q-School and is still winless. Tiger never needed acceptance among his peers; Wie was in desparate need for inclusion and camaraderie and may finally have received it. Tiger's performance in team competitions is less than remarkable; What Wie accomplished this past week in a team competition could jump start a remarkable career.

RED, WHITE AND WHO?: Nick Watney and John Merrick will represent the United States in the World Cup. The event will take place November 26-29 at the Mission Hills Olazabal Course in Shenzhen, China.
Backspin This once prestigious event hasn't been relevant since 'Ally McBeal' was on TV. It all turned when officials decided that the top-ranked player from each country didn't get to select his partner, but instead had to use the next highest-ranked countryman (should he accept the invitation). It was all in an effort to get Tiger Woods to team with Phil Mickelson. And now we have Nick Watney teaming with John Merrick. That's what happens when you try and tell Tiger what to do.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Tiger Woods committed to the first FedEx Cup Playoffs event, The Barclays. ... Australian Michael Sim earned a promotion to the PGA Tour by winning his third event of the year on the Nationwide Tour, the Christmas in October Classic. ... Simon Dyson won his second career KLM Open on the European Tour. ... Michelle Wie is working with former PGA champion Dave Stockton to improve her putting.
Backspin That comes as a bit of a surprise, but a good one. It will be more surprising if he actually kisses the trophy this time when he wins it. ... Hopefully Sim can keep his game in peak form as the Fall Series is a good six weeks away. ... Dyson defeated Peter Hedblom and Peter Lawrie in a playoff. ... She still missed a few gimmes at Rich Harvest Farms, but did seem much more confident. Working with the Stocktons can only help.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage ' Solheim Cup
  • Full Coverage ' Wyndham Championship
  • Full Coverage ' Jeld-Wen Tradition
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.