Recaps from Day 3 foursomes and fourballs

By November 19, 2011, 7:11 am

Results from the Day 3 fourball matches at Royal Melbourne: 

Charl Schwartzel and Retief Goosen (International) d. Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson (U.S.), 2 and 1

It turns out that Simpson and Watson can be beaten after all. Despite staging a late comeback, the American duo suffered their first loss.

The Americans never led, falling behind after losing the first hole to a Schwartzel birdie. Goosen won Nos. 6 and 7, first with a 23-foot birdie putt and then a par 4 after the Americans could not get up-and-down for par.

Schwartzel increased the International lead at the tricky downhill par-4 11th, hitting his approach toward a tucked pin to 10 feet and making a rare birdie on the hole.

The Americans tried to fight back, taking the 14th with a Simpson par with the Internationals bunkered off of the tee at the par 3.  Watson won the 16th when he was the only player to find the green in regulation and make par.

It was too little, too late, however.


K.T. Kim and Y.E. Yang (International) d. Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson (U.S.), 1 up

Woods and Johnson fell for the second time in three matches together.

Yang made a birdie at the first to take the lead, which held up until Woods sank a 34-foot birdie - his second of the round - to square the match.

The teams traded wins on the 11th and 12th holes in birdie, with Yang and Woods each making 11-foot putts as weather became more of a factor around Royal Melbourne.

It was Kim, however, who put the dagger in the Americans' heart. Kim made the lone birdie at the par-5 15th, sinking a 28-footer to regain the lead for good. 

The Americans had looks for birdie at the final three holes, though none from particularly close range.

Woods and Johnson played terrific golf from tee to green, but their inability to make mid-range putts for hole-winning birdies left them in the loss column.


Geoff Ogilvy and K.J. Choi (International) d. Steve Stricker and Matt Kuchar (U.S.), 1 up

Just three holes were won. The Internationals took a pair of holes to the Americans' lone win to earn a point.

Kuchar nailed down the only victory for the U.S. side at the par-3 fifth, making birdie from 22 feet. A hole later, Kuchar nearly holed out for eagle, but instead tied in birdie.

Choi responded at the eighth with a birdie bomb from 30 feet to square the match.

Perhaps using his experience at Royal Melbourne to his advantage, Ogilvy made a downhill 19-foot birdie putt at the tricky 11th. That putt proved to be the difference.

The American duo hit a lot of greens in regulation, but rarely gave themselves realistic chances for birdie. Stroking first putts from more than 20 feet, neither Stricker nor Kuchar was able to sink anything to swing the momentum in their favor.

With his neck needing rest, Stricker sat out the morning session. Perhaps the rust was an issue for the Wisconsin native as his characteristically strong putting stroke never really shined.


Hunter Mahan and Bill Haas (U.S.) d. Jason Day and Aaron Baddeley (International), 2 and 1

In the most volatile match of the second session, a dramatic finish allowed Mahan and Haas to steal a point from Day and Baddeley.

Baddeley opened with birdie to give his team the edge and the partisan Aussie crowd something to cheer. Haas answered with an eagle at the par-5 second hole.

The U.S. took control with consecutive wins at Nos. 6 and 7, riding a pair of Mahan approaches to a half-dozen feet to wins.

The first four holes of the back nine were won in pars by each side, with the Internationals taking the first two holes when the Americans missed efforts to halve the hole from inside 8 feet. 

Haas responded at the 12th and 13th, however, with putts of 12 and 8 feet, respectively, to win and re-establish the American advantage.

After halving the par-3 14th, the teams swapped wins at Nos. 15 and 16 to set up the climactic finale.

Both Americans found the green at the 17th, both inside of Day. The Aussie roused the crowd with a 32-foot birdie putt, but Mahan quickly silenced the crowd and ended the match when he made a 23-foot birdie bid of his own.


Nick Watney and Jim Furyk (U.S.) d. Adam Scott and Ernie Els (International), 1 up

Watney was the worst American player in the Friday fourball session. In his Saturday fourball with Furyk, however, Watney may have been the best.

With birdies on the fourth and fifth holes, Watney gave an advantage to the Americans with putts of 16 and 24 feet, respectively.

Els led his team to two consecutive wins at the ninth and 10th. On both holes, the Americans could not reach the green in regulation.

Watney struck back immediately at the 11th, hitting his approach shot to 4 feet. It was the shot of the session at the hole, which featured a tucked pin on a ridge.

Three holes later, Watney hit another crisp iron shot at the par-3 14th. After the Internationals could not make either of their birdie bids, Watney made his to nail down the final American win of the match.

Scott had the best chance to even the match at the 17th hole, but he missed a 9-foot birdie putt after a sterling approach. The Americans survived for the win when Scott was unable to make a birdie at the last hole. 

For the first time all week, Watney was a victor. He went 1-1-1, splitting time with Furyk and Bill Haas. Derided for making the team after a lackluster 2011 season, Furyk swept his four matches.


Results from the Day 3 foursomes matches at Royal Melbourne:

Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson (U.S.) d. Robert Allenby and Geoff Ogilvy (International), 3 and 2

Watson and Simpson continued their winning ways, defeating Royal Melbourne specialists Allenby and Ogilvy.

The Americans never trailed, winning the first two holes with birdies. The International duo pulled even with wins at the front-side par-3 third and fifth.

The teams traded wins at the eighth and ninth to make the turn all square. From then on, the Internationals did not win another hole.

Watson and Simpson won with a bogey at the par-4 12th when the Aussies took four to get on the green. The Americans sealed their third consecutive win with mid-range birdie putts at Nos. 14 and 16.

The pair who faced off in a playoff in New Orleans have now taken all three of their matches from the lead-off spot – a Presidents Cup first.


Ernie Els and Ryo Ishikawa (International) d. Bill Haas and Matt Kuchar (U.S.), 1 up

In their final match as a duo in this Presidents Cup, Ishikawa and Els went out as winners by the slimmest of margins.

The Americans led from the beginning, winning the opening two holes with a birdie and an eagle. Setting the tempo for the match, the Internationals answered by taking the par-3 third and fifth holes.

The U.S. duo rallied with winning pars at the sixth and seventh, taking advantage of inadequate approach play by the Internationals.

Haas bunkered the Americans on the 10th and 12th holes with his approach shots, leaving Kuchar to extricate halves from the sand. But he was unable to get the ball close enough for Haas to make sandies, so the Internationals again pulled even.

After the Americans won the 14th with a par, the Internationals took two straight holes to take the lead and keep it for good. Kuchar blasted his first putt at the par-5 15th some 20 feet past the pin, leading to a losing bogey.

To secure the win, Ishikawa sank critical putts to halve the final two holes. The Japanese star sank a 14-footer to make par at No. 17, then holed a tricky 5-foot par putt to secure the full point. 

Ishikawa is done for the day, as he will sit out in the afternoon fourballs. 


Hunter Mahan and David Toms (U.S.) d. Retief Goosen and Charl Schwartzel (International), 5 and 4

Mahan and Toms avenged a loss in the fourball session on Friday.

The Internationals won just a single hole, the fourth, to take the early advantage. Following that win, the South Africans lost four of the next five holes.

After Schwartzel short-sided his teammate at the fifth, a par was all the Americans needed to win. A hole later, Mahan holed out his second shot from 53 yards for an eagle at the short par-4 sixth. On the seventh, Mahan made a 21-foot birdie putt to go 2 up. Another International bogey at the ninth bookended the American run on the front side.

The Internationals failed to hit the green at Nos. 13 and 14 and were unable to get up-and-down for par on both holes, so the Americans won to close out the match.

Both foursomes matches won by Toms and Mahan were blowouts, including their 6-and-5 victory on Thursday.


Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson (U.S.) d. Adam Scott and K.J. Choi (International), 3 and 2

For the first time in this Presidents Cup, Woods came out a winner.

Woods teamed with Johnson to take out Scott and Choi. Woods and Steve Stricker had lost, 7 and 6, in the anchor match of the Thursday foursomes to the same duo.

The Americans got behind early after a three-putt at the par-3 third hole, but rallied with pars to win the seventh and eighth – the two longest par 4s on the front nine. Choi and Scott were unable to get up-and-down from inside 20 yards to halve both holes.

Choi made up for a poor pitch at the eighth with a tricky chip at the 11th, leading to a birdie to win the hole and square the match. It would be their final win, however.

The American duo closed out the match with wins in the final three holes, beginning with a concession at the 13th when the Internationals had 143 yards to go after Woods found the green for the U.S.

The Internationals three-putted the par-3 to lose the next hole, then split the 15th in par 5 before Woods drained a 16-foot putt to win the point.

With the exception of the final 16-footer Woods made to secure the win, the American duo made almost no putts of significant length. The longest putt the team made was 5 feet.


Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk (U.S.) d. Aaron Baddeley and Jason Day (International), 2 and 1

After 10 holes of their Saturday foursomes match, the American duo had no business winning a third consecutive match. 

Playing the final eight holes in 5 under, however, was enough to produce an astounding comeback.

Swapping early wins with the Americans at the first and third, the Aussie duo took control of the match with wins at Nos. 4 and 5. To close the front nine, the teams traded wins with par on the final two holes of the side.

The 10th hole may have been a turning point, however. The Americans were gifted a halve in bogey, then did not drop a shot or a hole for the remainder of the match.

The Americans rattled off three straight wins with birdies, making putts of 13, 25 and 20 feet, respectively. Suddenly, Furyk and Mickelson had turned a deficit into a stunning lead.

Two holes later, Furyk made a 21-foot birdie putt to win the par-5 15th, putting the squeeze on the Aussies. 

Mickelson secured the unlikely win on the penultimate hole in dramatic fashion. The four-time major winner made a putt of 52 feet, including a couple of feet of break, to make birdie and win the match. 

The undefeated duo, however, will not go for the sweep in the afternoon. Mickelson volunteered to sit for the first time in his Presidents Cup career.


Watch wall-to-wall coverage of the Presidents Cup live on Golf Channel. Tournament air times: Golf Channel Saturday 6:30PM-12:30AM. NBC coverage Saturday at 8AM and Sunday at noon. (Note: all times are ET)

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.