International Presidents Cup team capsules

By Jason SobelSeptember 30, 2013, 12:30 pm

Here is a breakdown of International captain Nick Price’s 12-man roster for the Presidents Cup, which will be played Oct. 3-6 at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. Click here for U.S. team capsules.

Adam ScottAdam Scott

Age: 33

Record: 10-13-2 (6th appearance)

World ranking: 2

PGA Tour victories: 10

The lowdown: Four years ago, Scott was little more than a pity pick from captain and countryman Greg Norman, who felt a spot on the team would boost his confidence. Turns out he was right. The Masters champion comes into this one as the anchor of his team.

Jason DayJason Day

Age: 25

Record: 1-3-1 (2nd appearance)

World ranking: 16

PGA Tour victories: 1

The lowdown: He’s young; he’s a terrific ball-striker; he contends at majors. If there’s a question mark surrounding Day, it’s about why he’s only won one career PGA Tour event, but that mark appears in jeopardy each week he tees it up. He played on his first team two years ago and may not miss another one for a decade or two.

Charl SchwartzelCharl Schwartzel

Age: 29

Record: 3-1-1 (2nd appearance)

World ranking: 19

PGA Tour victories: 1

The lowdown: The past Masters champion fared very nicely in his first Presidents Cup assignment two years ago. Don’t be surprised if he finds a familiar face in a partnership with childhood buddy Louis Oosthuizen. It’s hard to imagine the two of ‘em won’t lobby for Price to pair them up in team matches.

Ernie ElsErnie Els

Age: 43

Record: 17-16-2 (8th appearance)

World ranking: 23

PGA Tour victories: 19

The lowdown: The Big Easy is still going strong, easily qualifying for this team for a record-tying eighth time. (Vijay Singh also repped the International side eight times.) Els is a former winner at Muirfield Village, but that’s merely a silver lining: He hasn’t finished inside the top 30 at the venue since 2009.

Louis OosthuizenLouis Oosthuizen

Age: 30

Record: Rookie

World ranking: 29

PGA Tour victories: 1

The lowdown: Consider this spot the biggest question mark on Price’s roster – not because Oosthuizen lacks talent (he owns one of the game’s sweetest swings), but because he’s been sidelined with a neck and back injury since July. If it acts up again come tourney week, the captain will have a tough time hiding him on the bench.

Hideki MatsuyamaHideki Matsuyama

Age: 21

Record: Rookie

World ranking: 30

PGA Tour victories: None

The lowdown: A two-time Asian Amateur champion, Matsuyama turned pro and immediately started proving he could hang with the big boys. After making the cut in two Masters appearances as an amateur, he played the final three majors this year, finishing an impressive T-10, T-6 and T-19.

Branden GraceBranden Grace

Age: 25

Record: Rookie

World ranking: 38

PGA Tour victories: None

The lowdown: After bursting onto the scene with four European Tour victories a year ago, Grace held steady inside the top 10 on the points list for much of this year, solidifying his spot on the team. If the rookie needs helps feeling comfortable, having a bevy of South Africans in the team room should help matters.

Graham DeLaetGraham DeLaet

Age: 31

Record: Rookie

World ranking: 32

PGA Tour victories: None

The lowdown: Talk about good timing, DeLaet picked a great couple of weeks to start playing some of the best golf of his life, finishing T-2 at The Barclays and solo third at the Deutsche Bank Championship, not only making this roster as the lone Canadian, but proving his worth as a difficult man to beat in the upcoming matches.

Richard SterneRichard Sterne

Age: 31

Record: Rookie

World ranking: 41

PGA Tour victories: None

The lowdown: Perhaps the least known player on either roster, Sterne is a short but accurate ball-striker with a deft touch around the greens. And though he’s never won on U.S. soil, the South African has claimed a half-dozen titles on the European Tour, including this year’s Joburg Open.

Angel CabreraAngel Cabrera

Age: 43

Record: 4-6-3 (4th appearance)

World ranking: 51

PGA Tour victories: 2

The lowdown: You know what they say: If it’s a major, Cabrera will find his way onto the leaderboard. On the other 48 weeks, he rests. Well, Price is hoping El Pato looks at this one like a major. His go-for-broke, aim-for-the-flagsticks style of play should be fun to watch, provided he’s paired with a steadier player to offset the heroics.

Brendon de JongeBrendon de Jonge

Age: 33

Record: Rookie

World ranking: 63

PGA Tour victories: None

The lowdown: Just as Scott may have gotten a favorable call from a countryman four years ago, de Jonge grew up idolizing Price and will now play for him. It’s hardly just a homer call, though. With eight rounds in the 60s in four FedEx Cup starts, he’s peaking at just the right time.

Marc LeishmanMarc Leishman

Age: 29

Record: Rookie

World ranking: 61

PGA Tour victories: 1

The lowdown: After acquitting himself well with a fourth-place finish at the Masters this year, Leishman jumped onto Price’s radar and never fell off. The stats show he does everything well, but nothing great. That said, the Aussie has shown an ability to go low, including a final-round 62 to win last year’s Travelers Championship.

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Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.