Look Whos Cupping

By Mercer BaggsAugust 3, 2009, 4:00 pm

U.S. VERSUS THEM: U.S. Solheim Cup captain Beth Daniel officially announced her team Sunday, deciding upon veteran Juli Inkster and rookie Michelle Wie as her captain's picks. The 10 automatic qualifiers were: Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Angela Stanford, Kristy McPherson; Nicole Castrale, Christina Kim, Brittany Lang, Morgan Pressel, Brittany Lincicome and Natalie Gulbis.
Backspin Wie always seemed like a lock ' and for countless reasons should have been ' which meant it probably came down between Inkster and Pat Hurst for the final spot. That had to be tough for Daniel, who is good friends with both players. She's closer to and known Inkster for longer, however. She also probably looked at the European roster and figured she could take Louise Suggs and Betsy Rawls, spot them 4 points, and still win.

US VERSUS THEM: Alison Nicholas' European Solheim Cup team was also finalized Sunday at Royal Lytham and St. Annes. British Open champion Catriona Matthew (Scotland) was joined by Gwladys Nocera (France), Tania Elosegui (Spain), Diana Luna (Italy), Laura Davies (England), Sophie Gustafson (Sweden), Suzann Pettersen (Norway), Helen Alfredsson (Sweden), Maria Hjorth (Sweden), Becky Brewerton (Wales, wild card), Janice Moodie (Scotland, wild card) and Anna Nordqvist (Sweden, wild card).
Backspin You never know how these things are going to play out, but the Europeans could be in some serious trouble. While Matthew was able to get the 'W' in England, the top 3 points earners were 55 over par in their six combined rounds. That included a nice little 91 by Nocera in Round 1. Also take into consideration that the U.S. has never lost on home soil and even Buster Douglas doesn't like Europe's chances.

BUICK OVERDRIVE: Tiger Woods notched his 69th career PGA Tour victory at the Buick Open. After opening in a dismal 71, he shot 63-65-69 for a 20-under total and a three-stroke triumph. He now has four wins in just 11 starts on Tour this season and is just four back of Jack Nicklaus for second on the all-time Tour victory list.
Backspin If you've ever wondered how Woods would fare on the Nationwide Tour, you found out this week. Woods held off the likes of Michael Letzig, Greg Chalmers, Roland Thatcher, Brian Vranesh, and fellow PGA Tour winners Y.E. Yang and John Senden. I could have seen Fredo taking over the Corleone family business before any of those guys beating Tiger. Not that it really matters who his competition is. This week he'll face the world's best at the WGC-Bridgestone. And he'll beat them all the same.

MOMMA PLAYS BEST: Catriona Matthew captured her first major championship by being the only player under par at the end of the Ricoh Women's British Open. The victory comes 10 weeks after she delivered her second child and a little more than a week after she and her husband/caddie (pictured above) escaped from a burning hotel at the Evian Masters.
Backspin Matthew is a very unassuming person. She could be in my house right now and I wouldn't even know it. And I'd probably just let her stay. I'm not sure what all this means. I think it's time to go take my medication.

FUNK FIGHTS BACK: Fred Funk fired a bogey-free, 7-under 65 Sunday to win the U.S. Senior Open by six shots over Joey Sindelar. Funk's total was a tournament record by three strokes. The triumph came one week after he lost in a playoff at the Senior Open Championship.
Backspin Once again Greg Norman blew a chance to pick up a senior major. Two weeks ago he led after 54 holes of the Senior British and failed to win. This time he was one back through three rounds and closed in 1-over 73 for a T-4, nine back of Funk. The Champions Tour is supposed to be golf's ultimate second chance, which for The Great White Shark means more opportunities to wave the great white flag.

ARE YOU KID(ROCK)ING?: John Daly, playing on a sponsor's exemption, shot 88 Friday at the Buick Open to finish dead last among those who completed two rounds. It was one off his highest career score, which came in the second round of last year's Open Championship.
Backspin Daly told Associated Press' Doug Ferguson that he was mentally and physically exhausted due to his world-wide playing schedule and new physique. Daly, who says he has lost over 80 pounds in four months after Lap-Band surgery, then said on his Twitter page that he was going to go work with Kid Rock. Well that should certainly help.

THE RETURN OF PHIL: Phil Mickelson announced that he will be competing in this week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational as well as next week's PGA Championship. Mickelson hasn't played since the U.S. Open, during which time his wife and mother each underwent breast cancer surgery.
Backspin Mickelson played a practice round last Wednesday at Hazeltine, site of the PGA, and left without talking to reporters, according to Golf World's Thomas Bonk. Bonk also said this might be a trend, that Mickelson might not be as open as he has in the past when it comes to discussing his personal life. If that's the case, then we should let the man speak his peace and play his game. This certainly isn't the time to pry.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Oskar Henningsson won the European Tour's Czech Open. ... Derek Lamely captured the Nationwide Children's Hospitals Invitational. ... Colorado Golf Club was tabbed to host the 2013 Solheim Cup. ... Various news outlets have reported that this was the final edition of the Buick Open.
Backspin Guy wins a professional event and all they give him is a super-sized golf ball ' and a bald guy ... Lamely beat Rickie Fowler in a playoff and moved from 135th to 12th on the money list. ... Expect Juli Inkster, who has ties to the club founder, to be the U.S. captain. ... Regardless of who the next sponsor is, officials better hope Tiger likes their choice of course.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage ' Buick Open
  • Full Coverage ' Ricoh Women's British Open
  • Full Coverage ' U.S. Senior Open
  • Complete News Headlines
  • Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

    Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

    With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

    Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

    The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

    Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

    In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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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.