Pick 'em: Who will win the 12th Solheim Cup?

By Randall MellSeptember 22, 2011, 1:15 pm

The 12th edition of the Solheim Cup begins Friday morning at Killeen Castle. The Americans hold an overall 8-3 advantage, winning each of the last three. Who will win this year? GolfChannel.com senior writer Randall Mell and editorial director Jay Coffin weigh in with their opinions:

By RANDALL MELL

DUNSANY, Ireland – Europe has the ingredients essential to winning this Solheim Cup.

They’ll win because they’re wounded, desperate souls.

They’ll win because if they get beat up for a fourth consecutive time by the Americans they’ll be compared with sport’s greatest losers, somewhere there with the Washington Generals against the Harlem Globetrotters.

They’ll win because a loss stirs up talk about how irrelevant they’re making the Solheim Cup.

They’ll win because they’ve got this unpredictable Irish weather going for them, three seasons blowing through in an hour. It would have helped if they had picked a links home to fully harness their advantage, instead of a parkland course that makes Americans feel more comfortable, but the weather’s inhospitable for the visitors, just the same.

The Americans have more overall talent, with seven of the top 20 in the Rolex world rankings on their roster and the Europeans just one, but the Euros overall depth is improved over recent teams, and they’re hot with winning habits built this season. The Euro roster has won 12 titles this year (14 if you count the Nation’s Cup two-woman team event), the Americans three. Yes, you can argue it’s a lot harder to win an LPGA event but winning breeds winning.

The Americans are stronger, but underdogs can be dangerous in these events. The Euros haven’t trailed going into Sunday in the last three Solheim Cups but lost them all. Mostly, they’ll win this time because they’ve finally got a team that has a chance in Sunday singles.


By JAY COFFIN

DUNSANY, Ireland – Until the Europeans show that they can contend in this event and can stand toe-to-toe in Sunday singles, I'll pick the Americans.

Europe is strong, most of its team plays on the LPGA so names are familiar to American golf fans, but there are five rookies. Solheim Cup pressure is immense and it'll take time to adjust. By the time they do, it could be too late.

U.S. captain's pick Ryann O'Toole is a liability, there's no sugarcoating it. But she won't play much. It'd be a surprise if she played more than once before singles.

On the other end of the spectrum Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer, Stacy Lewis and Brittany Lincicome are four U.S. heavyweights who could play all five matches. That is a great advantage – one Europe cannot match – as all four raise their intensity during match play. Lewis is a Solheim Cup rookie, but she's cut from the same cloth as Creamer. She's ready to contribute in a big way.

Europe is playing better right now, but the U.S. has more talent. Seven of the Americans are in the top-20 of the world rankings, compared with only one (Suzann Pettersen) for the Europeans. That much of a talent gap for Europe will be difficult to overcome.

This has all the makings of a close competition, but the U.S. will prevail because of depth and singles strength.

Just like always.

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

 

 

Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.