U.S. leads Ryder Cup 10-6

By Jay CoffinSeptember 30, 2012, 12:01 am

MEDINAH, Ill. – Tiger Woods hasn’t won a match this week but the Americans have built a commanding 10-6 lead after two days at the Ryder Cup. Go figure.

It’s simple math: The U.S. must earn 4 1/2 of 12 possible points during Sunday singles at Medinah to claim its second consecutive home Ryder Cup over the reeling Europeans.

After entering the day with a 5-3 lead the U.S. won the morning foursomes 3-1 to put the pressure squarely on Europe to win the afternoon session to make these matches more interesting. Europe continued to struggle on the greens but managed a 2-2 tie in afternoon fourballs.

“We haven’t lost a segment yet,” U.S. captain Davis Love III said. “We'll go tomorrow and try to keep that string going.”

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The 10-6 U.S. lead is large, but it’s the same score that the Americans came back from to beat the Europeans in the 1999 Ryder Cup at Brookline, marking the biggest comeback in cup history.

Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson started off the afternoon with an easy 5-and-4 victory over Justin Rose and Francesco Molinari. The U.S. made nine birdies in a 12-hole stretch, including four consecutive by Simpson on Nos. 8-11.

“We got in our rhythm,” Watson said. “I did the par 5s and he did the rest and that’s pretty much all we did.”

Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar held a lead for most of the back nine against Nicolas Colsaerts and Paul Lawrie but made a hiccup bogey on No. 16 to square the match. But Johnson, who was even par for the first 16 holes, drained a 25-footer for birdie on the par-3 17th to help secure the match.

“It was probably the loudest roar I’ve ever heard,” Johnson said. “That was definitely, in that situation, one of the best putts I’ve ever made.”

Ian Poulter was the only bright-shining star for Europe. He moved his record to a spotless 3-0 paired with Rory McIlroy in a 1-up victory over Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson. McIlroy played poorly and contributed with only two birdies, but Poulter was possessed on the greens, making key putt after key putt during a five-birdie stretch on Nos. 14-18.

'Wow, five in a row,' Poulter said. 'It was awesome. I got world No. 1 by my side backing me up. It allows me to go ahead and hit some golf shots.'

Meanwhile, Woods is an imperfect 0-3 paired with Steve Stricker this week. They went 0-2 on Friday and both were benched for Saturday morning foursomes, it being the first time in Woods’ Ryder Cup career he hasn’t played in a session. The duo went out together fresh in the fourballs but were defeated by Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald, 1 down.

In fairness to Woods, Stricker was no help in either fourball match. Woods had five birdies on the back nine Friday and lost to a hot Colsaerts. He made another five back-nine birdies Saturday to cut a 4-down deficit through nine holes to 1 down after 13. But Donald made a kick-in birdie on No. 17 that sent Team Europe to the home hole with the lead.

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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.