U.S. Presidents Cup team capsules

By Jason SobelSeptember 30, 2013, 12:30 pm

Here is a breakdown of United States captain Fred Couples’ 12-man roster for the 10th biennial Presidents Cup, which will be played Oct. 3-6 at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. Click here for International team capsules. The U.S. is the defending champion and holds a career 7-1-1 record in the competition.

Tiger WoodsTiger Woods

Age: 37

Record: 20-14-1 (8th appearance)

World ranking: 1

PGA Tour victories: 79

The lowdown: Unlike at the Ryder Cup, the best player on the U.S. team has actually been at his best during some editions of this event. Though he went 2-3-0 as a captain’s pick two years ago, Woods has often turned Muirfield Village into his personal playground, winning the Memorial Tournament on five occasions.

Brandt SnedekerBrandt Snedeker

Age: 32

Record: Rookie

World ranking: 9

PGA Tour victories: 6

The lowdown: The second-leading point-earner based on wins at Pebble Beach and the Canadian Open this year, Snedeker has often gotten it done with ball-striking this year as opposed to his slick putting. But the reigning FedEx Cup champion hasn’t enjoyed such prime late-season timing so far this season.

Phil MickelsonPhil Mickelson

Age: 43

Record: 18-14-10 (10th appearance)

World ranking: 3

PGA Tour victories: 42

The lowdown: Consider it a testament to his longtime consistency that Mickelson will compete this year for a record 10th time. And yes, that has to be a record because this is the 10th edition of the event. The only man who’s never missed one has had his share of ups and downs here, owning the dubious distinction of a record 10 match ties.

Matt Kuchar Matt Kuchar

Age: 35

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

World ranking: 8

PGA Tour victories: 6

The lowdown: Here’s a potential recipe for success: Kuchar’s two wins this season came at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and The Memorial Tournament. Considering this event is contested in the match play format on the same course as the Memorial, common sense should tell us that this should be right up his alley.

Jason DufnerJason Dufner

Age: 36

Record: Rookie

World ranking: 10

PGA Tour victories: 3

The lowdown: The term “rookie” may suggest inexperience, but in the case of a 36-year-old major champion who’s previously competed in the Ryder Cup, it becomes a mere formality. Dufner’s calm demeanor and solid ball-striking skills should be an asset, not to mention his recent strong form.

Keegan BradleyKeegan Bradley

Age: 27

Record: Rookie

World ranking: 15

PGA Tour victories: 3

The lowdown: Two years ago, Bradley was believed to be Couples’ biggest snub, left off the team a month after his PGA Championship victory in favor of Woods and Haas. This time around he didn’t need a captain’s selection. Expect him to pair with frequent practice round partner Mickelson, as they formed a dynamic duo at Medinah last year.

Steve StrickerSteve Stricker

Age: 46

Record: 11-8-0 (5th appearance)

World ranking: 7

PGA Tour victories: 12

The lowdown: It’s one of the most remarkable stories in golf in years. Prior to this season, Stricker decided to semi-retire, choosing to spend more time at home than on the road. And yet, his game has gotten even better, as evidenced by a solo second at TPC Boston to qualify for the team. Don’t be surprised to see him partner with Woods again.

Bill HaasBill Haas

Age: 31

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

World ranking: 28

PGA Tour victories: 5

The lowdown: If top-10 finishes is the stat to best showcase consistency, then Haas may have a claim at the PGA Tour's most consistent player this season, as his nine top-10s tied for the Tour lead. Two years ago, he was underwhelming in his initial team competition, but since then he’s matured into a better and – yes – more consistent player.

Hunter MahanHunter Mahan

Age: 31

Record: 8-5-1 (4th appearance)

World ranking: 26

PGA Tour victories: 5

The lowdown: He’s often been the odd man out after the qualification process, left to sit by the phone and receive a captain’s pick for both this event and the Ryder Cup. This time, though, Mahan made the roster on his own merit. Playing in the final twosome at both the U.S. Open and Open Championship should have him prepared for the spotlight.

Zach JohnsonZach Johnson

Age: 37

Record: 4-5-0 (3rd appearance)

World ranking: 11

PGA Tour victories: 9

The lowdown: Call it a walk-off or a buzzer-beater, but Johnson’s 26-foot birdie putt on the final hole of the Deutsche Bank Championship to qualify for the team was about as clutch as it gets. And he’ll come into the event in terrific form, with a win at the BMW Championship.

Jordan SpiethJordan Spieth

Age: 20

Record: Rookie

World ranking: 21

PGA Tour victories: 1

The lowdown: What a meteoric rise for a kid who began the season as a teenager with no status on any tour and will end it with a PGA Tour victory, a top-30 world ranking, and, now, a place on the Presidents Cup roster. This may be a first for Spieth, but it’s a first of many.

Webb SimpsonWebb Simpson

Age: 28

Record: 3-2-0 (2nd appearance)

World ranking: 24

PGA Tour victories: 3

The lowdown: During a Monday night teleconference, Couples rhetorically asked, “How do you not pick that guy?” It turns out, he didn’t have an answer to his own question, choosing to place last year’s U.S. Open champion on the team. He acquitted himself well in his first Presidents Cup two years ago, winning his first three team matches.

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Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

“I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.

Made Cut

Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

September can’t get here quick enough.

Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

“I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

“My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.

Missed Cut

Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

Tweet of the week:

It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”