You Oughta Know: 2013 Solheim Cup

By Will GrayAugust 18, 2013, 1:39 am

Thanks in large part to a four-match sweep Saturday afternoon at Colorado Golf Club, the European squad is well on their way to retaining the Solheim Cup once again. Here's what You Oughta Know about how things shape up heading into Sunday's singles matches, where Europe holds an 10 1/2 to 5 1/2 advantage over the Americans:

• While the Europeans currently hold the cup, they've never before won the biennial event on U.S. soil. That all could change Sunday, as they need to win just 3 1/2 of 12 available points during Sunday's matches to retain the trophy. In fact, the Euros have never come within three points of the Americans while playing on the road, losing by a 15 1/2 to 12 1/2 margin in both 2002 (Interlachen) and 2005 (Crooked Stick).

• Should the Americans win the trophy, they will need to pull off a comeback of unprecedented proportions. The largest final-day deficit ever overcome in Solheim history is just two points, as the U.S. erased 9-7 deficits to win the cup in both 1996 and 2002. The uphill climb facing the Americans is even larger than the one that faced the European men last year at Medinah, who won the Ryder Cup in dramatic fashion despite trailing 10-6 entering the final day.

• If a silver lining exists for the Americans, they can take solace from the fact that they have historically dominated the singles' portion of this event. While the all-time records in both the foursome and fourball formats are relatively close, the U.S. holds a 77 1/2 to 58 1/2 edge all-time over the Europeans on Sunday. They'll need to add to that already sizeable advantage this time around to have any hope of leaving Denver with the trophy.

• The fact that the Europeans hold an edge heading into the competition's final day should not come as a surprise. This year marks the eighth consecutive Solheim Cup in which they have either led or have been tied after two days of matches, a streak that dates back to 2000. The last time the Americans held an edge going into Sunday was in 1998, when the U.S. held on for a 16-12 win after leading 10 1/2 to 5 1/2 through two days.

• As the only player to participate in all four sessions so far at Colorado Golf Club, Caroline Hedwall holds the inside track for MVP honors as she takes a 4-0-0 record into Sunday's finale. Should she win her fifth and final match, the Swede would become the first player to ever complete a Solheim Cup with a perfect 5-0-0 record. The best mark to date belongs to her countrywoman Carin Koch, who halved her singles match to finish the 2002 edition with a 4-0-1 record.

• While Italy's Giulia Sergas is the only European yet to contribute a point, losing her lone match during Friday's fourballs, the Americans have a trio of players still looking to get on the board in Colorado. Lexi Thompson has seen both of her matches reach the 18th hole but has come up short both times, as has Gerina Piller who matches Thompson's 0-2-0 record heading into Sunday. Angela Stanford, meanwhile, is the lone player with an 0-3-0 record thus far in Denver, now saddled with a personal six-match Solheim Cup losing streak that stretches back to the 2011 edition at Killeen Castle.

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McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.