Bring on the Ryder Cup

By Kraig KannSeptember 30, 2005, 4:00 pm
I have to admit, even now, that I wasnt as excited as I should have been about the Presidents Cup.
 
And now, a week removed, I feel like I was rewarded for my skepticism. You know, if you dont expect the best, you cant really be disappointed ' right? Well, I wasnt disappointed.
 
Chris DiMarco
After an exciting Presidents Cup, all eyes will be focused on the 2006 Ryder Cup.
In fact, I was left more enthused than ever about the Presidents Cup and Im left with a whole lot of 'hurry up' for the Ryder Cup in 2006.
 
Fred Couples did it for me.
 
His 'arms in the air ' smiling face ' look for somebody to hug' expression on Sunday against Vijay Singh was as good as it gets. And, for me, it seemed that the reaction was about far more than just beating Vijay Singh. It was about being there in the first place.
 
Fred Couples isnt supposed to be the Presidents Cup hero these days. Hes supposed to be content just being a part of it. And to me it seems that he was. The fact that he made a difference seemed as big to Couples as it did to his team, as it did to his Captain, as it did to the spectators who chanted 'Freddie, Freddie, Freddie.'
 
Ive always been a fan of Fred Couples. The cool, the swagger, the layed back demeanor on the golf course. Hes a guys guy. Hes a pros pro. Hes a sportsmans sport.
 
Chris DiMarco did it for me.
 
His final putt in the match against Stuart Appleby was as clutch as the putt he saw Phil Mickelson make to win the Masters in 2004. It was as clutch as the putt Tiger Woods made in front of his very eyes en route to winning the Masters this April.
 
DiMarco has contended in major championships, but until now hasnt had his own 'major moment.' Sunday he got what he deserved. The moment to make a difference was his. He took it. And youd have thought it was the major that broke Jacks major championship record total of 18.
 
Jim Furyk did it for me.
 
Unbeaten for the week. A very reliable source told me this week that Tiger Woods ' in search of a partner whod make him unbeatable instead of unreliable - wanted Furyk before the event even started. Steady as they come, hes usually void of the big mistake and thus keeps a player in every hole. Actually, Furyk looked like he might not have too many holes in him. He spent much of the early matches on the ground with an injury, being rubbed like a classic car in need of some wax.
 
But Furyk is as tough as they come. Like DiMarco, he might not have every single skill that Tiger has. But like Tiger, he has the 'no give up' trait that makes him as tough an out as Barry Bonds.
 
In every hole, and in every match, Furyk is the partner you can count on. The teammate who gets you amped up for the moment.
 
Tiger did it for me.
 
Hes the greatest player of his time. Injury and all, hes the one player you want to watch hit every shot of every match hes in. Normally hes not the vocal type who leads the team in speech. But last week he seemed pumped to play with Furyk and his celebratory reaction toward Chris DiMarco (the huge hug) was better than any shot he hit all week. Woods came across as the perfect teammate and the perfect gentleman. So much for Tiger the 'individual.' It hardly appeared that Woods cared about his record for the week. He cared about the team.
 
Phil Mickelson did it for me.
 
Lefty was hardly right at the Ryder Cup last fall. He made some poor choices and some poor shots. He paid the price in the media, and players have told me hes paid the price among his peers.
 
But Mickelson is a talent. A huge talent. Hes got a love for the game that is obvious. And he hates to lose.
 
Mickelson didnt get Tiger as a partner. He got DiMarco which was good for both. I never understood taking your two best players and putting them together for the possibility of only 1 point per session as opposed to 2. Over two days of Ryder Cup Foursomes and Four-Ball competition thats a chance at 8 points versus 4.
 
And while Phil didnt make the biggest putt, or have the biggest moment. He might have been the most reliable. The 2nd major championship might be bigger than we think as it turns out. And Mickelsons play was proof to me that not only is he ready to be counted on, but hes also ready to be a leader.
 
Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player did it for me.
 
Two of the games greatest champions applauding great play and talking about whats good for the game as opposed to whats good for his own team. Enough said.
 
The format did it for me.
 
Four days as compared to three, and no chance to 'hide' a player or two before Sunday singles. It gives players like Angel Cabrera and Trevor Immelman a chance to shine and be noticed instead of be searched for.
 
And the chance to see the match-ups we want in Singles instead of match-ups the envelopes give us, makes a huge difference in the drama. Woods versus Goosen at the Presidents Cup or Woods versus Paul Casey as we saw at Oakland Hills?
 
As I mentioned before, I wasnt exactly following the Presidents Cup point standings each Monday as I normally would during a Ryder Cup year. But this Presidents Cup finish has me looking ahead already.
 
Woods and Furyk, Mickelson and DiMarco. Lets go.
 
Suddenly the 18 to 9 drubbing at the hands of Europe seems like a distant memory. Theres been a change in momentum for the Americans. And they didnt even play against Europe last week.
 
Who knows who wins the Ryder Cup in Ireland next September. But Im ready to get it started. How about you?
 
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
Getty Images

Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

Getty Images

Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

Getty Images

Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

Getty Images

Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.