US Rallies for Solheim Victory

By Martha BrendleSeptember 22, 2002, 4:00 pm
EDINA, Minn. -- Incredible. Thats the only way to describe the 2002 Solheim Cup matches at Interlachen Country Club. The U.S. squad, down by two points at the beginning of the day, finished 15 to Europes 12 , having won 8 points singles matches Sunday afternoon.
It was a win so great that U.S. Solheim Cup team captain Patty Sheehan was moved to cartwheels. The Europeans put up an incredible fight, yet in the end the Americans prevailed, winning back the Cup they lost at Loch Lomond two years ago.
Free Video - Registration Required Players react to U.S. win.
The U.S. came out strong Sunday morning ready for battle in the single matches. Historically, this has been the Americans' strong suit and Sunday proved no different from the past.
Nordic-like weather greeted the U.S. and European opponents as they teed up for their singles matches. The conditions were really more fitting for the European players who compete frequently under cool conditions, but it seemed to suit Sheehans 12-member squad just fine.
Hall of Famer and Cup veteran Juli Inkster brought home the first point of the day. I found my groove and it was great, Inkster said moments after bringing the U.S. team one point closer to level.
The 42-year-old Hall of Famer and winner of the 2002 U.S. Womens Open recorded three birdies on the backside to win the match 4-up, while setting the tone for the rest of her teammates.
I played better coming in, but I made some good putts on the backside. Patty sent me out there, I knew, to try to get that one point early and I am glad I could come through for her, Inkster said.
Just moments later, Laura Diaz closed her match against Paula Marti, 5-and-3. Diaz, who was dormie walking off of the par-3 14th, ended the match in spectacular birdie style.
We just played some great golf, you know, weve got a great team, the 27-year-old Cup rookie said. Everyone was really pumped and we just went out and battled.
Diaz, who played in three of four matches on Saturday and Sunday, is now 1-1-0 in foursomes, 1-0-0 in four-ball and 1-0-0 in singles.
Iben Tinning of Denmark was the first European to bring home a point in the singles matches. The 28-year-old European rookie, who had so much trouble in Saturday's foursome (alternate shot) match, birdied her way to victory, closing the match 3-and-2 with her birdie on the 16th.
Emilee Klein took on European opponent Helen Alfredsson ' the Goliath of match play. Fortunately the 28-year-old American rookie's game was on Sunday. Two birdies on the front side and two on the back, including a key birdie on the 16th, left her 2-up in her match against one of the toughest match play opponents in the world.
Klein, dormie heading into the 17th, won 2-and-1. I just wanted to get out there and win a match, Klein said. Klein won three of four matches this week with a record of 1-0-0 in foursomes and 1-1-0 in four-ball (better ball) and now 1-0-0 in singles.
The Americans, once again level with the Europeans, had only moments to wait until they won their next point.
Kelly Robbins, who lost two out of three matches earlier this week, came out with guns blazing Sunday, making back-to-back birdies on the opening holes. She kept the match in the red, forcing rookie opponent Maria Hjorth to concede the 15th, and won the match 5-and-3. The U.S. was a mere 3 1/2 points away from victory.
The next point went to Europes Sophie Gustafson, who outplayed Cristie Kerr, ending the match 3-and-2. Gustafson played fantastic golf in the windy conditions, recording four birdies in her round. Much like Annika Sorenstam, she fell into trouble on the par-4 sixth, recording double bogey and loosing the hole to Kerr.
But there werent enough mistakes in Gustafsons game for Kerr to put this match in the red. Kerr, who got off to a bad start in opening the match with two bogeys, was unable to record enough birdies to take over the match.
Michele Redman, a native of Ohio who moved to Minnesota seven years ago, was one of three matches Sunday that were halved. Redman, playing against Europes Suzann Pettersen, was 1-up and dormie walking to the 18th. But Pettersen won the last hole with an incredible birdie putt to half the match. It was an stunning turnaround in the match, which at one point was 5-up in favor of Redman.
Meg Mallon, playing in her sixth Solheim Cup, was victorious against one of the most experienced members of the European Solheim Cup team - Laura Davies. Davies, who played in five matches this week, had complained of a sore back on Saturday, which may account for her spotty play in the singles match.
Mallon reportedly was having a back problem of her own, suffering from back spasms Sunday morning. Regardless, she kept her match in the red throughout, closing it out, 3-and-2, and winning yet another point for the U.S.
Two more points were needed for victory while four matches remained on the course.
With luck of the draw Wendy Ward was paired against the No. 1 golfer in the world, Sorenstam. The 29-year-old rookie on the U.S. squad was an unlikely character to take on the gritty Sorenstam, yet Ward amazed all with her ability to come through when she needed to. Even after back-to-back bogeys started her day off badly, Ward turned things around making birdie on the 182-yard par-3 fourth.
The Swede, playing in her fifth Solheim Cup was not without flaw Sunday. Sorenstam made four bogeys in her round and a double bogey. Wards match moved into the red again after Sorenstam doubled the sixth to loose the hole. The match was all square heading into the last.
On the 18th green Sorenstam left her 20-foot putt inches short of the hole. Ward was putting for the match under enormous pressure. She also left her putt short and so the point was halved. I played well, and I wanted that putt on the last hole so bad, Ward said following her incredible round.
Wards win, which left the matches in favor of the U.S. by one, was finishing up just as Pat Hurst closed out the next match, 4-and-2, against Europes Mhairi McKay. The U.S. squad, now with 14 points over Europes 12, needed only half-point to regain the Cup and close out the week in splendid fashion.
Rosie Jones, second in both driving accuracy and putting on the LPGA Tour, won her match against Karine Icher. Unbeknownst to Jones at the time, she scored the final half-point needed for her teams victory.
The team chanted, 'USA-USA,' after their 42-year-old teammate and five-time Solheim Cup veteran parred the final hole of her match to win 3-and-2.
This is great, said Jones, known as 'Rosebud' to her teammates. I really havent played all that great this week, and Im really glad that I pulled through for them.
Europes Carin Koch and her playing opponent, Beth Daniel, were all square and still on the course after the outcome of the 2002 Solheim Cup. The Cup had been won, but Koch, undefeated in Solheim Cup match play, had a chance to go 5-0. Both players battled for the lead on the closing holes. It wasnt until the 18th that the outcome was decided. Koch bogeyed the hole while Daniel made par to end the match all square and split the point.
Unlike years past, the next Solheim Cup is only a year away to avoid conflict with the men's Ryder Cup. Barseback Golf and Country Club in Region Skane, Sweden, will host the 2003 Solheim Cup, scheduled to take place Sept. 12'14.
Scores from Sunday's 2002 Solheim Cup
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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.

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Landry stays hot, leads desert shootout at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 12:35 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Andrew Landry topped the crowded CareerBuilder Challenge leaderboard after another low-scoring day in the sunny Coachella Valley.

Landry shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course to reach 16 under. He opened with a 63 on Thursday at La Quinta Country Club.

''Wind was down again,'' Landry said. ''It's like a dome out here.''

Jon Rahm, the first-round leader after a 62 at La Quinta, was a stroke back. He had two early bogeys in a 67 on the Nicklaus layout.

''It's tough to come back because I feel like I expected myself to go to the range and keep just flushing everything like I did yesterday,'' Rahm said. ''Everything was just a little bit off.''

Jason Kokrak was 14 under after a 67 at Nicklaus. Two-time major champion Zach Johnson was 13 under along with Michael Kim and Martin Piller. Johnson had a 64 at Nicklaus.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Landry, Rahm, Kokrak and Johnson will finish the rotation Saturday at PGA West's Stadium Course, also the site of the final round.

''You need to hit it a lot more accurate off the tee because being in the fairway is a lot more important,'' Rahm said about the Pete Dye-designed Stadium Course, a layout the former Arizona State player likened to the Dye-designed Karsten course on the school's campus. ''With the small greens, you have water in play. You need to be more precise. Clearly the hardest golf course.''

Landry pointed to the Saturday forecast.

''I think the wind's supposed to be up like 10 to 20 mph or something, so I know that golf course can get a little mean,'' Landry said. ''Especially, those last three or four holes.''

The 30-year-old former Arkansas player had five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine. After winning his second Tour title last year, he had two top-10 finishes in October and November at the start the PGA Tour season.

''We're in a good spot right now,'' Landry said. ''I played two good rounds of golf, bogey-free both times, and it's just nice to be able to hit a lot of good quality shots and get rewarded when you're making good putts.''

Rahm had four birdies and the two bogeys on his first six holes. He short-sided himself in the left bunker on the par-3 12th for his first bogey of the week and three-putted the par-4 14th – pulling a 3-footer and loudly asking ''What?'' – to drop another stroke.

''A couple of those bad swings cost me,'' Rahm said.

The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3 in the world, Rahm made his first par of the day on the par-4 16th and followed with five more before birdieing the par-5 fourth. The 23-year-old Spaniard also birdied the par-5 seventh and par-3 eighth.

''I had close birdie putts over the last four holes and made two of them, so I think that kind of clicked,'' said Rahm, set to defend his title next week at Torrey Pines.

He has played the par 5s in 9 under with an eagle and seven birdies.

Johnson has taken a relaxed approach to the week, cutting his practice to two nine-hole rounds on the Stadium Course.

''I'm not saying that's why I'm playing well, but I took it really chill and the golf courses haven't changed,'' Johnson said. ''La Quinta's still really pure, right out in front of you, as is the Nicklaus.''

Playing partner Phil Mickelson followed his opening 70 at La Quinta with a 68 at Nicklaus to get to 6 under. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer is playing his first tournament of since late October.

''The scores obviously aren't what I want, but it's pretty close and I feel good about my game,'' Mickelson said. ''I feel like this is a great place to start the year and build a foundation for my game. It's easy to identify the strengths and weaknesses. My iron play has been poor relative to the standards that I have. My driving has been above average.''

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on a sponsor exemption, had a 70 at Nicklaus to match Mickelson at 6 under. The Southern California recruit is playing his first PGA Tour event. He tied for 65th in the Australian Open in November in his first start in a professional tournament.