US Team Dominates Morning Matches
U.S. Captain Patty Sheehan hit pay dirt with three out of four of her new pairings Saturday morning. We are happy, Meg Mallon said. This is our best foursome day ever.
The rookies dont know we stink in this format, so they are carrying us, Juli Inkster quipped. I mean this is the best we have been, and as Patty says, you can pretty much put any two together and come out and at least have a chance to win.
The first time Captain bravely paired Cup rookies Emilee Klein and Wendy Ward and it paid off in spades. Ward and Klein closed the match three up with two holes to go against Mhairi Mckay and Iben Tinning.
While Klein played her first Foursome match like an old pro, her European counterpart Iben Tinning, grappled with the overwhelming pressure of this event. Tinning and Mckay were all square on the 526 yard par-5 10th when things went really wrong for the team.
Tinning, standing over the teams third shot, hit it heavy, advancing the ball a mere 20-yards. One the very next hole, the rookie from Denmark, hit the teams second shot fat, once again making very little advancement.
It was at this moment that the pressure, palpable in the very air the galleries breathed in, caved the strong young European Tour player who now stood in the middle of the fairway, hands in face, reeling from the horror of it all. Tinning, buoyed by her teammate and caddy, pulled herself together like a hero and played the rest of the round as best she could. It was inspirational to see this young player hold it together for her team.
Meg Mallon and Juli Inkster brought home the next point for the Americans, winning their match two up with one to go over long ball hitters Laura Davies and Paula Marti.
I really struggled yesterday afternoon and I stunk, Inkster said referring to her two lost matches Friday. But I came back today and played a lot better, and Meg and I teamed well, and she helped me get out of my little funk I was in, and I finally got a win and got a point for the United States, which was huge.
Laura Diaz and Kelly Robbins brought home the third match point of the morning against Helen Alfredsson and rookie Suzann Petersen. The European pair that had found success on Friday mornings matches was unable to replicate the magic again today. Diaz and Robbins took the match point three up with one to go.
Diaz, one of five rookies on the American team, has won two matches and lost one.
I have dreamed a lot about coming here and playing, and its been way more than I could ever have asked for, Diaz said. Both of the points that I won were a lot of fun. I think the point that Juli and I lost together didnt ' it didnt feel like we lost it because I really felt like we played pretty well.
Annika Sorenstam and fellow countrywoman Carin Koch were the first and only Europeans to put blue on the board Saturday morning. Friday the pair stomped Meg Mallon and Kelli Kuehne ending the match up three with two holes left. This morning is was Cristie Kerr and Michelle Redmans turn to be brought to their knees.
We got off to a pretty bad start, Kerr said. I mean, its hard to recover from, you know, like a four down after 8 holes or something, deficit, but we played our hearts out there, and they are a machine, thats what we call them, as a team, the are a machine, and they are tough to beat, but the are not indelible, so
The teams, which were all square after the first hole, parted ways on the 463 yard par-5 2nd. It was then that the European teammates pulled ahead never to look back. The Swedish duo had their way with the Americans winning the match in grand style ending the match four up with three to go on the 15th.
Sorenstam, defeated by Redman on Friday afternoon, had a little extra motivation. Well, I just wanted to say Michele played so well yesterday that it was really a good match, tough match, but of course I wanted a little revenge, Sorenstam said.
Both European's played exceptionally well for the second day. We are both rolling good putts and both, you know, not making really any mistakes out there, and I think in best ball thats what you have to do, you have to make sure one person in the group is making par so the other one can make birdie, so I think we will be good again, Koch said, implying Reid is pairing the Swedish machine again in the afternoon Fourball matches.
Sorenstam improved her overall Foursomes record to 7-1-1 while playing partner Koch is now the only undefeated Foursomes match player - with a record of 3-0-0 - on the European team.
Full-coverage of the 2002 Solheim Cup
Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas
Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.
Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.
Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.
McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.
Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?
Memo to the golf gods:
If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?
Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?
It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.
With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.
It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.
We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.
We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.
Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.
Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line. Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.
We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors.
In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.
While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.
Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.
Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.
Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.
While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.
Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.
So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?
McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever
With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.
The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.
Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.
"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."
McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.
But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.
"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."
What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire
Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.
Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft
Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft
Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft
Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x