USA Basks in Winners Circle
I am very emotional right now. I am so proud of this team, U.S. captain Patty Sheehan emoted. 'They are ' they have so much heart, they are so tremendous. Put them out there, tell them to give it their all, they gave me more than their all.
The U.S. squad, undeterred by a two-point deficit at the beginning of the day, came out ready to win. We felt that being two down was a victory for us, Sheehan said. We are used to being farther down than that, and with the way the matches were coming down at the very end, we were coming from behind and we were starting to catch up, and I felt that we were starting to change the momentum back to our side late yesterday afternoon, so were not disappointed one bit; in fact, we felt pretty good about where we stood.
Cup veteran Juli Inkster was the first to put red on the boards after winning her match against Raquel Carriedo, 4-and-3.
Patty sent me out first because I like to play fast, but, you know, I just thought that if we could get a few points going, and Laura (Diaz) was right behind me and she was firing up some birdies, I think our team could see red on that board, I think it made them go out there and work harder, Inkster said.
Wendy Ward had the task of playing European opponent Annika Sorenstam in what was one of the toughest played matches of the day.
Annika and I go way back, we go back to college golf when we were rivals at Arizona State and Arizona, and I have always been very comfortable playing with Annika, Ward, a rookie member of the team, said. In fact, today was the day out of all of the days this week that I felt the most calm.
The five rookie members of the team, Kelli Kuehne, Wendy Ward, Emilee Klein, Cristie Kerr and Laura Diaz, all agreed that this was a feather in their careers cap.
I think I can speak for pretty much all of us, Kuehne, who now holds a 0-4 record, said. The golf was an amazing part of this week, but it was the bonding and the dinners and the tears and the laughter and the camaraderie off the course that helped build our relationship on the course.
What an experience, Ward said. Its been a complete joy, and I am going to work hard to get on the next team.
Sheehan, like five members of her squad, was a Cup rookie in captain's experience this year. This isnt to say that Sheehan has no Solheim Cup experience, quite to the contrary. The victorious captain played on four Solheim Cup teams, her last of which was in 1996, scoring a total of 5 points for the American teams.
Twelve team members, five of whom were first timers, were guided by four into the winners' circle. Sheehan, her assistant Jane Geddes, alternate Dorothy Delasin and should-be team member Dottie Pepper were there every step of the way, a huge part of the weave in this winning fabric.
Let me just tell you, Jane Geddes had been such a great support to me. She has given me great advice, she had given these guys great advice, and I dont know if I could have done it without Jane, said Sheehan
I am hoping that she will stay on until next year. I am not going to let her quit.
Sheehan has been named as the 2003 Solheim Cup captain, which is scheduled to take place Sept. 12-14 at Barseback Golf and Country Club in Region Skane, Sweden, but for now, she and her winning team will celebrate.
Full-coverage of 2002 Solheim Cup
Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59
Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.
While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.
He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.
"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."
Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.
"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."
Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot
When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.
Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.
"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"
The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.
Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.
"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."
DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.
Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.
"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."
Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.
Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.
"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... 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."
Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.
"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."
LPGA lists April date for new LA event
The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.
When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.
The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.
The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.