Monty Out First Tiger Out Last

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 28, 2002, 4:00 pm
SUTTON COLDFIELD, England ' Sam Torrance stacked his line-up early, while Curtis Strange held his horses to the end.
European captain Torrance will have Colin Montgomerie and Sergio Garcia in his first two matches out in the Sunday singles. U.S. captain Strange will clean up with Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, the top two ranked players in the world.
I had two formulas for Sunday, said Strange. One was if the matches were close or we were a little (behind). And if we were ahead it would be different. But this is pretty much the way I had it.
With the teams tied at 8 points apiece through two days of the 34th Ryder Cup, Scott Hoch and Montgomerie will kick start the singles matches Sunday at The Belfry. Montgomerie is 3-0-1 this week.
The two faced each other in 1997 at Valderrama, with the match ending in a half after Europe had already clinched the Cup.
We actually guessed that Monty would go last. And we thought Garcia might go 11, Strange admitted, thinking that if it was close, youd have to have somebody at the end, like I have Tiger.
Instead, Garcia will go out second against David Toms. Garcia has earned three points for Europe this week. Toms, who went 2-1-1 while teamed with Mickelson, is a Ryder Cup rookie. Garcia lost his singles match to Jim Furyk in his first appearance in 1999.
Ive noticed a lot in team events that on the last day, that I really think momentum is a great thing, Torrance said. I think its important to get ahead early and just surge to the finish. That was one of my master plans. That was my reason.
He wants to get the spectators involved early. He wants to get the momentum early and hopefully that will feed over into the back-end of his field, the players, Strange noted.
In the fourth match of the day, Hal Sutton will face fellow 44-year-old Bernhard Langer.
The final two matches will pit Mickelson against rookie Phillip Price, and Woods against Jesper Parnevik.
Mickelson is 3-0-0 in his Ryder Cup singles career; Woods is 1-1-0, with a loss to Costantino Rocca in 97. He beat Andrew Coltart in the last Matches.
If the Ryder Cup is on the line, for any team, thats the guy you have to have go last, Strange said of Woods.
Theyve got one Tiger, Ive got 12 lions, Torrance said.
Price is a rookie, while Parnevik is 0-2-0 in singles. Both players have competed only once this week, with both losing their matches.
The U.S. holds a commanding 77-55 points advantage in singles since all of Europe was first included in the Ryder Cup, in 1979.
The Europeans have only twice out-pointed the Americans on Sunday during that stretch ' both times they won the Cup. They did so in 1995 at Oak Hill Country Club, and 10 years earlier here at The Belfry.
This European team ' with four rookies ' has a combined 7-10-6 singles record. The Americans ' with three first-timers ' has a record of 13-4-4.

Sunday Singles Matches
All times are Eastern
6:15 AM Scott Hoch (USA) vs. Colin Montgomerie (Scotland)
6:27 AM David Toms (USA) vs. Sergio Garcia (Spain)
6:39 AM David Duval (USA) vs. Darren Clarke (Northern Ireland)
6:51 AM Hal Sutton (USA) vs. Bernhard Langer (Germany)
7:03 AM Mark Calcavecchia (USA) vs. Padraig Harrington (Ireland)
7:15 AM Stewart Cink (USA) vs. Thomas Bjorn (Denmark)
7:27 AM Scott Verplank (USA) vs. Lee Westwood (England)
7:39 AM Paul Azinger (USA) vs. Niclas Fasth (Sweden)
7:51 AM Jim Furyk (USA) vs. Paul McGinley (Ireland)
8:03 AM Davis Love III (USA) vs. Pierre Fulke (Sweden)
8:15 AM Phil Mickelson (USA) vs. Phillip Price (Wales)
8:27 AM Tiger Woods (USA) vs. Jesper Parnevik (Sweden)
Full coverage of the 34th Ryder Cup Matches
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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

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."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

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.'"

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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."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

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."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

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.