Ryder Cup Rookies 5 on 5

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 15, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Ryder CupEvery couple of years, one thing is said about the Ryder Cup: the Americans are the favorites ' on paper.
 
And then the Europeans come in like a paper weight and flatten that figurative piece of paper, stifling the roar of the paper lions.
 
Europe has won three of the last four Matches, and has walked with Samuel Ryders cup six of the last nine times the biennial competition has been contested.
 
The Americans still boast many of the top-ranked players in the world ' four of the top 10 on the Official World Golf Ranking; compared to one for their counterparts.
 
But, this time around, the two sides may match up a little more evenly than in the past. Thats because each team has seven players with Ryder Cup experience and five first-timers.
 
It could be a European advantage, because they are accustomed to competing with more rookies than the Americans. Over the last three Ryder Cups, the Europeans have had five, seven and five rookies on their teams, respectively; while the Americans have had three, one and four. The time the U.S. had just one (David Duval) was in 1999 ' probably not a coincidence, that is the only time in the last decade the U.S. has won the event.
 
The last time the Europeans had more experienced players than the U.S. was in 1995, when they had two rookies to the Americans five. Europe won 14 -13 at Oak Hill (theyre playing Oakland Hills this year).
 
Or, it could be an American advantage, because three of their rookies are not true greenhorns. Kenny Perry, Chris DiMarco and Fred Funk have all played in at least one Presidents Cup ' and all were on the U.S. Presidents Cup team last year. The closest comparison the Europeans can draw is that three of their first-timers (Luke Donald, Paul Casey and David Howell) are Walker Cup veterans.
 
Its a toss up, said Golf Channel analyst and six-time European Ryder Cup team member Peter Oosterhuis. I think having played in the Presidents Cup is an obvious benefit, but you are comparing experience with youth and talent. Its very close ' but isnt everything in this event?
 
While both teams have five Ryder Cup rookies, the U.S., in this category, has more experience, in general. Take away the Presidents Cup factor, and the Americans still average 37.4 years of age among their five freshmen. The Europeans average 29 years. None of the five American first-timers are under 30, while four of the five from Europe are in their 20s.
 
That leads to another question: Who is the future of the Ryder Cup for the U.S.?
 
Tiger Woods is the youngest Yank, at 28. Meanwhile, five Europeans are in their 20s, including Sergio Garcia, who is 24 and already making his third Ryder Cup appearance.
 
Including Woods, only three American-born players in their 20s finished inside the top 30 in the final Ryder Cup standings (Charles Howell III and Jonathan Byrd). And Tiger was the only one in the top 20.
 
There was a time when Europe had many of the top-ranked players in the world ' Seve (Ballesteros), Ollie (Jose Maria Olazabal), Woosie (Ian Woosnam), (Bernhard) Langer, (Sandy) Lyle. Now, its almost a rebuilding. It looks very good for the European future, Oosterhuis said.
 
It is surprising that Tiger is the youngest player on the U.S. team. But (Chris) Riley is only 30. And so is (Chad) Campbell. So, the Americans have some young talent as well ' just not as young.
 
Neither U.S. captain Hal Sutton nor European leader Bernhard Langer are overly concerned with the future at this moment. They want to win now. And to do so, both men will stake a large part of their claim for the cup in a quintet of debutantes.
 
I don't think any team is trying to see any young player so that they can win the Ryder Cup ten years from now. I think every captain is trying to pick the guys and hoping that the guys make the team that can help them win that present Ryder Cup, said Sutton.
 
I think they (Europe) have got a lot of young, unseasoned players on their team because their older, seasoned players didn't have the type of last two years that they needed in order to be on the team. They do have a changing of the guard. We have a slight changing of the guard right here. That is just the life we live in. We grow older, we don't play as well and somebody else takes over.
 
Youth has been gradually taking over in Europe. Donald, Casey and Poulter have each recorded a pair of victories over the past two seasons on the European Tour. Levet has also won this year, meaning the five rookies (Howell hasnt won since 1999) have combined for seven tour titles in the last two years.
 
Perry and Campbell are the only winners during the same time frame for the U.S. Perry won three times a year ago, while Campbell won the 2003 Tour Championship and 2004 Bay Hill Invitational. His Bay Hill triumph means he is the only U.S. Ryder Cup rookie to have a win this season. DiMarco and Riley last won in 2002. Funk hasnt held a trophy in six seasons.
 
Both sides have their pluses and minuses when it comes to rating their rookies. But, unlike at the Presidents Cup where everyone plays every session, rookies can be sheltered until the final day if the captain so desires.
 
Ultimately, Ryder Cups are won and lost with the veterans. Thursday, well take an in-depth look at the seven players on each team with Ryder Cup experience.
 
Related Links:
  • Photo Gallery

  • U.S. Ryder Cup Team

  • European Ryder Cup Team

  • Full Coverage - 35th Ryder Cup
  • Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

    By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

    Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

    Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

    What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

    Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

    Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

    Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

    Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

    Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

    In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

    "It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

    “Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

    “That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

    Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

    The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

    Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

    Lexi Thompson:

    Baking time!!

    A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

    David Feherty:

    Jack Nicklaus:

    GC Tiger Tracker:

    Steve Stricker:

    Golf Channel:

    Frank Nobilo:

    Ian Poulter:

    Tyrone Van Aswegen:

    Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

    By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

    Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.