A Total Team Victory

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 11, 2005, 4:00 pm
Hopefully you were watching. What with the beginning of the NFL season, college football and Andre Agassis U.S. Open run, the Solheim Cup easily could have been lost in the shuffle.
If you missed it, you missed out on one of the better golf events of the year.
The Solheim Cup was everything last years Ryder Cup was not. It was spirited, tightly contested and entertaining until the end ' and won by the U.S.
Cristie Kerr
The U.S. team celebrates after regaining the Solheim Cup from their European counterparts.
For once, U.S. fans at the site of the competition had something to cheer about. The Stateside supporters in Carmel, Ind., started out a little sluggish, perhaps expecting another European runaway after the away team won the first session 3-1 on Friday.
But as the Americans started to produce some good golf shots, a few fist pumps and some points, the crowd provided plenty of support.
Ultimately, the U.S. again defended their home turf with a singles romp. Historically, in any type of Cup, if the Americans prevail, they do so because of one-on-one domination.
But this was a team victory, not an individual one.
This U.S. squad dispelled the notion that Americans cant spell team without an I.
Thanks to the leadership of Nancy Lopez, this team bonded quite quickly. Lopez watched the contentious 2004 U.S. Ryder Cup team and worked hard to form a cohesive unit.
They played organized practice rounds at Crooked Stick weeks before the competition was set to begin. Even Beth Daniel, an eight-time Solheim participant, couldnt remember this ever happening.
On bus rides together, they sang and danced and gossiped and told dirty jokes. Cristie Kerr referred to the group as a sisterhood.
Through music, they bridged the age gap, which stretched from 19-year-old Paula Creamer to 48-year-old Daniel.
Lopez grooved to hip-hop. Meg Mallon played DJ. Juli Inkster sang karaoke style.
These were hardly the actions expected of women in their 40s, women in the Hall of Fame, and women with children. But in behaving like girls, they created an all-important connection to the young women on their team.
Their spirit carried over from the team room to the course. Christina Kim rollicked down the fairways, pumping her fist and screaming at her ball every step of the way. Paula Creamer sported more body ink than Allen Iverson, covering herself from cheek to ankle in patriotic, temporary tattoos.
Most importantly, nearly every member of the team helped contribute in some way to this victory. Eleven of the 12 players earned at least one point, with Wendy Ward, a captains pick who went 0-3, being the lone exception. And in a 15 -12 victory, every point was crucial.
This years U.S. team had three players in their 20s ' Kim, Cristie Kerr and Natalie Gulbis ' and one, Creamer, in her teens. Those four young ladies were more than just role players this week; they combined for 11 points. In the deciding singles session, three of the four won, with Creamer, who sparked pre-tournament interest by guaranteeing victory, throttling Solheim legend Laura Davies, 7 and 5.
Even more promising for the Stars and Stripes, a slew of talented teens, led by Morgan Pressel and (perhaps) Michelle Wie, are waiting in the wings. Pressel was a member of this years victorious Junior Solheim Cup team and hung around to cheer on her possible future teammates ' just as Creamer had done two years ago in Sweden.
With one match remaining on the course, and the Cup already claimed, U.S. team members walked arm-to-shoulder, all in a row, to witness the conclusion of the ninth Solheim Cup. And when Rosie Jones halved her match with Suzann Pettersen, they rushed the green. There were hugs all around.
They then gathered in a circle, as a team, put their hands in the middle of the pack and chanted: USA, all the way! USA, all the way!
It was appropriate. This was a team triumph.
Hopefully you were watching. And hopefully, so was the U.S. Presidents Cup team.
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

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    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.