Who Wants it More

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 26, 2002, 4:00 pm
SUTTON COLDFIELD, England ' Jim Furyk stepped into the interview room, sat down and waited. Questions were fired, and Furyk answered, but still he waited. He waited for that one question. And then it came.
The perception is that the European side is more passionate about winning the Ryder Cup. Is that a misperception or?
The words were hanging on the questioners lips when Furyk shot back.
That was pretty good because I was expecting this question first, Furyk said. We must be getting better as a team because now its the 10th question.
A couple of years ago I had to stand up in the pressroom at the Presidents Cup and basically get angry so theyd quit drilling us ' it was about the third or fourth question in a row about how were (the U.S.) not a team, and dont get along.
I can speak for myself, I can speak for the team, were all very passionate about the sport we play, the game we play, and about representing our country this week.
Furyk wasnt alone in answering the passionate question - he was just the most reverent in his answer ' aside from maybe Lee Westwood, who found the question ludicrous at best.
I honestly dont know how to answer this question because I think its a load of crap. I think they look forward to every minute of the Ryder Cup. The two Ryder Cups Ive played in, you can see the emotions in their faces, Westwood said.
If anybody says it doesnt mean anything to them, theyre talking out of their a------, excuse my French.
As Furyk emotionally expressed, this question is nothing new. When the Americans were winning the Ryder Cup, their passion was never in doubt. But losses in 1995 and 97 to underdog European teams, plus a near disgraceful performance in the 98 Presidents Cup, led many to question the Americans desire ' their passion for playing team events.
There is no 'I' in team, but there is a ME.
The U.S. players have been blasted in the past for their individualism. While European players have seemingly come from all areas of the continent to form a cohesive unit, the Americans are viewed as 12 cogs that have a hard time running in unison.
Recent flaps havent skewed that view either.
Prior to the 1999 Matches, many of the U.S. players, including Tiger Woods and David Duval, were crucified in the media and public after their comments concerning players getting compensated to play in the Ryder Cup.
The issue was resolved in the form of charitable contributions, but by then the damage had been done. U.S. players were sketched as spoiled, money-hungry millionaires who wouldnt offer their services for free ' even for their country.
Woods sparked that flame again last week when he said hed rather win the $1 million first-place prize at the World Golf Championships-American Express Championship than the Ryder Cup. He clarified his comments this week, saying he was trying to be funny, but again the original statement still lingered.
What also hasnt helped the Americans cause is the fact that they are notoriously slow starters ' a team who struggles in the team formats, but stars in the singles.
Since 1983, the U.S. has led only one time going into the Sunday singles matches. And only twice in that span have the Europeans beaten their counterparts in one-on-one.
Assessment: Europeans=Team, Americans=Individuals.
That was evident in 1999, when the Americans trailed, 10-6, going into the final day, but rallied, winning 8 of the possible 12 points on Sunday to steal back the Cup.
Weve been criticized a lot in the past as a team and Im not quite sure what that stems from, other than weve lost a few times, said Furyk. I didnt hear about how poor of a team we were after Brookline, and how we played on Sunday. I heard about how we gelled on Sunday, whatever that means.
(U.S. captain) Curtis (Strange) sort of mentioned something about that and we talked about 99 and it was like, 'How could we be four points down? How could we get that far behind?' said Mark Calcavecchia, a four-time Ryder Cupper.
He just thinks that coming out of the box, the Europeans have been more into it, more passionate, more ready to play.
Perhaps thats due to pride. No matter the previous result, the U.S. is always seen as the paper champion and overwhelming favorite.
I think in the past they might have been a little more passionate because back before they had expanded it to the whole continent of Europe. I dont think they were getting the best players and they wanted to prove something, Woods said.
Now, you know, thats different, now that the fields are deeper on both sides. So I think that whole theory is thrown out the door. This generation of players doesnt have that same outlook that the past generation did, but nevertheless, theyre still very passionate about the Ryder Cup, and we are as well.
One might think that because the Americans are always favored to win that the pressure would be on their shoulders. Not so says Paul Azinger. And from that pressure, passion is derived.
The team that has the pressure on them seems to respond in the next series of matches, Azinger noted while doing TV commentary during the 1995 Cup. If Europe got waxed in the morning, they came back in the afternoon and played well. And it was visa-versa.
It just seems to be the way it is ' the more pressure is on, the better the team plays.
I think that the passion probably is very visibly on their side right now. Were not showing that same kind of passion, although we are very motivated in the back of our minds.
Whether the Europeans display more passion than the Americans is debatable. But what is not, is that the U.S wants to win these Matches just as much as their rivals.
I think both the teams are equal in passion, said five-time member Davis Love III. But nobody wants to win more than our team, and I think its about equal.
Said Furyk: In my mind, theres no way that theyre more passionate about this event than we are, and Im not saying that were more passionate than them, but we have 12 good players on each side that are playing for a lot of pride this week.
Full coverage of the 34th Ryder Cup Matches
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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.