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
Getty Images

After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

Getty Images

Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

Getty Images

Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

Getty Images

Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry