Europe's rout of U.S. could foreshadow future

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2013, 2:51 am

PARKER, Colo. – They pulled back the veil here Saturday at Colorado Golf Club.

They gave us a glimpse of the present and the future of the Solheim Cup, and it ought to send a cold shudder through the ranks of American women’s golf.

With a stunning 4-0 sweep of the afternoon fourballs, Europe dealt the United States a blow that reverberates beyond today with so much youth and so many Solheim Cup rookies in the Euro lineup.

When Karine Icher's 45-foot birdie putt from off the 18th green hit the bottom of the cup to close out this wonderfully improbable afternoon for the Euros, the shock waves resonated across her native France, across England and Scotland and across Sweden, Norway, Germany, Spain and Italy.

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Icher's putt closed out a sweep that gives Europe a commanding 10 ½ to 5 ½ lead, equaling the largest lead going into Sunday singles in the history of the Solheim Cup.

The sweep moves Europe into position to win its first Solheim Cup on American soil and to win back-to-back Solheim Cups for the first time in the history of these biennial matches.

Mostly, the sweep gave Sunday a sense of inevitability.

“I love Europe,” Carlota Ciganda said. “I love winning, and I love beating the Americans.

“And we’re going to win tomorrow.”

For the Americans to win, they’ll need to mount a comeback greater than any mounted in the history of a Solheim Cup or Ryder Cup.

“Obviously, it was a very disappointing afternoon,” U.S. captain Meg Mallon said. “We have our work cut out for us tomorrow. It can be done. It’s daunting right now but it can be done.”

Sunday singles is the American strength. They’ve dominated the format over the years, but no team has ever come from more than a two-point deficit to win the Solheim Cup in Sunday singles.

No team has ever come from more than a four-point deficit to win a Ryder Cup.

If the Americans are going to take back the cup, they’ll have to win nine of the 12 Sunday singles matches. They’ve done that just once before, back in ’96, when they claimed 10 singles matches to overcome a 9-7 deficit and win in Wales.

Mallon was on that American team in Wales.

“I’m not being Pollyanna about this, but I really feel like the lineup I have, and this team, can do it,” Mallon said. “I love this team.

“There are 12 points to get out there tomorrow. I think we are a stronger team, and we can do it. That’s what I’m going to tell them.”

The Euros won singles 7-5 in Ireland two years ago. They take a load of confidence into Sunday. 

“It’s unbelievable,” Spain’s Azahara Munoz said. “I can’t even tell you how we’re feeling.”

The afternoon sweep was stunning because the Euros dominated the Americans with a youthful, inexperienced lineup that looked overmatched. It was stupefying how they were able to dominate with their most decorated veteran leaders all on the bench.

Suzann Pettersen, Catriona Matthew and Anna Nordqvist all sat.

European captain Liselotte Neumann sent out eight players for the afternoon fourballs, five of them Solheim Cup rookies, none of them with more than one Solheim Cup under her belt coming into this week.

Half of Neumann’s 12-woman roster are Solheim Cup rookies. The confidence she showed in those rookies Saturday afternoon was almost dumbfounding in its bravado.

“We did a pretty gutsy thing this afternoon, resting some of the girls, because I knew how important the singles were going to be tomorrow,” Neumann said. “Sitting out Catriona, Anna and Suzann, I knew they really needed to be rested for the singles.

“But to think these girls were going to step up to the plate like this and take all the matches in the afternoon? It’s unbelievable.”

Neumann sent out a pair of Solheim Cup rookies in the afternoon leadoff match, one of them 17-year-old Charley Hull, the youngest player to compete in the history of the matches. She sent her out with 25-year-old Jodi Ewart Shadoff, another Solheim Cup rookie.

How did they respond? They beat Paula Creamer and the future of American golf, 18-year-old Lexi Thompson, 2 up. They did it stepping to the 17th tee all square and fiercely closing out the Americans with a pair of birdies.

Hull dealt the Americans their first big blow, carving her tee shot to 4 feet at No. 17, inside Thompson, who hit a terrific shot to 5 feet. After Thompson missed her birdie chance, Hull buried hers.

Shadoff followed with heroics at the 18th, stiffing her approach to 8 feet and burying that birdie to start the dominoes tumbling.

“Some of the best golf I’ve ever been a part of,” Shadoff said.

Even Shadoff marveled at Hull’s cool hand in Saturday’s pressure cooker. Hull made six birdies, five over the first 10 holes.

“Probably, because we’re young, we don’t have much fear,” Hull said.

The Americans might not be able to say the same thing after seeing what the future holds.

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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.