Quick Round with Rosie Jones

By Randall MellFebruary 25, 2010, 11:37 pm

Rosie Jones was there the first time the Solheim Cup matches were staged in 1990.

She was part of a “Who’s Who” roster in American women’s golf, playing alongside Hall of Famers Nancy Lopez, Pat Bradley, Beth Daniel, Betsy King and Patty Sheehan with Kathy Whitworth as their captain.

Jones helped the Americans rout Europe 11½ to 4½ at Lake Nona Golf Club in Orlando, Fla., setting the tone for American dominance in the biennial event.

While Jones, 50, said this week that she was surprised to hear she was named the next U.S. captain and will lead the Americans next year in Ireland, she believes she’s a worthy choice. Confidence has never been a problem for the former Ohio State standout. She’s always believed in herself. The 13-time LPGA winner made her name as a gritty battler, the kind of player perfectly suited to match play. A lot of that is due to the fact that she was a never a long hitter. She could wear opponents out getting the ball in the hole first with her deft short game and clutch putting.

“She’s the kind of player who could will the ball in the hole,” Daniel said.

Though Jones sank the putt that clinched the Solheim Cup matches in 2002, she’s most remembered for her work in her last appearance. She’s remembered in 2005 for a knocking down a 30-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole at Crooked Stick to help her and Meg Mallon halve their four-ball match with Sophie Gustafson and Suzann Pettersen. It was an important putt because it prevented the Europeans from taking a lead into Sunday’s singles.

Jones has made seven Solheim Cup appearances, accumulating 12 points with an 11-9-2 record. Daniel, Juli Inkster and Meg Mallon are the only Americans who have made more Solheim Cup teams (8) as players. The only Americans to score more points than Jones in the matches are Inkster (18), Mallon (16½) and Dottie Pepper (14).

Upon her selection as captain, I had a chance to catch up with Jones for a quick round:

So what was it like when LPGA commissioner Michael Whan called to inform you of your selection as the U.S. Solheim Cup captain for the matches at Killeen Castle in Ireland next year?

I was very surprised. I had been waiting for the announcement the last two or three months and actually stopped thinking about it for awhile. When I got the call from the commissioner, I didn’t really know why he was calling me. I was pretty shocked and excited when he told me I was going to be the next captain. I had to ask him to repeat himself because I wasn’t sure I understood him correctly.

The speculation among media was that Meg Mallon and Juli Inkster were the frontrunners. What did you think?

There was a lot of speculation, especially for Meg, because she was the assistant captain last year, but I think both Juli and I were great candidates and frontrunners along with Meg. With my having been retired for three years already, being off the tour a little bit, being older, and with Meg still being competitive out on the tour and getting ready to go back and play, I think it made sense. I felt in my heart of hearts it was my turn to captain. But you go through the committee, and you never know what will happen.

How do you rank this honor among your accomplishments?

Right up there with anything I’ve done. I haven’t won a major, so this is a major accomplishment for me. Being on seven Solheim Cup teams and being a member of all those teams were huge. This was a huge honor for me. This is something you don’t get because you played well one time. You get it because of lifelong achievement. It’s an honor that exemplifies the spirit of the game and the spirit of the Solheim Cup competition and that’s proven over time.

What’s your favorite Solheim Cup memory?

The one that sticks out is the big putt at the 2005 Solheim Cup, at the 18th green (on Saturday) that ended up tying the match because Sophie Gustafson made the putt on top of me. I was playing with Meg Mallon against Sophie and Suzann Pettersen. It was a huge feeling to make the putt in front of that crowd, on TV and in front of the captains of both teams sitting on 18th green. It was a huge moment for me.

You were a fiery player. What kind of captain will you be?

My plan is to be myself, depending on the same core fundamentals I used as a player: hard work, dedication, confidence, balance and honesty as I go forward as a leader. Those are the things I expect out of my players going into the competition.

The United States has dominated the event 8-3, but the Americans are just 2-3 on European soil. What’s the great challenge as captain going on the road?

There is a slight disadvantage going overseas. I felt that as a player. The captains tried to prepare us for that and we will do that for our players when we go over there. We’ll get less opportunity to play that course to get a feel for it. You have the time change, different food, but for the most part our team’s done very well over there.

Do you have any Irish blood in you?

No, but I’m fully American and that’s what it takes.

Have you seen Killeen Castle to know what it will take to win there?

No, I haven’t been there, but I’ve been looking it up online. I plan to visit later this summer. I’m sure the LPGA will be wanting me to go over and check it out, but it just so happens I’m taking a group of women over to Ireland as part of my Rosie Jones Getaways business. It’s one of our destinations this summer. I’ll make a side trip to Killeen Castle to check out the course.

What is it about your career that you are most proud of?

Having played in seven Solheim Cups. They were great honors to be on those teams. You have to play hard for two years to make that team. My 13 wins, all of those are huge highlights. I think the consistency to my game. When I look at my career as a whole, how many cuts I made, how many top 10s, how much money, I was a well-rounded player. I wasn’t the kind of player who was up and down a lot. I was usually right in there, in the hunt. I’m really proud of that.

Thirteen victories is impressive, but you mentioned that you never won a major. You had four second-place finishes in them. Did it bug you retiring without a major?

That’s one thing that bugs me more now than when I was playing. I felt like I had a great career, and I’m very proud of it. I had a lot of chances to win majors but it just didn’t happen. I didn’t have that great back nine, or somebody else did. I’ve had to live with that. It’s been a disappointment in my career, but I wouldn’t say it defined my career.

What are U.S. Solheim Cup players going to learn about their new captain? What do you most like about yourself and what do you most dislike about yourself?

The thing I like most about myself is I pretty much wear my feelings on my sleeve. You pretty much know me after the first meeting. That’s probably the thing I also don’t like about myself.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.