Woods, Mickelson and Furyk's Ryder Cup woes

By Randall MellSeptember 25, 2012, 8:27 pm

MEDINAH, Ill. – They’re winners.

Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk have defined themselves winning the game’s most important events.

They’ve combined to win 130 PGA Tour titles and 19 major championships.

As Ryder Cup players, however, they’re losers.

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There’s no other way to put it.

They’re the American Triumvirate of Ryder Cup golf for all the wrong reasons.

It’s so at odds with the rest of their careers, the ugly, hairy mole on an otherwise gorgeous countenance.

“Historically, we suck in the Ryder Cup,” NBC analyst Johnny Miller said in regard to Europe’s run of four victories in the last five Ryder Cups and six of the last eight.

Woods, Mickelson and Furyk are the common denominator in the American Ryder Cup slump going back to the end of the last century.

In the six Ryder Cups they have all played together, the United States is 1-5.

They haven’t just lost a lot of these Ryder Cups together. They’ve been humiliated in more than one of them. They were on that ’04 team dealt the most lopsided loss in American Ryder Cup history (18 ½ to 9 ½) and on it again in ’06 when they lost by the same score.

“I would have expected, and definitely wished for, a much better record,” Furyk, 42, said before Tuesday’s practice rounds at Medinah Country Club.

Photos: 39th Ryder Cup

Photos: Ryder Cup through the years

Photos: Medinah's gonna be a zoo

Woods was asked if he feels any responsibility for the American swoon.

“Certainly, I am responsible for that because I didn’t earn the points that I was out there for,” said Woods, 36. “I believe I was out there for five sessions each time, and I didn’t go 5-0. So, I certainly am a part of that, and that’s part of being a team. I needed to get my points for my team, and I didn’t do that. Hopefully, I can do that this week.”

As the veteran foundation of this American team, the three of them get a chance this week to wash some of that losing out of their mouths. The victory champagne spilled Sunday night wouldn’t taste better to anyone than it would to Woods, Mickelson and Furyk.

Mickelson is 11-17-6 overall in Ryder Cup play. No American has lost more matches in Ryder Cup history, and no American has been on more losing teams (6).

Furyk is 8-15-4 overall. Mickelson and Raymond Floyd (16 losses) are the only Americans to have lost more Ryder Cup matches than Furyk, who is 1-8-1 in fourballs.

Woods is 13-14-2 overall and 9-13-1 with partners. If the United States loses again this week, Woods will become the first American to be on five consecutive Ryder Cup losers.

In Tuesday’s morning interview session at Medinah, Woods was asked if he thought the trio sported losing records because they’ve been on so many losing teams, or if the American teams have lost so much because the trio sports losing records.

“Both,” Woods said. “In order to win cups, you have to earn points and we certainly have not earned points. On top of that, I think Phil, Jim and myself have been put out there a lot during those years. So if we aren’t earning points, it’s hard to win Ryder Cups.”

Mickelson, Woods and Furyk have had each other as partners in this run.

Mickelson, 42, lost both his matches when U.S. captain Hal Sutton infamously paired him with Woods at Oakland Hills in ’04. Mickelson lost the only time he was paired with Furyk.

Woods is 2-2 when paired with Furyk.

American captain Davis Love III believes the Ryder Cup is just an odd and difficult team competition where records are easily skewed. He points to the Ryder Cup records of Hall of Famers Floyd (12-16-3) and Ben Crenshaw (3-8-1) as evidence.

“You look at a lot of our great players, and they don’t have great Ryder Cup records,” Love said. “I think even if you’re .500 in the Ryder Cup, you’re pretty dang good. If you’re above .500, like Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal were, you’ve had an incredible run in the Ryder Cups.

“It’s tough to win, first of all. Tiger can play and his partner not play well, or the other team plays extremely well.

“I kind of throw the Jim Furyk, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson record of wins and losses out. There’s a reason why these guys keep making teams, and I don’t look a whole lot at the record.”

An American victory this week does more than make the trio’s record look better. It shrinks the size of that ugly, hairy mole on otherwise beautiful competitive portraits. It helps wash away the bad taste of all that losing.

Click to check out Golf Channel's and NBC Sports' Ryder Cup coverage.

South Korean LPGA stars lead KLPGA team

By Randall MellNovember 24, 2017, 10:32 pm

South Korea’s LPGA team of all-stars took the early lead Friday on the Korean LPGA Tour in a team event featuring twice as much star power as this year’s Solheim Cup did.

Eight of the world’s top 20 players are teeing it up in the ING Life Champions Trophy/ Inbee Park Invitational in Gyeongju. There were only four players among the top 20 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings when the United States defeated Europe in Des Moines, Iowa.

Park led the LPGA team to a 3 ½-to-2 ½ lead on the first day.

Park, who has been recuperating from a back injury for most of the second half of this season, teamed with Jeongeun Lee5 to defeat Hye Jin Choi and Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4, in the lead-off four-ball match.

So Yeon Ryu and Park, former world No. 1s and LPGA Rolex Player of the Year Award winners, will be the marquee pairing on Saturday. They will lead off foursomes against Ji Young Kim and Min Sun Kim.

Nine of the 11 South Koreans who won LPGA events this year are competing. Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim are the only two who aren’t.

The fourball results:

LPGA’s Inbee Park/ Jeongeun Lee5 def. Hye Jin Choi/Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4.

LPGA’s Mirim Lee/Amy Yang def.  Ji Hyun Oh/Min Sun Kim, 3 and 1.

LPGA’s M.J. Hur/Mi Hyang Lee halved Ji Hyun Kim/Ji Young Kim.

KLPGA’s Ha Na Jang/Sun Woo Bae def. Sei Young Kim/Hyo Joo Kim, 5 and 4.

LPGA’s Na Yeon Choi/Jenny Shin halved Jin Young Ko/Da Yeon Lee

LPGA’s In Gee Chun/Eun Hee Ji halved Jeongeun Lee6/Char Young Kim.

NOTE: The KPGA uses numerals after a player’s name to distinguish players with the exact same name.


Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer

By Rex HoggardNovember 24, 2017, 5:40 pm

In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.

Made Cut

The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.

Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.

“I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”

Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.

Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.

This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.

Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.

Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.

The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.

Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III‏) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”

Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”

The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.

First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.

“You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”

A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.

“The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate,” Uihlein wrote.

For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.

Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.

“I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “If he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.”

Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?

“Oh, yeah,” he told Golf.com. “Way by.”

Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.

Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.

Missed Cut

Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.

Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.

“That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”

Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.

While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.

Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

Updated at 11:14 a.m. ET

An Instagram user known as hwalks posted photos to her account that included images of Tiger Woods, President Trump and Dustin Johnson Friday at Trump National, as well as video of Woods' swing.

Here are some other social media posts that have surfaced:

Original story:

Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''

Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open

Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''