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.

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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.

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Players winner to get 3-year exemption into PGA

By Rex HoggardFebruary 21, 2018, 8:01 pm

Although The Players isn’t golf’s fifth major, it received a boost in that direction this week.

The PGA of America has adjusted its criteria for eligibility into the PGA Championship, extending an exemption for the winner of The Players to three years.

According to an official with the PGA of America, the association felt the winner of The Players deserved more than a single-year exemption, which had been the case, and the move is consistent with how the PGA Tour’s annual flagship event is treated by the other majors.

Winners of The Players were already exempt for three years into the Masters, U.S. Open and The Open Championship.

The change will begin with this year’s PGA Championship.

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Thomas: Playing in front of Tiger even more chaotic

By Randall MellFebruary 21, 2018, 7:52 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Justin Thomas may be going from the frying pan to the fire of Tiger Woods’ pairings.

Translation: He’s going from being grouped with Woods last week in the first two rounds at the Genesis Open to being grouped directly in front of Woods this week at the Honda Classic.

“Which might be even worse than playing with him,” Thomas said Wednesday.

Typically, the pairing in front of Woods deals with a lot of gallery movement, with fans racing ahead to get in position to see Woods’ next shot.

Thomas was quoted after two rounds with Tiger at Riviera saying fans “got a little out of hand,” and saying it’s disappointing some golf fans today think it’s “so amusing to yell and all that stuff while we’re trying to hit shots.”

With 200,000 fans expected this week at the Honda Classic, and with the Goslings Bear Trap pavilion setting a party mood at the 16th green and 17th tee, that portion of the course figures to be quite lively at PGA National.

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Thomas was asked about that.

“I touched on this a little bit last week,” Thomas said. “I think it got blown out of proportion, was just taken out of context, and worded differently than how I said it or meant it.

“I love the fans. The fans are what I hope to have a lot of, what all of us hope to have a lot of. We want them cheering us on. But it's those certain fans that are choosing to yell at the wrong times, or just saying stuff that's completely inappropriate.”

Thomas said it’s more than ill-timed shouts. It’s the nature of some things being said.

“It's one thing if it's just you and I talking, but when you're around kids, when you're around women, when you're around families, or just around people in general, some of the stuff they are saying to us is just extremely inappropriate,” he said. “There’s really no place for it anywhere, especially on a golf course.

“I feel like golf is pretty well known as a classy sport, not that other sports aren't, but it has that reputation.”

Thomas said the nature of the 17th hole at PGA National’s Champion Course makes it a more difficult tee shot than the raucous 16th at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Typically, players like to hear fans get into the action before or after they hit shots. Ill-timed bluster, however, makes a shot like the one at Honda’s 17th even tougher.

“That hole is hard enough,” Thomas said. “I don't need someone yelling in my ear on my backswing that I'm going to hit it in the water, to make it any harder. I hope it gets better, just for the sake of the game. That's not helping anything. That's not helping grow the game.”

Those who follow golf know an ill-timed shout in a player’s backswing is different than anything a fan says at a football, basketball or baseball game. An ill-timed comment in a backswing has a greater effect on the outcome of a competition.

“Just in terms of how much money we're playing for, how many points we're playing for ... this is our jobs out here, and you hate to somehow see something that a fan does, or something that they yell, influence something that affects [a player’s] job,” Thomas said.

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Rory: Phil said RC task force just copied Europe

By Randall MellFebruary 21, 2018, 7:21 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Playing the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am two weeks ago, Rory McIlroy quizzed Phil Mickelson about what the Americans got out of the U.S. Ryder Cup task force’s overhaul.

McIlroy and Mickelson were paired together at Pebble Beach.

“Basically, all they are doing is copying what the Europeans have done,” McIlroy said.  “That's what he said.”

The Europeans claimed their sixth of seven Ryder Cups with their victory at Gleneagles in 2014. That brought about a sea change in the way the United States approached the Ryder Cup. Mickelson called out the tactics in Gleneagles of captain Tom Watson, who was outmaneuvered by European captain Paul McGinley.

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The Americans defeated Europe at Hazeltine two years ago with that new European model.

“He said the first thing they did in that task force was Phil played a video, a 12-minute video of Paul McGinley to all of them,” McIlroy said. “So, they are copying what we do, and it's working for them. It's more cohesive, and the team and the core of that team are more in control of what they are doing, instead of the PGA of America recruiting and someone telling them what to do.”

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 21, 2018, 7:00 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.