Fashionable Pick

By Rex HoggardJuly 14, 2009, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship TURNBERRY, Scotland ' The man Tiger Woods jokingly refers to as No. 2 received a less-than-world-beater welcome when he arrived late Sunday to Turnberry.
 
I turned up at 10 (p.m.) and had a little look at the 18th green, Ian Poulter smiled. Security guards came out, What are you doing? So that was my first look and then I got escorted off in a wagon.
 
Poulter was joking, of course. The mans wardrobe has made him almost immediately recognizable particularly on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. What may be different about this Open Championship, Poulters eighth, is that the Englishmans play over the past 12 months has made him much more than simply a fashion favorite.
 
Enter the 2009 Play With Poulter Sweepstakes
Beginning at last years Open Championship, Poulters golf instead of his garb has started to share equal billing. How far Poulter has climbed on the world stage was perhaps best demonstrated earlier this year at The Players.
 
Poulter has never lacked for confidence, but at TPC Sawgrass that confidence reached a new level.
 
At TPC I felt like I had the game for the biggest tournaments, Poulter said in an interview with GolfChannel.com. I certainly believe that I have the game to win by how Ive played over the last six months.
 
It was 12 months ago at Royal Birkdale where he began to take the form of the worlds No. 2. Poulter began the blustery final round six shots behind Greg Norman, birdied three of his last 10 holes and finished runner-up, four behind Padraig Harrington, for his best finish in a major.
 
Before Birkdale, Poulter was a non-story at the games biggest events, posting just a single top-10 finish in his previous 22 Grand Slam starts.
 
The confidence born from Birkdale lasted through Septembers Ryder Cup. Europe may have lost Samuel Ryders chalice, but it wasnt because of a lack of effort from Poulter. The captains pick was a workhorse for Nick Faldo, playing all five matches, the only European to do that, and earning four points, by far the losing sides top performance.
 
In many ways his Valhalla showing was gratifying, particularly because of the media-driven criticism leveled on Faldo before the matches for picking Poulter.
 
To come out the leading points earner at the Ryder Cup was huge for me because I was being told I didnt deserve my spot, Poulter said. I wanted to play as good as I could and I was just proud to go out there under those conditions and perform.
 
Poulters solid play continued in 2009. Hes missed just two of 11 cuts on the PGA Tour, including his runner-up at Sawgrass and a tie for 18th at last months U.S. Open. He also was third two weeks ago at the French Open to climb into the top 20 in the world ranking for the first time.
 
Interestingly, it is limited expectations that may make him a player to watch at Turnberry. Although hes never limited his potential at any event hes ever played, on Tuesday he dismissed his status as a growing favorite.
 
Ive often gone out with too many expectations and its not worked, Poulter said. Im not going out there having the mindset on Thursday morning I have to win, I have to win, I have to win. Im going out there to play a round of golf.
 
Thats unassuming ground for a player who was quoted in a magazine article last year as saying, When I play to my potential I just feel there will only be me and Tiger Woods. There's no one else I rate that highly.
 
Thats not to say Poulter has toned down his refreshingly honest assessments of his game or the state of the game.
 
At last months U.S. Open Poulter chided the U.S. Golf Associations decision not to use lift, clean and place rules at Bethpage as a schoolboy error.
 
Nor is Poulter inclined to tone down his wardrobe. Normally cryptic about his lineup for Open Championship week, Poulter offered a vague preview of what to expect from him on Thursday: Ill have a red, white and blue cashmere Cardigan with a Union Jack for Thursday.
 
As for what to expect from his game, his record would suggest hes closer to that No. 2 ranking than anyone ever envisioned.
 
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    Snedeker starts slow in effort to snag Masters invite

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

    Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

    Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

    World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

    Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

    Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

    Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

    The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

    Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

    "I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

    Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

    Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

    Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.

    Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

    By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.


    Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


    Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

    Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

    Getty Images

    LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

    The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

    LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

    "The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

    It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

    "He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."