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The road from Gleneagles 2014 to Paris 2018

By Rex HoggardOctober 2, 2017, 10:00 pm

JERSETY CITY, N.J. – When Phil Mickelson took the microphone on that cold night in 2014 at the Ryder Cup in Scotland, some felt his comments had crossed a line and he’d unfairly called out then-U.S. captain Tom Watson.

Late Sunday at Liberty National, Mickelson sat at another post-match interview table, and although he declined to connect the dots, it was impossible not to watch the U.S. team’s domination of the International side and not see a byproduct of that stand Lefty took three years ago.

“You don't get a performance like we had this week without that little something extra, that little special something, and these guys brought it out in each other,” Mickelson said.

The U.S. has dominated the Presidents Cup for nearly two decades, but the 12th edition was something altogether different. The home team came within one match of closing out the Internationals on Saturday, previously unfathomable, and needed just a single point on Sunday to win the cup.

The outcome wasn’t nearly as close as the final margin of victory, 19-11, suggested.

The U.S. team bonded off the course, fit together seamlessly during the team sessions and responded to every move that captain Steve Stricker made. There’s no ignoring the level of young talent that has emerged on the American side or the natural friendships that some thought had been missing, but hidden behind the playful jabs and confident swagger is a comfort that can, at least in part, be traced back to that figurative pulpit Mickelson ascended to at Gleneagles.


Video: Can U.S. take dominating team to Paris in 2018?

Presidents Cup: Articles, video and photos


The U.S. team, at both the Ryder and Presidents cup, has become more unified, more organized and more focused thanks to the continuity that was born from Mickelson’s moment and the actions of the Ryder Cup task force.

The players were given a voice in who and how to lead and from that has emerged a better U.S. team.

 “You can look at Tiger [Woods] and Davis [Love III] and Freddie [Couples] and I, Jay Haas fit in there great, Tom Lehman fit in last year. You’re looking for guys who have a lot of experience, who buy into what we are trying to accomplish and we’re trying to get a lot of symmetry for the guys on the golf course,” said Jim Furyk, one of Stricker’s four assistant captains. “You’ll see a lot of the same guys next year when we announce the assistants for Paris.”

As the U.S. team headed back to Manhattan and what promised to be a raucous victory celebration, Furyk’s mind understandably drifted to next year’s Ryder Cup, where he will lead an American team in search of its first win on European soil since 1993.

Among the changes ushered in by the Ryder Cup task force was a legacy concept for captains. Future captains, like Furyk last year at Hazeltine National, are now brought into the process early as assistants to learn the nuances of modern leadership; and former captains, like Lehman in ’16, are added to provide historical context.

However inadvertently or organically, this concept has crossed over into the Presidents Cup.

“I’m interested in seeing who is going to be the next Presidents Cup captain. If he’s not in this group we might want to look to include him and make sure he’s part of it to make sure that symmetry lasts from year to year,” Furyk said.

For years, observers would whisper about the European playbook for the Ryder Cup, a notion that took on a life of its own when Paul McGinley led the Continent to victory in ’14. Although Furyk fended off the idea the U.S. now has a similar “blueprint,” there’s no doubt that U.S. captains for both the Presidents and Ryder cup have embraced a general outline – from grouping players in pods based on potential pairings and personalities to how captain’s picks are vetted.


Video: Mickelson's critical comments at 2014 Ryder Cup


There was a time when the U.S. side looked at the Presidents Cup as a liability, a biennial distraction that somehow took away from the intensity of the Ryder Cup and led to competitive complacency. Now, however, it’s a chance to foster continuity and give players – particularly five of the American team’s six rookies at Liberty National – a taste of team intensity.

In practical terms for Furyk, that meant evaluating established players and partnerships as well as sizing up potential newcomers on next year’s team.

“It was good getting to know a lot of the players that I didn’t know,” he said. “Matchups, pairings, personalities. We had five guys on this team that had never played on one and I thought they all played great and we learned a lot about their strengths and what they’re good at.”

Liberty National was Furyk’s third turn as an American assistant and, under a loosely defined legacy program, it won’t be his last. It’s all part of the foundation of passing experiences and lessons from captain to captain.

What he learned last week was that the U.S. side appears to have entered a new golden age of team relevance. From Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, who improved their combined Ryder and Presidents cup record together to 8-1-3, to Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler, who paired perfectly in their first match together, the American dominance sent a very clear transatlantic message.

“I'd love to have these 12 on our team next year,” Furyk said. “I really would like them to enjoy what they did this week, soak it all in, have fun with it. A month from now we'll get to work and we'll start getting ready for Paris.”

Furyk knows as well as anyone that Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace aren’t Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia, and Liberty National wasn’t Le Golf National, site of next year’s matches in France.

The U.S. team may have made it look easy, but the odds and history will still be stacked against them in Paris. It’s why the continuity that was born from Mickelson’s monologue three years ago in Scotland is more important now than ever.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

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. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm