Ryder Cup could learn from Presidents Cup

By Rex HoggardSeptember 26, 2012, 9:41 pm

MEDINAH, Ill. – The Ryder Cup has history, the Presidents Cup has pizzazz. Samuel Ryder’s member-member has been referred to as a “war,” while PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem’s meet-and-greet has at times felt more like an inter-club skins game between Orlando’s Lake Nona and Isleworth.

The Ryder Cup is Sutton Coldfield, England; the Presidents Cup is Las Vegas.

Pick your poison.

For the most part the Ryder Cup has staked out higher, albeit stuffier, ground, but when it comes to giving the fans what they want the elder statesman could learn a little from its youthful sibling.

The Presidents Cup has made a show out of each day’s pairings, with captains matching each team pairing and Sunday singles tee times in real time for all the world to see.

When International Presidents Cup captain Greg Norman, for example, sent K.J. Choi and Adam Scott out in the last group on Day 1 last year at Royal Melbourne, U.S. skipper Fred Couples countered with Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, giving the crowds – and maybe even Scott and Woods – what they wanted amid the circus caused by Scott’s caddie Steve Williams’ split with Woods.

At the Ryder Cup, however, each day’s pairings are a blind draw, with captain’s listing their teams in order with no clue as to what their counterpart will do, which means the odds of a much-anticipated Woods vs. Rory McIlroy title bout on Sunday in Chicago-land are 1-in-12.

Opponents of the Presidents Cup formula say tradition supersedes drama, however contrived, but that “competitive integrity” bridge was dusted last year when the PGA Tour introduced “marquee pairings.”

Anyone who watched Woods and Ernie Els go head-to-head on Sunday at the 2003 Presidents Cup in South Africa can attest to how compelling a little faux drama can be. It’s Entertainment 101 – give the people what they want.

“It would be neat to sit up here and match them up,” Love admitted this week at Medinah. “It would be pretty good theater to match groups and it would be fun.”

Yet when it was suggested that there is nothing in the captain’s agreement that would preclude Love and European captain Jose Maria Olazabal from working out some sort of arrangement the U.S. skipper balked.

“I definitely don’t want to be the first one to go cross over into their room and start rigging pairings,” Captain America declared.

Olazabal was even more vague, rightfully dismissing the media’s interest in contrived theater over the higher needs of the team. “I know you’re eager to see that match, but I think the Ryder Cup is more important than that single match,” he said.

Perhaps, but that assumes that competitive integrity and a good show are mutually exclusive.

Imagine the spectacle of the world Nos. 1 and 2 dueling late into Sunday with the cup on the line. Imagine the leap a budding rivalry would make on a pressure-packed international stage and the boon it would be for golf, regardless of outcome.

Some have further suggested that perhaps Woods and McIlroy wouldn’t, for whatever reason, want that uber-pairing. Hogwash.

In his prime Michael Jordan didn’t ask to guard the sixth man. He wanted the other team’s alpha male and Woods and McIlroy are no different. It’s in their DNA and history suggests both players relish the opportunity. The duo has been paired together 10 times this season on Tour and combined to shoot 34 under with just one over-par round between them.

“I’d love to go out there. I’d love Tiger to go out first and kick his ass,” McIlroy laughed when he was recently asked about playing Woods on Sunday at Medinah.

The Ryder Cup clings to its traditions and, as Love pointed out, “everything seems to be working pretty well,” with the matches enjoying unparalleled popularity on both sides of the pond. Besides, given the historical distinctions between the Tour and PGA of America it doesn’t seem likely the Ryder Cup would be keen to play follow-the-leader, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t.

In this, imitation is the best form of flattery. It’s time for the Ryder Cup to steal a page from the Presidents Cup playbook and add a new level of intrigue to the matches. It’s what the fans and media want. It’s what the players want.

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Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.