GBI Closes Gap at Seve Trophy

By Sports NetworkSeptember 23, 2005, 4:00 pm
European TourBILLINGHAM, England -- After his team fell behind 4-1 at the Seve Trophy on Thursday, Great Britain & Ireland captain Colin Montgomerie held a closed-door meeting.
 
It may have been what they needed, although the Scotsman probably would have liked an even better result.
 
Montgomerie's team won three of its five second-round fourball matches against Continental Europe on Friday -- and kept it close in a fourth -- to pull within 6-4 heading into the weekend.
 
'I gave them a bit of a rollicking last night and they came out and wanted to do well,' Montgomerie said, adding that his goal was to be tied after the morning greensomes on Saturday.
 
'I'll come up with some sort of idea about how to get back to level with them by Sunday,' he said.
 
Montgomerie and Graeme McDowell suffered a 3 and 2 loss against Thomas Bjorn and Henrik Stenson on Friday, one day after they finished with the only win for GB&I in the first round of fourball matches.
 
Continental Europe's other point came from Maarten Lafeber and Emanuele Canonica, who held on for a 2-up win over Stephen Dodd and Bradley Dredge in the last match to finish.
 
The other matches belonged to GB&I: Paul McGinley and Padraig Harrington defeated Niclas Fasth and Peter Hanson 3 and 1; Paul Casey and David Howell rolled to a 5 and 4 win over Miguel Angel Jimenez and Continental Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal; and Ian Poulter and Nick Dougherty beat Jean-Francois Remesy and Thomas Levet, also by a 5 and 4 score.
 
'Those boys must have listened very carefully to what Monty said yesterday,' Olazabal said. 'They played really well.'
 
In the second group to tee off, Casey and Howell jumped out to a 5-up advantage over Jimenez and Olazabal after six holes. Their lead never fell below 4-up, and that foursome was the first to finish when they halved the 14th hole.
 
McGinley and Harrington closed out their 3 and 1 win moments later to temporarily knot things at 4-4. The duo needed only a two-putt from 25 feet at the par-three 17th, but Harrington finished things off with his fifth winning birdie of the day.
 
Bjorn and Stenson were the next to close things out when Bjorn birdied 16 to put them 3-up against Montgomerie and McDowell.
 
Earlier in that match, while the GB&I team played catch-up, Stenson literally caught up with the foursome ahead of his when he drove the green at the par- 4 13th hole. Jimenez needed to step over Stenson's line on the way to his own ball
 
The Swede's length was a problem for Montgomerie and McDowell all day.
 
'It's surprising -- for someone with that length, he's leading our stats in driving accuracy,' Montgomerie said. 'It's ridiculous. If his short game was tighter...he'd win every second event. I haven't seen anyone hit the ball as well and as long as that for many, many years.'
 
Poulter and Dougherty pulled the GB&I team within 5-4 when they closed out their 5 and 4 win over Remesy and Levet with a halve at the 14th hole.
 
That match got off to an exciting start at No. 1 when Remesy's 30-foot eagle putt was matched by Dougherty's own eagle putt for a halve. Poulter and Dougherty went on to win four of the next eight holes to make the turn 4-up.
 
Dodd and Dredge fell 1-down in their match with a forfeit at No. 1 when Dredge was found to have too many clubs in his bag. He removed an extra driver and went on to birdie two straight holes for a 1-up lead.
 
The match was even after 14, but the Continental Europeans went 1-up when Canonica chipped in for eagle at the par-4 15th. Needing a win at 18 for a halve, the GB&I duo both missed the green with their approach shots before Lafeber clinched the 2-up win with a birdie.
 
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.