Azinger logical choice to stay Cup captain

By Associated PressSeptember 22, 2008, 4:00 pm
Ryder CupLOUISVILLE, Ky. ' No one spent more time in the PGA of America hospitality room last month at Oakland Hills than Corey Pavin, presumably to start lobbying to be the next U.S. captain for the Ryder Cup.
The list of candidates has rarely been this short, nor has it been so obvious.
Zinger in 2010, Phil Mickelson said after the Americans reclaimed possession of the Ryder Cup.
Paul Azinger widened his eyes with what little strength he had left Sunday night when asked if he would consider devoting another two years as Captain America, this time with far more to lose than to gain.
Paul Azinger and team
Paul Azinger's men in 2008 want him to lead again in 2010. (Getty Images)
Zinger in 2010, Justin Leonard added.
Its easy to get wrapped up in the emotion of winning golfs most passionate event, especially since it had been nine years since the Americans climbed to the balcony of a clubhouse for a champagne shower.
Captains sometimes get too much credit when they win, and even more blame when they lose. But for all the spectacular shots over three days at Valhalla that carried the United States to a 16 1/2 -11 1/2 victory, the man of the match might have been the one American who didnt hit a single shot.
It was Azinger who persuaded the PGA of America to scrap its archaic system of picking a Ryder Cup team. For 60 years, points were awarded to only the top 10 performances on a PGA TOUR that did not include players from Fiji to Australia, from South Africa to South Korea. Azinger wanted the criteria based on money, the universal language in golf.
It was Azinger who got the Americans to play like a team, unlocking the secret to recent European dominance.
Even without the best player in the world ' Tiger Woods only involvement was text messaging Azinger ' and a team comprised of six rookies and three veterans who knew nothing but losing in the Ryder Cup, his messages got through.
Enjoy the week. Embrace the crowd support. Forget recent history.
Trailing early in all four matches when the Ryder Cup began Friday morning, the Americans didnt panic and wound up taking a 3-1 lead for their first opening-session victory since 1991.
Europe never caught up.
It was a dream start for them, said Ian Poulter, who lost a 3-up lead that morning in what turned out to be his only loss of the week. Theyve always left it to the singles to press on. That was crucial to be that far in front after Friday and Saturday.
By Sunday, the swagger returned.
Anthony Kim refused to concede a 2-foot birdie putt to Sergio Garcia on the opening hole, made five birdie putts inside 5 feet and gave Europes best Ryder Cup player his worst loss. Boo Weekley, who provided comic relief and pure iron play, galloped off the first tee using his driver as a toy horse. Kenny Perry, who wanted this Ryder Cup to define his career, left the best impression.
And while Jim Furyk won the decisive point ' fitting since it was Furyk who watched Europe celebrate on him when it began its winning streak at The Belfry in 2002 ' the pivotal match belonged to Kentucky bomber J.B. Holmes.
Tied with Soren Hansen, he smashed consecutive drives to set up birdies on his final two holes for a 2-and-1 victory.
What was Holmes doing on the team as a captains pick?
Azinger wanted someone who hit it far enough to get Europe thinking about him. Holmes put on a clinic at the practice range, one time pointing to the stage at the back end of the range and hitting a drive that landed on the roof.
He hit it quite long, Hansen said. But quite long is probably an understatement. He hit it really long.
Even as Hunter Mahan was getting criticized for saying in a magazine interview that the PGA of America cares more about the net income than the gold trophy from the Ryder Cup, Azinger said he would not hold that against him. He used one of his four captains picks on Mahan, and the rookie tied a U.S. record for most points by a pick with a 2-0-3 mark.
Ultimately, the players are responsible for points and no one else. Even so, it was clear this U.S. team loved playing for its captain, another European trait.
This team was more of a European team, Padraig Harrington said.
The blame for Europe ultimately falls on Harrington, Garcia and Lee Westwood for not winning a match and combining to go 0-7-5. Europes four rookies combined for a 6-5-2 record.
European captain Nick Faldo divided his team early when he snubbed Darren Clarke, the inspirational leader, even though he had won twice in the previous five months. Then he benched Westwood and Garcia for the first time in their careers. Finally, he put some of his best players this week (Poulter, Graeme McDowell) and this year (Harrington, Westwood) at the bottom of the lineup.
Faldo will get over it, and his team rose to his defense when British reporters challenged him on his decisions and asked how he felt to be the captain that presided over a losing team after Europe had won five of the last six times.
That question doesnt deserve an answer, vice captain Jose Maria Olazabal said.
Thank you, Faldo added.
One question the PGA of America should consider for 2010 in Wales: Why not Azinger?
Ben Hogan was the last U.S. captain to serve consecutive terms in 1947-49, when the Ryder Cup resumed after World War II. Before that, Walter Hagen was captain of six straight U.S. teams. Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Sam Snead each had multiple stints.
Many see the Ryder Cup captaincy as a right, not a privilege. The PGA of America allowed Azinger to think outside the box, and that went a long way toward winning. Now it wants to return to a model that didnt always work?
The Ryder Cup is not about whos turn it is to be captain.
Its about points. Its about winning.
Im not going to think about it, Azinger said Sunday evening when asked if he would like to do this again. Im just going to stay up all night and party with my boys.
Related Links:
  • U.S. Report Cards
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  • U.S. Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • European Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • Full Coverage - 37th Ryder Cup
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    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 21, 2018, 9:00 am

    Tiger Woods shot his second consecutive 70 on Friday at Carnoustie and enters weekend play at even par for the championship, still in contention for major No. 15.

    Getty Images

    How to watch The Open on TV and online

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 8:30 am

    You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

    Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

    In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on  

    Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

    (All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; or check the GLE app)

    Monday, July 16

    GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (

    GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (

    GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (

    Tuesday, July 17

    GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

    Wednesday, July 18

    GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

    Thursday, July 19

    GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (

    GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

    GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

    Friday, July 20

    GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

    GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

    Saturday, July 21

    GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

    NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (

    GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (

    Sunday, July 22

    GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

    NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM ( Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (

    GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (

    Getty Images

    Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

    By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

    Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

    The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

    Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

    Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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    Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

    Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

    Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

    Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

    4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

    4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

    4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

    4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

    4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

    5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

    5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

    5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

    5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

    5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

    6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

    6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

    6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

    6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

    6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

    7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

    7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

    7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

    7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

    7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

    7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

    8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

    8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

    8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

    8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

    8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

    8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

    9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

    9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

    9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

    9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

    9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

    10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

    10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

    10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

    10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

    10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

    10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

    11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson