Bad weather to be expected for an October Ryder Cup

By Associated PressOctober 2, 2010, 2:11 am

Ryder Cup

NEWPORT, Wales – Another cup pushed the Ryder Cup into October, so naturally there was plenty of second-guessing when the weather became a major issue.

The opening matches Friday were halted for more than seven hours by heavy rain at Celtic Manor, the first suspension at the event since 1997.

When the Ryder Cup returns to Europe at Scotland’s Gleneagles in 2014, officials are hoping it will be held earlier in the year. But obviously, there are no guarantees about the weather.

“We are becoming unlucky,” said George O’Grady, the chief executive of the European Tour. “This is a localized thing. Golf tournaments have lost days to rain before. We play the Wales Open here (in June), and we have lost a day’s play as well, which is just unlucky.”

The Ryder Cup is traditionally held in September, when there might have been a chance of better weather in Wales. This is the latest the event has been staged in Europe since 1965, when it was held from Oct. 7-9 at Royal Birkdale in southern England.

But the PGA Tour concluded its lucrative FedEx Cup at the Tour Championship last week in Atlanta (where, in an interesting twist, it rained the final day as well), so the Ryder Cup was bumped back on the calendar.

“We have to have the best week when the players are available,” O’Grady said. “Whereas it’s quite easy for us to move our weeks, this is difficult with the scheduling in the United States, and it’s a constant discussion with the PGA of America, the PGA Tour and their schedules.”

The PGA Tour’s current television agreement ends after the 2012 season. The European Tour and PGA of America are hopeful that leads to less conflict between the two cups.

O’Grady said there were no regrets about picking Celtic Manor to host this year’s event.

“It does rain here,” O’Grady said. “We have been here in the buildup. We have had some beautiful days in that time the last couple of weeks. We have also had some horrendous ones.”

Celtic Manor said the heavy rains – nearly 1.5 inches fell during a 22-hour period beginning Thursday evening – were a freak occurrence, equaling about 40 percent of what the area normally receives during a month at this time of year.

“More than ($1.6 million) was spent on drainage during construction of the Twenty Ten course, but there comes a point following persistent, heavy rainfall when the ground becomes saturated,” the club said in a statement.

SORRY, NO REFUNDS: Those 45,000 fans who paid for eight matches and didn’t get to see any of them completed will not be getting their money back.

How about another tournament at Celtic Manor next year?

The host club said there is no provision at the Ryder Cup for refunds because of inclement weather, but it encouraged fans to keep their Friday tickets pending an announcement “regarding ticket opportunities on European Tour competitions in 2011.”

It’s not surprising that no refund is forthcoming. Tickets costs a minimum of about $160 each day, which means one day of sales generates more than $7 million in revenues.

The players were appreciative of those who came out in the morning, creating a stirring atmosphere around the first tee even in a steady rain, and those who stayed around to watch a few more holes late in the afternoon after a delay of more than seven hours.

“It was amazing,” England’s Luke Donald said. “If I was in that situation, I’m not sure what I would do. But we have loyal fans and it’s a big part of Europe’s success.”

As for giving those fans some financial consideration, Celtic Manor said it would make an announcement on at the end of the event.

LEFTY’S COMEBACK: Phil Mickelson got off to a rough start, and it didn’t look like things would get much better when he returned from a long rain delay. From the middle of the sixth fairway, he dumped his first shot after the break into the water.

But Mickelson, playing with Dustin Johnson, got things together around the turn, making three straight birdies to leave the Americans just one hole down to Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer when play was halted after the 12th.

Maybe Lefty was inspired by his wife, Amy, who cheered him on in just her second trip to the course since being diagnosed with breast cancer. She turned up at Augusta National when her husband won the Masters in April.

“Me and Phil started to get it going,” Johnson said. “So we are going to come out tomorrow, do the same thing, be aggressive and that’s all you can do.”

LUKE’S MARK: With the sun setting behind the hills and darkness closing in, Luke Donald faced about a 6-footer to halve the ninth hole for the Europeans.

He decided to wait until Saturday to take the potentially crucial putt.

“Tomorrow is going to be fresh green and it was getting dark, so I didn’t feel comfortable taking it,” said Donald, who is playing with Padraig Harrington. The Europeans are 1 down to Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton.

The American rookies certainly felt comfortable about their games, even though they were the most debated team sent out by captain Corey Pavin. Overton rolled in a mammoth birdie putt from off the back of the green at No. 1, the long-hitting Watson made birdie at the second, and the Americans were still up at the end of the day.

Jittery as he headed out for his first Ryder Cup, Overton calmed himself with his big putt.

“It was probably the most unbelievable shot of my life,” he said. “To start the day like that was awesome.”

TIGER TALES: Playing in an unfamiliar position, Tiger Woods had a nice, steady day at the course. A couple of birdies left him in a match that was all-square through 10 holes.

Woods was sent out in the third match with Steve Stricker, a change from past Ryder Cups, where he was used in the leadoff or anchor roles. The move shouldn’t have been surprising, given Woods’ rough year on and off the course.

“It’s basically an eight-hole boat race,” Woods said. “Basically, that’s what it boils down to. We have to go out there and start off on the par 5 (No. 11) and make some birdies.”

Woods put the Americans ahead for the first time at No. 9 with a 40-yard pitch to about 2 feet for a birdie. Ian Poulter, who was partnered with Ross Fisher, made a birdie putt at the 10th to even up the match before play was called because of darkness.

DIVOTS: With the schedule change, Tiger Woods will not be benched. There were questions going into the Ryder Cup about whether captain Corey Pavin would sit the world’s top-ranked player for at least one session. … When play resumed, Steve Stricker hooked his approach on the fourth hole into muck so thick that the ball plugged and he could barely see it. As he looked at the predicament, a fan said, “Welcome to Wales.”

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Ahead by four, No. 1 ranking within Koepka's grasp

By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 5:48 am

Following a closing birdie and a third-round 67 at Nine Bridges, Brooks Koepka will take a four-shot lead over Ian Poulter into final round of the CJ Cup. Here's how Koepka separated himself from the field in South Korea.

Leaderboard: Koepka (-13), Poulter (-9), Rafa Cabrera Bello (-8), Cameron Smith (-8), Jaime Lovemark (-8), Pat Perez (-8), Gary Woodland (-8), Chez Reavie (-8)

What it means: Koepka is in search of his fifth PGA Tour victory and – believe it or not – only his second non-major. The three-time major champion’s only other win came all the way back in February 2015, at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. One behind overnight leader Scott Piercy to start the day, Koepka opened with eight straight pars and birdied Nos. 9 and 10 to take the outright lead at 10 under par. He added three more circles at 14, 17 and 18 to close out a bogey-free round of 5 under and go ahead by ahead by four. He'll be chased on Sunday by Poulter, who ended a five-year worldwide winless drought back in April and is coming off a 2-2 performance at the Ryder Cup, with a Sunday singles victory over current world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Speaking of which, unless Justin Thomas finds a way to win this tournament from 12 back, Koepka will for the first time ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking with a win or a solo second-place finish.

Round of the day: Four players – Rafa Cabrera Bello, Ted Potter Jr., Jason Day and Brendan Steele – shot 7-under 65 Saturday. Day played his first four holes in 2 over and his final 14 in 9 under. Cabrera Bello will round out the final tee time with Koepka and Poulter.

Best of the rest: Paul Casey, Hideki Matsuyama and Emiliano Grillo signed for 66. Casey went seven straight holes without a par, Matusyama was bogey-free, and Grillo did all his damage on the back nine after nine consecutive pars on the front.

Biggest disappointment: The only previous winner of this event, world No. 4 Justin Thomas entered the week with a chance to take back the No. 1 ranking with a successful title defense. But rounds of 73-70-72 have him 1 under for the week. Thomas played his back nine in 1 over Saturday with six pars, a birdie, a quadruple bogey and a closing eagle.

Shot of the day: Koepka flying his tee shot 330 yards to the front edge of the green at the par-4 14th and going on to two-putt for birdie.

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Watch: Koepka flies ball 330 yards, drives green

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 20, 2018, 4:44 am

It's a good thing par doesn't actually matter in tournament play, because if it did, the PGA Tour would have to consider 350-yard par-3s, and even those might not stop Brooks Koeopka.

Already ahead by two during Saturday's third round at the CJ Cup in South Korea, Koepka drove the green at the par-4 14th, carrying his ball 330 yards to the front edge.

The back-to-back U.S. Open champ would go on to two-putt for birdie and push his lead to three.

... The USGA is going to try that 350-yard par-3 idea, isn't it?

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Bend it like Garcia? Sergio scores in player-caddie soccer match

By Grill Room TeamOctober 20, 2018, 2:44 am

Sergio Garcia has always been able to work his golf ball from left to right, but he's also - apparently - proficient at playing a draw with a soccer ball.

This year's Adalucia Valderrama Masters is suffering through some weather issues. But the highlight of the week - and, according to the Felipe Aguilar, "the year" - was always going to be the event's player-caddie soccer match, which you can see here:

The standout highlight? This bending, left-footed(!) strike from defending champion Sergio Garcia:

"Just a little bit of fun with the caddies and some of the players," Garcia nonchalantly says in the video. "Yeah, just a little bit of running and it was good fun."

Garcia, a diehard Real Madrid fan who kicked off El Clasico in his green jacket back in 2016, has previously appeared in professional matches for CF Borriol, a Tercera Division club in Spain. 

"It's good fun and whenever I'm around I get to practice with them a little bit and play a little bit here and there. This season, I've played probably five games, so not a lot, but I enjoy it," Garcia told CNN back in 2013.

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Dunlap, in 'excruciating pain,' shares early Dominion lead

By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 10:29 pm

RICHMOND, Va. – Scott Dunlap and Fran Quinn shot 5-under 67 on Friday to share the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' playoff-opening Dominion Energy Charity Classic.

Fighting a left wrist injury that will require surgery, Dunlap matched Quinn with a closing birdie on the par-5 18th on The Country Club of Virginia's James River Course.

''Maybe excruciating pain is the key to playing good golf because I'm not getting nervous on a shot, you're just trying to get through it,'' Dunlap said. ''The worst parts are gripping it and getting the club started ... that's when that bone hits that bone.''

The top 72 players qualified for the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs opener. The top 54 on Sunday will get spots next week in the Invesco QQQ Championship in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and the top 36 after that will advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.

Full-field scores from the Dominion Energy Charity Classic

The 55-year-old Dunlap entered the week 29th in the standings. Playing through the wrist injury, he's coming off ties for ninth and seventh in his last two starts.

''I think I finally taped it the right way,'' Dunlap said. ''Or maybe it's the pain meds kicking in. I don't know, one of the two.''

Quinn is 64th in the standings.

''I finished up strong last year, too, kind of secured my privileges for the following year making eagle on 18,'' Quinn said. ''I played solid all day. I had a lot of opportunities. A couple hiccups.''

Jay Haas was a stroke back with Kent Jones, Stephen Ames, Woody Austin and Tim Petrovic. The 64-year-old Haas won the last of his 18 senior titles in 2016.

Vijay Singh and Miguel Angel Jimenez, second in the standings, were at 69 with Joey Sindelar, Tom Gillis, Billy MayfairLee Janzen, Glen Day and Gene Sauers.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer opened with a 70. The 61-year-old German star won the SAS Championship last week in North Carolina to take the points lead. He has two victories this year and 38 overall on the 50-and-over tour.

Defending Charles Schwab Cup champion Kevin Sutherland had a 71. He's 14th in the standings. No. 3 Jerry Kelly shot 72. No. 4 Scott McCarron, the 2016 tournament winner, had a 74.