Bubba could be this Ryder Cups Boo

By Associated PressSeptember 29, 2010, 10:09 pm

Ryder Cup

NEWPORT, Wales – Bubba Watson could be this year’s Boo Weekley for the U.S. Ryder Cup team, a guy who keeps his teammates laughing, scratching their heads or maybe just wishing he’d shut his mouth every now and then.

Rest assured, the big-hitting Watson won’t be laying up – on or off the course – during his week in Wales.

He put it all out there Wednesday during an entertaining and emotional session with the media, whether it was shrugging off the history of the event (“it’s no big deal to me”), dismissing the need for serious discussions (“all I’m asking is what team outfit we are wearing that day”), or choking back tears as he spoke of his cancer-stricken father serving in the U.S. military during Vietnam (“this is a chance to be like my dad”).

If some are offended that a golf match played at a ritzy resort is mentioned in the same breath with a war that claimed some 60,000 U.S. soldiers, well, so be it.

Bubba isn’t backing down for nobody.

Just ask the reporter who tried to get him to reveal whether he’s had an intimate talk with teammate Tiger Woods.

“What are we going to sit down and talk about: ‘What are we eating at night?”’ Watson asked in an exasperated tone. “I mean, it’s just golf.”

Just golf? The Ryder Cup?

Yep, in the world according to Bubba.

“It’s a big honor and it’s just golf,” Watson repeated, before turning back to the subject of what he should be discussing with Woods. “Tiger’s game is different than mine. Jim Furyk’s is different than mine. Phil Mickelson’s, well, his is pretty close to mine. We both miss fairways a lot of time. Maybe I should talk to Phil.”

Watson claimed his first PGA Tour win this year at Hartford, but his big breakthrough nearly came at the PGA Championship. He started the final round six strokes off the lead, but overpowered Whistling Straits with his booming drives, winding up in a three-hole playoff with Martin Kaymer (the one that didn’t include Dustin Johnson because of the disputed penalty for grounding his club in a bunker).

With his foot firmly on the accelerator, Watson refused to play it safe at the final playoff hole, even after he drove into the thick rough. From 210 yards and with a tough lie, he went for the green – and wound up in the water.

Still, the runner-up finish sent Watson to the Ryder Cup for the first time, and he showed absolutely no remorse about attempting such a bold shot on such a big stage.

He still doesn’t.

“Some days, I’m going to beat you at golf,” Watson said. “Some days, you’re going to beat me at golf. That’s how it is. The only history I look at is, I’ve got one win and a lot of people have a lot more wins.”

That’s how he’s approaching the Ryder Cup.

“I just see it as a competition and hopefully by the end of the week, we have won more matches than the other team,” Watson said. “I don’t look at the history of it. No big deal to me.”

Obviously, he’s dealing with a much tougher issue off the course, which might be why he seems so nonchalant about being a Ryder Cup rookie, trying to help the U.S. keep the trophy it won two years ago at Valhalla.

“My dad is dying of cancer,” Watson said. “The doctor says he’s got three months to live. I’m playing this for him and representing the United States.”

His father served in the military during Vietnam, so it was especially moving when U.S. captain Corey Pavin brought in Maj. Dan Rooney, a decorated F-16 fighter pilot and a PGA of America golf professional, to speak to the team Tuesday night.

Watson conceded to choking up when listening to Rooney, and the tears nearly flowed again as he thought of his ailing father.

“More than likely I am never going to be in the military, so this is the chance to be like my dad,” Watson said, referring more to the idea of representing his country, even if it didn’t necessarily come across that way.

Before anyone had a chance to be offended, Watson had already moved on. It’s that sort of free-wheeling attitude – and willingness to say just about anything that comes into his head – that reminds teammates of Weekley, who played the valuable role of jester at Vahalla, keeping everyone loose with his folksy look at life.

“Bubba is not quite as funny as Boo,” Steve Stricker said. “What is the word, ‘compatibate,’ that Boo came up with at Valhalla? We have not got to that point with Bubba. But he’s very light. He’s very vocal at times.”

He does know how to get a laugh.

When told it’s been 17 years since U.S. last won a Ryder Cup on European soil, Watson quickly chimed in with a poke at the youngest member of the team, 21-year-old Rickie Fowler.

“Is Rickie that old?” Watson quipped.

Another reporter remarked, “You run a pretty high rev falling out of bed in the morning, don’t you?”

Watson didn’t miss a beat.

“I’ve never fallen out of bed,” he said.

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Alabama faces 'buzzsaw' Arizona for NCAA title

By Ryan LavnerMay 23, 2018, 2:00 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – There was no way Laura Ianello could sleep Monday night, not after that dramatic ending at the NCAA Women’s Championship. So at 12:15 a.m., the Arizona coach held court in the laundry room at the Holiday Inn, washing uniforms and munching on mozzarella sticks and fried chicken strips from Sonic, her heart still racing.

Ianello got only three hours of sleep, and who could blame her?

The Wildcats had plummeted down the team standings during the final round of stroke-play qualifying, and were 19 over par for the day, when junior transfer Bianca Pagdanganan arrived on the 17th hole.

“Play the best two holes of your life,” Ianello told her, and so Pagdanganan did, making a solid par on 17 and then ripping a 6-iron from 185 yards out of a divot to 30 feet. There was a massive leaderboard positioned to the right of the par-5 18th green, but Pagdanganan never peeked. The only way for Arizona to force a play-five, count-four playoff with Baylor and reach match play was to sink the putt, and when it dropped, the Wildcats lost their minds, shrieking and jumping over the ropes and hugging anyone in sight.

Watching the action atop the hill, Alabama coach Mic Potter shook his head.

“I was really glad we didn’t win the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed,” he said, “because they’re a buzzsaw with a lot of momentum.”

Given new life, Arizona dispatched Baylor by three strokes in the playoff, then turned its attention to top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals on Tuesday morning.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage

Facing two first-team All-Americans, the Wildcats beat them, too, continuing the curse of the medalist. In the afternoon, worried that the adrenaline would wear off, Ianello watched her squad make quick work of Stanford, 4-1.

“They’ve got a lot of great momentum, a lot of great team energy,” Stanford coach Anne Walker said. “They thought they were going home, and now they’ve got a chip on their shoulder. They’re playing with an edge.”

After a marathon doubleheader Tuesday at Karsten Creek, Arizona now has a date with Alabama in the final match of this NCAA Championship.

And the Wildcats better rest up.

Alabama looks unstoppable.

“They’re rolling off a lot of momentum right now,” Ianello said. “We know Alabama is a good team. But they’re super excited and pumped. It’s not the high of making it [Monday]; now they’ve got a chance to win. They know they have to bring it.”

Even fully rested, Arizona will be a significant underdog against top-ranked Alabama.

After failing to reach match play each of the past two years, despite being the top overall seed, the Tide wouldn’t be stopped from steamrolling their competition this time.

They roughed up Kent State, 4-1, in the quarterfinals, then frontloaded their lineup with three first-team All-Americans – Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight – in their semifinal tilt against Southern Cal.

Potter said that he was just trying to play the matchups, but the move sent a clear signal.

“It gets pretty tedious when you never miss fairways and hole a lot of putts and your opponent knows that you’re not going to spray it,” Potter said. “That’s tough to match up against.”

They breezed to the first three points, draining any drama out of the semifinals. Of the 99 holes that Bama’s Big 3 played Tuesday, they trailed after only two.

“We’re always consistent,” Stephenson said, “and that’s exactly what you need in match play. Someone has to go really low to beat us.”

That Arizona even has that chance to dethrone the Tide seemed inconceivable a few months ago.

The Wildcats had a miserable fall and were ranked 39th at the halfway point of the season. On Christmas Day, one of the team’s best players, Krystal Quihuis, sent a text to Ianello that she was turning pro. Once she relayed the news, the team felt abandoned, but it also had a newfound motivation.

“They wanted to prove that they’re a great team, even without her,” Ianello said.

It also was a case of addition by subtraction: Out went the individual-minded Quihuis and in came Yu-Sang Ho, an incoming freshman whom Ianello described as a “bright, shining light.”

Because incorporating a top-tier junior at the midway point can be intimidating, Ianello organized a lively team retreat at the Hilton El Conquistador in Tucson, where they made vision boards and played games blindfolded.

They laughed that weekend and all throughout the spring – or at least until Pagnanganan made that last-ditch eagle putt Monday. Then tears streamed down Ianello’s face.

Folding uniforms after midnight, she regaled Alabama assistant coach Susan Rosenstiel with stories from their emotional day on the cut line, not even considering that they might face each other two days later for a national title. She was too delirious to ponder that.

“I feel like a new mother with a newborn baby,” Ianello said. “But we’re going off of adrenaline. This team has all the momentum they need to get it done.”

Yes, somehow, the last team into the match-play field might soon be the last team standing.

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Pairings, tee times set for championship match

By Jay CoffinMay 23, 2018, 1:02 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – Alabama coach Mic Potter has three first-team All-Americans on this team. It’s little surprise that all three are going out first in the Crimson Tide’s championship match against Arizona Wednesday at Karsten Creek.

Potter tinkered with his lineup in both the quarterfinal victory over Kent State and the semifinal win over USC. But with the NCAA title on the line, this one was a no brainer.

“We don’t want to sacrifice anything,” Potter said. “We just want to give ourselves a chance to win every match.”

Arizona kept its lineup the same all day Tuesday in defeating Pac-12 foes UCLA and Stanford in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. That meant junior Bianca Pagdanganan, the Wildcats grittiest player this week, was in the last match of the day. She won twice.

Now, with all the marbles riding on the championship match, Arizona coach Laura Ianello moved Pagdanganan up to the third spot to assure that her match is key to the final outcome.

Junior Haley Moore, Arizona’s best player all year, is in the fifth spot and will face Alabama senior Lakareber Abe.

“Win or lose tomorrow, this has been a helluva ride,” Ianello said.

Alabama (2) vs. Arizona (8)

3:25PM ET: Lauren Stephenson (AL) vs. Yu-Sang Hou (AZ)

3:35PM ET: Kristen Gillman (AL) vs. Gigi Stoll (AZ)

3:45PM ET: Cheyenne Knight (AL) vs. Bianca Pagdanganan (AZ)

3:55PM ET: Angelica Moresco (AL) vs. Sandra Nordaas (AZ)

4:05PM ET: Lakareber Abe (AL) vs. Haley Moore (AZ)

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Women's NCAA finals: Arizona vs. Alabama

By Jay CoffinMay 22, 2018, 11:49 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – It’s the SEC vs. the Pac 12 for the women’s NCAA Championship; Alabama vs. Arizona, to be more specific.

Both the Crimson Tide and Wildcats cruised in their respective semifinal matches Tuesday at Karsten Creek. Alabama easily beat USC, 3-1-1; Arizona defeated match-play juggernaut Stanford, 4-1.

Alabama’s top three players, Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight were unstoppable forces in both matches on the marathon day. Stacked in the top three positions in the semifinals all three won their matches on the 17th hole, making the last two matches inconsequential.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage

Arizona, the eighth seed, won as decisively as second-seeded Alabama, but needed a miracle to be in this position in the first place.

Junior Bianca Pagdanganan drained a 30-footer for eagle on the last hole of stroke play on Monday to get the Wildcats into a playoff against Baylor, which they won on the second hole. Then on Tuesday, presumably running on fumes, they downed top-seeded UCLA in the morning, then crushed Pac-12 foe Stanford in the afternoon.

Pagdanganan, Gigi Stoll and Hayley Moore each won both matches for Arizona on the hot, draining day.

“I don’t want to let them down so I do my best to rise to the occasion,” Pagdanganan said.

Said Arizona coach Laura Ianello: “How many players, when you tell them under pressure that you need them, can really handle it,” Ianello said about Pagdanganan. “This kid can.”

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NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 11:30 pm

The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

After three days of stroke play, eight teams advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals were contested Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live finals action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.


TV Times (all times ET):

4-8PM: Match-play finals (Click here to watch live)