Cink and Verplank Tabbed as Captains Picks

By Associated PressAugust 21, 2006, 4:00 pm
36th Ryder Cup MatchesMEDINAH, Ill -- Tom Lehman filled out the U.S. Ryder Cup team Monday by taking Stewart Cink and Scott Verplank as his captain's picks, hoping experience and accuracy will help his squad end a dozen years of European dominance.
Cink was a captain's pick two years ago, and the 33-year-old has been one of the few Americans to play well over the last two months in moving up to No. 12 in the standings.
Verplank was a surprise.
He was a top candidate to be a pick going into the PGA Championship because of his accuracy off the tee and his putting, along with his 2-1 record at The Belfry in 2002 when Verplank became the first Ryder Cup rookie to make the team as a pick.
But Verplank, 42, missed the cut at Medinah after taking two double bogeys over the final three holes. He finished 20th in the Ryder Cup standings and was picked over players like Lucas Glover (No. 14), Davis Love III (No. 15) and Tim Herron (No. 17).
Lehman said he had a short list of six players -- the two picks, Glover, Love, Steve Stricker and vice captain Corey Pavin. He didn't make his decision until Monday morning, and said the phone call to Glover was the toughest.
'Our team is unbelievably motivated to win,' Lehman said. 'I feel very confident with this team.'
It will be a largely unknown U.S. team that goes to The K Club in Ireland on Sept. 22-24 to try to beat Europe for the first time since 1999. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson easily qualified, and the top six are loaded with players familiar to these matches -- Jim Furyk, Chad Campbell, David Toms and Chris DiMarco.
But the bottom four are not exactly household names.
Vaughn Taylor has never played match play in his life. Also on the team is J.J. Henry and Brett Wetterich, who won PGA Tour events for the first time in their career over the last four months, along with Zach Johnson.
Missing from the U.S. team for the first time since 1993 is Davis Love III.
Love has played on every team -- Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup -- since 1993, the longest streak of any American. He was fourth in the standings at the start of the season, but has not finished in the top 10 since his runner-up finish to Geoff Ogilvy in the Accenture Match Play Championship at La Costa.
'Davis hasn't played well, plain and simple,' Lehman said. 'He's been injured. He's still slightly injured. With all the experience he has and all he has accomplished, I still want to have guys playing well.'
After two years of qualifying and two captain's picks, the U.S. team isn't much different from last time.
The 2004 team had five rookies and five players who had won on the PGA Tour that year. This American squad has four rookies, but seven players who have won in 2006.
The new points system was designed to emphasize playing well in the year of the matches, with a 75-point bonus for winning and quadruple points in the major championships.
But that only raised questions about Lehman's picks.
Cink hasn't won on the PGA Tour since the NEC Invitational two years ago, right after Hal Sutton picked him for the '04 team. He was a safe pick, and one of the few Americans who have shown any form the last two months with three top 5s. Cink tied for 24th at the PGA Championship, closing with a 69 while playing with Pavin.
Verplank last won at the 2001 Canadian Open, two weeks after Curtis Strange made him a captain's pick.
In the four majors this year, the captain's picks have only one top 10 between them -- Cink was 10th at the Masters.
Lehman relied heavily on a separate, unofficial list that awarded points to U.S. players in PGA Tour events, concerned that so many international players on tour made it difficult for Americans to finish in the top 10.
Cink was sixth on those standings, while Verplank was ninth.
Cink will be playing in his third Ryder Cup team. He has a 2-4-1 record and lost both his singles matches. Verplank was strong in 2002 at The Belfry, beating Lee Westwood in singles. He also is a former U.S. Amateur champion.
Verplank said he slept with his cell phone under the pillow, hopeful of a call from Lehman.
'I'm so pumped,' he said. 'To me, it's the premier event in the world. I haven't won a major -- maybe one day I'll get that done if Tiger takes a couple of years off or something. I don't know how you can have a better event than the Ryder Cup. I told Tom I was put on this earth to play in things like this.'
Europe's will be decided in two weeks, after the Bridgestone Invitational this week and the BMW International Open in Germany.
European captain Ian Woosnam was not surprised by the U.S. picks.
'Clearly, Tom's decision to go with experience provides the United States with balance, considering that there are four rookies in their team,' Woosnam said. 'Both have played Ryder Cup, World Cup and Presidents Cup golf for their country, and therefore will bring a lot of international experience to Ireland.'
Europe has captured the cup seven of the last 10 times. It won 18 1/2 -9 1/2 last time, its largest margin of victory ever.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - 36th Ryder Cup Matches
  • U.S. Ryder Cup Points List
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    How to watch The Open on TV and online

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:40 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 (

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    The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:30 am

    Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about The Open:

    What's all this "The Open" stuff? I thought it was the British Open.

    What you call it has historically depended on where you were. If you were in the U.S., you called it the British Open, just as Europeans refer to the PGA Championship as the U.S. PGA. Outside the U.S. it generally has been referred to as The Open Championship. The preferred name of the organizers is The Open.

    How old is it?

    It's the oldest golf championship, dating back to 1860.

    Where is it played?

    There is a rotation – or "rota" – of courses used. Currently there are 10: Royal Birkdale, Royal St. George's, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham and St. Annes, all in England; Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland and St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Turnberry and Muirfield, all in Scotland. Muirfield was removed from the rota in 2016 when members voted against allowing female members, but when the vote was reversed in 2017 it was allowed back in.

    Where will it be played this year?

    At Carnoustie, which is located on the south-eastern shore of Scotland.

    Who has won The Open on that course?

    Going back to the first time Carnoustie hosted, in 1931, winners there have been Tommy Armour, Henry Cotton (1937), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1968), Tom Watson (1975), Paul Lawrie (1999), Padraig Harrington (2007).

    Wasn't that the year Hogan nearly won the Slam?

    Yep. He had won the Masters and U.S. Open that season, then traveled to Carnoustie and won that as well. It was the only time he ever played The Open. He was unable to play the PGA Championship that season because the dates conflicted with those of The Open.

    Jean Van de Velde's name should be on that list, right?

    This is true. He had a three-shot lead on the final hole in 1999 and made triple bogey. He lost in a playoff to Lawrie, which also included Justin Leonard.

    Who has won this event the most?

    Harry Vardon, who was from the Channel Island of Jersey, won a record six times between 1896 and 1914. Australian Peter Thomson, American Watson, Scot James Braid and Englishman J.H. Taylor each won five times.

    What about the Morrises?

    Tom Sr. won four times between 1861 and 1867. His son, Tom Jr., also won four times, between 1868 and 1872.

    Have players from any particular country dominated?

    In the early days, Scots won the first 29 Opens – not a shocker since they were all played at one of three Scottish courses, Prestwick, St. Andrews and Musselburgh. In the current era, going back to 1999 (we'll explain why that year in a minute), the scoreboard is United States, nine wins; South Africa, three wins; Ireland, two wins; Northern Ireland, two wins; and Sweden, one win. The only Scot to win in that period was Lawrie, who took advantage of one of the biggest collapses in golf history.

    Who is this year's defending champion?

    That would be American Jordan Spieth, who survived an adventerous final round to defeat Matt Kuchar by three strokes and earn the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

    What is the trophy called?

    The claret jug. It's official name is the Golf Champion Trophy, but you rarely hear that used. The claret jug replaced the original Challenge Belt in 1872. The winner of the claret jug gets to keep it for a year, then must return it (each winner gets a replica to keep).

    Which Opens have been the most memorable?

    Well, there was Palmer in 1961and '62; Van de Velde's collapse in 1999; Hogan's win in 1953; Tiger Woods' eight-shot domination of the 2000 Open at St. Andrews; Watson almost winning at age 59 in 2009; Doug Sanders missing what would have been a winning 3-foot putt at St. Andrews in 1970; Tony Jacklin becoming the first Briton to win the championship in 18 years; and, of course, the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry in 1977, in which Watson and Jack Nicklaus dueled head-to-head over the final 36 holes, Watson winning by shooting 65-65 to Nicklaus' 65-66.

    When I watch this tournament on TV, I hear lots of unfamiliar terms, like "gorse" and "whin" and "burn." What do these terms mean?

    Gorse is a prickly shrub, which sometimes is referred to as whin. Heather is also a shrub. What the scots call a burn, would also be considered a creek or stream.

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    Four players vying for DJ's No. 1 ranking at Open

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 8:41 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Four players have an opportunity to overtake Dustin Johnson for world No. 1 this week.

    According to Golf Channel world-rankings guru Alan Robinson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm each can grab the top spot in the world ranking.

    Thomas’ path is the easiest. He would return to No. 1 with either a win and Johnson finishing worse than solo third, or even a solo runner-up finish as long as Johnson finishes worse than 49th.

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Twenty years after his auspicious performance in The Open, Rose can get to No. 1 for the first time with a victory and Johnson finishing worse than a two-way tie for third.

    Kopeka can rise to No. 1 if he wins consecutive majors, assuming that his good friend posts worse than a three-way tie for third.

    And Rahm can claim the top spot with a win this week, a Johnson missed cut and a Thomas finish of worse than solo second.   

    Johnson’s 15-month reign as world No. 1 ended after The Players. He wasn’t behind Thomas for long, however: After a tie for eighth at the Memorial, Johnson blew away the field in Memphis and then finished third at the U.S. Open to solidify his position at the top.