Couples Norman to Serve as Captains
It will be held in October 2009 at Harding Park, a public course in San Francisco.
The announcement Tuesday shifts the Presidents Cup into a modern era of captaincy. Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player were captains at the last three competitions, and previous captains included Arnold Palmer, Ken Venturi, Hale Irwin, Peter Thomson and David Graham.
Couples was a natural fit as the face of these matches, which were patterned after the Ryder Cup and began in 1994.
He clinched victory for the Americans in the inaugural year with a spectacular 9-iron from the bunker to 2 feet, and two years later, his 35-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole in the last match secured another win.
In his fourth and final Presidents Cup, he made a 20-foot birdie on the last hole to beat Vijay Singh.
The surprise was Norman, who has been battling with PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem for more than a decade over the World Golf Championships and more recently, the tours finances.
Normans proposed world tour in 1994 never took root, and Finchem introduced the WGCs a few years later.
I think whats happened in the past is in the past, Norman said. If you sit on a board of any company, you dont want to have a friendly board. You need to have some bit of contentious, open discussion because not everybody is going to think exactly the same way. Tim and I have an open discussion about certain situations with the game of golf, whether its personal, whether its business.
The issues are always going to be there. Those issues have got nothing to do with The Presidents Cup.
Norman said Finchem asked him to be International captain at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, and he consulted Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Adam Scott.
His biggest issue will be finding a way to win.
The United States leads the series, 5-1-1, with the only International victory coming in 1998 in Australia. The tie came in South Africa in 2003, the first year Nicklaus and Player were captains together.
TOUR officials then were looking at Couples and Norman as the next captains, but decided on Nicklaus and Player again in 2005 as a way to settle the tie. The Americans won the next year, then won again in 2007 at Royal Montreal.
Couples is one of the most popular players in golf and figures to be the quintessential players captain.
He has expressed interest in being the Ryder Cup captain, although any hope probably ended in December when he said, I can promise you, theres 12 guys who dont want to do 75 percent of the stuff there. If youre a great captain, you should tell everyone youre not going to do 75 percent of the stuff.
The Presidents Cup is far more relaxed, and Couples jokingly suggested he would pick Michael Jordan and Robin Williams as assistants, one to tell stories of greatness, the other to tell jokes.
The Presidents Cup is a treat to play in, and it will be doubly to captain this thing, Couples said. As close as I am to these guys, I feel like Ill have fun with all of them, whether theyre 50th in the rankings or first.
Norman has played two of the last three weeks on the PGA TOUR, but is too consumed with his business and his engagement to tennis star Chris Evert to play much tournament golf.
Couples said he planned to play a full schedule each of the next two years, and noted he would be eligible for the Champions Tour right after the Presidents Cup ends.
Not in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen, Couples said.
Many thought Norman would be captain in 2011, when the Presidents Cup goes to Australia. Norman said he would like to be considered for that, too.
But under the circumstances, I thought the priority for me right now was to get into the captains seat, do the best job I could possibly do for the next less than two years now, and basically pull the team through for 2009, he said.
Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off
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.
Third-round tee times for the 147th Open
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.
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
Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.
He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.
“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.
At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.
Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.
“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”
Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?
Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.
Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.
“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”
Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.
Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.
“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.
More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.
“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”