Despite not playing Garcias presence felt

By Associated PressOctober 3, 2010, 1:40 am

Ryder Cup

NEWPORT, Wales – Sergio Garcia has been running all over Celtic Manor – cheering the Europeans, offering tips to the rookies, relaying messages to his boss, keeping up with all the matches.

Make no mistake, El Nino would rather be playing.

But this is the next best thing.

“It’s just so special,” Garcia said. “All of the cheers and all of the singing and everything, you just don’t get it anywhere.”

The 30-year-old Spaniard is serving as an assistant captain for the European team, a role that usually goes to over-the-hill golfers in their 40s and 50s.

Garcia has been mired in a slump and knew he had no chance of being named to his sixth straight Ryder Cup team, even with a career record of 14-3-3. So he asked captain Colin Montgomerie if he could help as a vice captain.

Monty already had named Thomas Bjorn, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley as his assistants, but he decided to bring Garcia aboard, too.

“It’s fantastic that a 30-year-old can do that,” Montgomerie said. “He’s one of the youngest vice captains ever, and one of the best current players ever to be a vice captain. And it’s a real positive for the European team to have him in the team room, the passion that he brings to it.”

He compared Garcia’s love of the Ryder Cup to that of two other Spaniards: Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal.

“I try to bring as much as I can,” Garcia said. “Unfortunately, I can’t bring any birdies, so I try to bring a little experience, a little joy, and just trying to help everybody as much as I can and make them feel as comfortable as possible.”

Maybe serving as a captain will help him get his career on the right track. Garcia hasn’t won a tournament in nearly two years, and he’s slipped to No. 59 in the world rankings.

“This is no doubt going to help me,” he said. “But that’s not the main goal. The main goal here this week is for the team to play well, for us to regain the cup.”

Olazabal also joined Montgomerie’s staff this weekend, returning to a role he said he’d never take again. He served the role two years ago under Nick Faldo, but didn’t want to be a deputy again because he said it lacked responsibility. Olazabal lost out to Montgomerie for the captaincy in January.

The 44-year-old Spaniard, who played in seven Ryder Cups, was in Wales for business when asked by Montgomerie to help in the second and third sessions.

Montgomerie praised all his assistants for making his job easier, even though they’ve been talking so much the captain needed three batteries to keep his radio going Saturday.

“The strength I have in those five guys on the golf course right now is second to none, and they have been superb on this radio, I tell you what,” Monty said. “I get reports on every shot, on every putt, on every incident, on every occasion, and they have been brilliant, the five of them on the course to keep me updated on everything.”


KIND OF BLUE: Monty wanted more blue on those Ryder Cup video screens.

The boards stationed around Celtic Manor had been showing various matches around the course, with not as much emphasis on the overall scores. European captain Colin Montgomerie asked officials to put up the scores from all the matches, hoping it would spur the home fans if they saw plenty of blue – the color used when a European team is ahead.

“The scoreboards are different this particular year, where every match comes up separately on the right-hand side of the scoreboard, as opposed to having a scoreboard that is the so-called old-fashioned scoreboard, where the plastic numbers are put up.”

Monty’s tactic worked perfectly in the third session Saturday. The Europeans were leading in all six matches when play was halted because of darkness.

“What I want to have out there is those six blue numbers on that left-hand side of that board shining very bright tomorrow morning, and to continue that way,” he said.


FOWLER’S FOLLY: Rickie Fowler made a rookie mistake, and it cost the U.S. team a hole.

Playing in his first Ryder Cup match, the 21-year-old Fowler inadvertently switched balls on the fourth hole while playing alternate shot with Jim Furyk. The mistake was noticed after he hit his shot, and the U.S. had to forfeit the hole.

Fowler was playing off of Furyk’s tee shot, which went way left into the muck. He got a drop onto the cart path but instead of picking up Furyk’s ball and placing it on the path, he pulled one out of his pocket.

“It was a mental error on all our parts,” Furyk said. “That’s just a mental error on mine and the caddie’s part and actually even the official – he was standing right there. It was a mental error everywhere.”

Fowler made up for it, though, making a 4-footer for birdie on the final hole to salvage a tie and a half-point for the U.S. in the match against Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer.

“For a young guy and being as young as he is, I’m very overly impressed with his maturity,” Furyk said. “I want over to kind of talk to him and try to calm him down. I think he might have been calming me down. He’s a cool customer.”


BROTHERS IN ARMS: Francesco and Edoardo Molinari had a built-in edge at the Ryder Cup, but being brothers didn’t help them in their debut.

The Molinaris, who won Italy’s first world team title last year, were beaten 2 up in their first Cup match by Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan. The Europeans pulled even at the 16th hole and had the crowd roaring, but the Americans won the final two holes of alternate shot.

“We didn’t get off to a good start,” Francesco said. “They made a great birdie at 17. But it’s very disappointing when you’re so close and you go away with not even a half-point.”

The Molinaris played the final nine holes at 1 under, but it wasn’t enough.

“Unfortunately we didn’t get the half-point,” Edoardo said. “We deserved it with the way we played on the back nine.”

The Italians were ahead in their second match against Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar when it was suspended because of darkness. Francesco gave them a big boost with a chip-in that improbably halved their final hole before play was called.

“It’s nice to get a little break, even if momentum is definitely on our side,” Francesco said. “We were playing well and hopefully we play even better tomorrow.”


DIVOTS: How great was Europe’s domination of the third session? Before play was suspended because of darkness, the home team had won 17 holes, the U.S. only four. The other 18 holes were halved. … Phil Mickelson lost his first two matches playing with Dustin Johnson, dropping Lefty’s Ryder Cup mark to 10-16-6. He switched to Fowler for the third session but was off to another rough start vs. Ian Poulter and Martin Kaymer.

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Garcia leads as Valderrama Masters extends to Monday

By Will GrayOctober 21, 2021, 3:52 pm

Weather continues to be the enemy at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters, where Sergio Garcia remains in front as the tournament heads for a Monday finish.

European Tour officials had already ceded the fact that 72 holes would not be completed this week in Spain, but players were not even able to finish 54 holes before another set of thunderstorms rolled in Sunday afternoon to once again halt play. Garcia remains in front at 10 under, having played seven holes of the third round in even par, while Lee Westwood is alone in second at 7 under.

Officials had previously stated an intention to play at least 54 holes, even if that meant extending the tournament to Monday, given that this is the final chance for many players to earn Race to Dubai points in an effort to secure European Tour cards for 2019. Next week's WGC-HSBC Champions will be the final event of the regular season, followed by a three-event final series.


Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters


Garcia, who won the tournament last year, started the third round with a four-shot lead over Ashley Chesters. He balanced one birdie with one bogey and remains in position for his first worldwide victory since the Asian Tour's Singapore Open in January.

Westwood, who has his son Sam on the bag this week, made the biggest charge up the leaderboard with four birdies over his first eight holes. He'll have 10 holes to go when play resumes at 9:10 a.m. local time Monday as he looks to win for the first time since the 2015 Indonesian Masters.

Shane Lowry and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano are tied for third at 6 under, four shots behind Garcia with 10 holes to play, while Chesters made two double bogeys over his first four holes to drop into a tie for sixth.

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In Buick win, Kang overcame demons of mind and spirit

By Randall MellOctober 21, 2018, 3:33 pm

Danielle Kang beat three of the most formidable foes in golf Sunday to win the Buick LPGA Shanghai.

Anxiety.

Frustration.

Anger.

Kang overcame these demons of mind and spirit to win for the second time on tour, backing up her KPMG Women’s PGA Championship victory last year.

“I’ve been going through a lot mentally,” Kang said.

Kang birdied four of the last eight holes to close with a 3-under-par 69, coming from one shot back in the final round to win. At 13-under 275, she finished two shots ahead of a pack of seven players, including world No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn (71) and former world No. 1 Lydia Ko (66).

It hasn’t been easy for Kang trying to build on her major championship breakthrough last year. She started the fall Asian swing having missed three cuts in a row, five in her last six starts.

“I had to go through swing changes,” Kang said. “I had the swing yips, the putting yips, everything possibly you could think of.

“I was able to get over a lot of anxiety I was feeling when I was trying to hit a golf ball. This week I just kept trusting my golf game.”

Through her swoon, Kang said she was struggling to get the club back, that she was getting mentally stuck to where she could not begin her takeaway. She sought out Butch Harmon, back at her Las Vegas home, for help. She said tying for third at the KEB Hana Bank Championship last week felt like a victory, though she was still battling her demons there.

“Anxiety over tee balls,” Kang said. “People might wonder what I'm doing. I actually can't pull the trigger. It has nothing to do with the result. Having to get over that last week was incredible for me. Even on the first round, one shot took me, I think, four minutes.”

Kang, who turned 26 on Saturday, broke through to win last year under swing coach David Leadbetter, but she began working with Harmon while struggling in the second half this year.


Buick LPGA Shanghai: Articles, photos and videos


“I was actually very frustrated, even yesterday,” Kang said. “Things just weren't going my way. The biggest thing that Butch tells me is to stay out of my own way. I just couldn't do that. If I had a short putt, I just kept doubting myself. I couldn't putt freely.”

Kang said her anger and frustration built up again on the front nine Sunday. She made the turn at 1 over for the round. She said her caddie, Oliver Brett, helped her exorcise some anger. After the ninth hole, he pulled her aside.

This is how Kang remembered the conversation:

Brett: “Whatever you need to do to let your anger out and restart and refresh, you need to do that now.”

Kang: “Cameras are everywhere. I just want to hit the bag really hard.”

Brett: “Here's a wedge. Just smash it.”

Kang did.

“Honestly, I thank him for that,” Kang said. “He told me there are a lot birdies out there. I regrouped, and we pretended we started the round brand new on the 10th hole. Then things changed and momentum started going my way. I started hitting it closer and felt better over the putts.”

Kang said the victory was all about finding a better place mentally.

“I'm just so happy to be where I'm at today,” Kang said. “I'm just happy that I won.

“More so than anything, I'm finally at a place where I'm peaceful and happy with my game, with my life . . . . I hope I win more. I did the best I can. I'm going to keep working hard and keep giving myself chances and keep putting myself in contention. I'll win more. I'll play better.”

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Goal for new world No. 1 Koepka: Stay healthy

By Will GrayOctober 21, 2018, 1:38 pm

Last season Brooks Koepka bagged a pair of majors en route to the PGA Tour's Player of the Year award. He started the new wraparound season with an emphatic win at the CJ Cup to reach world No. 1 for the first time.

But amid the best form of his career, Koepka has a simple goal in mind as he gets ready to turn his attention to the new year.

"Stay healthy," Koepka told reporters. "That's been the big thing. I need to be healthy to be able to play all these events, play all the majors."

Koepka's breakthrough year comes despite the fact that he missed four months in the spring, including the Masters, while recovering from a wrist injury. He hit the ground running once he returned, with strong finishes at TPC Sawgrass and Colonial preceding wins at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship.

Now Koepka has added a third trophy after cruising to a four-shot win in South Korea on Sunday that allowed him to move past Dustin Johnson at world No. 1.

"I'm 1-for-1 this year, which is nice," Koepka joked about his undefeated record in the new wraparound season.

Koepka will be in the field next week in China for the WGC-HSBC Champions before putting the clubs on the shelf. With Justin Thomas paving the way by making the goal-setting process more public in recent years, Koepka explained that even after summiting the world rankings he plans to wait until 2019 to adjust his expectations for himself.

"I keep the same goals through the calendar year," Koepka said. "On Jan. 1 I go to the beach in the morning and go write down my goals and figure them out for the calendar year, but I just need to finish this year off. I've got next week and I would like to, coming out the first week as No. 1, I'd like to play well."

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Birdie binge for Woodland comes up short at CJ Cup

By Will GrayOctober 21, 2018, 12:52 pm

Gary Woodland mounted an impressive rally at the CJ Cup, but in the end even 11 birdies weren't enough to catch Brooks Koepka.

Woodland started the final round in South Korea five shots behind the new world No. 1, but he made the biggest move of the day amid chilly conditions on Jeju Island. With six birdies over his first nine holes, including four in a row on Nos. 6-9, he briefly caught Koepka at the top of the leaderboard.

But Woodland bogeyed No. 10, and even with five more birdies coming home to finish a 9-under 63 he still finished alone in second, four shots behind Koepka who closed with a bogey-free 29 to put the trophy out of reach.

"Yesterday I didn't get any putts to go in, and today I saw a lot of putts go in," Woodland told reporters. "Brooks with the lead, not much fazes him. So you knew you had to make a lot of birdies, and I made a lot today. But I was just too far behind."

It's the second straight strong performance from Woodland to start the new wraparound season, as he tied for fifth at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia after holding a share of the 54-hole lead. A closing 63 would have gone a long way last week, but he was still pleased to be able to make Koepka sweat a little on a day when even the bad holes resulted from good shots.

"I made two bogeys on the back and I said, 'Be right' on both shots," Woodland said. "I was just maybe a little too amped up, a little excited. I hit them both perfect. All in all, I would have liked for a couple more putts to go in yesterday and been a little closer going into today."