Europeans Make Strong Ryder Cup Showings

By Associated PressMay 11, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Ryder CupIRVING, Texas -- A birth certificate from Sweden isn't enough. Neither is putting the Union Jack on your golf bag. Want to play for Europe in the Ryder Cup? Come play in Europe.
 
Ryder Cup players must be a European tour member, a policy that already knocked Jesper Parnevik out of the mix. The Swede doesn't want to spend at least two months hopping from Scotland to Ireland to Holland to play his minimum of 11 tournaments, just so he can even be considered for a captain's pick.
 
'It's tough to alter your whole year just because of one week,' he said.
 
Luke Donald of England might be faced with the same decision.
 
The former NCAA champion at Northwestern has made the PGA Tour his home since turning pro. Already a winner on tour - something neither Colin Montgomerie nor Padraig Harrington has done - Donald believes he is being punished for choosing to play against better competition for more money.

'Europe might not get the best team, which is a shame,' Donald said.
 
Oh, as if that ever mattered.
 
Europe supposedly has had the lesser team for the last two decades, but it has won the Ryder Cup six out of the last nine times. The Americans have Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Davis Love III. Europe counters with Ignacio Garrido, David Gilford and Phillip Price. No contest.
 
The reason for this policy is to protect the European tour. Already, some of its best young players have become regulars in the United States - Donald, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose - and the tour would suffer immensely if its stars only made cameo appearances at home.
 
'What's working against them is the strength of our tour, the allure of our tour,' Brad Faxon said. 'If you want to be considered a top player, you have to come over here and play a lot.'
 
What makes this a good policy is that it protects the spirit of the Ryder Cup.
 
'At the same time,' Faxon continued, 'the Ryder Cup always surprises you, doesn't it?'
 
Faxon, who played in the '95 and '97 matches, was beaten in Sunday singles at Oak Hill in 1995 by Gilford, an unheralded Englishman who hasn't been heard from since. It was one of five pivotal matches decided on the 18th hole, four of them in Europe's favor, allowing it to win the cup.
 
Price, a Welshman who was No. 119 in the world ranking, battered Mickelson in a Sunday match that was crucial to Europe's victory at The Belfry. The winning point came from Paul McGinley, who took down Jim Furyk.
 
This is what makes the Ryder Cup so compelling.
 
Woods is best buddies with Darren Clarke and Thomas Bjorn, but for the most part, the Americans don't socialize with the Europeans because they don't see them very often.
 
If the Ryder Cup ever gets to the point where Europe's best players are spending the majority of their time on the PGA Tour, the Ryder Cup runs the risk of becoming the Presidents Cup: the United States vs. Orlando.
 
'It's much more of an 'Us vs. Them' than the Presidents Cup,' Jay Haas said. 'The Presidents Cup is almost exclusively guys that play the U.S. tour. The European team is a mix of guys who play over here, but there is always half of their team you don't get to see a lot.'
 
Philip Walton comes to mind. He's the Irishman with a beet-red face and squeaky voice who scratched out a bogey on the 18th hole at Oak Hill to beat Haas and give Europe the winning point.
 
'I don't want to say they have a chip on their shoulder,' Haas said. 'But they have something to prove.'
 
Europe already has made one compromise for the Sept. 17-19 matches at Oakland Hills outside of Detroit. The top five players will come from a world ranking points list. The next five will come from a European tour money list that began in September. Bernhard Langer gets two captain's picks, as long as they are European tour members.
 
Lee Westwood of England has been among the most vocal critics of the membership rule.
 
'The last time I checked, the Ryder Cup was between Europeans and Americans, not the European tour and the U.S. PGA Tour,' Westwood said.
 
But in some respects, it is the PGA Tour against the European tour. That's why there is so much pride, not to mention pressure, riding on every shot at the Ryder Cup.
 
It's not asking too much for European-born players to get in their minimum 11 tournaments. If they're good enough, they should be eligible for the four majors and three World Golf Championships, which count as European tour events. That leaves only four regular tournaments to fit into their schedule.
 
The problem for Parnevik and Donald is that neither qualified for the Masters or the Match Play Championship, and both still have to qualify for the U.S. Open and British Open.
 
'When I look at the big picture, top 50 in the world is the number,' Donald said. 'And if I'm not in the top 50, I'm not good enough to be playing in the Ryder Cup, anyway.'
 
Instead of Jesper Parnevik, Europe might have Raphael Jacquelin, Brian Davis or Carlos Rodiles. They will be on the team because they're playing good golf.
 
Besides, history has shown it doesn't matter whom Europe brings to Oakland Hills.
 
Related links:
  • Current Ryder Cup Standings
  • Full Coverage - 35th Ryder Cup

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    Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    TOUR Championship Final Round Becomes Most-Watched FedExCup Playoffs Telecast Ever and Most-Watched PGA TOUR Telecast of 2018

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsSeptember 25, 2018, 6:48 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla., (Sept. 25, 2018) – NBC Sports Group’s final round coverage of the TOUR Championship on Sunday (3:00-6:19 p.m. ET) garnered a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 7.8 million average viewers, as Tiger Woods claimed his 80th career victory, and his first in five years. The telecast’s TAD was up 212% vs. 2017 (2.5m). Television viewership posted 7.18 million average viewers, up 192% YOY (2.46m) and a 4.45 U.S. household rating, up 178% vs. 2017 (1.60). It also becomes the most-watched telecast in the history of the FedExCup Playoffs (2007-2018) and the most-watched PGA TOUR telecast in 2018 (excludes majors).

    Coverage peaked from 5:45-6 p.m. ET with 10.84 million average viewers as Woods finished his TOUR Championship-winning round and Justin Rose sealed his season-long victory as the FedExCup champion. The peak viewership number trails only the Masters (16.84m) and PGA Championship (12.39m) in 2018. The extended coverage window (1:30-6:19 p.m. ET) drew 5.89 million average viewers and a 3.69 U.S. household rating to become the most-watched and highest-rated TOUR Championship telecast on record (1991-2018).

    Sunday’s final round saw 18.4 million minutes streamed across NBC Sports Digital platforms (+561% year-over-year), and becomes NBC Sports’ most-streamed Sunday round (excluding majors) on record (2013-’18).

    Sunday’s lead-in coverage on Golf Channel (11:54 a.m.-1:25 p.m. ET) also garnered a Total Audience Delivery of 829K average viewers and posted a .56 U.S. household rating, becoming the most-watched and highest rated lead-in telecast of the TOUR Championship ever (2007-2018). Golf Channel was the No. 2 Sports Network during this window and No. 7 out of all Nielsen-rated cable networks during that span.

     This week, NBC Sports Group will offer weeklong coverage of the biennial Ryder Cup from Le Golf National outside of Paris. Live From the Ryder Cup continues all week on Golf Channel, surrounding nearly 30 hours of NBC Sports’ Emmy-nominated live event coverage, spanning from Friday morning’s opening tee shot just after 2 a.m. ET through the clinching point on Sunday. The United States will look to retain the Ryder Cup after defeating Europe in 2016 (17-11), and aim to win for the first time on European soil in 25 years, since 1993.

     

    -NBC Sports Group-

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    Tiger Woods names his Mount Rushmore of golf

    By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 25, 2018, 6:29 pm
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    Mickelson savoring his (likely) last road game

    By Rex HoggardSeptember 25, 2018, 3:49 pm

    SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Phil Mickelson lingered behind as his foursome made its way to the ninth tee during Tuesday’s practice round.

    He needed the extra practice, no doubt. He’s one of just six players on the U.S. Ryder Cup team with even a modicum of knowledge about Le Golf National, but the likely reason for Lefty’s leisurely tempo was more personal.

    The 2019 Ryder Cup will likely be Mickelson’s last road game as a player.

    He’ll be 52 when the U.S. team pegs it up at the 2022 matches in Rome. Although there’s been players who have participated in the biennial event into their golden years – most notably Raymond Floyd who was 51 when he played the ’93 matches – given Mickelson’s play in recent years and the influx of younger players the odds are against him.

    “I am aware this is most likely the last one on European soil and my last opportunity to be part of a team that would be victorious here, and that would mean a lot to me personally,” Mickelson said on Tuesday.

    It’s understandable that Mickelson would want to linger a little longer in the spotlight of golf’s most intense event.

    For the first time in his Ryder Cup career Mickelson needed to be a captain's pick, and he didn’t exactly roar into Paris, finishing 30th out of 30 players at last week’s Tour Championship. He’s also four months removed from his last top-10 finish on the PGA Tour.


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    Although he’s reluctant to admit it for Mickelson Le Golf National looks every bit a swansong for the most accomplished U.S. Ryder Cup player of his generation.

    In 11 starts at the Ryder Cup, Mickelson has a 26-16-13 record. Perhaps more telling is his 7-3-1 mark since 2012 and he holds the U.S. record for most matches played (45) and is third on the all-time list for most points won (21.5), just two shy of the record held by Billy Casper.

    Mickelson’s record will always be defined by what he’s done at the Masters and not done at the U.S. Open, but his status as an anchor for two generations of American teams may never be matched.

    For this U.S. team - which is trying to win a road Ryder Cup for the first time since 1993 - Lefty is wearing many hats.

    “You know Phil and you know he's always trying to find a way to poke fun, trying to mess with someone,” Furyk said. “He's telling a story. Sometimes you're not sure if they are true or not. Sometimes there's little bits of pieces in each of those, but he provides some humor, provides some levity.”

    But there is another side to Mickelson’s appeal in the team room. Although he’s never held the title of vice captain he’s served as a de facto member of the management for some time.

    “At the right times, he understands when a team needs a kick in the butt or they need an arm around their shoulder, and he's been good in that atmosphere,” Furyk said. “He's a good speaker and good motivator, and he's been able to take some young players under his wing at times and really get a lot out of them from a partner standpoint.”

    In recent years Mickelson has become something of a mentor for young players, first at the ’08 matches with Anthony Kim and again in ’12 with Keegan Bradley.

    His role as a team leader in the twilight of his career can’t be overstated and will undoubtedly continue this week if Tuesday’s practice groupings are any indication, with Lefty playing with rookie Bryson DeChambeau.

    As DeChambeau was finishing his press conference on Tuesday he was asked about the dynamic in the U.S. team room.

    “We're going to try and do our absolute best to get the cup back,” he said.

    “Keep the cup,” Lefty shouted from the back of the room, noting that the U.S. won the last Ryder Cup.

    It was so Mickelson not to miss a teaching moment or a chance to send a subtle jab delivered with a wry smile.

    Mickelson will also be remembered for his role in what has turned out to be an American Ryder Cup resurgence.

    “Unfortunately, we have strayed from a winning formula in 2008 for the last three Ryder Cups, and we need to consider maybe getting back to that formula that helped us play our best,” Mickelson said in the Scottish gloom at the ’14 matches. “Nobody here was in any decision.”

    If Mickelson doesn’t step to the microphone in ’14 at Gleneagles in the wake of another U.S. loss and, honestly, break some china there probably wouldn’t have been a task force. Davis Love III likely wouldn’t have gotten a second turn as captain in ’16 and the U.S. is probably still mired in a victory drought.

    Lefty’s Ryder Cup career is far from over. The early line is that he’ll take his turn as captain in 2024 at Bethpage Black – the People’s Champion riding in to become the People’s Captain.

    Before he moves on to a new role, however, he’ll savor this week and an opportunity to win his first road game. If he wants to hang back and relish the moment so be it.

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    DeChambeau gets foursomes, fourball mixed up

    By Will GraySeptember 25, 2018, 3:31 pm

    SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Bryson DeChambeau is an accomplished player when it comes to match play, having captured the U.S. Amateur and starred on a Walker Cup team. But don’t ask him to explain the semantic difference between the formats in play at this week’s Ryder Cup.

    DeChambeau became crossed up Tuesday at Le Golf National when he was asked about the intricacies of foursomes play – better known to many Americans as alternate shot.

    “Fourball, foursomes, I always get those mixed up,” DeChambeau said. “It’s just easier for me to say alternate shot.”


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    Thankfully for DeChambeau, he still has some time to make a distinction between the two before the matches begin in earnest. And when they do, it’ll be fourballs for the morning sessions both Friday and Saturday, with foursomes in the afternoon – a change from the 2016 matches when DeChambeau was on the grounds at Hazeltine as a spectator.

    While the foursomes format brings with it added pressure in an already tense environment, one of the biggest concerns is how well players can adjust to using the ball of their partner on a given hole. DeChambeau is known to leave nothing to chance in his preparation, and he’s already circled that particular factor as he gets set to make his Ryder Cup debut.

    “It’s key because we want to be comfortable. Each player needs to be comfortable with the ball that they are playing,” DeChambeau said. “So for compatibility reasons, it’s one of the most important things out there in regards to alternate shot. It is the most important.”