Europeans tweeting at Ryder Cup

By Associated PressOctober 1, 2010, 1:45 am

Ryder Cup

NEWPORT, Wales – So much for that ban on tweeting.

Ian Poulter, Europe’s social networking star, has been posting all sorts of interesting tidbits and pictures on Twitter during Ryder Cup week, though he appears to be staying within captain Colin Montgomerie’s request to keep all inside information within the team room.

For instance, Poulter reported that Lee Westwood set the alarm on assistant captain Paul McGinley’s cell phone to go off right in the middle of Montgomerie’s speech at the opening ceremony Thursday.

“u should have seen the panic. Hilarious,” Poulter tweeted.

He also was the first to reveal a gift that Montgomerie and his wife, Gaynor, presented to the players and assistant captains at a dinner on the eve of the first matches: individualized framed portraits of each standing in front of a fireplace, with a club in hand and the Ryder Cup on the mantel.

“I love it,” tweeted Poulter, who posted a picture of his portrait.

He also sent pictures of teammate Graeme McDowell getting a massage, the view from the clubhouse team room before the Europeans headed to the opening ceremony, and even a plug for a 10 percent-off sale on Poulter-designed fashions at his Web site.

And that was just on Thursday!

McDowell was nearly as prolific as Poulter. The U.S. Open champion sent a post about his pairing with fellow Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy, whom he described as the “Curly Haired Wonder kid.”

“Can’t wait,” McDowell tweeted.

He also posted pictures of a dinner at Cardiff Castle with Prince Charles, the Europeans donning McIlroy-styled wigs on the first tee during a practice round, and the first details of a conference call with Seve Ballesteros, the longtime Ryder Cup star who’s battling brain cancer.

“What a legend! Trying to win it for him this weekend. He symbolizes European golf,” McDowell tweeted.

At the start of the week, Montgomerie said he wanted his players to refrain from social networking during the Ryder Cup, but he softened his stance after a team meeting.

U.S. captain Corey Pavin asked his players to put their Twitter and Facebook accounts on hiatus, as well, and they’ve apparently heeded his call. Stewart Cink, who has more than 1 million followers, had not sent a post since writing Sunday, “Go USA y’all pull hard for us thanks!!! … see you in a week!”


COREY’S GAFFE: Blame it on the teleprompter.


American captain Corey Pavin was doing a fine job announcing the names of his 12-man team – until he got to one of his most experienced players.

Pavin mistakenly skipped over Stewart Cink, playing in his fifth Ryder Cup, and went straight to 21-year-old rookie Rickie Fowler. Since the U.S. players remained standing after their names were called, the captain’s gaffe was even more noticeable.

As the crowd broke into laughter, Cink mockingly slumped his shoulders and received good-natured pats on his bald head from his teammates. Pavin realized his error and quickly tried to make amends.

“A special round of applause, from Sea Island, Georgia – Stewart Cink,” Pavin said.

Only one problem: Cink actually lives in Duluth, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta. Pavin confused Cink with Davis Love III, an assistant U.S. captain who does live in Sea Island.

“I’m glad the opening speech is over with. I only screwed up once, so that wasn’t too bad,” Pavin quipped. “I only forgot one player. It could have been two, so it could have been worse.”

European captain Colin Montgomerie blamed the positioning of two teleprompters for the mistake, saying they were hard to read from the podium in the middle of the stage. But after announcing his entire team without a hitch, he couldn’t resist a little dig at his American counterpart.

“We are 1-up,” Monty said.


FAMILY TIME: The Americans were spending the eve of the Ryder Cup with those closest to them.


Captain Corey Pavin told the players to bring their parents, in-laws and children to a barbecue at the team hotel after Thursday’s opening ceremony.

“In previous Ryder Cups, it’s been very difficult for you to even see your families during the week,” Pavin said. “So we thought it would be nice for the players and wives to be able to see their families this evening. So we are just going to have a nice relaxing kind of barbecue.”

AND NOW, FOR THE WEATHER: The Ryder Cup teams can probably count on getting wet this weekend.

The forecast called for a 90 percent chance of rain for the opening matches Friday. Another round of heavy showers was projected to move in for Sunday’s singles matches.

The Americans were sending out some of their biggest hitters for morning fourball. Captain Corey Pavin figures they’ll have an edge if the course at Celtic Manor is soaked.

“Me being a very short hitter, I thought there was an advantage to the guys that are longer when it’s wet out, because it’s not going to roll into the rough and where they fly it, is where it lands,” Pavin said. “Guys that fly it 290 or 300 yards, that’s where it’s going to end up. When I fly it 210, that’s where it’s going to end up.”

ODD MIX: Miguel Angel Jimenez enjoys fine wine, big cigars – and the knot in his stomach.

The popular Spaniard said that just shows he’s ready to play the most tense team event in golf.

“All week you feel a knot in your stomach,” Jimenez said on Thursday before the final day of practice at Celtic Manor. “But it’s not nerves. It’s something you can endure. I like to feel that thing, and that makes you motivated more. And that’s where you want to be. It’s a good thing, yeah. If you don’t have any feelings, probably you’re not here, or you don’t play golf or you don’t know anything. You need to feel things.”

Few players are in better form than Jimenez, who has won three times on the European Tour this year, and he likes the way he has played in practice on the Twenty Ten course.

But Jimenez won’t go in the opening round of four-ball matches. Captain Colin Montgomerie decided to put him on the bench along with Peter Hanson and the Molinari brothers, Edoardo and Francesco. All four are expected to make their debuts in the afternoon with the alternate-shot matches.

LIKING THE EURO ODDS: The Las Vegas oddsmakers wasted no time labeling the Europeans a solid favorite to jump ahead in the fourball matches.

Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington were an overwhelming pick to beat Ryder Cup rookies Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton in the final match of the morning. Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy are favored over Matt Kuchar and Stewart Cink, while Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson are underdogs against Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer.

The only American favorites are Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, who will go in the third match against Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher. That’s not surprising, considering bettors are usually eager to put money on Woods – even when he’s slumping – so he usually has the odds against him to even out the wagers.

DIVOTS: The always stylish Ian Poulter found a way to put his fashion stamp on the Ryder Cup, even though he’s having to wear the same outfit as his teammates. The Europeans practiced Thursday in pink shirts with blue sweaters and slacks, so Poulter whipped up some two-tone shoes with pink down the sides. … In the biggest surprise of the opening pairings, seven-time Ryder Cup veteran Jim Furyk was left on the sideline by the Americans. Only once in his previous six appearances was he held out of matches on the opening morning, and that was in 1999. He played in the opening matches in 1997, 2002, ’04, ’06 and ’08.

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Els eyeing potential Prez Cup players at CJ Cup

By Will GrayOctober 16, 2018, 6:55 pm

Ernie Els is teeing it up this week in South Korea as a player, but he's also retaining the perspective of a captain.

While the 2019 Presidents Cup in Australia is still more than a year away, Els has already begun the process of keeping tabs on potential players who could factor on his International squad that will face an American contingent captained by Tiger Woods. Els played in last week's CIMB Classic in Malaysia, and this week received one of eight sponsor exemptions into the limited-field CJ Cup on Jeju Island.

Els played a Tuesday practice round with Presidents Cup veteran and Branden Grace and India's Shubankhar Sharma, who held a share of the 54-hole lead last week in Malaysia.

"It's going to be a very diverse team the way things are shaping up already," Els told reporters. "We've got another year to go, so we're going to have an interesting new group of players that's going to probably make the team."

In addition to keeping tabs on Grace and Sharma, Els will play the first two rounds with Australia's Marc Leishman and South Korea's Si Woo Kim. Then there's Sungjae Im, a native of Jeju Island who led the Tour money list wire-to-wire last season.

"There's so many Korean youngsters here this week, so I'm going to really see how they perform," Els said. "Still a long way to go, but these guys, the young guys are going to be really the core of our team."

Els, who will turn 49 on Wednesday, made only five cuts in 15 PGA Tour starts last season, with his best result a T-30 finish at the Valero Texas Open. While it's increasingly likely that his unexpected triumph at the 2012 Open will end up being his final worldwide victory, he's eager to tackle a new challenge in the coming months by putting together the squad that he hopes can end the International losing skid in the biennial matches.

"The U.S. team is a well-oiled team. They play Ryder Cups together, they obviously play very well in the Presidents Cups against us, so they're a very mature team," Els said. "We are going to be a young team, inexperienced. But that doesn't scare me because I know the course very well down in Melbourne, I've played it many, many times. I feel I have a very good game plan to play the golf course strategy-wise and I'm going to share that with my players."

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CIMB champ Leishman hopes to improve on CJ runner-up

By Will GrayOctober 16, 2018, 6:29 pm

Marc Leishman is back in Korea with momentum on his side, hoping to fare a little better than a year ago.

Leishman nearly took home the trophy in the inaugural CJ Cup, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force a playoff with Justin Thomas. But the Aussie put his approach into the water on the second extra hole, allowing Thomas to wrap up the win a few minutes later.

"Excited to be back in Korea. I have a lot of good memories here at this golf course," Leishman told reporters. "Hopefully I can play well again and go one better than last year."

Leishman's playoff loss kick-started a strong opening stretch to his wraparound season, but he closed it without a victory. That drought ended in emphatic fashion last week, as he cruised to a five-shot win at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia for his fourth career PGA Tour win and his third since March 2017.

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos

Leishman told reporters last week in Malaysia that before the week started, his driving was so crooked that he feared his equipment reps might need to add a few golf balls to his locker. Instead, he found his groove en route to shooting 26 under par at TPC Kuala Lumpur and leaving the field in his wake.

"Golf's a funny game. It can change very quickly from bad to good or from good to bad," Leishman said. "It was certainly a goal of mine to win this season, and to win my first event of the season is great. Also to be going back to Maui puts me in a different frame of mind for the whole year. For a lot of reasons, I'm really happy with what last week brought."

Leishman played on the Korean PGA Tour in 2006 while getting his pro career off the ground, but even with that experience he expects a learning curve while going from the steamy conditions of Malaysia to the cool and wet climate that has greeted players this week on Jeju Island.

"It's a big adjustment going from so hot and humid last week to fairly cold and hopefully not wet, but it was wet this morning," Leishman said. "The ball goes different distances, your body's not quite as loose as what it is when it's hot. Just little things like that that you have to adjust to."

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Bowditch eyes same fusion surgery as Tiger

By Will GrayOctober 16, 2018, 6:03 pm

After struggling through a couple lean years on the course, Steven Bowditch is ready to go under the knife.

Bowditch has won twice on the PGA Tour, and the Aussie was a member of the International Team at the 2015 Presidents Cup in South Korea. But his game fell apart shortly thereafter, as Bowditch has made just two cuts in his last 40 starts dating back to July 2016 while putting up some eye-popping scores.

Bowditch's exemption for his win at the 2015 AT&T Byron Nelson expired in August 2017, and he spent last season without full-time status on Tour for the first time since 2010. He made eight starts, notably finding a caddie via Twitter search before missing the cut at the John Deere Classic in July.

But the 35-year-old revealed Tuesday that his on-course struggles have been tied to some health concerns that have been difficult to pinpoint. Having finally received the appropriate diagnosis, he is preparing for a spinal fusion surgery next month between the L5 and S1 vertebrae - the same two that Tiger Woods successfully fused last year:

Bowditch's estimate of a "late 2019" return likely means he'll miss the entire 2018-19 season. When he returns he would do so with past champion status based on his wins, which also included the 2014 Valero Texas Open.

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Thomas, Koepka grouped as both vie for No. 1 in Korea

By Will GrayOctober 16, 2018, 1:44 pm

The PGA Tour remains in Asia this week, where another star-studded field is gathered for a no-cut event. Here's a look at some of the marquee, early-round groupings at the CJ Cup in South Korea, where Justin Thomas will look to retain his title as the tournament's lone champion with the action getting started Wednesday night for American viewers (all times ET):

7:15 p.m. Wednesday, 8:15 p.m. Thursday: Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Sungjae Im

Thomas won the inaugural edition of this event last year in a playoff, and he returns to defend his title with hopes of supplanting idle Dustin Johnson as world No. 1. He'll play the first two rounds alongside Koepka, who is making his first start since being named PGA Tour Player of the Year and, like Thomas, could move to world No. 1. Rounding out the group is Im, a Korean native who went wire-to-wire leading the Tour money list in 2018 and nearly won his first event as a PGA Tour member in Napa.

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos

8:15 p.m. Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. Thursday: Marc Leishman, Si Woo Kim, Ernie Els

Leishman lost to Thomas in overtime at this event last year, but he returns to Jeju Island with plenty of momentum after dusting the field last week en route to a five-shot win at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia. Joining him will be Kim, who won the 2017 Players Championship and will have plenty of support from the Korean fans, and Els, playing this week on a sponsor invite as he continues to keep an eye on potential stars for the Presidents Cup team he will captain next year.

8:25 p.m. Wednesday, 7:15 p.m. Thursday: Jason Day, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama

They're two Aussies who teamed on plenty of Presidents Cup squads and have both reached the top of the world rankings, and now they'll play together for the first two rounds in Korea. Day is making his first start since East Lake, while Scott made a rare appearance at the Japan Open last week where he tied for 50th. Rounding out the trio will be Matsuyama, another Presidents Cup fixture who tied for fourth at the Tour Championship to end last season.

8:35 p.m. Wednesday, 7:25 p.m. Thursday: Kevin Tway, Austin Cook, Xander Schauffele

Tway finished T-27 last week in Malaysia in his first start as a PGA Tour winner, having taken the trophy two weeks ago in Napa. He'll be joined in Korea by Cook, who contended throughout last week en route to a T-13 finish, and Schauffele, the former Rookie of the Year who shot 65-68 over the weekend in Kuala Lumpur.