Europes Big Three come up woefully short for Faldo

By Associated PressSeptember 21, 2008, 4:00 pm
Ryder CupLOUISVILLE, Ky. ' Europe came to Valhalla with the stars, the experience and arguably the hottest golfer on the planet.
 
The Europeans left without the Ryder Cup, thanks in part to the Big Three that turned into the Little 2 1/2.
 
Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Padraig Harrington ' who had combined for 38 1/2 points during their storied Cup careers ' managed just 2 1/2 at raucous Valhalla, giving a largely lifeless performance as the U.S. won the Cup for the first time in nine years.
 
Sergio Garcia
Stalwarts like Sergio Garcia let captain Nick Faldo down. (Getty Images)
Garcia and Westwood had been nearly unbeatable during Europes run of three consecutive Cup wins. Yet the magic ' not to mention the clutch putts ' that they delivered so often this decade never showed up in front of a raucous crowd that seemed to delight in their struggles.
 
Westwood called out budding U.S. star Boo Weekley following their testy fourball match Friday afternoon, saying Weekleys fist-pumping, crowd-whooping antics straddled the line of good taste.
 
Normally the nearly unflappable Westwood thrives under the crucible of the Cup, but this Cup was anything but normal.
 
Europe captain Nick Faldo drew some criticism for sitting his two most experienced players during Saturdays morning foursomes, though Garcia later admitted he told Faldo he wasnt feeling well and perhaps could use a session off. Faldo decided to sit Westwood as well, the first time Westwood sat out a match in his Cup career.
 
The rest didnt pay off with a victory.
 
Westwood and Soren Hansen dropped their afternoon match to Weekley and J.B. Holmes, and all Garcia and Paul Casey could manage was a half-point against Steve Stricker and Ben Curtis.
 
Needing a spark in singles play to jump-start a comeback, Faldo sent out Garcia first Sunday. It never happened against Anthony Kim, who played with the kind of fire thats become part of Garcias trademark in the Cup. Kim played aggressively and never missed an opportunity to take advantage when Garcias play got away from him.
 
Its hard when youre in those kind of situations, but unfortunately I just couldnt get anything right today, Garcia said. I feel like I had a good chance, but I just couldnt get anything right.
 
Neither could Harrington.
 
The reigning British Open and PGA champion admitted he came to Valhalla a little off and managed just an 0-2-1 record through the first two days. Still, Harrington asked Faldo if he could go last in singles on Sunday, hoping it would come down to him.
 
No chance.
 
Harrington led only briefly during his match against Chad Campbell, and lost all enthusiasm when the U.S. clinched the Cup up ahead of him on his way to a 2 and 1 loss.
 
The stinging defeat will stick with Faldo for a while. He took considerable heat when he chose Ian Poulter and Paul Casey with his wild card picks over longtime European stars Darren Clarke and Colin Montgomerie.
 
Though Poulter turned into the European team star, going 4-1-0, it wasnt enough. The European team never led after any session and when Garcia fell flat against Kim, Faldos decision to backload his singles lineup with Westwood and Harrington backfired.
 
It was always going to be a difficult situation, we needed to win most of the matches up front, Harrington said. It didnt come down to us and well never really know if we could have pulled something out of the hat at that stage.
 
By that time, the hat was empty.
 
Garcia had been nearly unbeatable the last three Cups, losing just once and becoming the emotional spark plug who reveled in making big shots and irking the Americans.
 
This time whenever Sergio surged, the U.S. had an answer.
 
Garcia tried to pick himself up on Saturday, knocking in long birdie putt during his afternoon four-ball match, shouting Come on, come on, when the ball disappeared into the hole. Stricker responded by matching Garcia with a lengthy putt of his own and adding an uncharacteristic fist-pump on top of it.
 
It was more of the same on Sunday. Garcias loss to Kim dropped him to 1-4 in singles play, and this time he couldnt take solace in a team victory.
 

Related Links:
  • U.S. Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • European Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • Full Coverage - 37th Ryder Cup
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    Fleetwood, with his fancy umbrella, fires 65 on Day 2

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 12:34 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood looked like an Open rookie when he set out on Friday under gray skies and a cold, steady rain.

    Because the Englishman doesn’t have an equipment sponsor he made a quick turn through the merchandise tent for an umbrella – but at least he didn’t have to pay for it.

    “We stole it,” he laughed when asked about his Open-brand umbrella. “We got one given for free, actually. We didn't steal it. We don't always carry an umbrella. So it just so happens this week that we've got a nice Open Championship [umbrella]. It looked quite nice, the yellow and the course.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    It was Fleetwood’s only rookie move on Day 2 at Carnoustie, posting a flawless 65 to move into an early tie for second place at 5 under par.

    Fleetwood holds the competitive course record at Carnoustie, a 9-under 63 he shot last fall during the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship, but given Friday’s conditions and the difficulty of this course during The Open, his 65 on Friday might have been better.

    “It's not a course record, but it's pretty good,” said Fleetwood, who was stroke behind leader Zach Johnson. “If you went out, you wouldn't really fancy being 6 under out there. So I think that's a good indication of how good it was.”

    It was a dramatic turnaround for Fleetwood on Friday. He said he struggled with his ball-striking, specifically his tee shots, on Day 1, but he was able to turn things around with an hour-long session on the range following his opening round.

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    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

    Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.


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    McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

    By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

    McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

    But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

    Said Harmon:

    “Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

    “This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

    McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

    “Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

    McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

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    How The Open cut line is determined

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

    Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

    The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    • After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

    • There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

    • There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

    The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.