Euros Look to End Drought - Once Again

By Associated PressApril 4, 2007, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Padraig Harrington is a two-time champion at Augusta National.
 
Of the Par-3 Tournament.
 
When it comes to Europeans and the major championships, that's as good as it gets lately.
 
It's been almost eight years since a European player won a major title. Granted, that coincides with the rise of Tiger and Phil. But in the time since Paul Lawrie hoisted the claret jug in 1999, a couple of South Africans, some Aussies, a Canadian, even a guy from New Zealand have managed to win majors.
 
'When you look at the success we've had in the Ryder Cup and then our (results) in the majors, it doesn't really stack up,' England's Justin Rose said Tuesday. 'Our players have the ability, for sure.'
 
There's no doubting that. Europe has owned the United States in Ryder Cup play for more than a decade. The Americans can send teams of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk and a slew of other guys who've won majors, and they can't compare with the European squads.
 
But as Spain's Sergio Garcia shows often enough, there's a big difference between team golf and medal play.
 
'It's like breaking the four-minute mile,' Harrington said. 'Once one person does it, everybody will be able to do it.'
 
The 'streak' gets brought up at every major, but there's a particular sting here at the Masters. Unlike the U.S. Open, where a European hasn't won since 1970, or the PGA Championship, where Tommy Armour was the last European-born player to win back in 1930, Europeans had a stretch where they dominated the Masters.
 
From 1980 to 1999, Europeans put on that green jacket 10 times. And from 1989 to 1996, the Europeans basically passed it back and forth. Nick Faldo to Ian Woosnam. Bernhard Langer to Jose Maria Olazabal. And back to Faldo again.
 
Ben Crenshaw and Fred Couples each got to wear it for a year during that span, but it was pretty clear they were only raiding the closet.
 
Since Olazabal won his second Masters title in 1999, though, the only jackets the Europeans brought home from Augusta National were the ones they bought in the pro shop.
 
'It's not for a lack of opportunities,' Olazabal said. 'Europeans haven't been all that far from winning. We've had a few chances the last few majors, it's just a matter of getting it done on the last day.'
 
At every major, it seems, a European is in contention the last day.
 
Kenneth Ferrie of England had the 54-hole lead at the U.S. Open last summer, only to come in with a 76. Long-suffering Colin Montgomerie was poised to win at Winged Foot, going into the 72nd hole tied with Mickelson. But just as Mickelson blew his chance, Montgomerie did the same -- though in far less dramatic fashion.
 
Monty wound up finishing a stroke behind winner Geoff Ogilvy -- an Australian.
 
Garcia went into the final day at Hoylake a single stroke behind Woods. By the time they got through five holes, he was down five. He finished seven strokes behind Woods, in a tie for fifth.
 
England's Luke Donald was paired with Woods in the final group at last year's PGA Championship -- in his adopted hometown of Chicago, no less. He staggered home with a 2-over 74 that left him in a three-way tie for third that included Garcia.
 
'If I'm not going to win, I'm certainly rooting for one of my fellow Europeans to win. This is pure selfish reasons,' said Harrington, whose best finish in any major is fifth.
 
'Knowing somebody who has won a major, somebody you played practice rounds with, that you have a game with every couple of weeks, if they go on and win a major, that makes it in your head so much easier to do it,' the Irishman added. 'It's a psychological thing that you just need to see.'
 
Though dominating in the Ryder Cup is different than winning a major, the lessons from one might eventually carry over to the other. The up-and-comers who have been the staple of Europe's recent Ryder Cup teams -- Donald, Garcia, Harrington, Paul Casey of England, and Sweden's Robert Karlsson and Henrik Stenson -- are the same who grew up watching their European idols win at Augusta National.
 
The more they play, the more they see they can beat Woods and Mickelson, the more confident they are likely to become. At some point, the thinking goes, that's got to carry over to the majors.
 
Maybe even this week.
 
After Woods and Mickelson, Stenson is a popular pick to win. He arrives as one of the hottest players in the game after winning at star-studded Dubai and Accenture Match Play Championship.
 
Casey won at Abu Dhabi earlier this year, and Harrington won Europe's money title last year. Don't ever discount Garcia or Donald, either.
 
'It'd be great for golf right now if one of the young players could win a major,' Rose said. 'Obviously, I hope it would be me.'
 
And once one of the Europeans wins, look out.
 
'It's like a bus,' Rose said. 'You wait all day for one, and then two turn up.'
 
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  • American Junior Golf Association

    Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 11:03 pm

    While most of the golf world had its attention focused on Scotland and The Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday, the REALLY remarkable performance of the day was taking place in Halifax, Mass.

    There, in an American Junior Golf Association tournament, a 16-year-old Thai player made a hole-in-one and an albatross on consecutive holes.

    According to the AJGA, Conor Kelly holed a 5-iron shot on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole. It was his first hole-in-one. He then holed a 4-iron second shot from 220 yards on the 480-yard ninth holer for the albatross. (We're gonna go out on a limb and say it was his first albatross.)

    Certainly a nice way to make the turn - but Kelly wasn't finished. He birdied the par-4 10th for a 1-2-3 sequence on his scorecard. For the day, he shot a 5-under 67 in the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship at the Country Club of Halifax.

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    McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1

    By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 10:10 pm

    They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.

    McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

    Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.

    On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.

    Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:

    10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm

    12/1: Tony Finau

    14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

    20/1: Francesco Molinari

    25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner

    30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka

    40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day

    50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar

    60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate

    80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na

    100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman

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    Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience

    By Randall MellJuly 19, 2018, 9:41 pm

    Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.

    It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.

    Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

    A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.

    “I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.

    “I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”

    Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.

    At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.

    Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.

    “I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.

    “Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”

    Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.

    “Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”

    After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.

    “I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”

    Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.

    “It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.

    “Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”

    On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.

    Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.

    “She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”

    Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.

    At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.

    At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.

    Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.

    “I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”

    Her overall assessment of her day?

    “It was a great experience,” she said.

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    Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

    NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

    Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

    Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

    1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.