First-timers look to stand out at Ryder Cup

By Associated PressSeptember 29, 2010, 4:31 pm

Ryder Cup

NEWPORT, Wales – Experience has its place in golf, but not necessarily at this Ryder Cup.

Nearly half the field – five Americans and six Europeans – will be making their Ryder Cup debuts at Celtic Manor.

The American team could get starring roles from hard-luck Dustin Johnson or 21-year-old Rickie Fowler.

Europe has Edoardo Molinari and his younger brother Francesco. The Italians expect to get a lot of playing time together, and surely no pairing will have more chemistry than the first sibling teammates at the Ryder Cup since 1963.

The 11 rookies are the most at a Ryder Cup since 1979, the first time the competition was opened up to the entire European continent. That year, a U.S. team featuring eight first-year players defeated a European squad with five.

“I don’t want to let myself down this week. I don’t want to let anyone else down this week. That’s the big thing,” said 21-year-old Rory McIlroy, another of the European rookies. “You are not just playing for yourself, you’re playing for 11 other guys, plus all of the backroom staff and most of Europe, as well.”

European captain Colin Montgomerie has played in eight Ryder Cups, and he’s hoping his first-year players – there’s also Martin Kaymer, Ross Fisher and Peter Hanson – will be able to draw on some of his experiences.

“I’ve always hit my putts slightly firmer in Ryder Cup play, personally, and I’m trying to pass on that knowledge to the rookies,” he said. “I’ve been very lucky with the partners that I’ve had in my foursomes and fourball play. … It’s allowed me the freedom to hit my putts firmer than I would have done normally, and it’s amazing how many of them go in.”

Montgomerie was mindful of his team’s youth when he chose three-time major champion Padraig Harrington with one of his three wild-card picks. Plus, he’s got some possible pairings that will mitigate the inexperience factor. The Molinaris are the most obvious example. And he’ll likely put McIlroy with U.S. Open champ Graeme McDowell in a Northern Irish duo.

The U.S. showed at the last Ryder Cup that it’s possible to claim the cup when 50 percent of the 12-man squad has never been there before. Anthony Kim was the emotional leader. Boo Weekley kept everyone at ease with his colorful antics. Hunter Mahan and J.B. Holmes played like veterans, and two other rookies – Steve Stricker and Ben Curtis – filled out the roster.

“You know, it’s not life or death out there,” Mahan said. “It’s just golf and likely we have all done this before. If it was chess or something like that, I would be sweating.”

The other American rookies at this Ryder Cup are Matt Kuchar, Jeff Overton and Bubba Watson.

“I would just tell them, 'Have fun,”’ Mahan said. “The first shot is going to be fun. These fans are going to be crazy and they are going to be obviously cheering for Europe hard and you should use that, and have fun with it. It’s not personal out there. You know, it’s not like they really dislike you or anything like that. It’s just golf.”

At least Mahan brings some experience in team golf to his first Ryder Cup. He played on the U.S. Presidents Cup team in 2007.

None of the American rookies on this year’s team has that to fall back on.

As for the Americans, they’re hoping to recapture the camaraderie they had two years ago, despite having only five holdovers from that team.

Watson has emerged as the candidate to fill Weekley’s role as team jester.

“Bubba is not quite as funny as Boo,” Stricker said. “What is the word, 'compatibate,’ that Boo came up with at Valhalla? We have not got to that point with Bubba. But he’s very light. He’s very vocal at times.”

Stricker said he’s comfortable with the makeup of the U.S. team, even with so many newcomers. As the Europeans have shown so many times – and the Americans picked up on in 2008 – being able to “compatibate” often plays nearly as important a role as pure shot-making in a Ryder Cup.

“It’s a great mix of guys,” Stricker said of his team. “We have some guys that have a tremendous amount of experience, and we have some guys with no experience, and we have some guys in the middle. We are all getting along nicely. It’s fun to go in the team room. Everyone is very relaxed and light so far, and hopefully we can keep it that way.”

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Four top finishers in Japan qualify for The Open

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:19 am

IBARAKI, Japan – Shota Akiyoshi of Japan shot a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday to win the Mizuno Open and qualify for The 147th Open.

Akiyoshi offset three bogeys with five birdies at the Royal Golf Club in Ibaraki, Japan, to finish 1 under overall and secure his first ever tournament win on the Japan Golf Tour.

Michael Hendry of New Zealand and Japanese golfers Masahiro Kawamura and Masanori Kobayashi were tied for second one stroke off the pace to also qualify for The Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, from July 19-22.

Hendry, who led the tournament coming into the final round, came close to forcing a playoff with Akiyoshi but dropped a shot with a bogey on the final hole when he needed a par to draw level.

Hendry will make his second appearance at The Open after qualifying at the Mizuno Open for the second year in a row.

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Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told LPGA.com at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told LPGA.com last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.

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Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

"I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

"I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

But he isn't celebrating just yet.

"It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

"So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."