France named host of 2018 Ryder Cup

By Associated PressMay 17, 2011, 3:31 pm

VIRGINIA WATER, England – France will host its first Ryder Cup after being awarded the 2018 tournament, beating out sentimental favorite Spain as the popular choice following the death of Seve Ballesteros.

The European Ryder Cup committee voted unanimously in favor of the French bid, which centers on the Le Golf National course near Paris – the headquarters of the French federation and venue for all but two French Opens in the last 20 years.

Spain, Portugal, Germany and the Netherlands also entered bids, but tournament committee members said the security of having a course and infrastructure already in place was the key factor in the final decision.

“They have a first-class tournament venue already built, it is a stadium course with plenty of parking nearby and the capital city of Paris and Versailles is the hinterland,” said George O’Grady, chief executive of the European Tour. “In these tough economic times, we can see where we’re going. We’re leaving nothing to chance on building a new course. You could say, in that sense, we’ve gone for the certainty.”

Of France’s rivals, only the Netherlands had a course already built.

Spain had gone from being a long-shot to sentimental favorite following the outpouring of support after the death of Ballesteros this month. The Spanish great helped transform the Ryder Cup and was the patron of Spain’s bid team. Some thought the committee should honor his memory by awarding his country the 2018 event.

However, organizers ruled with their heads rather than their hearts.

“Seve has been part of their team, we have been well aware of it and we feel the emotion,” O’Grady said. “But we have evaluated the whole bid on its merits.”

It’s only the second time the biennial match between Europe and the United States will be played on mainland Europe – the first was in 1997, when Ballesteros captained Europe to a single-point win at Valderrama in Spain.

In what may have been an attempt to stave off criticism, the European Tour released a statement before the announcement saying it was looking at ways to honor Ballesteros, including the possibility of changing its logo to incorporate an image of the Spanish golfer.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy congratulated the French bid team and the country’s federation for their victory.

“The practice of golf and the sport’s development in France will now enjoy a new boom and take a new dimension, something the president is sincerely rejoicing with,” Sarkozy’s office said in a statement.

There was strong backing for the 2018 Ryder Cup by the French government, with President Sarkozy making it a priority among French sports this decade. France will host soccer’s European Championships in 2016, while Annecy is one of three bidders for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Pascal Grizot, chief of France’s bid team, said all registered golfers in the country will help fund the bid by giving $4.25 a year for 13 years. That effort has been ongoing for two years, when the 2018 bidding process began.

A legacy commitment, targeting the building of up to 100 6- or 9-hole courses in urban areas, also impressed the tournament committee.

“We had a very well-balanced bid and, in the end, the (small) details made the difference,” said Grizot, who heads the Ryder Cup commission at the French federation. “The decision … is a real honor for our country. Above all, it’s a huge accolade for all French golfers who have contributed to this project.”

Spanish bid chief Gonzaga Escauriaza praised France for the victory.

“We thought we had an excellent bid,” Escauriaza said. “But France presented a fantastic bid. We have to congratulate the French.”

However, he criticized rival candidates for making the death of Ballesteros an issue in the campaign. Escauriaza said he was disappointed to see some opponents claim that awarding the tournament to Spain as a fitting tribute to Ballesteros would be unfair.

“I saw some comments from some of the bids that they shouldn’t give it to Spain because of Severiano,” Escauriaza said. “I don’t think that was fair because there wasn’t a single press release from me mixing anything Ryder Cup with Severiano.”

Ballesteros was a patron of Spain’s bid. His family was among those suggesting that awarding the tournament to Spain would be an ideal way to honor him.

“It would have made my brother very happy, for it was one of his dreams,” Baldomero Ballesteros said at his brother’s funeral last week.

The European Tour’s current logo features a silhouette of Harry Vardon, a six-time winner of the British Open between 1896 and 1914. But many high-profile golfers want it changed to honor Ballesteros.

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Alabama faces 'buzzsaw' Arizona for NCAA title

By Ryan LavnerMay 23, 2018, 2:00 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – There was no way Laura Ianello could sleep Monday night, not after that dramatic ending at the NCAA Women’s Championship. So at 12:15 a.m., the Arizona coach held court in the laundry room at the Holiday Inn, washing uniforms and munching on mozzarella sticks and fried chicken strips from Sonic, her heart still racing.

Ianello got only three hours of sleep, and who could blame her?

The Wildcats had plummeted down the team standings during the final round of stroke-play qualifying, and were 19 over par for the day, when junior transfer Bianca Pagdanganan arrived on the 17th hole.

“Play the best two holes of your life,” Ianello told her, and so Pagdanganan did, making a solid par on 17 and then ripping a 6-iron from 185 yards out of a divot to 30 feet. There was a massive leaderboard positioned to the right of the par-5 18th green, but Pagdanganan never peeked. The only way for Arizona to force a play-five, count-four playoff with Baylor and reach match play was to sink the putt, and when it dropped, the Wildcats lost their minds, shrieking and jumping over the ropes and hugging anyone in sight.

Watching the action atop the hill, Alabama coach Mic Potter shook his head.

“I was really glad we didn’t win the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed,” he said, “because they’re a buzzsaw with a lot of momentum.”

Given new life, Arizona dispatched Baylor by three strokes in the playoff, then turned its attention to top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals on Tuesday morning.


NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage


Facing two first-team All-Americans, the Wildcats beat them, too, continuing the curse of the medalist. In the afternoon, worried that the adrenaline would wear off, Ianello watched her squad make quick work of Stanford, 4-1.

“They’ve got a lot of great momentum, a lot of great team energy,” Stanford coach Anne Walker said. “They thought they were going home, and now they’ve got a chip on their shoulder. They’re playing with an edge.”

After a marathon doubleheader Tuesday at Karsten Creek, Arizona now has a date with Alabama in the final match of this NCAA Championship.

And the Wildcats better rest up.

Alabama looks unstoppable.

“They’re rolling off a lot of momentum right now,” Ianello said. “We know Alabama is a good team. But they’re super excited and pumped. It’s not the high of making it [Monday]; now they’ve got a chance to win. They know they have to bring it.”

Even fully rested, Arizona will be a significant underdog against top-ranked Alabama.

After failing to reach match play each of the past two years, despite being the top overall seed, the Tide wouldn’t be stopped from steamrolling their competition this time.

They roughed up Kent State, 4-1, in the quarterfinals, then frontloaded their lineup with three first-team All-Americans – Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight – in their semifinal tilt against Southern Cal.

Potter said that he was just trying to play the matchups, but the move sent a clear signal.

“It gets pretty tedious when you never miss fairways and hole a lot of putts and your opponent knows that you’re not going to spray it,” Potter said. “That’s tough to match up against.”

They breezed to the first three points, draining any drama out of the semifinals. Of the 99 holes that Bama’s Big 3 played Tuesday, they trailed after only two.

“We’re always consistent,” Stephenson said, “and that’s exactly what you need in match play. Someone has to go really low to beat us.”

That Arizona even has that chance to dethrone the Tide seemed inconceivable a few months ago.

The Wildcats had a miserable fall and were ranked 39th at the halfway point of the season. On Christmas Day, one of the team’s best players, Krystal Quihuis, sent a text to Ianello that she was turning pro. Once she relayed the news, the team felt abandoned, but it also had a newfound motivation.

“They wanted to prove that they’re a great team, even without her,” Ianello said.

It also was a case of addition by subtraction: Out went the individual-minded Quihuis and in came Yu-Sang Ho, an incoming freshman whom Ianello described as a “bright, shining light.”

Because incorporating a top-tier junior at the midway point can be intimidating, Ianello organized a lively team retreat at the Hilton El Conquistador in Tucson, where they made vision boards and played games blindfolded.

They laughed that weekend and all throughout the spring – or at least until Pagnanganan made that last-ditch eagle putt Monday. Then tears streamed down Ianello’s face.

Folding uniforms after midnight, she regaled Alabama assistant coach Susan Rosenstiel with stories from their emotional day on the cut line, not even considering that they might face each other two days later for a national title. She was too delirious to ponder that.

“I feel like a new mother with a newborn baby,” Ianello said. “But we’re going off of adrenaline. This team has all the momentum they need to get it done.”

Yes, somehow, the last team into the match-play field might soon be the last team standing.

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Pairings, tee times set for championship match

By Jay CoffinMay 23, 2018, 1:02 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – Alabama coach Mic Potter has three first-team All-Americans on this team. It’s little surprise that all three are going out first in the Crimson Tide’s championship match against Arizona Wednesday at Karsten Creek.

Potter tinkered with his lineup in both the quarterfinal victory over Kent State and the semifinal win over USC. But with the NCAA title on the line, this one was a no brainer.

“We don’t want to sacrifice anything,” Potter said. “We just want to give ourselves a chance to win every match.”

Arizona kept its lineup the same all day Tuesday in defeating Pac-12 foes UCLA and Stanford in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. That meant junior Bianca Pagdanganan, the Wildcats grittiest player this week, was in the last match of the day. She won twice.

Now, with all the marbles riding on the championship match, Arizona coach Laura Ianello moved Pagdanganan up to the third spot to assure that her match is key to the final outcome.

Junior Haley Moore, Arizona’s best player all year, is in the fifth spot and will face Alabama senior Lakareber Abe.

“Win or lose tomorrow, this has been a helluva ride,” Ianello said.


Alabama (2) vs. Arizona (8)

3:25PM ET: Lauren Stephenson (AL) vs. Yu-Sang Hou (AZ)

3:35PM ET: Kristen Gillman (AL) vs. Gigi Stoll (AZ)

3:45PM ET: Cheyenne Knight (AL) vs. Bianca Pagdanganan (AZ)

3:55PM ET: Angelica Moresco (AL) vs. Sandra Nordaas (AZ)

4:05PM ET: Lakareber Abe (AL) vs. Haley Moore (AZ)

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Women's NCAA finals: Arizona vs. Alabama

By Jay CoffinMay 22, 2018, 11:49 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – It’s the SEC vs. the Pac 12 for the women’s NCAA Championship; Alabama vs. Arizona, to be more specific.

Both the Crimson Tide and Wildcats cruised in their respective semifinal matches Tuesday at Karsten Creek. Alabama easily beat USC, 3-1-1; Arizona defeated match-play juggernaut Stanford, 4-1.

Alabama’s top three players, Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight were unstoppable forces in both matches on the marathon day. Stacked in the top three positions in the semifinals all three won their matches on the 17th hole, making the last two matches inconsequential.


NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage


Arizona, the eighth seed, won as decisively as second-seeded Alabama, but needed a miracle to be in this position in the first place.

Junior Bianca Pagdanganan drained a 30-footer for eagle on the last hole of stroke play on Monday to get the Wildcats into a playoff against Baylor, which they won on the second hole. Then on Tuesday, presumably running on fumes, they downed top-seeded UCLA in the morning, then crushed Pac-12 foe Stanford in the afternoon.

Pagdanganan, Gigi Stoll and Hayley Moore each won both matches for Arizona on the hot, draining day.

“I don’t want to let them down so I do my best to rise to the occasion,” Pagdanganan said.

Said Arizona coach Laura Ianello: “How many players, when you tell them under pressure that you need them, can really handle it,” Ianello said about Pagdanganan. “This kid can.”

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NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 11:30 pm

The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

After three days of stroke play, eight teams advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals were contested Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live finals action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

Scoring:

TV Times (all times ET):

Wednesday
4-8PM: Match-play finals (Click here to watch live)