Love: 'Hard to imagine' no Tiger, Phil on Ryder Cup

By Associated PressSeptember 30, 2015, 12:19 am

CHASKA, Minn. – The PGA of America has altered its approach to the Ryder Cup with the tournament returning to the U.S. in 2016 at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota. Perhaps the biggest change could be a team without Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

Captain Davis Love III said it's hard to envision a U.S. team without Woods or Mickelson, but the two are no longer certainties as the Americans try to solve the European stranglehold on the Ryder Cup.

Woods is ranked 299th in the world and recently underwent another back surgery. Mickelson is ranked 23rd, but hasn't won since the British Open in 2013.

''It would be hard to imagine,'' Love said Tuesday at a year-out press conference at Hazeltine. ''They're all my teammates that I've played with. We're all getting older.''

The 2016 Ryder Cup is Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 at Hazeltine in suburban Chaska, the site of the PGA Championship in 2002 and 2009.

Europe extended its dominance with a win in 2014 at Gleneagles. The U.S. has won the cup four times since 1985. Woods and Mickelson have been mainstays on those teams. Mickelson's first Ryder Cup appearance was in 1995, followed by Woods' debut in 1997.

Woods' recent back surgery ended his 2015 season. Mickelson was chosen for the upcoming President's Cup by captain Jay Haas, despite lacking the points to qualify.

''Phil gets on a roll about every other year now, so maybe next year,'' Love said. ''I mean, his off year is really, really good. I think, in talking to him, he's excited about playing. He's not done yet. He wants to make this next team. If he doesn't make the team, he's going to be involved and I know he doesn't want to work for me. I think he'd rather play for me.

''So, I have a feeling he's going to be strong and motivated to make the next team, and obviously Tiger wants to get healthy and play.''

Mickelson spoke out during the last Ryder Cup captained by Tom Watson and the Americans have tried to find a new way to break their losing ways.

The PGA America assembled past captains and players -- including Love, Woods and Mickelson -- to alter the approach.

''We've had a lot of losing seasons in a row and we need to throw the game plan away and start over,'' Love said. ''We need a new front office. We need a new attitude. The PGA of America, they rode home after losing again over in Gleneagles and they were not happy about it.''

Love said he's consulted Woods, Mickelson, Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk, along with former captains Tom Kite, Lanny Wadkins, Ben Crenshaw and Dave Stockton.

Love will be leading a team built on the young players like Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler. Woods and Mickelson will have 2016 to show they can add to their Ryder Cup resumes.

''They're just two of a lot of players that have stressed to me that they want to play on a winning Ryder Cup team,'' Love said. ''The tone has changed a little bit on our side. Guys aren't saying, 'I want to make your team.' They're saying, 'I want to play on a winning Ryder Cup team.' They're not looking at it as my team, they want to play on a winning U.S. team. So, Tiger, Phil, Webb Simpson, Chris Kirk, all those guys, they're excited about making this team and making it a winning team.''

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Kisner (67) enjoying 'frat' life, soccer matches with Jordan and Co.

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 12:49 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The frat house tradition continued this year at The Open, with a group of seven high-profile Americans rooming together for the week, including early first-round leader Kevin Kisner.

Kisner explained after his opening 5-under 66 that the group – which includes Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler – has spent the week talking about how demanding Carnoustie is playing and enjoying the summer weather.

“We're out there playing soccer at night and hanging out,” he said.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

To be clear, this isn’t a proper soccer match, but instead a penalty-kick situation with all but one player taking turns trying to score.

“I just try to smash [Dufner] in the face,” Kisner laughed. “He's the all-time goalie.”

Although Kisner said he’s always impressed with the athletic prowess of other players, Spieth has proven himself particularly adept on the impromptu pitch.

“Jordan scored when Duf tripped, it was hilarious,” Kisner smiled. “[Spieth] is good until he sends it over the goal four houses over, and we've got to go knock on a neighbor’s door for the soccer ball.”

The group is actually staying in two local houses that are next to each other, one with a large enough back yard and a soccer net, but perhaps not enough soccer balls.

“We’re going to have to Amazon Prime a couple new balls to replace the ones we lost,” Kisner said.

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Van Rooyen continues links run with impressive 67

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 12:27 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For Erik van Rooyen familiarity has not bred contempt.

The South African, like many European Tour players, has been on a links golf odyssey the last three weeks, playing the Irish Open, Scottish Open and this week’s Open Championship in consecutive weeks, and the crash course paid off on Day 1 at Carnoustie when he opened with a 4-under 67 to assure himself a spot among the early leaders.

Although van Rooyen missed the cut last week just down the coast at Gullane Golf Club, he entered the final round in Ireland with a four-stroke lead.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I didn't pull it off the final day,” said van Rooyen, who closed with a 74 to tie for fourth place. “I still think I played pretty well. I was nervous. That's completely normal, and I'll learn how to deal with that. I'll take that experience into tournaments like this.”

Van Rooyen, who was alone in second place when he completed his round, began his round with back-to-back birdies and was bogey-free until the last hole. It was just what one would expect from a player who has immersed himself in links golf for the better part of a month.

“We've been playing nice golf now the last three weeks, so definitely used to the way this course is playing, definitely used to handling the wind,” he said. “So I'll be ready.”

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Vegas helicopters in to Carnoustie, without clubs

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 9:33 am

Jhonattan Vegas did some range work, putted a little and strolled to the first tee for his 5:31 a.m. ET start in the 147th Open Championship.

Everything before that, however, was far from routine.

Vegas' visa to travel to Scotland expired and the process to renew it got delayed - and it looked like his overseas' flight might suffer the same fate. Vegas, upon getting his visa updated, traveled from Houston, Texas to Toronto, Canada to Glasgow, Scotland, and then took a helicopter to Carnoustie.

He arrived in time on Thursday morning, but his clubs did not. Mizuno put together some irons for him and TaylorMade got him his preferred metal woods. He hit the clubs for the first time on the range, less than 90 minutes before his start.

"I'm going to go out there and play with freedom," Vegas told Golf Channel's Todd Lewis.