Internationals need rally Tiger finds friend

By Associated PressOctober 11, 2009, 7:45 am
Presidents Cup

SAN FRANCISCO – The International team will have to come from behind to win the Presidents Cup. Still, the margin could have been a lot worse if it didn’t pick up its play this time around in the alternate shot format.

The United States still won seven of 11 points in the format and led 12 1/2 -9 1/2 at the end of the team competition, but Robert Allenby said just staying close to the American team during the alternate shot was a boost to the chances of the International squad.

“I think this year we did pretty well with the foursomes,” Allenby said Saturday. “It’s never an easy format, that’s for sure.”

It’s tougher for the International squad because players seldom get a chance to play it. While the U.S. team plays in a Ryder Cup one year and a Presidents Cup the next, this competition is the only one where International players compete under pressure in the alternate shot foursomes.

In the last Presidents Cup, the International squad was nearly shut out in 11 foursome matches, halving one and losing the other 10.

“In the past, I know our downfall has always been foursomes,” Allenby said. “And I think, you know, considering, this year has been a really good result for us in foursomes.”

The foursome matches are considered more difficult than the better ball matches because there are more variables involved. Players may have to play a different ball than they are used to because their partner plays that ball, long hitters may be paired with short hitters, and there is more emphasis on the chemistry between players.

Allenby seems to have figured it out as well as any of the International players. He teamed with Vijay Singh on Thursday to win a point, then was paired up with Singh again on Saturday in a match they split with Stewart Cink and Hunter Mahan.

VIDEO MAGIC: The big roar on the 18th green during morning foursomes wasn’t meant for Stewart Cink and Hunter Mahan, even as they rallied for a birdie that got them a half of point against Vijay Singh and Robert Allenby.

It was for Tiger Woods, who had just made a long putt on the 17th hole to keep alive a match he and Steve Stricker would come back to win against Mike Weir and Tim Clark.

The crowd gathered around the 18th green was watching on a big video screen as Cink and Mahan were walking off the green after making a birdie to halve their match. It is one of several big video screens scattered around the Harding Park municipal course to keep fans up on the action.

The fans on 18 particularly need it because not all the matches get that far. In the morning, just two matches went to the 18th hole, while two more finished there in the afternoon.

HELPING OUT: Both Greg Norman and Fred Couples have been laid-back captains, but Norman was out on the course helping out when things got tight Saturday in the final match of the day.

Tim Clark and Vijay Singh were even with Phil Mickelson and Sean O’Hair on the 16th hole of a match the International team badly needed to make things interesting on Sunday. After Mickelson knocked it close and was conceded a birdie, Clark had an 8-footer to keep the match even going into the final two holes.

Clark studied the putt and Singh looked at it, too. Then Norman came on the green and read it from a few different angles himself.

After the three were finally finished, Clark stepped up and knocked the putt into the hole, prompting Norman to offer up a fist pump in celebration.

Norman’s work was not done, though. With the final group still tied on the 18th green he came out to help Clark read a 25-footer for birdie. The read was good and the putt nearly perfect, but it hit the lip and spun out.

“It was nice to have Greg there in the end,” Clark said. “I battled all week reading the greens, and I feel like if I had made some putts through those matches they would have been over before the 18th hole. Particularly there on 16, Greg gave me a good read there. It wasn’t a long putt, but I would have read it straight and he said, `No, this thing is going to go right,’ and that helped.”

TIGER’S FRIEND: Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods were unbeatable as a team, and the four matches they won were the best Woods has done in his 11 previous team competitions with different partners, including the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup.

Part of the reason for that is Stricker is one of the best putters around, something he showed in the afternoon round when he rolled in six birdie putts in a space of eight holes. The other part is that Stricker knows his place on a team with a superstar, even if Woods is his friend.

That was evident after Stricker and Woods closed out Ryo Ishikawa and Y.E. Yang to win their fourth match. Stricker was asked afterward how it felt to carry Woods in a match.

“I didn’t carry him,” Stricker said. “It’s easy to play with the guy because we all know what a great player he is, and he putts it great, he gets it up-and-down-great, and it takes a lot of pressure off me playing.”

Woods and Stricker have been so dominant they have played the 17th and 18th holes only once.

“I think that our attitudes are very similar,” Woods said. “Only difference is I hit the ball a bit further than these guys, but our attitudes are the same. And on top of that, how we read greens is very complementary. We see it the same way, and that helps as a pairing.”

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.