Kim concedes nothing in rout over Garcia

By Associated PressSeptember 21, 2008, 4:00 pm
Ryder CupLOUISVILLE, Ky. ' From the moment Anthony Kim stepped on the first green and saw two golf balls within 2 feet of the cup, he made it clear he wasnt going to give Sergio Garcia anything Sunday in the Ryder Cup.
 
Good, good? Garcia asked, suggesting they concede the birdies.
 
Lets putt them, Kim replied.
 
Garcia rapped in his short birdie, and as he plucked his ball from the cup, picked up Kims coin.
 
Anthony Kim
Anthony Kim routed Sergio Garcia to set the tone for Americans' Sunday triumph. (Getty Images)
That set the tone for a testy opening match at Valhalla in which the only thing Kim gave Garcia was his worst loss in the Ryder Cup. Kim rarely conceded any putt and closed out Garcia with an 8-foot par on the 14th to win, 5 and 4.
 
Sergio and I are good friends and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him, Kim said. Hes a great player and a great guy. But out there, were out there to do business, and we battled all day. And now we can start being friends again.
 
It was an intriguing pairing between two of the best young players in golf: Garcia, the 28-year-old Spaniard who won The Players Championship and Kim, a 23-year-old from Los Angeles who won the Wachovia Championship and AT&T National.
 
They played the first two rounds of the PGA Championship and appeared to enjoy their time together. Kim, however, made it clear that he wanted a shot at Europes best Ryder Cup player and was disappointed when he and Phil Mickelson didnt get Garcia and Lee Westwood in the opening match Friday.
 
Kim got his wish Sunday, and played like it.
 
He birdied the second hole from 3 feet to take the lead, then Garcia returned the silence on No. 4. The Spaniard pitched up to 2 feet, and Kim conceded the putt. Kim then pitched up to 2 1/2 feet and was forced to putt. Garcia walked to the back of the green and turned his back on Kim, walking off when he heard the cheer.
 
It got even testier on the sixth when Garcias tee shot tumbled off the fairway into grass so thick that it eventually was found by European vice captain Jose Maria Olazabal, and not until Garcia finished his 280-yard walk from the tee.
 
Garcia could barely see the ball, but he asked rules official John Paramor for relief because to play back to the fairway, his left heel would be touching the cement stairs.
 
Kim was skeptical.
 
First, he asked Paramor that if Garcia got a drop to play back to the fairway, if he then would be allowed to play over the creek and toward the green. Then, he questioned the relief.
 
Is it a normal stance when your foot goes behind you? he asked.
 
He shook his head and said to Paramor, Youve gotta do what you gotta do, then walked down the stairs.
 
Garcia ultimately decided to take an unplayable lie, hit to 15 feet and missed the par putt as Kim went 3 up. If that was meant to rattle Kim, it didnt work. On the par-5 seventh, Kim hit a 3-iron just right of the green. Garcia felt a blast of wind, changed clubs, but his ball went high and came down short into the water as the crowd cheered. Kim, walking down the opposite fairway, waved his arms to encourage chants of U-S-A!
 
Then, Garcia hit into the water again.
 
The Spaniard walked toward the green. Kim stood over his chip, not sure what to do as he looked back at Garcia walking up the fairway. Paramor finally asked Garcia if he was conceding the hole and Garcia smiled, shrugging his shoulders as if to say, What else can I do.
 
As they walked off the eighth tee, Garcia asked Paramor why he would ask such a thing.
 
You could have said you were walking up to identify your ball, Paramor replied.
 
Garcia had a 5-foot birdie putt on the par-3 eighth with his best chance to win a hole. Kim was in the bunker, and blasted out to 6 feet. Kim made his par, Garcia missed, and the match was headed to an early conclusion.
 
Garcia lagged a long putt on the 11th hole to just inside 3 feet and looked toward Kim, but the American again refused to concede. And this time, Garcia missed to fall even further behind.
 
Kim was so excited with his par putt on the 14th that he didnt realize he had won the match.
 
I wanted to come out here and give the fans what they wanted to see, Kim said. I got chills up my spine the whole day.
 
Garcia, virtually unbeatable in team play, fell to 1-4-0 in singles. His only victory came against Phil Mickelson in 2004. This was the first time in his five Ryder Cups that he failed to win a match.
 
It was a hard day because I played against a guy that played awesome, Garcia said. Its hard when youre in those kind of situations, but unfortunately I just couldnt get anything right today.
 
Related Links:
  • U.S. Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • European Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • Full Coverage - 37th Ryder Cup
  • Getty Images

    Na: I can admit, 'I went through the yips'

    By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following his victory two weeks ago at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, Kevin Na said his second triumph on the PGA Tour was the most rewarding of his career.

    Although he declined to go into details as to why the victory was so gratifying at The Greenbrier, as he completed his practice round on Tuesday at the Open Championship, Na shed some light on how difficult the last few years have been.

    “I went through the yips. The whole world saw that. I told people, 'I can’t take the club back,'” Na said on Tuesday at Carnoustie. “People talked about it, 'He’s a slow player. Look at his routine.' I was admitting to the yips. I didn’t use the word ‘yip’ at the time. Nobody wants to use that word, but I’m over it now so I can use it. The whole world saw it.”


    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Na, who made headlines for his struggles to begin his backswing when he found himself in the lead at the 2012 Players Championship, said he asked other players who had gone through similar bouts with the game’s most dreaded ailment how they were able to get through it.

    “It took time,” he said. “I forced myself a lot. I tried breathing. I tried a trigger. Some guys will have a forward press or the kick of the right knee. That was hard and the crap I got for it was not easy.”

    The payoff, however, has steadily arrived this season. Na said he’d been confident with his game this season following a runner-up showing at the Genesis Open and a fourth-place finish at the Fort Worth Invitational, and he felt he was close to a breakthrough. But being able to finish a tournament like he did at The Greenbrier, where he won by five strokes, was particularly rewarding.

    “All good now,” he smiled. “I knew I was good enough to win again, but until you do it sometimes you question yourself. It’s just the honest truth.”

    Getty Images

    Koepka still has chip on his chiseled shoulder

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 3:06 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Brooks Koepka prepared more for this Open than last year's.

    He picked up his clubs three times.

    That’s three more than last summer, when the only shots he hit between the summer Opens was during a commercial shoot for Michelob Ultra at TPC Sawgrass. He still tied for sixth at The Open a month later.

    This time, Koepka kept his commitment to play the Travelers, then hit balls three times between the final round in Hartford and this past Sunday, when he first arrived here at Carnoustie.

    Not that he was concerned, of course.

    Koepka’s been playing golf for nearly 20 years. He wasn’t about to forget to how to swing a club after a few weeks off.

    “It was pretty much the same thing,” he said Tuesday, during his pre-tournament news conference. “I shared it with one of my best friends, my family, and it was pretty much the same routine. It was fun. We enjoyed it. But I’m excited to get back inside the ropes and start playing again. I think you need to enjoy it any time you win and really embrace it and think about what you’ve done.”

    At Shinnecock Hills, Koepka became the first player in nearly 30 years to repeat as U.S. Open champion – a major title that helped him shed his undeserved reputation as just another 20-something talent who relies solely on his awesome power. In fact, he takes immense pride in his improved short game and putting inside 8 feet.

    “I can take advantage of long golf courses,” he said, “but I enjoy plotting my way around probably - more than the bombers’ golf courses - where you’ve got to think, be cautious sometimes, and fire at the center of the greens. You’ve got to be very disciplined, and that’s the kind of golf I enjoy.”

    Which is why Koepka once again fancies his chances here on the type of links that helped launch his career.

    Koepka was out of options domestically after he failed to reach the final stage of Q-School in 2012. So he packed his bags and headed overseas, going on a tear on the European Challenge Tour (Europe’s equivalent of the Web.com circuit) and earning four titles, including one here in Scotland. That experience was the most fun and beneficial part of his career, when he learned to win, be self-sufficient and play in different conditions.


    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “There’s certain steps, and I embraced it,” Koepka said. “I think that’s where a lot of guys go wrong. You are where you are, and you have to make the best of it instead of just putting your head down and being like, 'Well, I should be on the PGA Tour.' Well, guess what? You’re not. So you’ve got to suck it up wherever you are, make the best of it, and keep plugging away and trying to win everything you can because, eventually, if you’re good enough, you will get out here.”

    Koepka has proved that he’s plenty good enough, of course: He’s a combined 20 under in the majors since the beginning of 2017, the best of any player during that span. But he still searches long and hard for a chip to put on his chiseled shoulder.

    In his presser after winning at Shinnecock, Koepka said that he sometimes feels disrespected and forgotten, at least compared to his more-ballyhooed peers. It didn’t necessarily bother him – he prefers to stay out of the spotlight anyway, eschewing a media tour after each of his Open titles – but it clearly tweaked him enough for him to admit it publicly.

    That feeling didn’t subside after he went back to back at the Open, either. On U.S. Open Sunday, ESPN’s Instagram page didn’t showcase a victorious Koepka, but rather a video of New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. dunking a basketball.

    “He’s like 6-foot-2. He’s got hops – we all know that – and he’s got hands. So what’s impressive about that?” Koepka said. “But I always try to find something where I feel like I’m the underdog and put that little chip on my shoulder. Even if you’re No. 1, you’ve got to find a way to keep going and keep that little chip on.

    “I think I’ve done a good job of that. I need to continue doing that, because once you’re satisfied, you’re only going to go downhill. You try to find something to get better and better, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

    Now 28, Koepka has a goal of how many majors he’d like to win before his career is over, but he wasn’t about to share it.

    Still, he was adamant about one thing: “Right now I’m focused on winning. That’s the only thing I’ve got in my mind. Second place just isn’t good enough. I finished second a lot, and I’m just tired of it. Once you win, it kind of propels you. You have this mindset where you just want to keep winning. It breeds confidence, but you want to have that feeling of gratification: I finally did this. How cool is this?”

    So cool that Koepka can’t wait to win another one.

    Getty Images

    Despite results, Thomas loves links golf

    By Jay CoffinJuly 17, 2018, 2:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Despite poor results in two previous Open Championships, Justin Thomas contends that he has what it takes to be a good links player. In fact, he believes that he is a good links player.

    Two years ago at Royal Troon, Thomas shot 77 in the second round to tie for 53rd place. He was on the wrong side of the draw that week that essentially eliminated anyone from contention who played late Friday afternoon.

    Last year at Royal Birkdale, Thomas made a quintuple-bogey 9 on the par-4 sixth hole in the second round and missed the cut by two shots.


    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “I feel like I’ve played more than two Opens, but I haven’t had any success here,” Thomas said Tuesday at Carnoustie. “I feel like I am a good links player, although I don’t really have the results to show.”

    Although he didn’t mention it as a reason for success this week, Thomas is a much different player now than he was two years ago, having ascended to the No. 1 position in the world for a few weeks and now resting comfortably in the second spot.

    He also believes a high golf IQ, and the ability to shape different shots into and with the wind are something that will help him in The Open over the next 20 years.

    “I truly enjoy the creativity,” Thomas said. “It presents a lot of different strategies, how you want to play it, if you want to be aggressive, if you want to be conservative, if you want to attack some holes, wait on certain winds, whatever it might be. It definitely causes you to think.

    “With it being as firm as it is, it definitely adds a whole other variable to it.”

    Getty Images

    Reed's major record now a highlight, not hindrance

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 2:46 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The narrative surrounding Patrick Reed used to be that he could play well in the Ryder Cup but not the majors.

    So much for that.

    Reed didn’t record a top-10 in his first 15 starts in a major, but he took the next step in his career by tying for second at the 2017 PGA Championship. He followed that up with a breakthrough victory at the Masters, then finished fourth at the U.S. Open after a closing 68.

    He’s the only player with three consecutive top-4s in the majors.

    What’s the difference now?


    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “The biggest thing is I treat them like they’re normal events,” he said Tuesday at Carnoustie. “I’ve always gone into majors and put too much pressure on myself, having to go play well, having to do this or that. Now I go in there and try to play golf and keep in the mindset of, Hey, it’s just another day on the golf course. Let’s just go play.

    “I’ve been able to stay in that mindset the past three, and I’ve played pretty well in all three of them.”

    Reed’s record in the year’s third major has been hit or miss – a pair of top-20s and two missed cuts – but he says he’s a better links player now than when he began his career. It took the native Texan a while to embrace the creativity required here and also to comprehend the absurd distances he can hit the ball with the proper wind, conditions and bounce.

    “I’m sort of accepting it,” he said. “I’ve gotten a little more comfortable with doing it. It’s come a little bit easier, especially down the stretch in tournament play.”