Last Chance to Make Presidents Cup

By Associated PressAugust 6, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PGA ChampionshipThe farewell tour for Jack Nicklaus is not over yet.
 
He bowed out at the Masters, not telling anyone that he was through until he had missed the cut. Then came that historic walk over the Swilcan Bridge at St. Andrews, where Nicklaus played his 164th and final major championship at the British Open.
 
Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus
Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus will again captain their respective teams in the Presidents Cup.
This time, he won't hit a shot or miss the cut.
 
His last act in a major event will be as the U.S. captain for the Presidents Cup team, and while Nicklaus tends to downplay his role, it has served as an incentive for players trying to get on the team.
 
'There's a group of us that really want to make the team and to win for Jack,' Davis Love III said. 'He deserves a Presidents Cup win after going around the world twice and not getting one.'
 
The PGA Championship is the last tournament to make the team, which is based on PGA Tour earnings the last two years for Americans, and the world ranking for the International team.
 
Love never imagined he would be needing to fight so hard.
 
He has been on every Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup team since 1993, the longest service of any American, and he joins Phil Mickelson as the only U.S. players to have played in every Presidents Cup since its inception in 1994.
 
Heading into the International and then the PGA Championship, Love was ninth in the standings, although he had a comfortable margin over Justin Leonard in the 11th spot. Scott Verplank was 10th, courtesy of his runner-up finish in the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee two weeks ago.
 
Tiger Woods is atop the U.S. standings again, and the top seven players were all in South Africa two years ago when the matches ended in a tie, and an epic playoff between Woods and Ernie Els failed to decide the outcome before it got too dark to continue.
 
But if the Presidents Cup hasn't been on everyone's mind lately, there is a reason.
 
Three-time International captain Peter Thomson once described these matches as a 'happier contest,' and it certainly comes with far less hype than the Ryder Cup, which has nearly 70 more years of tradition on its side.
 
The best example is to look at the captains.
 
Heading into the PGA Championship last year, Ryder Cup captain Hal Sutton was making appearances across the country, talking up his potential team and trying to sort out whom he might take as his two picks.
 
Nicklaus was asked in early June when he would turn his attention to the Presidents Cup.
 
'When I have to turn my attention to it,' he said.
 
He spent last week fishing in Iceland, then headed to Utah to play in a charity event with Johnny Miller. He will be at Baltusrol for the PGA Championship, but only as the honorary chairman at a course where he twice won the U.S. Open.
 
That's not to suggest Nicklaus doesn't care. He simply puts these competitions in perspective.
 
'It's a great honor, a great event,' he said. 'What happened in South Africa was terrific for the game, and it was terrific for South Africa. That's all we're trying to do. We're no masterminds, for crying out loud. You do what you have to do to make sure you've got a good show, and the guys have a good time, and it's a good event and people enjoy it. And you try to get bragging rights if you can.
 
Zach Johnson
Zach Johnson needs a late push at the PGA to make the U.S. team.
'It's exactly like the Ryder Cup should be handled.'
 
Still, his presence figures to be a motivating factor for those trying to make the team.
 
Money counts double in a Presidents Cup year, and with a prize money expected to be at least $6.5 million at the PGA Championship, that leaves plenty of room for several Americans to play their way onto the team.
 
Several of them have never played in a team competition, such as Zach Johnson (No. 12), Ted Purdy (No. 14), Joe Ogilvie (No. 15) and Bart Bryant, who is 16th in the standings on the strength of winning the Memorial.
 
'It's a huge goal of mine,' Johnson said. 'It was at the beginning of the year. It's still foremost in my game, but when it comes to the first tee, I try to throw it away and just forget about it and go about my business.'
 
Nicklaus finally gets a home game, as the Presidents Cup will be played Sept. 22-25 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in northern Virginia, where the Americans have never lost.
 
He was captain of the 1998 team in Australia that got clobbered at Royal Melbourne, 201/2-111/2, the worst loss ever by a U.S. team in cup competition. He had to settle for a tie in South Africa, which ended in the dark when both teams agreed to share the cup instead of returning the next morning.
 
Nicklaus and Player were asked to return in 2005 to settle the matter.
 
Player's job became more difficult when Els suffered a season-ending knee injury last week. That put Mark Hensby of Australia in the 10th spot, and world ranking points for the International team (represented by every country outside Europe) make it harder to climb the list without a top finish.
 
Even so, Player said the PGA Championship will go a long way toward determining his two picks. Two years ago, Tim Clark's third-place finish at Oak Hill was enough for him to warrant a wild-card selection.
 
'The thing I did last year was pick the up-and-coming guys who were playing well at the time,' Player said. 'Timing is the essential ingredient to picking your team.'
 
Player will have the usual suspects, starting with Vijay Singh, who also has played in every Presidents Cup. He will be joined by Retief Goosen and Adam Scott, while newcomers include Angel Cabrera and possibly Nick O'Hern.
 
While it is a surprise to see Love struggled to make the U.S. team, Player is concerned that former Masters champion Mike Weir is 10th in the standings, with not much breathing room between him and Peter Lonard at No. 12. Weir tied for fifth at the Masters, but has made only one cut in seven tournaments since then.
 
The PGA Championship will have a large influence on both teams, although winning doesn't guarantee a spot on the American team. Two years ago, Nicklaus left two current major champions off his team -- British Open winner Ben Curtis and PGA champion Shaun Micheel -- in favor of Jay Haas and Fred Funk.
 
Nicklaus wasn't sure what he had in mind this time around.
 
'I've got a very difficult situation,' he said a week before the PGA. 'My guess is I probably will not pick Nos. 11 and 12. The American team is relatively young and I might want experience this time. We'll see how things play out the next two weeks.'
 
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    Spieth shares Hartford lead; Rory 1 back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 21, 2018, 10:35 pm

    Just a few miles north but light years removed from the difficulty of Shinnecock Hills, the PGA Tour returned to week-in, week-out normalcy with the Travelers Championship. Here's what happened in the first round at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn.:

    Leaderboard: Zach Johnson (-7), Jordan Spieth (-7), Rory McIlroy (-6), Peter Malnati (-6), Brian Harman (-6)

    What it means: The two biggest names in the field, Spieth and McIlroy, are looking for a boost of confidence after missing the cut in the U.S. Open. Their scores look good, but McIlroy won't be happy about closing with a bogey.

    Round of the day: Johnson and Spieth both put up 7-under 63s. Johnson, after a relatively pedestrian 2-under front nine, caught fire on the back, making six consecutive birdies on holes 11-16. A three-putt bogey at the 17th ended the run, and he parred the last for his 63. Spieth, the defending champion, put up two birdies and an eagle on the front and four more birdies on the back. Like Johnson, he had only one blemish, a bogey-5 on the drivable par-4 15th when he hooked his drive into the water.

    Best of the rest: McIlroy, Malnati and Harman each shot 64. Malnati eagled the 15th and followed that with birdies at 16 and 17 and a back-nine 29. Harman had a rare birdie on the 444-yard 18th for his 64, but McIlroy threw away a shot at the closing hole to fall out of a share of the lead. His right foot slipped as he was hitting his approach shot, and he missed the green. After taking a drop to get away from a sprinkler head, he was unable to get up and down.

    Biggest disappointment: Bubba Watson, a two-time winner of this event, could manage no better than an even-par 70. Two-under through 11 holes, he bogeyed three of the next four.

    Shot of the day: Can we safely say that Spieth likes the bunkers at River Highlands? Last year he got up and down from one at the 18th hole to get into a playoff, then he holed out from the same bunker to win the playoff. On Thursday he worked his magic at the par-5 sixth hole, sinking his sand shot for eagle.

    Biggest storyline going into Friday: Most eyes will be on Spieth and McIlroy, to see if they're over they're U.S. Open funks and gearing up for The Open Championship.

    NBC Sports Group to Showcase Top Players in Women's Golf With Comprehensive Coverage of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, June 25-July 1

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsJune 21, 2018, 9:35 pm

    Golf Channel and NBC to Combine for More Than 40 Hours of News, Tournament and Instruction On-Site from Kemper Lakes Golf Club, Most in Tournament History 

    KPMG Ambassador Phil Mickelson to Join Golf Central on Monday, June 25 Live from Soldier Field 

    Condoleezza Rice and Olympians Nancy Kerrigan, Hilary Knight and Maia Shibutani to Headline KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit Wednesday, June 27

     

    ORLANDO, Fla., June 21, 2018 – Featuring one of the strongest fields of the year, NBC Sports Group will dedicate more than 40 hours of comprehensive on-site news, tournament and instruction coverage of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship – most in tournament history – Monday, June 25 - Sunday, July 1. Taking place at Kemper Lakes Golf Club near Chicago, the third LPGA Tour major of the season will be headlined by World No. 1 Inbee Park, No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn, No. 3 Lexi Thompson, ANA Inspiration champion Pernilla Lindberg and defending champion Danielle Kang. In 2017, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship was the most-watched women’s major championship of the year. 

    Through the partnership with KPMG, the PGA of America and the LPGA Tour, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship has been elevated to become one of the most impactful weeks of the year in women’s golf,” said Molly Solomon, executive vice president of content, Golf Channel. “As the broadcast partner for the championship, we strive to elevate our coverage each year to celebrate not only the best players in women’s golf but also female leaders in the workplace through the KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit.” 

    BROADCAST TEAM: Live tournament coverage of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship will be anchored by Dan Hicks, joined by Paige Mackenzie and Gary Koch in the broadcast booth. Tom Abbott will report from an on-course tower, with Kay Cockerill, Jerry Foltz and Mark Rolfing walking the course. Steve Sands will conduct player interviews. 

    NBC SPORTS GROUP TO IMPLEMENT POPULAR “PLAYING THROUGH” ENCHANCED COMMERCIAL BREAKS: Making its debut on NBC at the Ryder Cup in 2016, Golf Channel and NBC will implement the popular “Playing Through” enhancement in an effort to elevate the viewing experience for fans tuning in to the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. NBC Sports Group is partnering with several national advertisers to present select commercial breaks in utilizing “Playing Through,” which will employ a split-screen model for a select number of national commercial breaks. This enhanced break will display both the commercial with audio as well as a continuous feed of the tournament action. 

    COMPREHENSIVE ON-SITE NEWS COVERAGE: Golf Channel’s signature news programs, Golf Central and Morning Drive, will provide comprehensive, wraparound news coverage throughout the week, produced on-location at Kemper Lakes Golf Club. In addition to daily shows, Golf Central will present special player news conference shows Tuesday and Wednesday, June 26 and 27, at 5 p.m. ET. 

    Rich Lerner will anchor Golf Central’s live coverage alongside LPGA major champion Karen Stupples and Arron Oberholser beginning Wednesday, June 27, with Lisa Cornwell reporting and conducting player interviews. Chantel McCabe will set the stage each day on Morning Drive with on-site interviews and analysis, with Paige Mackenzie joining her Monday-Wednesday. 

    PHIL MICKELSON TO JOIN GOLF CENTRAL LIVE FROM SOLDIER FIELD MONDAY, JUNE 25: Kicking off KPMG Women’s PGA Championship week will be the KPMG Windy City Skills Challenge, taking place at Soldier Field in Chicago on Monday, June 25. KPMG Ambassadors Phil Mickelson and Mariah Stackhouse along with athletes from the Chicago Bears, Bulls, Fire, Red Stars and Skywill be conducting a special clinic and skills challenge event with local youth organizations. Mickelson will join Golf Central live from Soldier Field on Monday following the conclusion of the skills challenge. 

    SCHOOL OF GOLF ON-SITE AT KEMPER LAKES: School of Golf will air Tuesday at 7 p.m. from on-site at Kemper Lakes Golf Club, with Martin Hall and Blair O’Neal hosting a special short-game episode. Scheduled guests include 2018 U.S. Women’s Open champion Ariya Jutanugarn and her coaches, Golf Channel Academy coaches Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott, as well as LPGA major champion Morgan Pressel.  

    KPMG WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP SUMMIT: Golf Central will offer news coverage of the KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit, which will be hosted on-site Wednesday, June 27, featuring an assembly of accomplished leaders in sports, business, politics and media to inspire the next generation of women leaders. 66th Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Olympians Nancy Kerrigan, Hilary Knight and Maia Shibutani will headline the gathering. NBC Sunday Night Football sideline reporter Michele Tafoya will serve as master of ceremonies. The summit will be streamed live on Wednesday on Golf Channel Digital. In addition, portions of the summit also will be streamed via Golf Channel’s Facebook Live. 

    DIGITAL AND SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE: Golf Channel Digital will feature expanded editorial content during KPMG Women’s PGA Championship week. GolfChannel.com senior writer Randall Mell will report from Kemper Lakes Golf Club with columns and daily blogs, and Golf Channel social media host Alexandra O’Laughlin will contribute to Golf Channel’s social media platforms with exclusive behind-the-scenes content throughout the week. Golf Channel and NBC also will integrate social media throughout the telecasts, incorporating social media posts from players and fans using the hashtag #KPMGWomensPGA. 

    News and tournament action surrounding the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship can be accessed at any time on any mobile device and online via Golf Channel Digital. Fans also can stream NBC Sports’ coverage of live golf via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports app.

     GOLF CHANNEL / NBC LIVE TOURNAMENT AIRTIMES(all times Eastern):

    Thursday, June 28

    Round 1

    11 a.m.-3 p.m.

    Golf Channel

    Friday, June 29

    Round 2

    11 a.m.-3 p.m.

    Golf Channel

    Saturday, July 30

    Round 3

    3-6 p.m.

    NBC

    Sunday, July 1

    Final Round

    3-6 p.m.

    NBC

     

    The PGA of America and KPMG joined forces with the LPGA Tour in 2015 to create a world-class major championship that not only sustains the 60-year legacy of the former LPGA Championship, but also aims to elevate women on and off the golf course. The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship provides a platform to inspire the next generation of women leaders through the KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit and the KPMG Future Leaders Program.

     -NBC Sports Group-

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    Garcia (73), Fleetwood (74) off to slow starts at BMW

    By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 8:30 pm

    PULHEIM, Germany – Sebastien Gros carded a 4-under 68 in windy conditions to lead by one shot after the opening round of the BMW International Open on Thursday.

    The Frenchman had four birdies to take the lead before the turn, and a six-footer on the 15th hole moved him two ahead. But a bogey on the next hole left the 28-year-old Gros just one ahead of Jorge Campillo, Scott Jamieson, Aaron Rai and Henric Sturehed.

    Sturehed eagled the par-5 No. 13 to take the lead in the morning at the Gut Laerchenhof club.

    Christofer Blomstrand, Nico Geyger, Mark Tullo, Victor Perez, David Howell and Nicolai von Dellingshausen are a further stroke back on 2-under 70.

    Defending champion Andres Romero was among a large group at 1 under, including 2013 winner Ernie Els and three-time European Tour winner Andy Sullivan.

    Romero is bidding to be the first player to retain the title.

    Local favorite and 2008 champion Martin Kaymer shot 72, ahead of Sergio Garcia (73) and Tommy Fleetwood (74).

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    Ryu thriving again after simple advice from Inbee Park

    By Randall MellJune 21, 2018, 7:07 pm

    So Yeon Ryu shared Rolex Player of the Year honors last year.

    She reigned as world No. 1 for almost five months.

    So when she couldn’t keep her momentum going at year’s start, she got frustrated. She wasn’t happy with two top 10s in her first 11 starts.

    “I lost a lot of confidence at the beginning of the year,” Ryu said Thursday as she prepared to lead a strong field as the defending champion in Friday’s start of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. “My expectation level was way too high.”

    So she sought the counsel of her pal, world No. 1 Inbee Park, who gave her some plain-spoken advice.


    Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship


    “Get over it,” Park told her. “You know what to do. You’ve done it, so it’s not really a big deal. Don’t worry about it. You were No. 1. You’ve achieved a lot of things as a professional golfer. Just don’t be too hard on yourself.”

    Ryu got over it winning the Meijer LPGA Classic last week, the sixth LPGA title of her career, her third in 15 months. She’s feeling good again leading a stellar field this week at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Ark., a strong tune up before next week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the year’s third major championship.

    World No. 1 Park, No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn and No. 3 Lexi Thompson are among the top nine players in the world scheduled to compete this week. Twenty-four of the top 30 are in the field.

    “When you come to defend your title, you obviously have a lot of pressure, but after I won last week, now I sort of think, maybe I have a chance to defend my title,” Ryu said. “So I've got total confidence, by last week.”