Mahan feels the pain of Ryder Cup loss

By Associated PressOctober 5, 2010, 12:05 am

Ryder Cup

NEWPORT, Wales – Hunter Mahan kept searching for the words. All he could muster were tears.

From the ecstasy of Valhalla to the despondency of Celtic Manor, Mahan was the unmistakable face of an American team that came so close pulling off an improbable comeback, only to hand the Ryder Cup back to the Europeans on Monday.

Mahan asked to be in the last singles match, asked to have the pressure of the anchor spot put squarely on his shoulders. At the end, the blonde-haired Texan got exactly what he wanted: the match that would decide who got the cup.

Only it didn’t go as planned. Instead of the cheers Mahan heard two years ago as one of the stars of a U.S. triumph, he tasted the bitterest of defeats, his last hurrah ending at No. 17 with a short tee shot, a flubbed chip and a putt from off the green that wasn’t even close.

Mahan didn’t bother making Graeme McDowell putt out, shaking hands with the Northern Irishman, then clearing out of the way so the Europeans could begin their celebration right there on the 17th green.

The Americans lost 14 1/2 -13 1/2 . Mahan took the blame, as unfair as that is in a team competition that played out over 28 matches and four days.

“He just beat me today,” Mahan said, struggling to keep his composure.

When he joined his teammates in the interview room, his anguish was apparent. They patted Mahan on the back, trying to prop him up. They praised him for his courage and tried shifting the blame to other points lost. He kept rubbing his eyes, trying desperately to keep from breaking down for all the world to see.

“I’m just proud to be a part of this team,” Mahan said. “It’s a close team, and …'

That’s about all he could say.

His teammates spoke for him.

“We are all proud to be part of this team,” Phil Mickelson chimed in, giving Mahan a gentle slap on the shoulder. “We came within half a point. But we could look anywhere throughout those 28 points for that half a point.”

Asked how it felt to know the entire match hinged on his one-on-one with McDowell, Mahan teared up again. And Mickelson ran interference again.

“Let’s go to another one. Yes, in the blue back there,” Lefty said, pointing to a reporter on the other side of the room.

Clearly, others contributed to this defeat.

Stewart Cink? He played in one of the earliest singles matches against Rory McIlroy. The American had the lead until he three-putted the 15th. Then he missed a little 6-footer at the 17th to reclaim the lead, and a 15-footer at the end that still would have won the match. If Cink had taken a full point for the Americans, it would have been 14-14 – and the tie goes to the defending champion.

Mickelson? He lost all three of his team matches, giving him more career defeats than any other U.S. Ryder Cup player, before an easy singles win against Peter Hanson.

“If you go up and down the line of the tour players in Europe and the U.S. and asked them if they would like to be the last guy to decide the Ryder Cup, probably less than half would say they would like to be that guy and probably less than 10 percent of them would mean it,” Cink said.

“Hunter Mahan put himself in that position today. He was the man on our team, to put himself in that position. Hunter Mahan performed like a champ out there today. I think it’s awesome. Not many players would do that.”

Steve Stricker won the leadoff match for the Americans, setting the tone for a comeback that came oh-so-close. He, too, said it was unfair to blame Mahan.

“We can all think about a shot here and there that could have turned the match to make up that one point,” Stricker said. “You hate to see Hunter go through what he’s going through because it really shouldn’t come down to that. But, unfortunately, it did.”

Even the guy who beat Mahan felt for him.

“If I was Hunter, I would’ve been devastated,” McDowell said. “Aside from that chip (at the 17th), he played flawless golf.”

Later, Mahan was able to get himself together and add a little perspective to what he’s been through at the last two Ryder Cups.

He was the only American to go unbeaten in 2008, playing all five sessions as a rookie and gaining a new appreciation for an event that he had criticized as nothing more than a money-making machine. His signature moment came in singles, where he banged in a 60-foot birdie putt at the 17th and wound up halving a match with Paul Casey that gave the Americans a huge boost on the final day.

And now, Mahan knows how it felt to be Casey – only much, much worse.

“The Ryder Cup brings stuff out of you that you didn’t know you had, from an emotional sense, from a golf sense,” he said. “It’s a great learning experience. I’ll take a lot from it. I’m disappointed now, but it’s not something I’m going to be disappointed with for long.”

Maybe he can pass on the yin and yang of Ryder Cup to rising young American star Rickie Fowler, whose amazing comeback against Edoardo Molinari brought it all down to the last match. The bushy-haired 21-year-old birdied the last four holes, overcoming a three-shot deficit to earn a half point.

“It’s been an awesome week for me,” Fowler said, sounding his age. “It’s been pretty cool to be on a team with all of these guys.”

Mahan was feeling the same way two years ago. His young teammate would be wise to heed those lessons in a career that undoubtedly will include more Ryder Cup appearances.

“This is great for Rickie, great for his confidence,” said Davis Love III, an assistant captain for the Americans. “He’s got to make sure he learns from it the right way. He needs to look at that picture of Hunter pumping his fist at Valhalla.”

And remember the guy sitting on the dais Monday, struggling to hold back the tears.

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Miller to retire from broadcast booth in 2019

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 15, 2018, 9:14 pm

After nearly 30 years in the broadcast booth, Johnny Miller is ready to hang up his microphone.

Following a Hall of Fame playing career that included a pair of major titles, Miller has become one of the most outspoken voices in the game as lead golf analyst for NBC Sports. But at age 71 he has decided to retire from broadcasting following the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

“The call of being there for my grandkids, to teach them how to fish. I felt it was a higher calling,” Miller told “The parents are trying to make a living, and grandparents can be there like my father was with my four boys. He was there every day for them. I'm a big believer that there is a time and a season for everything.”

Miller was named lead analyst for NBC in 1990, making his broadcast debut at what was then known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic. He still remained competitive, notably winning the 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at age 46, but made an indelible mark on the next generation of Tour pros with his frank and candid assessment of the action from some of golf’s biggest events.

Miller’s broadcasting career has included 20 U.S. Opens, 14 Ryder Cups, nine Presidents Cups, three Open Championships and the 2016 Olympics. While he has teamed in the booth with Dan Hicks for the past 20 years, Miller’s previous on-air partners included Bryant Gumbel, Charlie Jones, Jim Lampley and Dick Enberg.

His farewell event will be in Phoenix Jan. 31-Feb. 3, at a tournament he won in back-to-back years in 1974-75.

“When it comes to serving golf fans with sharp insight on what is happening inside the ropes, Johnny Miller is the gold standard,” said NBC lead golf producer Tommy Roy. “It has been an honor working with him, and while it might not be Johnny’s personal style, it will be fun to send him off at one of the PGA Tour’s best parties at TPC Scottsdale.”

Miller was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998 after a playing career that included wins at the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont and The Open in 1976 at Royal Birkdale. Before turning pro, he won the 1964 U.S. Junior Amateur and was low amateur at the 1966 U.S. Open at Olympic, where he tied for eighth at age 19.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Miller now lives in Utah with his wife, Linda, and annually serves as tournament host of the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in Napa, Calif.

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Randall's Rant: Tiger vs. Phil feels like a ripoff

By Randall MellOctober 15, 2018, 7:45 pm

Usually, you have to buy something before you feel like you were ripped off.

The wonder in the marketing of Tiger vs. Phil and “The Match” is how it is making so many people feel as if they are getting ripped off before they’ve shelled out a single penny for the product.

Phil Mickelson gets credit for this miscue.

Apparently, the smartest guy in the room isn’t the smartest marketing guy.

He was a little bit like that telemarketer who teases you into thinking you’ve won a free weekend getaway, only to lead you into the discovery that there’s a shady catch, with fine print and a price tag.

There was something as slippery as snake oil in the original pitch.

In Mickelson’s eagerness to create some excitement, he hinted back during The Players in May about the possibility of a big-money, head-to-head match with Woods. A couple months later, he leaked more details, before it was ready to be fully announced.

So while there was an initial buzz over news of the Thanksgiving weekend matchup, the original pitch set up a real buzzkill when it was later announced that you were only going to get to see it live on pay-per-view.

The news landed with a thud but no price tag. We’re still waiting to see what it’s going to cost when these two meet at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, but anything that feels even slightly inflated now is going to further dampen the original enthusiasm Mickelson created.

Without Woods or Mickelson putting up their own money, this $9 million winner-take-all event was always going to feel more like a money grab than real competition.

When we were expecting to see it on network or cable TV, we didn’t care so much. Tiger's and Phil’s hands would have felt as if they were reaching into corporate America’s pockets. Now, it feels as if they’re digging into ours.

Last week, there was more disappointing news, with the Las Vegas Review-Journal reporting that tickets won’t be sold to the public, that the match at Shadow Creek will only be open to select sponsors and VIPs.

Now there’s a larger insult to the common fan, who can’t help but feel he isn’t worthy or important enough to gain admittance.

Sorry, but that’s how news of a closed gate landed on the heels of the pay-per-view news.

“The Match” was never going to be meaningful golf in any historical sense.

This matchup was never going to rekindle the magic Tiger vs. Phil brought in their epic Duel at Doral in ’05.

The $9 million was never going to buy the legitimacy a major championship or PGA Tour Sunday clash could bring.

It was never going to be more than an exhibition, with no lingering historical significance, but that was OK as quasi silly-season fare on TV on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23), the traditional weekend of the old Skins Game.

“The Match” still has a chance to be meaningful, but first and foremost as entertainment, not real competition. That’s what this was always going to be about, but now the bar is raised.

Pay per view does that.

“You get what you pay for” is an adage that doesn’t apply to free (or already-paid for) TV. It does to pay per view. Expectations go way up when you aren’t just channel surfing to a telecast. So the higher the price tag they end up putting on this showdown, the more entertaining this has to be.

If Phil brings his “A-Game” to his trash talking, and if Tiger can bring some clever repartee, this can still be fun. If the prerecorded segments wedged between shots are insightful, even meaningful in their ability to make us understand these players in ways we didn’t before, this will be worthwhile.

Ultimately, “The Match” is a success if it leaves folks who paid to see it feeling as if they weren’t as ripped off as the people who refused to pay for it. That’s the handicap a history of free golf on TV brings. Welcome to pay-per-view, Tiger and Phil.

Celia Barquin Arozamena Iowa State University athletics

Trial date set for drifter charged with killing Barquin Arozamena

By Associated PressOctober 15, 2018, 7:28 pm

AMES, Iowa – A judge has scheduled a January trial for a 22-year-old Iowa drifter charged with killing a top amateur golfer from Spain.

District Judge Bethany Currie ruled Monday that Collin Richards will stand trial Jan. 15 for first-degree murder in the death of Iowa State University student Celia Barquin Arozamena.

Richards entered a written not guilty plea Monday morning and waived his right to a speedy trial. The filing canceled an in-person arraignment hearing that had been scheduled for later Monday.

Investigators say Richards attacked Barquin on Sept. 17 while she was playing a round at a public course in Ames, near the university campus. Her body was found in a pond on the course riddled with stab wounds.

Richards faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

LeBron's son tries golf, and he might be good at everything

By Grill Room TeamOctober 15, 2018, 5:36 pm

LeBron James' son seems well on his way to a successful basketball career of his own. To wit:

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Finally got it down lol

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But with just a little work, he could pass on trying to surpass his father and try to take on Tiger and Jack, instead.

Bronny posted this video to Instagram of him in sandals whacking balls off a mat atop a deck into a large body of water, which is the golfer's definition of living your best life.

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How far, maybe 400 #happygilmore

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If you listen closely, at the end of the clip, you can just barely hear someone scream out for a marine biologist.