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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High school seniors win U.S. Amateur Four-Ball

By Associated PressMay 24, 2018, 1:44 am

TEQUESTA, Fla. - The 18-year-old Hammer, from Houston, is set to play at Texas next fall. Barber, from Stuart, Fla., also is 18. He's headed to LSU.

''Growing up watching U.S. Opens and U.S. Amateurs on TV, I just knew being a USGA champion is something that I desperately wanted,'' said Hammer, who qualified for a U.S. Open three years ago at 15. ''And to finally do it, it feels incredible. It feels as good, if not better, than I thought it would. And especially being able to do it with Garrett. It's really cool to share this moment.''

Hammer and Cole won the par-4 eighth with a birdie to take a 2-up lead. They took the par-4 10th with a par, won the par-5 13th with an eagle - Barber hit a 4-iron from 235 yards to 3 feet - and halved the next two holes to end the match.

''Cole didn't want me to hit 4-iron,'' Barber said. ''He didn't think I could get it there. I was like, 'I got it.' So I hit it hard, hit pretty much a perfect shot. It was a crazy shot.''

The 32-year-old Dull is from Winter Park, Fla., and the 42-year-old Brooke from Altamonte Springs, Fla.

''Cole Hammer is a special player,'' Brooke said. ''Obviously, he's going to Texas (and) I'm not saying he is Jordan Spieth, but there are certain things that he does.''

In the morning semifinals, Hammer and Barber beat Idaho high school teammates Carson Barry and Sam Tidd, 5 and 4, and Brooke and Dull topped former Seattle University teammates Kyle Cornett and Patrick Sato, 4 and 3.

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Watch: Pumped up Beef deadlifts 485 lbs.

By Grill Room TeamMay 24, 2018, 12:19 am

Andrew "Beef" Johnston has been playing some solid golf on the European Tour this season, and he is clearly pumped up for one of the biggest weeks of the year at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

Judging from the video below, Beef will have no problems lifting the trophy on Sunday as he reportedly deadlifted 220 kg ... (Googles kilogram to pounds converter, enters numbers) ... that's 485 lbs!

@beefgolf with a new deadlift PB 220kg ! #youcantgowronggettingstrong

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Arizona captures NCAA DI Women's Championship

By Jay CoffinMay 23, 2018, 11:56 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – Turns out this match-play format provides fireworks. Almost always.

In the four years since the women’s NCAA Championship has switched from the stale, 72-hole stroke-play format the championship matches have been pure magic.

This year, for the third time in the past four years, the final outcome came down to the last match and Arizona took home its third title with a 3-2 victory over Alabama on Wednesday when junior Haley Moore defeated senior Lakareber Abe on the 19th hole.

The Wildcats also won NCAA titles in 1996 and 2000, the latter when current Arizona coach Laura Ianello was on the team as a player.

“Arizona is my home, it is where I went to school and [the championship] needs to be back home,” Ianello said. “So I am so proud to be the coach to bring it back.”

Two days ago, Arizona was in the midst of an epic collapse. The Wildcats were safely in the third position after 54 holes of stroke play and needed only to be inside the top eight after 72 holes to advance to the match-play portion of the event.

But they played the worst round of the day and were on the outside looking in with one hole remaining when junior Bianca Pagdanganan made eagle on the par-5 18th hole. That propelled the Wildcats into a playoff against Baylor that they ultimately won.

On the first day of match play, Arizona continued to ride the wave of momentum by defeating Pac-12 rivals UCLA, the top seed, and Stanford, a match-play stalwart the past three years.

Next up for Arizona was Alabama, the top-ranked team in the country and the second seed this week after stroke play.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Team scoring

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Individual scoring

“Win or lose tomorrow, this has been a hell of a ride,” Ianello said, attempting to take pressure off her team, which, on paper, looked like an underdog.

But you know the saying, anything can happen in match play, and often does.

Alabama coach Mic Potter put out his three first-team All-Americans in the first three spots hoping to jump out to an early lead. Junior Lauren Stephenson played poorly in the opening match and lost, 4 and 3, to freshman Yu-Sang Hou.

Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight dispatched Wildcats Gigi Stoll and Pagdanganan easily in the second and third matches.

Arizona’s Sandra Nordaas beat Angelica Moresco, 1 up, in the fourth match meaning the fifth and final match, which was all square after 16 holes, was going to decide the NCAA title.

Lakareber lost the 17th hole when her approach shot sailed well short and right of the green in thick, gnarly rough. She attempted to advance the ball but could not and headed to the final hole 1 down.

With seemingly every golf fan in Stillwater on site, including several men’s teams here to participate in next week’s championship, Abe hit a laser second shot into the par-5 18th hole setting up a 12-foot look for eagle. Moore missed her birdie putt and Abe won the hole to set up extra holes to decide the championship.

In the extra frame, Moore was left of the green in two shots and Abe was short in the greenside bunker. Moore chipped to 4 feet and Abe’s bunker shot was 6 feet away. Abe missed, Moore made and Arizona walked away with the hardware.

“It means so much, it’s actually like a dream,” Moore said. “I’m just so happy for my team right now.”

Potter has been a head coach for 35 years – at both Furman and Alabama – and finally was able to collect his first NCAA Championship in 2012. Being so close to a second one will sting for quite a while but he will be able to live with the outcome for one simple reason.

“They fought their hearts out all year,” Potter said. “I just want to congratulate them for the way they battled, not only today, but in match play. Everyone gave their best on every shot - that’s all we can ask.”

Arizona def. Alabama, 3-2

Yu-Sang Hou (AZ) def. Lauren Stephenson (AL), 4 and 3

Kristen Gillman (AL) def. Gigi Stoll (AZ), 4 and 3

Cheyenne Knight (AL) def. Bianca Pagdanganan, 4 and 2

Sandra Nordaas (AZ) def. Angelica Moresco (AL), 1 up

Haley Moore (AZ) def. Lakareber Abe (AL), 19th hole

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Elway to play in U.S. Senior Open qualifier

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 23, 2018, 10:25 pm

Tony Romo is not the only ex-QB teeing it up against the pros.

Denver Broncos general manager and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway will try to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open next week, according to the Denver Post.

And why not? The qualifier and the senior major will be held in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor. Elway is scheduled to tee off May 28 at 12:10 p.m. ET. The top two finishers will earn a spot in the U.S. Senior Open, June 27 to July 1.