Mickelson says Woods-McIlroy spat overblown

By Associated PressSeptember 29, 2010, 7:05 pm

Ryder Cup

NEWPORT, Wales – Phil Mickelson came to the defense of Rory McIlroy on Wednesday, calling him one of the classiest players in golf and his desire to play Tiger Woods is the goal of every player who wants to beat the best.

The back-and-forth between McIlroy and Woods has captivated the early days of the Ryder Cup. McIlroy said in August he would “love to face” the world’s No. 1 player unless his game improves. Asked about that comment, Woods defiantly said, “Me, too.”

Mickelson was surprised to hear it had become such a big story.

“That’s the type of charisma that Rory McIlroy has,” Mickelson said. “He’s just like any other top player that wants to take on the best. That’s not any type of controversy or saga.”

Padraig Harrington said everyone on Europe’s team wanted to play Woods in previous Ryder Cups because when the world’s No. 1 player was on top of his game, his opponents had nothing to lose. Woods was expected to win every match.

Now that Woods’ is a captain’s pick who has failed to win this year, Harrington isn’t so sure.

“In many ways, it will be a tougher match this time around,” Harrington said. “He’ll be more enthusiastic, more motivated, so I would be very wary of him myself.”

Woods said a year ago that McIlroy had the game to eventually be No. 1 in the world. The 21-year-old from Northern Ireland won his first PGA Tour event this year by closing with a record 62 at Quail Hollow.

McIlroy tied a major championship record when he opened with a 63 at St. Andrews in the British Open, where he tied for third; and he tied for third at the PGA Championship.

Told that Woods’ did not appear happy with McIlroy’s comments, Mickelson again was surprised.

“They get along great, are you kidding me?” Mickelson said. “Rory is one of the nicest guys you can imagine. He’s one of the classiest guys out on tour. Tiger gets along with just about everybody – usually because he beats them, and he’s nice to them when he beats them. Rory is as classy a guy as there is. I’ve been paired with him a bunch, and I really enjoy playing with him.”

McIlroy is the latest player whose comments annoyed Woods.

The most famous was Stephen Ames, who jokingly said he had a chance against Woods in the Match Play Championship, “especially where he’s hitting the ball.” Woods beat him in the first round, 9 and 8.

At the 2000 Presidents Cup, the caddie for Vijay Singh – Woods’ opponent in the single match – wrote “Tiger Who?” on the back of his cap. Woods won the match, and later told that story by saying the score (2 and 1) was his best response. There also was the time Michael Campbell said he looked forward to taking on Woods at the Match Play, and when Woods stepped on the first tee, he said to Campbell, “I hear you want a piece of me.” Woods won, 5 and 4.

Whether Woods and McIlroy play each other is a matter of chance, as the Ryder Cup features a blind draw.

U.S. captain Corey Pavin said it would violate the spirit of the matches for him and European captain Colin Montgomerie to arrange Woods and McIlroy to face each other in singles.

“But I think it would be fun for me to watch,” Pavin said.

Watch: Koepka holes out from off the green at 16

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 21, 2018, 5:36 am

Brooks Koepka faced a stiff challenge from Gary Woodland on Sunday in South Korea, but eventually it came time to end the suspense.

Having clung to a slim lead for much of the back nine, Koepka looked as though he was going to have to scramble just to save par when he missed the green at 16. 

Instead, caddie Ricky Elliott was able to leave Koepka's putter in the bag.

That holeout combined with a bogey from Woodland at 17 put Koepka ahead by three, allowing him to walk to victory and to the top of the world rankings.

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Koepka wins CJ Cup, ascends to world No. 1

By Nick MentaOctober 21, 2018, 5:07 am

Brooks Koepka eagled the 72nd hole Sunday to cap off a final-round 64, win the CJ Cup and supplant Dustin Johnson as the new No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here's how Koepka took over the golf world Sunday in South Korea.

Leaderboard: Koepka (-21), Gary Woodland (-17), Ryan Palmer (-15), Rafa Cabrera Bello (-15), Jason Day (-12), Scott Piercy (-12)

What it means: This is Koepka's fifth career PGA Tour victory but only his second in a non-major, following his maiden win back at the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open. Up four to start the day, Koepka saw his lead evaporate as Woodland rocketed up the leaderboard and kept pace with him for much of the back nine. But every time Sunday's result appeared in doubt, Koepka reclaimed his lead in dramatic fashion. He nearly aced the par-3 13th to go ahead by two and later holed out for birdie at the par-4 16th to go up three with two to play. He finished par-eagle at 17 and 18 to shoot a back-nine 29 and close out his third victory in the last five months. With the win, Koepka ascends to the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in his career.

Round of the day: Ryan Palmer set a Nine Bridges course record when he birdied his final seven holes in a row en route to a bogey-free round of 10-under 62 and a solo third-place finish.

Best of the rest: Woodland played his first 16 holes in 9 under par to storm from five back and catch Koepka atop the leaderboard. But his furious Sunday charge finally came to an end when he failed to get up and down for par from the back bunker at 17. He carded his 11th birdie of the round at the 18th hole to sign for 63 and finish solo second.

Biggest disappointment: In retrospect, Woodland called it correctly on Saturday when he said: "You obviously want to get off to a good start and put pressure on him as soon as you can. You know, Brooks doesn't seem like he cares too much, and he's playing so good, so you're going to have to go out and post a number." Woodland put as much pressure on Koepka as he could. He went out and posted that number. Koepka never blinked.

Shot of the day: Koepka's holeout at the par-3 16th, which put him ahead by three, unofficially ending the proceedings:

Quote of the day: "To be world No. 1 is something I dreamed of as a kid. I don't think this one is going to sink in." - Koepka

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Watch: Koepka nearly aces par-3 13th Sunday

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 21, 2018, 4:24 am

Just when it looked like he was facing a legitimate challenge Sunday, Brooks Koepka responded with a near-ace.

Up four to start the final round, Koepka saw his lead disappear as Gary Woodland raced up the leaderboard to tie him at 13 under and then 14 under.

Unfazed, the three-time major winner birdied the par-5 12th to regain his outright lead and then followed up with this tee shot at the 218-yard, par-3 13th.

And just like that, the tap-in birdie put Koepka back ahead by two with five to play.

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Haas nearly shoots age in taking Champions playoff opener lead

By Associated PressOctober 20, 2018, 10:05 pm

RICHMOND, Va.  -- Jay Haas shot a 7-under 65 - missing his age by a stroke - to take a two-shot lead Saturday in the PGA Tour Champions' playoff-opening Dominion Energy Charity Classic.

Trying to become the oldest winner in tour history, the 64-year-old Haas birdied the par-5 16th and 18th holes to get to 11-under 133 on The Country Club of Virginia's James River Course.

''I've been out here too long to know that I can learn to expect anything,'' Haas said. ''While I'm hopeful every day and I've been playing OK, the last couple weeks have not been very good, but this week has been much better. I love this golf course and it looks good to my eye. Most of the holes look like I'm going to hit a good shot, so I enjoy playing here.''

Mike Fetchick set the age record of 63 years to the day in the 1985 Hilton Head event. Haas is second on the list, taking the 2016 Toshiba Classic at 62 years, 10 months, 7 days for his 18th senior title.

''That's a good way to say I'm old, 'experience,''' Haas said. ''I think I'm very nervous most of the time when I play and today was no exception, but I continued to hit good shots and, hopefully, I can put one foot in front of the other, one shot at a time, do what I tell my son to do every time, you know? See if I can put some of those adages to work tomorrow.''


Full-field scores from the Dominion Energy Charity Classic


Stephen Ames and Scott Dunlap were tied for second after the round that started in light rain. Ames had a 67, and Dunlap shot 68.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer had a 66 to join Billy Mayfair (67) and Woody Austin (68) at 9 under. Langer won the SAS Championship last week in North Carolina to take the season points lead. The 61-year-old German star has two victories this year and 38 overall on the 50-and-over tour.

The top 72 players qualified for the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs opener. The top 54 on Sunday will get spots next week in the Invesco QQQ Championship in Thousand Oaks, California, and the top 36 after that will advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, second in the standings, was tied for 23rd at 4 under after a 71.