No Favors for Monty from Faldo

By Associated PressOctober 23, 2007, 4:00 pm
Nick Faldo pretended to have trouble understanding the question through a telephone line piped into a sound system at Valhalla Golf Club. Perhaps that was because the subject was his recent criticism of Colin Montgomerie.
 
On another occasion, however, he came through loud and clear, even though he didn't mention Monty by name.
 
'Match play, putting is unbelievably important,' Faldo said. 'It covers up a multitude of sins. You've got to be a good putter to play match play, and I think you get that from the psychology of match play. You're not worried about, or not thinking about, the next stroke. There's no lagging, or very rarely.'
 
It was another dose of insight from Faldo, whose credentials surpass any previous Ryder Cup captain for Europe.
 
Along with his six majors, he has participated in 11 Ryder Cups and won more points than anyone in its 80-year history. He also has spent time on just about every television channel as an analyst, which has enabled some of his contemporaries to finally get an idea what was going through his mind during all those years of winning.
 
Still, there might have been more to his comments Monday than how to putt.
 
Considering his history with Montgomerie, the most recent example coming two weeks ago when Faldo criticized him for skipping meetings at the Seve Trophy, there seemed to be an indirect message to the surly Scot.
 
Don't expect any favors.
 
Europe only last month began its Ryder Cup qualifying. Now is not the time for Montgomerie to panic, but he began the year at No. 17 in the world ranking and already has fallen to No. 53. His putting has been the weakest part of his game, as always, and for someone who will turn 45 next year, age certainly isn't going to help that.
 
Montgomerie has played in every Ryder Cup since 1991. His 23 1/2 points are second only to Faldo and Bernhard Langer. He has never lost a singles match, and one more singles victory would break the Ryder Cup record he shares with the likes of Faldo, Billy Casper, Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead.
 
Yet, that won't assure him a spot on the team, especially not with Faldo as the captain.
 
They were contemporaries, but rarely rivals. Montgomerie narrowly beat him to capture his first Order of Merit in 1993, but Faldo spent the rest of his decade focusing on the PGA TOUR, the toughest tour in golf, where Monty never won.
 
Their social relationship began to slide in 1999, two weeks before the Ryder Cup. Faldo was at the Canadian Open when he was asked why Montgomerie, who was on his way to a seventh consecutive Order of Merit, had never tried to spend a full season on the PGA TOUR.
 
'I'm surprised he hasn't thought of doing something different as a challenge,' Faldo said. 'But hell, I think he likes to earn his fat checks each week, which is no harm in that, I guess. If you're motivated by that. A few are. Most of us go for 10 claret jugs.'
 
Montgomerie was hurt. European captain Mark James was so outraged that when Faldo wrote the team a note wishing them well, James tore it up and tossed it in the trash.
 
Now that Faldo is captain, he will do things his way, take who he thinks are the best players and apologize for nothing.
 
As captain of the Seve Trophy -- matches between Britain and Ireland against continental Europe -- he left Paul McGinley off the team, meaning there would be no Irishman at a tournament in Ireland. It took an uglier turn when McGinley then resigned as Faldo's vice captain for the Ryder Cup, saying he wanted to concentrate on making the team.
 
That was merely a scene in the Ryder Cup soap opera, and many more are likely to play out over the next 11 months.
 
What really caused a stink was when Faldo criticized one of his players in the press, taboo for a captain.
 
'Monty's a tough one,' he told the Times of London. 'He was the only one whose emotions I had to deal with. He only came to two of the five team meetings, so that was disappointing. Then he had to be teased out onto the 18th green to support his team. The bottom line was that he hadn't won a point. That's why I sent him out first in singles. That's the place to get a point. And he did.'
 
Two past captains, Bernard Gallacher and Sam Torrance, quickly rose to Monty's defense. They said he was the consummate team player, Faldo was anything but that and Faldo would learn from his mistake.
 
'No fallout,' Faldo said tersely when the question about his critcism of Monty finally came through clearly.
 
Maybe he was being smart not to stir the pot again. Then again, it's hard to believe he made his comments to the Times without realizing the ramifications. All that can be certain is that Faldo will do things his way, just as he did when he became the world' No. 1 player.
 
'I'm me and I will do what I feel is best,' he said. 'I know what I can bring to the team.'
 
One of the most amazing transformations in golf was from Faldo, the prickly superstar with few words and even fewer friends, to Faldo, the golf analyst with a dry wit who can't stop talking.
 
Being a captain makes him competitive again.
 
'My days of winning majors have gone, and now this is the biggest project in my golf career right now,' he said. 'So yes, it's very important to me.'
 
There is an aura about Faldo that appeals to a younger generation -- Paul Casey, Nick Dougherty, Luke Donald -- who grew up with Faldo as the face of European golf. His contemporaries, such as Torrance and James, have experienced the selfish side of Nasty Nick.
 
But they won't be playing for him.
 
And if Montgomerie doesn't make the team on his own, he might not be, either.
 
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    M. Jutanugarn finally joins sister in LPGA winner's circle

    By Associated PressApril 23, 2018, 1:42 am

    LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn won the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open by two shots for her first victory in six years on the LPGA Tour, joining sister Ariya as the second siblings to win on the tour.

    The 23-year-old from Thailand shot a 3-under 68 for a 12-under 272 total Sunday at Wilshire Country Club in the tour's return to Los Angeles after a 13-year absence.

    Jutanugarn won in her 156th start after three career runner-up finishes, including at the Honda LPGA Thailand in February. She had 21 top-10 finishes before winning.

    Seven-time winner Ariya tied for 24th after a 70. She joined the predominantly Asian crowd to follow her older sister's final holes, crying as Moriya two-putted to close out the win.

    Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam were the first sisters to win on the LPGA Tour.

    Hall of Famer Inbee Park shot a 68 to tie for second with Jin Young Ko (70).

    Park had opportunities, but she wasn't able to put pressure on Jutanugarn playing in the final threesome. However, Park will return to No. 1 in the world when the rankings come out Monday, knocking off top-ranked Shenshen Fang, who tied for 12th.


    Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open


    Jutanugarn began the final round with a two-shot lead and never wavered in fulfilling the potential she first displayed as the LPGA Rookie of the Year in 2013. After a birdie at the second hole, she reeled off nine consecutive pars before sinking birdie putts at 12 and 13.

    She overcame a tee shot that narrowly missed going out of bounds for another birdie at 15 to lead by three.

    Jutanugarn ran into trouble on the par-4 16th. Her approach landed on the green and rolled off it, stopping inches from dropping into a bunker. Her chip shot ran well past the hole and her par putt just missed catching the edge of the cup. That left her with a short putt for bogey, her first in her previous 28 holes, trimming her lead to two shots.

    Ko's tee shot on 18 landed about 4 feet from the hole, giving her a chance to cut Jutanugarn's lead to one shot with the Thai facing a long birdie attempt.

    But Ko missed, leaving Jutanugarn room to maneuver. Her birdie putt came up a couple feet short, but she calmly parred the hole to win. Ariya rushed onto the green and joined others in emptying water bottles on her sister before they embraced.

    So Yeon Ryu (68) finished fourth at 7 under. American Emma Talley (67) and Eun-Hee Ji (71) tied for fifth at 6 under, making Ji one of four South Koreans to place in the top five.

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    After Further Review: Tour players embracing new ideas

    By Golf Channel DigitalApril 23, 2018, 1:26 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On players embracing new ideas on the PGA Tour ...

    PGA Tour players are trying to tell commissioner Jay Monahan something: They like new.

    In the second year of the two-man team format at the Zurich Classic, 10 of the top 14 players in the world have signed up, including all four reigning major champions. It’s the first time all four have been in the same field since the Tour Championship. If the laid-back event offered world-ranking points – it doesn’t, and that’s part of the appeal – the winner would have received 62 points. That’s the same as the Genesis Open.

    Sure, some sponsor obligations are involved in boosting the field here, but there’s no other way to look at this: Today’s PGA Tour players are not only willing to play events that are a departure from the 72-hole, stroke-play norm. They’re encouraging it. - Ryan Lavner


    On Moriya Jutanugarn's breakthrough win ...

    As much love as there is between the Jutanugarn sisters, it couldn’t have been easy for Moriya, watching her baby sister, Ariya, soar past her as one of the LPGA’s dominant stars the last few years. Mo, though, never betrayed an inkling of frustration or envy.

    That’s what made Mo’s breakthrough LPGA victory Sunday at the Hugel-JTBC LA Open especially meaningful for everyone who has admired Mo’s devotion to her sister. Mo was always a fixture, waiting in the wings to celebrate whenever Ariya hoisted a trophy.

    So emotions were high late Sunday, with Ariya waiting in the wings this time, with Ariya sobbing in Mo’s arms after the victory was secured. It was heartwarming for more than Apple, the mother who raised these talented, loving sisters. As always, Apple was there, too, soaking both her daughters in tears of joy. – Randall Mell


    On the tough scheduling decisions facing the PGA Tour ...

    According to multiple sources, officials at Colonial are poised to announce a new sponsorship agreement with Charles Schwab Corporation on Monday.

    While this is good news for the folks in Fort Worth, Texas, who were in danger of finding themselves on the wrong side of timing, there remain some tough decisions to be made in the next few weeks.

    If the PGA Tour’s plan is to end its season before Labor Day beginning in 2019, something must give. Currently, the Houston Open, a staple on Tour since 1946, and The National are without sponsors. When the music stops in a few weeks and the circuit announces the ’19 schedule, there’s a good chance one, or both, of those events will be the victims of bad timing. – Rex Hoggard

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    Triplett hole-out wins Legends of Golf playoff

    By Associated PressApril 23, 2018, 12:12 am

    RIDGEDALE, Mo. - Kirk Triplett holed out from a bunker for birdie on the first playoff hole Sunday in the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf to lift himself and partner Paul Broadhurst past Bernhard Langer and Tom Lehman.

    ''Well, you're trying to make it, but you know realistically it doesn't go in very often,'' Triplett said. ''You're trying to give your partner a free run at it. You don't want to hit it up there 20 feet past or do something silly. I'm just trying to hit it the right distance and get it on the right line.''

    Langer and Lehman took it in stride.

    ''You kind of learn to expect it,'' Lehman said. ''These guys out here are so good and Kirk Triplett is a magician around the greens. The odds of making that shot are probably not good, but you certainly expect him to hit a great shot and he did and it went in.''

    Lehman and Langer missed birdie putts after Triplett holed out.

    ''I kind of felt like we both hit pretty good putts, misread them, both of them,'' Lehman said. ''I hit mine probably too hard and Bernhard's was too soft, but you have to hand it to the guys who hit the shot when they have to hit it.''


    Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf


    Broadhurst and Triplett closed with a 6-under 48 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course to match Langer and Lehman at 24 under. Langer and Lehman had a 47, playing the front nine in alternate shot and the back nine in better ball.

    The 56-year-old Triplett won his sixth PGA Tour Champions title.

    ''That's a big roller-coaster - three good shots and mine, right?'' Triplett said. ''I'm feeling a little dejected walking down that fairway there, a little sheepish. To knock it in it just reminds you, this game, you know, crazy stuff.''

    Broadhurst claimed his third senior victory.

    ''I don't get too emotional, but that was something special,'' the 52-year-old Englishman said.

    Spanish stars Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jose Maria Olazabal had a 48 to tie for third with 2017 winners Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco. Singh and Franco, the third-round leaders, shot 50.

    Mark Calcavecchia-Woody Austin (48), John Daly-Michael Allen (49), Steve Stricker-Jerry Kelly (50) and David Toms-Steve Flesch (52) tied for fifth at 20 under.

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    Mullinax (T-2) comes up short of maiden win

    By Will GrayApril 23, 2018, 12:06 am

    The Valero Texas Open saw an unheralded player break through to earn a maiden victory, but unfortunately for Trey Mullinax his day will have to wait.

    Mullinax started the final round within a shot of the lead, having fired a course-record 62 during the final round. He trailed Andrew Landry by one shot for much of the final round while racking up six birdies over his first 11 holes, but a pair of late miscues meant the former Alabama standout had to settle for a share of second place, two shots behind Landry.

    A final-round 69 marked a career-best finish for Mullinax, who is playing this season on conditional status and whose lone prior top-10 this season came after he Monday qualified for the Valspar Championship.

    "I know my game's there, I'm playing really well," Mullinax told reporters. "Give all credit to Andrew, he played really well today, rocksteady. He was putting great, hitting great shots."


    Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

    Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos


    Given time to reflect, the 26-year-old will likely look back on the final two holes where nerves appeared to get the best of him. Looking to put some pressure on Landry, Mullinax chunked his pitch on the short 17th hole into a greenside bunker, leading to a bogey on one of the easiest holes on the course.

    Then Mullinax was unable to convert a 9-foot birdie putt on the final green, which would have forced Landry to make his 8-foot par putt to avoid a playoff. Afforded the luxury of two putts for the win, Landry rolled in his par save to cement a two-shot win.

    "Made a bad bogey on 17, but just you've got to hit some bad shots," Mullinax said. "Would have liked to have got the putt on 18 to fall to put a little bit of heat on him, but this experience that I'm gaining right now is just going to help me down the road."