Notes Euros feeling good at Oakland Hills

By Associated PressAugust 6, 2008, 4:00 pm
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2008 US Open 81x90BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. ' When the Ryder Cup was held at Oakland Hills in 2004, the Europeans left with an 18 1/2 -9 1/2 victory, the second of their three straight over the United States.
 
The top points producers on that team are back for the PGA Championship that starts Thursday on the same course.
 
Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood both had 4 1/2 of a possible five points over those three days.
 
The look of the course is pretty much the same. Its obviously a lot tougher than it was at the Ryder Cup, said Garcia, who was 24 then. Obviously the rough is thicker. They have added some good length. Bunkers are a little bit deeper.
 
Westwood, who is seven years older than Garcia, broke into a wide smile when asked about the 2004 Ryder Cup.
 
I had had a bit more to drink than Ive had right now. Although I think we all were sort of pretty well on our way, he said referring to huge bottles of champagne that were sprayed and imbibed with great gusto. Its just great memories, really.
 
Westwood was asked if being back on the course for a practice round brought back any specific thoughts of holes from that day.
 
Its not the way my mind was working. I was just kind of focusing on this week and not what happened in the past on the golf course, he said. Only probably on the 18th green where I stopped sort of preparing for this weeks tournament and I just said to my caddie, `Do you remember that putt that Sergio holed there? It was only because he nearly hit me with the putter when he tossed it up in the air. Thats the only reason I remember that.
 
Eight of the 12 players on that European team are here this week and a ninth, Luke Donald, was forced to withdraw because of a wrist injury.
 
At least one former PGA champion believes the Europeans should be brimming with confidence from four years ago.
 
If they dont, its their own damned fault for not having it, because they really took it to us, said Rich Beem, the 2002 PGA champion who wasnt a member of the U.S. team in 2004.
 
PRACTICE? PRACTICE?
 
The image of golfers taking the opportunity to play practice round after practice round at a major championship venue was shattered by Rocco Mediate.
 
One of the sports most popular players since his U.S. Open playoff loss to Tiger Woods in June, Mediate was ready for Thursdays opening round of the PGA Championship at Oakland Hills after a total of nine practice holes on the course known as The Monster.
 
Im tired, Mediate said Wednesday after talking for a while about his hectic life since becoming such a celebrity following the 19-hole playoff loss to the worlds No. 1 golfer. I played last July in the British Open qualifier here and the golf course is right in front of you. The greens are difficult, but they are still right in front of you. I remember them all.
 
Its not rocket science. Its just youve got to be under these holes. You cannot play them from over the greens. Theres no tricks, obviously, just a lot of long clubs for me, and I enjoy hitting them.
 
Mediate was asked for an example of how crazy things have become for him since the 46-year-olds remarkable performance at Torrey Pines.
 
Walking to dinner last night, one guy stopped the car on the street, sent his son over. I signed the autograph and he got back in the car, Mediate said. It was kind of freaky, actually. It was fine. There wasnt much going on. It wasnt a busy street.
 
CENTENNIAL PGA
 
The 100th anniversary of the first PGA Championship will be celebrated by staging the last of the four majors near where the organization was formed: Baltusrol.
 
The course in Springfield, N.J., just across the river from New York where The PGA of America was formed in April 1916. The first PGA Championship was held six months later at Siwanoy in nearby Bronxville.
 
Its one of the classic clubs in this country, and if you walk up on a point on the Upper Course, you can see the Manhattan skyline, Joe Steranka, the CEO of the PGA of America, said Wednesday. So being in the New York metropolitan area for us was important, to be able to be near the birthplace. I know well have a lot of activities in the year leading up to that centennial championship.
 
That PGA Championship will be not the 100th edition, however, since none was held in 1917, 1918 and 1943.
 
Baltusrol hosted its only PGA Championship in 2005, with Phil Mickelson winning by one stroke over Steve Elkington and Thomas Bjorn in a rare Monday finish. Bad weather blew in late Sunday, forcing 12 players to return the day to complete their rounds.
 
That championship brought a whole group of people into the field and was one of the most dramatic moments, Steranka said. Well try to finish it on Sunday this year, though.
 
BIG MONTH
 
Chad Campbell has a lot on his mind this month ' the PGA Championship, trying to make the Ryder Cup team, the PGA Tour playoffs for the FedEx Cup. And in the middle of this, hes preparing for fatherhood.
 
His wife, Amy, is expecting a boy on Sept. 4.
 
She more worried about the schedule than I am, Campbell said.
 
He said he likely would play the Deutsche Bank Championship, which ends Sept. 1, then skip the BMW Championship in St. Louis. That might affect his FedEx Cup standings, but it shouldnt have any bearing on the Ryder Cup. If he doesnt make the team, the captains picks are announced after the Deutsche Bank.
 
LATE CHANGE
 
Shingo Katayama, No. 52 in the official world golf rankings, withdrew from the PGA Championship on Wednesday due to recurring back problems. He was replaced by Michael Allen of Scottsdale, Ariz. The 156-player field now includes 93 of the worlds top 100.
 
Other withdrawals in the last week include Brett Wetterich (back), Jason Bohn (back), Luke Donald (wrist) and Alex Cejka (arm).
 
Cejka was in the field as an alternate, replacing Donald.
 
Two-time defending champion Tiger Woods is not in the field after undergoing knee surgery soon after winning the U.S. Open in June.
 
NO TIGER
 
Tiger Woods will miss the Ryder Cup, and U.S. captain Paul Azinger cant see how that will help.
 
Some have speculated that Woods absence ' he has never had a winning record at any Ryder Cup ' might motivate the Americans and put more pressure on Europe, which has won the last three times.
 
I dont see one, single positive that Tiger Woods isnt on our team, Azinger said. I cant imagine how you can argue a team would be better off without arguably the greatest player ' potentially the greatest player ' who has ever lived. As far as Im concerned, it really puts Europe in an advantageous place. It puts Europe in a favorite role. Theres just no question about it.
 
PRIZE MONEY
 
The PGA of America approved prize money Wednesday of $7.5 million for the PGA Championship, up $500,000 from last year. First place is worth $1.35 million.
 
Its the first time since 2003 that all three U.S. majors had the same purse.
 
The British Open had the largest amount of prize money this year, mainly because of the exchange rate. Padraig Harrington earned nearly $1.5 million from a prize fund of $8.24 million.
 
Typical of the majors, even those missing the cut will earn $2,500.
 
BACK STRETCH
 
The PGA Championship comes toward the end of an impressive string of marquee sporting events in the Detroit area. The 2004 Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills started the run and was followed by baseballs All-Star game the next year and the 2006 Super Bowl. Following the 2009 Final Four, the Motor City might have a long wait for another scheduled sporting event that has wide appeal.
 
Oakland Hills members are open to hosting another major ' a seventh U.S. Open or fourth PGA Championship ' but not until sometime between 2016 and 2022. Local officials are hoping to land another Final Four between 2012-16.
 
Related Links:
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    Golf Channel Ramps Up Six Weeks of Comprehensive College Golf Coverage Culminating With The NCAA Women's and Men's Golf Championships, May 18-30

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsApril 24, 2018, 9:00 pm

    Golf Channel to Announce NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships Regional Selections on Wednesday, April 25 and Wednesday, May 2

     Golf Channel to Expand Coverage of NCAA Women’s and Men’s Regional Championships  

    Driven: Oklahoma State Cowboys, a Four-Part Docu-Series Executive Produced by Rickie Fowler, Premieres on Golf Channel Monday, May 7

     More than 100 News and Tournament Hours Planned for Women’s and Men’s Championships, Back-to-Back Weeks at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

     

    ORLANDO, Fla., April 24, 2018 – With conference championships underway, golf fans will be able to follow their favorite college golf programs and alma maters as they attempt to qualify and compete in the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships in May at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla., as Golf Channel expands its comprehensive on-air and digital collegiate golf coverage the next six weeks.

    “Through our new long-term partnership, the NCAA and Golf Channel are successfully raising the profile of college golf by shining a spotlight on the game’s future stars and the passion these programs have in competing for national championships,” said Molly Solomon, Golf Channel executive vice president of content and executive producer. “With our expanded coverage of the regional championships and partnering with OSU alum Rickie Fowler for Driven, our viewers will be treated to the most college golf coverage in network history leading into the NCAA Golf National Championships.”

    REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS SELECTION ANNOUNCEMENTS: On Wednesday, April 25 at 5:30 p.m. ET (women) and continuing Wednesday, May 2 at 5:30 p.m. ET (men), Golf Channel will announce the teams and individuals selected by the NCAA to participate in the women’s and men’s regional championships, the first step on the road to the NCAA Golf Championships. Live streaming coverage of selection shows will be available through the Golf Channel Mobile App or GolfChannel.com, and Golf Channel will aggregate social content for the shows using the hashtag #NCAAGolf. 

    • Women’s Golf Championships Regional Selections, Wednesday, April 25, 5:30 p.m. ET: Golf Central will announce (live) the 72 teams and24 individuals selected to compete in the four NCAA Women’s Regional Championships, May 7-9 (18 teams and six individuals per regional). 24 teams and 12 individuals will advance from regional sites to the national championships.
    • Men’s Golf Championships Regional Selections, Wednesday, May 2, 5:30 p.m. ET: Golf Central will announce the 81 teams and 45 individuals selected to compete in the six NCAA Men’s Regional Championships, May 14-16 (13 teams and 10 individuals at three regionals and 14 teams and five individuals at three regionals). 30 teams and six individuals will advance from regional sites to the national championships.

    GOLF CHANNEL TO EXPAND REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS COVERAGE: New for 2018, Golf Channel will feature expanded coverage of the final day of the NCAA women’s and men’s regional championships, Wednesday May 9 and Wednesday, May 16, respectively. Beginning within Morning Drive, Golf Channel’s daily lifestyle news show, and continuing hourly throughout the day via live Golf Central news updates from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. ET that will be published to Golf Channel Digital and Golf Channel’s social media handles. Coverage will conclude with live news segments, featuring highlights and interviews, announcing the teams and individuals who qualified for the women’s and men’s national championships.

    RICKIE FOWLER AND NBC SPORTS COLLABORATE ON FOUR-PART DOCU-SERIES DRIVEN: OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS: NBC Sports Group is teaming up with PGA TOUR superstar Rickie Fowler to give viewers a dramatic behind-the-scenes look into Fowler’s alma mater in a four-part documentary series – Driven: Oklahoma State Cowboys. Driven, executive produced by Fowler, will premiere Monday, May 7 at 10 p.m. ET and continue Monday, May 14 (10 p.m. ET) and Monday, May 21 (8 p.m. ET). The finale will air on NBC on Saturday, June 16, recapping their season that culminates with a run at a potential 11th national championship, taking place on their home turf.

    NCAA GOLF NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS COVERAGE: Contested in back-to-back weeks, May 18-30 at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla., Golf Channel will dedicate its full suite of production resources to the NCAA Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships, featuring nearly 30 combined hours of live tournament coverage. In addition, Golf Central will feature nearly 30 hours of combined pre-and post-event live news coverage produced on location, as well as daily news updates on Morning Drive and Golf Channel Digital.                                             

    Golf Channel NCAA Women’s Golf Championships Coverage

    Monday, May   21       

    Individual National   Championship  

    4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

    Tuesday, May   22          

    Quarterfinals, Team   Match Play  

    11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. ET   (Live)

    Tuesday, May   22                 

    Semifinals, Team Match   Play 

    4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

    Wednesday, May   23            

    Team National   Championship  

    4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

     

    Golf Channel NCAA Men’s Golf Championships Coverage

    Monday, May   28      

    Individual National   Championship  

    4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

    Tuesday, May   29          

    Quarterfinals, Team   Match Play  

    11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. ET   (Live)

    Tuesday, May   29                 

    Semifinals, Team Match   Play 

    4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

    Wednesday, May   30            

    Team National   Championship  

    4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

     

    COLLEGE CENTRAL – GOLF CHANNEL DIGITAL COVERAGE: Golf Channel is providing comprehensive coverage leading up to and during the NCAA Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships as part of College Central,Golf Channel Digital’s home for college golf. Led by Jay Coffin, Ryan Lavner and Steve Burkowski, College Central will be the source for all things college golf, including tournament results and scores, features and columns, video highlights and breaking news.

    CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS NEWS COVERAGE: Golf Channel will cover the conference championships with scores and analysis across its on-air news platforms - Morning Drive and Golf Central – and online within College Central.

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    With help from partner, Burns could secure Tour status

    By Ryan LavnerApril 24, 2018, 8:33 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – This week Sam Burns has yet another chance to secure special temporary membership for the rest of the PGA Tour season, but his partner may determine whether he’s ultimately successful.

    In an interesting twist, Burns is burning one of his seven available sponsor exemptions this week at the Zurich Classic. He is 80 non-member points shy of securing special temporary membership, which would allow him to receive unlimited sponsor exemptions for the rest of the season.

    Burns needs at least a two-way tie for fourth to earn the necessary points, but it won’t all depend on how he plays this week. The Zurich is a two-man game, with two rounds apiece of fourballs and alternate shot.

    Burns' partner this week is William McGirt. Their games couldn’t be more different – Burns ranks eighth on Tour in driving distance, at 309 yards per pop, while McGirt is 143rd (290) – but they hope to compliment each other over four days at TPC Louisiana.


    Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Articles, photos and videos


    “I got a good pair of spurs sharpened up last week while I was in San Antonio,” joked McGirt, who is looking for his first top-10 since the fall. “I told him I was going to ride him hard this week. It’ll be fun.”

    Burns will have at least two (and maybe three) more opportunities to earn status, with starts lined up next week at the Wells Fargo Championship and also at the Memorial. He doesn’t face quite as much pressure because he won earlier this month on the Web.com Tour and currently sits fourth on the money list, essentially locking up his PGA Tour card for next season.

    “It’s obviously nice to have that win,” he said, “but at the same time you have to be careful and make sure you play enough out there to where you’re secure for sure. You don’t want to get at the end of the year and then have two or three events left and you have to make a certain amount of money to get your card.

    “So I’m just going step by step, tournament by tournament, and trying to figure out what’s the best route.”   

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    Spieth-Palmer draw Rahm-Bryan early at Zurich

    By Golf Channel DigitalApril 24, 2018, 7:49 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – The PGA Tour’s only team event gets underway Thursday at the Zurich Classic. Here are some featured groups to watch at TPC Louisiana.

    Justin Thomas-Bud Cauley/Daniel Berger-Gary Woodland: 8:39 a.m. ET Thursday off 10 tee, 2:08 p.m. Friday off 1: 

    The Bama boys, Thomas and Cauley, team up for the second consecutive year, after tying for fifth a year ago on the strength of a final-round 61. Berger teamed with Thomas Pieters a year ago but missed the cut, so he’ll try his luck with Woodland, who also shares a management team at Excel Sports.

    Jordan Spieth-Ryan Palmer/Jon Rahm-Wesley Bryan: 8:52 a.m. Thursday off 10, 2:19 p.m. Friday off 1: 

    Spieth and Palmer finished fourth a year ago, five shots back of the leaders. Spieth is making his first start since his epic Sunday run at the Masters. Rahm and Bryan have opposite strengths – Rahm is one of the game’s preeminent drivers, while Bryan, statistically, is one of the worst – but the Spaniard is coming off a European Tour victory at home. Another wrinkle here: Even though no world-ranking points are on offer this week, Rahm is set to supplant Spieth as the third-ranked player in the world.

    Jason Day-Ryan Ruffels/Brooks Koepka-Marc Turnesa: 1:31 p.m. Thursday off 1, 9:42 a.m. Friday off 10: 

    Two stars with questionable sidekicks. Ruffels is an up-and-coming Australian who has been playing primarily in Latin America. (He also shares a manager with Day.) Turnesa, meanwhile, got the call late last week from Koepka, who is finally ready to return from a 15-week layoff because of a wrist injury. They both play out of Medalist in South Florida, but Turnesa, 40, has turned his attention to real estate instead of professional golf.

    Patrick Reed-Patrick Cantlay/Jonas Blixt-Cameron Smith: 1:44 p.m. Thursday off 1, 9:53 a.m. Friday off 10: 

    Reed makes his first start as Masters champion after taking off the past two weeks. This duo tied for 14th last year, undone by a Saturday 75 in foursomes play. Blixt and Smith are the defending champions, after shooting 27 under par last year and holding off Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown in a playoff. Blixt doesn’t have a top-10 on Tour since then, while Smith tied for fifth at the Match Play and the Masters.

    Justin Rose-Henrik Stenson/Bubba Watson-Matt Kuchar: 1:57 p.m. Thursday off 1, 10:04 a.m. Friday off 10:

    Rose and Stenson, who have proved to be a formidable pairing in the Ryder Cup, were a stunning missed cut last year, after shooting 6 under par for two rounds. Watson teamed up with J.B. Holmes to finish fifth last year, while Kuchar is making his first start in this event since 2009.

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    Zurich Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

    By Golf Channel DigitalApril 24, 2018, 7:09 pm

    The PGA Tour tries team competition for the second year in a row at the Zurich Classic. Here are the key stats and information for play at TPC LouisianaClick here for full-field tee times.

    How to watch:

    Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2:30-6:30PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2:30-6:30PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

    Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.


    Purse: $7,200,000 ($1,036,800 to each winner)

    Course: TPC Louisiana (par 72; 7,425 yards)

    Defending champions: Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt (-27) in a playoff over Scott Brown and Kevin Kisner


    News and notes

    • All four reigning major champions - Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed - are in the field this week. This is the first time all four reigning major winners have played this event since 1984 (Ben Crenshaw, Larry Nelson, Tom Watson, Hall Sutton).

     Both members of winning team this week will earn an official PGA Tour victory, two-year Tour exemptions, and exemptions into the Players and PGA Championships.

    • That said, no Official World Golf Ranking points are awarded from this event and winners will not earn exemptions into the 2019 Masters.


    Notable teams in the field 

    Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson

     Rose won this event in 2014, when it was individual stroke play. From 2012-16, he was a combined 60 under at TPC Louisiana in stroke play, seven shots better than any other player.

     Rose has dramatically improved his performance on the greens from last season, moving from 123rd in strokes gained-putting to 10th.

     Stenson's last three starts look like this: solo 4th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, T-6 at the Houston Open, and T-5 at the Masters.

    Jon Rahm and Wesley Bryan

     Rahm is coming off a victory at the Spanish Open, his second worldwide win in 2018 and fifth since Jan. 2017.

     Rahm outdrives Bryan by an average of 30 yards off the tee, 305.1 to 276.3.

     Rahm is second on Tour in the strokes gained-off the tee, while Bryan is 210th, last among qualifying players.

    Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay

     Reed is just the fifth reigning Masters champ to play the Zurich since 2000, joining Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson (twice), and Bubba Watson.

     Reed has gone T-2, T-7, T-9, WIN in his last four starts.

     Cantlay broke through for his maiden PGA Tour win earlier this season at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.