Notes Haas Staying Put
Haas holding his own against the kids
By DOUG FERGUSON
AP Golf Writer
Although Jay Haas figured he would probably make his Champions
Tour debut at the Legends of Golf, the tournament will have to go
on without him.
Haas, who is 50 going on 25, had another top-10 finish at the
MCI Heritage and has crept up to No. 11 in the Ryder Cup standings.
For now, his focus remains on the PGA Tour.
'My major goal this year is to continue to play well enough to
have a chance to do that,' he said of making the Ryder Cup team
for the first time since 1995.
Haas would be the oldest player to qualify for the Ryder Cup if
he keeps this up. Raymond Floyd was 51 in the '93 matches, although
he was a captain's pick.
As for the Champions Tour?
'I'm almost afraid to go there (and) feel like I won't come
back,' he said. 'I still want to do this. It's so much fun for
me. This has probably been one of the more gratifying stretches of
Haas finished third at the Bob Hope Classic, sixth at The
Players Championship and tied for seventh last week at Harbour
Town. He also tied for 17th at the Masters, narrowly missing an
automatic return to Augusta National.
The only thing he hasn't done is win. In fact, his last victory
was in 1993. That's why Haas refuses to say he has never played
'I'm playing very consistently,' said Haas, who has made the
cut in all nine events he has played. 'But I've played
consistently in the '80s and '90s in certain times in my career. So
I can't say this is the best.'
A LITTLE HELP FROM THE FRONT: The greatest charges in PGA Tour
history would not mean as much without the leader doing some
Stewart Cink had the largest comeback at a regular PGA Tour
event Sunday when he erased a nine-shot deficit against Ted Purdy,
then beat him on the fifth playoff hole. Cink had a 64, the best
round of the week. Still, the victory was made possible by Purdy
shooting a 2-over 73.
'Stewart won it, but just as equally, I think I lost the
tournament,' Purdy said.
The greatest comeback of all belongs to Paul Lawrie, who started
the final round at the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie 10 shots
behind. Lawrie shot a 67 and won in a three-man playoff after Jean
Van de Velde took a triple bogey on the final hole for a 77.
Jack Burke Jr. shot 1-under 71 and still made up an eight-shot
deficit in the final round to win the '56 Masters, but only because
Ken Venturi shot an 80.
Venturi recovered three years later with back-to-back eagles at
Rancho Park, shooting a 63 in the final round of the Los Angeles
Open to made up an eight-shot deficit against Art Wall and beat him
That leads to this trivia question: Of all the PGA Tour
comebacks from eight strokes or worse, only one involved a leader
who did not shoot over par in the final round.
The answer -- Steve Lowery.
Lowery had an even-par 72 last year in the B.C. Open and
finished one shot behind Craig Stadler, who closed with 63.
TIGER TRAINING: If good friend Mark O'Meara has any influence
on Tiger Woods' swing, it isn't big.
Woods' swing has come under severe scrutiny in recent weeks,
especially after he nearly missed the cut at The Players
Championship and tied for 22nd at the Masters, his worst result as
a professional at Augusta National.
Woods said Tuesday in his monthly newsletter that he has
routinely listened to coaches like Rick Smith, Hank Haney and David
'Ninety percent of the information, I throw out immediately,'
he said. 'Five percent, I try and discard, and 5 percent I retain.
I just take little bits and pieces, and sometimes it works.'
Where does O'Meara fit in?
'He's not my swing coach,' Woods said. 'He's one of my best
friends and is like a big brother to me. And as anyone who has a
big brother will attest, you don't always agree on things.'
TOUGH SCHEDULE: Ernie Els is home in London for three weeks,
resting for a brutal stretch that awaits.
The Big Easy, who finished one shot behind Phil Mickelson at the
Masters, resumes his schedule at the Byron Nelson Classic the
second week of May, then returns to Europe to play Deutsche Bank in
Germany and the Volvo PGA Championship at Wentworth, where he
Then, he returns to the United States for the Memorial and the
Buick Classic, where he has won twice. His sixth straight
tournament will be the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.
NO PIGSKIN: The PGA Tour won't have the NFL to blame if
galleries are smaller on Sunday this fall.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are on the road Sept. 26 during the 84
Lumber Classic at nearby Nemacolin. The Carolina Panthers also are
on the road when the Greater Greensboro Classic is played Oct. 17.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have an open date when the Chrysler
Championship of Tampa comes to town on Oct. 31, and the Atlanta
Falcons also are off Nov. 7 during the final round of the Tour
Championship at East Lake.
The PGA of America wasn't so lucky.
The final day of the Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills is Sept. 19,
which coincides with a home game for the Detroit Lions.
DIVOTS: Jim 'Bones' MacKay, the caddie for Phil Mickelson,
became a father five days after his boss won the Masters. MacKay's
wife, Jennifer, gave birth to a boy (Oliver) last Thursday. ...
Make that two teenagers to record top-10 finishes on the LPGA Tour
this year. In-Bee Park, 15, finished at 2-under 214 and tied for
eighth at the Takefugi Classic last week in Las Vegas. Park is the
two-time defending U.S. Junior Girls champion. Last month,
14-year-old Michelle Wie finished fourth at the Nabisco
Championship. ... Indian Wells, the shortest (6,478 yards) and
easiest (68.07 scoring average) course on the PGA Tour, is being
replaced in the rotation at the Bob Hope Classic by Tamarisk next
year. It will be the first time since the tournament began in 1960
that Indian Wells was not used.
STAT OF THE WEEK: The Masters is the only tournament this year
where the winner (Phil Mickelson) led the field in ball-striking --
a combination of driving distance, driving accuracy and greens hit
FINAL WORD: 'That split-second moment when you know it's over
is a horrible feeling. It mentally knocks the stuffing out of you a
bit, to be honest.' -- Ernie Els, on hearing the roar from the 18th
green at the Masters indicating that Phil Mickelson made his birdie
putt to win.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
APTV 04-20-04 1556EDT
U.S. captures Junior Ryder Cup
The U.S. defeated Europe, 12 ½ to 11 ½, in the Junior Ryder Cup at Golf Disneyland at Disneyland Paris.
Rachel Heck, 16, of Memphis, Tenn., clinched the winning half-point on the 18th hole with a 12-foot birdie putt that halved her match with Annabell Fuller, 16, of England.
"It was the most incredible experience of my life," said Heck, a Stanford commit who last week made the cut in her second LPGA major, the Evian Masters.
Michael Thorbjornsen, 16, of Wellesley, Mass., the 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur champion, drove the green on the 315-yard 18th hole, the ball stopping within 5 feet of the pin. His eagle putt completed 2-up win over 15-year-old Spaniard David Puig and ensured that the U.S. would retain the Junior Ryder Cup, as the defending champion needs only a tie (12 points) to maintain possession of the trophy.
Match 1 - Lucy Li (USA) def. Amanda Linner (EUR), 4 and 3
Match 2 — Rasmus Hojgaard (EUR) def. William Moll (USA), 1 up
Match 3 — Ingrid Lindblad (EUR) halved Rose Zhang (USA)
Match 4 – Nicolai Hojgaard (USA) def. Canon Claycomb (USA), 4 and 2
Match 5 — Yealimi Noh (USA) def. Emma Spitz (EUR), 3 and 2
Match 6 — Ricky Castillo (USA) def. Eduard Rousaud Sabate (EUR), 3 and 1
Match 7 – Emilie Alba-Paltrinieri (EUR) def. Erica Shepherd (USA), 2 up
Match 8 — Michael Thorbjornsen (USA) def. David Puig (EUR), 2 up
Match 9 – Alessia Nobilio (EUR) def. Alexa Pano (USA), 2 and 1
Match 10 — Robin Tiger Williams (EUR) def. Cole Ponich (USA), 2 and 1
Match 11 – Annabell Fuller (EUR) halved Rachel Heck (USA)
Match 12 — Conor Gough (EUR) def. Akshay Bhatia (USA), 1 up
TOUR Championship Final Round Becomes Most-Watched FedExCup Playoffs Telecast Ever and Most-Watched PGA TOUR Telecast of 2018
ORLANDO, Fla., (Sept. 25, 2018) – NBC Sports Group’s final round coverage of the TOUR Championship on Sunday (3:00-6:19 p.m. ET) garnered a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 7.8 million average viewers, as Tiger Woods claimed his 80th career victory, and his first in five years. The telecast’s TAD was up 212% vs. 2017 (2.5m). Television viewership posted 7.18 million average viewers, up 192% YOY (2.46m) and a 4.45 U.S. household rating, up 178% vs. 2017 (1.60). It also becomes the most-watched telecast in the history of the FedExCup Playoffs (2007-2018) and the most-watched PGA TOUR telecast in 2018 (excludes majors).
Coverage peaked from 5:45-6 p.m. ET with 10.84 million average viewers as Woods finished his TOUR Championship-winning round and Justin Rose sealed his season-long victory as the FedExCup champion. The peak viewership number trails only the Masters (16.84m) and PGA Championship (12.39m) in 2018. The extended coverage window (1:30-6:19 p.m. ET) drew 5.89 million average viewers and a 3.69 U.S. household rating to become the most-watched and highest-rated TOUR Championship telecast on record (1991-2018).
Sunday’s final round saw 18.4 million minutes streamed across NBC Sports Digital platforms (+561% year-over-year), and becomes NBC Sports’ most-streamed Sunday round (excluding majors) on record (2013-’18).
Sunday’s lead-in coverage on Golf Channel (11:54 a.m.-1:25 p.m. ET) also garnered a Total Audience Delivery of 829K average viewers and posted a .56 U.S. household rating, becoming the most-watched and highest rated lead-in telecast of the TOUR Championship ever (2007-2018). Golf Channel was the No. 2 Sports Network during this window and No. 7 out of all Nielsen-rated cable networks during that span.
This week, NBC Sports Group will offer weeklong coverage of the biennial Ryder Cup from Le Golf National outside of Paris. Live From the Ryder Cup continues all week on Golf Channel, surrounding nearly 30 hours of NBC Sports’ Emmy-nominated live event coverage, spanning from Friday morning’s opening tee shot just after 2 a.m. ET through the clinching point on Sunday. The United States will look to retain the Ryder Cup after defeating Europe in 2016 (17-11), and aim to win for the first time on European soil in 25 years, since 1993.
-NBC Sports Group-
Tiger Woods names his Mount Rushmore of golf
Mickelson savoring his (likely) last road game
SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Phil Mickelson lingered behind as his foursome made its way to the ninth tee during Tuesday’s practice round.
He needed the extra practice, no doubt. He’s one of just six players on the U.S. Ryder Cup team with even a modicum of knowledge about Le Golf National, but the likely reason for Lefty’s leisurely tempo was more personal.
The 2019 Ryder Cup will likely be Mickelson’s last road game as a player.
He’ll be 52 when the U.S. team pegs it up at the 2022 matches in Rome. Although there’s been players who have participated in the biennial event into their golden years – most notably Raymond Floyd who was 51 when he played the ’93 matches – given Mickelson’s play in recent years and the influx of younger players the odds are against him.
“I am aware this is most likely the last one on European soil and my last opportunity to be part of a team that would be victorious here, and that would mean a lot to me personally,” Mickelson said on Tuesday.
It’s understandable that Mickelson would want to linger a little longer in the spotlight of golf’s most intense event.
For the first time in his Ryder Cup career Mickelson needed to be a captain's pick, and he didn’t exactly roar into Paris, finishing 30th out of 30 players at last week’s Tour Championship. He’s also four months removed from his last top-10 finish on the PGA Tour.
Although he’s reluctant to admit it for Mickelson Le Golf National looks every bit a swansong for the most accomplished U.S. Ryder Cup player of his generation.
In 11 starts at the Ryder Cup, Mickelson has a 26-16-13 record. Perhaps more telling is his 7-3-1 mark since 2012 and he holds the U.S. record for most matches played (45) and is third on the all-time list for most points won (21.5), just two shy of the record held by Billy Casper.
Mickelson’s record will always be defined by what he’s done at the Masters and not done at the U.S. Open, but his status as an anchor for two generations of American teams may never be matched.
For this U.S. team - which is trying to win a road Ryder Cup for the first time since 1993 - Lefty is wearing many hats.
“You know Phil and you know he's always trying to find a way to poke fun, trying to mess with someone,” Furyk said. “He's telling a story. Sometimes you're not sure if they are true or not. Sometimes there's little bits of pieces in each of those, but he provides some humor, provides some levity.”
But there is another side to Mickelson’s appeal in the team room. Although he’s never held the title of vice captain he’s served as a de facto member of the management for some time.
“At the right times, he understands when a team needs a kick in the butt or they need an arm around their shoulder, and he's been good in that atmosphere,” Furyk said. “He's a good speaker and good motivator, and he's been able to take some young players under his wing at times and really get a lot out of them from a partner standpoint.”
In recent years Mickelson has become something of a mentor for young players, first at the ’08 matches with Anthony Kim and again in ’12 with Keegan Bradley.
His role as a team leader in the twilight of his career can’t be overstated and will undoubtedly continue this week if Tuesday’s practice groupings are any indication, with Lefty playing with rookie Bryson DeChambeau.
As DeChambeau was finishing his press conference on Tuesday he was asked about the dynamic in the U.S. team room.
“We're going to try and do our absolute best to get the cup back,” he said.
“Keep the cup,” Lefty shouted from the back of the room, noting that the U.S. won the last Ryder Cup.
It was so Mickelson not to miss a teaching moment or a chance to send a subtle jab delivered with a wry smile.
Mickelson will also be remembered for his role in what has turned out to be an American Ryder Cup resurgence.
“Unfortunately, we have strayed from a winning formula in 2008 for the last three Ryder Cups, and we need to consider maybe getting back to that formula that helped us play our best,” Mickelson said in the Scottish gloom at the ’14 matches. “Nobody here was in any decision.”
If Mickelson doesn’t step to the microphone in ’14 at Gleneagles in the wake of another U.S. loss and, honestly, break some china there probably wouldn’t have been a task force. Davis Love III likely wouldn’t have gotten a second turn as captain in ’16 and the U.S. is probably still mired in a victory drought.
Lefty’s Ryder Cup career is far from over. The early line is that he’ll take his turn as captain in 2024 at Bethpage Black – the People’s Champion riding in to become the People’s Captain.
Before he moves on to a new role, however, he’ll savor this week and an opportunity to win his first road game. If he wants to hang back and relish the moment so be it.