Notes Ryder Cup Leftys Plans

By Associated PressJuly 27, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Ryder CupSince 1979, when continental Europeans were allowed to compete for the first time, the Ryder Cup has consisted of 28 matches crammed into three days -- eight alternate-shot and better-ball matches, followed by 12 singles on Sunday.

Don't expect that to change any time soon.

'Most everything that other event does has been suggested to us,' said Jim Awtrey, chief executive officer of the PGA of America.

That 'other event' to which he referred is the Presidents Cup, and two of the suggestions Awtrey has heard were to play an additional team match each session, and to let the captains manipulate the draw to get more marquee pairings.

Awtrey wasn't impressed with either.

'When we were talking about adding points, or adding matches, we saw what can happen,' he said. 'You get too many points early, and it's over before it gets to Sunday. With the possibility of a nonevent on Sunday, that has never been a serious discussion.'

Indeed, the International team took a 141/2-51/2 lead going into Sunday in the '98 Presidents Cup. Two years later, the United States led 14-6 going into the last day. Both matches ended in blowouts. Three of the five Presidents Cups have been decided by at least eight points.

Awtrey also said television officials liked the idea of the captains announcing one match at a time.

'They thought that would be great theater, and television wants theater,' he said. 'But the captains know they've got to start out with strong players and have someone to close it out. We've found that created some strategy, some excitement. And that had tremendous theater.'

He also believes playing 36 holes on Friday and Saturday (the Presidents Cup spreads the four team sessions over three days), leads to more strategy because captains have to decide who has the stamina and the hot hand.
The only substantial change Awtrey can recall is allowing the home captain to decide which format to use at the start the Ryder Cup. Seve Ballesteros changed in 1997 to start with better-ball matches.
'I don't recall that we've done any material change,' he said. 'And I really don't expect any.'
Phil MickelsonPhil Mickelson has played Hartford the last three years and won consecutive titles in 2001-02. But the Buick Championship has been moved to the end of August, and Lefty might have to skip it this year.
Mickelson won't play again until the PGA Championship, followed by the NEC Invitational at Firestone. To play at Hartford would be three straight, with the Ryder Cup looming.

'The date change has made it difficult for me,' Mickelson said. 'After the major, I have historically tried to take a little time off because they are draining weeks. So Hartford is difficult. It's not a for sure 'no,' but it's very unlikely.'

Mickelson said he probably would take two weeks off after Firestone, then play in the Canadian Open leading into the Ryder Cup matches Sept. 17-19.
And after that?
'I may play zero tournaments, I may play five tournaments,' he said of his end-of-the-year schedule. 'It just depends on how I feel. I haven't really taken any full weeks off. I've kept practicing, trying to maintain my level. But then, I may be trying to get that money list because I know Vijay (Singh) is going to play every week, trying to make up ground. I just don't know yet.'

Mickelson has a $420,000 lead over Singh, despite playing four fewer tournaments.
With so many repeat winners on the LPGA Tour, the Tournament of Champions was turning into one of the smallest fields in golf. Now, tournament officials have added an extra year of eligibility to beef it up.
Starting this year, players who have won LPGA events in the last four years (dating to 2001) will be eligible for the $800,000 event at Magnolia Grove in Alabama. Previously, winners from the last three years were eligible.
'With the increasing number of multiple tournament winners on the LPGA Tour, we have seen the eligible field list limited in numbers,' tournament director Steve Harrelson said. 'These moves allow us to keep the tournament's reputation as a 'best-of-the-best' event.'

Because of the change, nine players will be added to this year's field, raising it to 42 players. The field has declined each year since the tournament moved to Alabama, from 44 in 1999 to 29 last year.
Two-time British Open champion Greg Norman and his wife are encouraging couples to play golf and contribute to child cancer research.

Norman is behind 'Golf for Living,' an innovative program this summer at clubs in eight PGA of America sections. With a $50 donation, couples are automatically entered into a sweepstakes for an all-expenses trip to the Franklin Templeton Shootout that Norman hosts in Naples, Fla.

The money goes to CureSearch National Childhood Cancer Foundation.
'What better way to spend time with your partner, while actively helping in the fight against childhood cancer?' Norman said.
Yahoo! Inc. has signed a deal to power Tiger Woods' Web site in exchange for editorial and promotional content. Under terms of the deal, Yahoo! will be responsible for advertising sales on, and both camps will share the revenue. Along with text-based editorial articles, Woods' Web site will give Yahoo! exclusive one-on-one online interviews and video highlights. ... Robert Gamez shot a 61 in the B.C. Open and a 60 at the Bob Hope Classic and didn't win either tournament. ... A Titleist ball was used by 153 out of the 156 players at the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship last week. ... Yuri Fudo, the leading money winner on the Japan LPGA Tour the last four years, captured her 30th career victory last week to earn a lifetime exemption. Only five other players have earned lifetime exemptions on the Japanese tour.
Players from five countries have won the six USGA championships played this year -- South Africa (U.S. Open), Korea (U.S. Junior Amateur), Paraguay (U.S. Girls Junior Amateur), China (U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links) and the United States (U.S. Women's Open, U.S. Amateur Public Links).
'Golf has only one winner. Second doesn't do it for anybody.' -- Jane Park, 17, runner-up at the U.S. Women's Amateur and the U.S. Girls' Junior Amateur.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Getty Images

Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
Getty Images

Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

Getty Images

Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

Getty Images

Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”