Notes Wayward Westwood Goydos gaffe

By Associated PressMay 10, 2010, 4:30 am

The Players Championship

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Lee Westwood’s drives let him down early. His iron shots did him in late.

The 37-year-old Englishman struggled from the start and faded from contention at The Players Championship, shooting a 2-over 74 in the final round Sunday to finish four strokes behind winner Tim Clark.

“Disappointed, but not something I’m going to pull my hair out over,” said Westwood, who finished in a four-way tie for fourth at 12-under 276. “If you don’t play well, then you don’t deserve to win, and I just didn’t play well enough over the weekend.”

Still, Westwood had a chance on the back nine. He trailed Clark by a stroke heading to the par-4 14th, then pushed another tee shot well right. Westwood couldn’t reach the green from there and ended up with a bogey.

He could have gained ground at the par-5 16th, but hit a poor approach shot into a green-side bunker and failed to get up and down for birdie.

“It was just another rubbish iron shot, the 5-iron in there,” he said. “I should be able to hit that to the left side of the green and then just drift it in there on the wind. … It wasn’t the putt to blame. It was the poor iron shot.”

Things really unraveled for him on the par-3 17th, the famed island green.

Westwood wavered between hitting a soft 9-iron and a strong wedge. He went with the wedge from 136 yards away, but his ball never reached land. It splashed into the murky lagoon, costing Westwood about $193,000 and any chance of making a comeback.

“It was a tricky yardage,” he said. “I was caught between a little 9-iron and forcing a wedge. I lent on a wedge, got in front of it and it climbed up into the wind. On that line, it was never going to carry.”

Westwood, who started the day with a one-shot lead over Robert Allenby, became the latest 54-hole leader to come up short at this event. It’s happened eight times in the last 10 years.

“If I would have played well and not won, then it would have been an even bigger disappointment,” said Westwood, who called TPC Sawgrass “very close to a major championship test” last week. “But I just didn’t play well enough today. … If you don’t play well, you don’t deserve to win.”

GOYDOS’ GAFFE: Paul Goydos, who missed a chance to win the 2008 Players in a playoff because his tee shot at the island green found water, had another forgettable hole Sunday. Goydos five-putted the par-4 seventh and carded a triple-bogey 7.

It started with his approach shot, which landed on the upper ridge about 50 feet from the pin. He tried to nestle his first putt on the crown of the slope and let it run to the hole, but he left it short and on the fringe. He blew his second putt past the hole and off the green on the other side. He three-putted from the fringe, failing to make a pair of 3-footers.

“I had no chance on the first putt,” Goydos said. “I missed the green with two putts in a row. I started on the green, putted off the green, putted off the green again. Could have played safe and played 20 feet of the hole, but I wasn’t in the mood to play safe at that point.”

Goydos shot a 9-over 81 and finished at 1-over 289.

PAR TRAIN: Hunter Mahan became just the fourth player to post all pars in a round at The Players Championship.

Mahan parred every hole in the final round and enjoyed one of just two bogey-free rounds Sunday. Winner Tim Clark (67) also was bogey free.

Justin Leonard was the last to post all pars in a round. He did it in 2007 and 1996. John Inman (1993) and Mark McCumber (1985) also accomplished the feat. How rare is it? Well, those five scorecards are among more than 12,000 rounds played since the tournament’s inception in 1974.

IDLE CHITCHAT: Tiger Woods and Jason Bohn haven’t played many rounds together, but they found something in common to talk about Sunday.

Woods and Bohn both missed significant time in 2008 – Woods after having knee surgery after winning the U.S. Open and Bohn after having three back surgeries. They talked about their time away on the par-4 sixth, one hole before Woods tweaked a neck injury and withdrew from the tournament.

“I tried to play through that, obviously not to the success that he had,” said Bohn, who eventually shut it down and had surgery to repair a fragmented disk in his back. Doctors cut his spinal cord during surgery, causing more problems.

Bohn, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans winner last month, said money makes guys play through injuries on the PGA Tour.

“I don’t think anybody does it very successfully, and I think that’s what makes that whole U.S. Open Championship with Tiger like one of the greatest sports stories ever,” Bohn said. “It’s very difficult. Our game is such finesse. There’s so much touch and feel involved that … just something that’s aching on your thumb or a little pulled muscle somewhere makes a major impact on the way that you swing the golf club.”

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U.S. captures Junior Ryder Cup

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 26, 2018, 12:29 am

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.

Singles results

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

By Golf Channel Public RelationsSeptember 25, 2018, 6:48 pm

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-

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Tiger Woods names his Mount Rushmore of golf

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 25, 2018, 6:29 pm
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Mickelson savoring his (likely) last road game

By Rex HoggardSeptember 25, 2018, 3:49 pm

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.

Ryder Cup: Articles, photos and videos

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.