Presidents Cup Teams Finalized Weir In

By Associated PressAugust 13, 2007, 4:00 pm
TULSA, Okla. -- That big blast coming from the Great White North was a nation exhaling. Canada will be hosting the Presidents Cup next month, and on Monday it was assured of having its biggest star.
 
Former Masters champion Mike Weir was picked as a wild card for the International team, ending months of speculation whether captain Gary Player would take someone who was 20th in the Presidents Cup standings and had not won in three years.
 
'He's a terrific team member,' Player said. 'And being played in Canada, if we didn't have a Canadian in my team and playing in Canada, I can assure you, the series would be quite flat among the Canadian people. Mike is a hero in his country, deservedly so.'
 
Two years ago, Player took fellow South African Trevor Immelman, who was 22nd in the standings.
 
His other selection Monday was Nick O'Hern, the only player to have beaten Tiger Woods twice in match play. The left-handed Australian narrowly missed making the team on his own when Stuart Appleby closed with a 69 in the PGA Championship to tie for 12th, earning just enough world ranking points to finish 10th in the standings.
 
U.S. captain Jack Nicklaus used his two picks on two promising young players who have never played in any cup -- Lucas Glover and Hunter Mahan, who has not finished out of the top 25 all summer. Glover was 11th in the U.S. standings, while Mahan finished at No. 14.
 
The Presidents Cup will be held Sept. 27-30 at Royal Montreal, the first time the matches have been played in Canada. The event already is a sellout, although Weir's presence most certainly will bring the buzz.
 
'I'm sure the Canadian people are going to be relieved,' Player said. 'I continually had questions every week, 'Are you putting Mike, are you putting him in?' It's going to enhance the event in Canada.'
 
Ernie Els, who didn't play in the 2005 matches while recovering from knee surgery, led the top 10 players who qualified for the International team through the world ranking. The others were Adam Scott, Vijay Singh, Geoff Ogilvy, Rory Sabbatini, K.J. Choi, Retief Goosen, Angel Cabrera, Immelman and Appleby.
 
Woods again was the top U.S. qualifier, which was based on PGA Tour earnings the last two years. He was followed by Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson, Charles Howell III, David Toms, Scott Verplank, Steve Stricker, Stewart Cink and Woody Austin.
 
Austin's runner-up finish at the PGA Championship allowed him to finish 10th ahead of Glover.
 
It will be the first team for Glover, whose lone PGA TOUR victory came two years ago at Disney. He was in good shape to make the Ryder Cup team last year until he put too much pressure on himself and didn't earn a single point the final four months.
 
Mahan turned his season around with a 63 during U.S. Open qualifying, and he hasn't stopped. He won the Travelers Championship in Hartford for his first PGA TOUR victory, then finished in the top 10 the next three weeks, including the British Open.
 
'If there's been a player who has played better, a young player who's played better in the last six months, I don't know who it is,' Nicklaus said.
 
Still, the biggest news of Monday's announcement was Weir.
 
He has played on the last three Presidents Cup teams, going 8-6-0. But he has been slowed the last two years with nagging back and neck injuries, and revamping his swing to take stress off his back. Last week at Firestone, he withdrew in the middle of the Bridgestone Invitational after tweaking his neck. Then, he opened with a 77 in the PGA Championship and missed the cut.
 
Weir spent the weekend wondering if he would take part in Canada's biggest golf event.
 
'I felt like maybe I was trying too hard,' Weir said. 'Now that Gary has made me a selection, hopefully I can relax a little bit more and play some good golf leading into the Presidents Cup. I'm really relieved.'
 
Stephen Ames, raised in Trinidad & Tobago but a Canadian citizen the past several years, could have earned a spot on the team by finishing fourth at Southern Hills. Playing in the final group with Woods, however, he closed with a 76 and wound up 16th in the standings. Player said he considered Ames, but has traveled enough to know that Weir is the player the Canadians wanted to see.
 
Player thought about Andres Romero, the 26-year-old Argentine who nearly won the British Open and captured his first European Tour victory a week later in Germany. It would have given Cabrera a Spanish-speaking partner.
 
But it was hard to argue with O'Hern, who has beaten Woods twice in the Accenture Match Play Championship.
 
'I'd obviously love another crack at Tiger,' O'Hern said. 'He's the No. 1 player in the world for a reason, and I think everyone would love to have that challenge. That's why we play the game, to play against the best players in the world.'
 
O'Hern has been making his U.S. base at Isleworth outside Orlando, Fla., where Woods has lived since turning pro.
 
'I see him from time to time out on the driving range,' O'Hern said. 'We sort of go about our business. He's pretty intense when he practices, so I leave him alone and vice versa. We get along just fine. It's probably a good thing I don't play with him, because then I'd find out how really good he is.'
 
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    Ciganda, S.Y. Kim share lead in Shanghai

    By Associated PressOctober 20, 2018, 9:28 am

    SHANGHAI - Carlota Ciganda of Spain shot a 5-under 67 Saturday to share the lead with Sei Young Kim after the third round of the LPGA Shanghai.

    Ciganda carded her fifth birdie of the day on the par-4 18th to finish tied with overnight leader Kim at 11-under 205. Kim shot a 71 with four bogeys and five birdies.

    Ciganda is attempting to win her third LPGA title and first since the 2016 season, when she won two tournaments in a one-month span. Kim is chasing her eighth career LPGA win and second title of the 2018 season.

    ''I want to win because I didn't win last year,'' Ciganda said. ''I love playing in Asia. It's good for long hitters, playing quite long, so I'm quite comfortable.''


    Full-field scores from the Buick LPGA Shanghai


    Angel Yin also birdied the final hole for a 68 and was a further stroke back with Brittany Altomare (69), Danielle Kang (71) and Ariya Jutanugarn (71).

    Yin and Altomare have yet to break through for their first LPGA win. A win in Shanghai would make either player the ninth first-time winner of the 2018 season, which would tie 2016 for the third highest number of first-time winners in a season in LPGA history.

    ''I love competing,'' Yin said. ''That's why I'm playing, right? I'm excited to be in contention again going into Sunday.''

    Local favorite Yu Liu was seventh after offsetting a lone bogey with four birdies for a 69.

    Paula Creamer also shot a 69 and shared eighth at 8 under with Minjee Lee (70) and Bronte Law (71).

    The tournament is the second of five being played in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan in the LPGA's annual Asian swing.

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    Koepka's pursuers have no illusions about catching him

    By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 8:50 am

    Ahead by four, wielding his driver like Thor's hammer, Brooks Koepka is 18 holes from his third victory in five months and his first ascent to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking.

    The tournament isn't over. No one is handing him the trophy and updating the OWGR website just yet. But it will likely take some combination of a meltdown and low round from someone in the chase pack to prevent a Koepka coronation Sunday in South Korea.

    Thirteen under for the week, the three-time major champion will start the final round four shots ahead of his playing partners, Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy, and five ahead of six more players at minus-8.

    As is his nature, Poulter figures to be undaunted. The 42-year-old is fresh off a Sunday singles victory over Dustin Johnson at the Ryder Cup and in the midst of a career renaissance, having broken a five-year winless drought earlier this year. In one sense, it's Europe vs. the United States again, but this isn't match play, and Koepka, a guy who doesn't need a head start, has spotted himself a four-shot advantage.


    Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

    CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


    "Tomorrow I'm going to need to make a few birdies. Obviously Brooks is in cruise control right now and obviously going to need a shoot a low one," Poulter conceded. "Do what I'm doing, just enjoy [it]. Obviously try and make as many birdies as I can and see how close we get."

    Perez, in the group at 8 under par, isn't giving up, but like Poulter, he's aware of the reality of his situation.

    "We're chasing Brooks, who of course obviously is playing phenomenally," he said. "A lot of the long hitters now when they get in contention, they hit that driver and they're really hard to catch. I'm not worried about it too much. It's going to be harder for me tomorrow than him, so I'm going to try and go out and just do my thing, hit some shots, hopefully hit some close and make some putts and we'll see. I don't expect him to come backwards, but hopefully I can try to go catch him."

    Gary Woodland, also 8 under par, summed up the predicament best when he alluded to Koepka's perhaps advantageously aloof demeanor.

    "You obviously want to get off to a good start and put pressure on him as soon as you can," he said. "You know, Brooks doesn't seem like he cares too much, and he's playing so good, so you're going to have to go out and post a number."

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    Koepka has his chance 'to earn' his way to No. 1

    By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 8:09 am

    There won't need to be any wonky math involved. He won't have to settle for finally reaching the the top via some kind of mathematical reset while he's sitting at home on the couch (or more likely working out in the gym).

    No, Brooks Koepka on Sunday in South Korea will have a chance to ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking the way every player would most want to - with a victory.

    On the strength of a bogey-free round of 5-under 67 Saturday, Koepka will enter the final round of the CJ Cup four clear of Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy, with six more players five behind.

    The tournament is Koepka's to lose, and so too is the No. 1 ranking. So long as Justin Thomas doesn't somehow defend his title from 12 shots back, Koepka can supplant Dustin Johnson atop the rankings with a win or a solo second-place finish.


    Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

    CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


    "It was something I wanted to do. I always wanted to become World No. 1 in a week that I was playing," Koepka said Saturday. "I thought like I could really earn it and not have a week off where it just so happens that you bump up. No, it would be very special, and to do it here would be nice and hopefully get to world No. 1 and cap it off with a win, I don't think there would be much better."

    It would be a fitting end to this breakthrough year for Koepka, who successfully defended his U.S. Open title and then added his third major victory at the PGA Championship en route to claiming the PGA Tour's Player of the Year Award. Oddly enough, considering his status a three-time major winner and an impending No. 1, this would be Koepka's fifth Tour victory but only his second in a non-major; his only regular Tour win to date was his first, at the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

    "My confidence has always been pretty high," Koepka said. "Anytime you can win three majors you're going to be feeling pretty good about yourself. To do what I've done over the last two years has been special, but I'm looking to build on that."

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    Koepka ahead by four, with No. 1 ranking in his grasp

    By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 5:48 am

    Following a closing birdie and a third-round 67 at Nine Bridges, Brooks Koepka will take a four-shot lead over Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy into final round of the CJ Cup. Here's how Koepka separated himself from the field in South Korea.

    Leaderboard: Koepka (-13), Piercy (-9), Poulter (-9), Rafa Cabrera Bello (-8), Cameron Smith (-8), Jaime Lovemark (-8), Pat Perez (-8), Gary Woodland (-8), Chez Reavie (-8)

    What it means: Koepka is in search of his fifth PGA Tour victory and – believe it or not – only his second non-major. The three-time major champion’s only other win came all the way back in February 2015, at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. One off the lead to start the day, Koepka opened with eight straight pars and birdied Nos. 9 and 10 to take the outright lead at 10 under par. He added three more circles at 14, 17 and 18 to close out a bogey-free round of 5 under and go ahead by ahead by four. He'll be chased on Sunday by Piercy, a four-time PGA Tour winner who won the Zurich Classic earlier this year alongside Billy Horschel, and by Poulter, who ended a five-year worldwide winless drought back in April and is coming off a 2-2 performance at the Ryder Cup, with a Sunday singles victory over current world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Speaking of which, unless Justin Thomas finds a way to win this tournament from 12 back, Koepka will for the first time ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking with a win or a solo second-place finish.

    Round of the day: After contending last week at the CIMB, Shubankhar Sharma rebounded from opening rounds of 74 and 75 with a nine-birdie, 8-under 64 to move up 45 spots into a tie for 26th through 54 holes.

    Best of the rest: Four players – Rafa Cabrera Bello, Ted Potter Jr., Jason Day and Brendan Steele – shot 7-under 65 Saturday. Day played his first four holes in 2 over and his final 14 in 9 under.

    Biggest disappointment: The only previous winner of this event, world No. 4 Justin Thomas entered the week with a chance to take back the No. 1 ranking with a successful title defense. But rounds of 73-70-72 have him 1 under for the week. Thomas played his back nine in 1 over Saturday with six pars, a birdie, a quadruple bogey and a closing eagle.

    Shot of the day: Koepka flying his tee shot 330 yards to the front edge of the green at the par-4 14th and going on to two-putt for birdie.