Rain delay suits US fine at water-logged Ryder Cup

By Associated PressOctober 1, 2010, 2:07 pm

Ryder Cup

NEWPORT, Wales – Boy, did that rain delay work out just fine for the Americans. They were able to get dry, do some shopping at the merchandise tent and claim the momentum on a water-logged day at the Ryder Cup.

The U.S. team rallied for a narrow lead by the end of play Friday, clearly the biggest beneficiary of the Cup’s first weather suspension since 1997. Phil Mickelson got going, Stewart Cink kept rolling in long putts and the rookie team of Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton held its own.

The Americans were down in three fourball matches and leading only one when drenching showers halted play at midmorning. Celtic Manor spent more than $1 million on a complex drainage system, but it was no match for showers that turned the course into a version of Venice, impromptu canals popping up all over the place.

The start was bad enough. Even worse were the rainsuits worn by the Americans, a gaudy getup that looked more suited for basketball team warmups – and didn’t work anyway. During the break, the PGA of America dispatched officials to the merchandise tent to buy up about 20 new suits in case it starts raining again this weekend, always a possibility in soggy Wales.

But the clouds finally broke late in the day and the U.S. team was feeling a lot sunnier about the way things stood: Cink and Matt Kuchar were 2 up on Rory McIlroy and U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell through 11 holes; Watson and Overton were 1 up on Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington through eight; and Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker were all square with Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher.

The only Americans trailing were Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, but even they left the course with a good feeling.

They lost three of the first six holes, with Lefty dumping his first shot after the break into a pond. But Johnson bailed him out with a birdie at the seventh, and Mickelson ripped off three birdies in a row around the turn to leave Lee Westwood and PGA championship winner Martin Kaymer only 1 up through 11 holes.

“It was tough day, a tough start,” American captain Corey Pavin said. “Obviously I’m pleased with the way U.S. came back and performed this afternoon. I’m very proud of the guys.”

His European counterpart, Colin Montgomerie, took heart from Poulter rolling in a clutch 15-foot putt at the 10th just before the last light faded away, giving the home team a bit of a boost. The Englishman turned toward what was left of the gallery and pumped his fist defiantly.

“We had a good first hour of play or something, and then that two hours of play there was obviously in the Americans’ favor,” Monty said. “But at the same time, there’s no match that is anymore than 2 up or 2 down, so everyone is still in the game.”

With no match settled on a day when eight points were supposed to be handed out, this will be remembered as the day it rained and rained and rained at the first Ryder Cup held in Wales.

Workers scurried around the greens with squeegees, furiously pushing away water before every putt. Players sloshed down soaked fairways, desperately searching for any spot to hit that was somewhat dry. But Celtic Manor was a water-logged mess, finally forcing officials to halt play at midmorning.

“The first thing I need is to find a hair dryer,” Kaymer joked.

The long delay made the first Monday finish in Cup history seem certain – until a drastic change in the schedule provided hope of getting in all 18 matches by nightfall Sunday.

After the opening fourball matches are completed Saturday morning, there will be six alternate-shot matches in the second session – meaning all 24 players will be used at one time. Same for the third session, which will be composed of two alternate-shot matches and the last four matches of fourball.

The third session will surely carry over to Sunday morning. Officials hope they’ll still have enough time that afternoon to get in the 12 singles.

If not, they’ll finish Monday.

“We are going to (try to) finish on time on Sunday, which would be an amazing feat to get 28 matches in, considering that we lost seven hours and 18 minutes out there,” Montgomerie said. “Monday finishes are no good in any sport.”

Cink was carrying his team with five birdies – including a 30-footer at the seventh. Kuchar hadn’t done much of anything, but the Americans were still up on the heralded Northern Irish duo of McDowell and McIlroy.

But the Watson-Overton pairing was perhaps the biggest surprise. The duo made birdies at the first two holes and was still up on the much more accomplished team of Donald and Harrington, assured of making the turn with no worse than a 1-up lead.

Overton nearly holed out from the fairway with his final shot of the day, and the Europeans conceded his birdie at No. 9. Donald decided to return Saturday morning for a putt that could halve the hole.

“I knew I had to stick it close,” Overton said. “I hit a perfect shot, about a foot from going in.”

Woods, playing in the third slot instead of his traditional leadoff or anchor roles, played steady if not spectacular alongside Stricker. They grabbed their first lead with Woods’ birdie at the par-5 ninth, where his pitched from about 40 feet rolled up to within 2 feet of the cup. But Poulter’s putt at the next hole squared the match.

During the rain delay, the Americans retreated to the clubhouse, eager to get out of their soaked clothing.

Pavin had ordered supposedly waterproof suits of navy blue with white stripes that had “USA” and the players’ names on the back. They didn’t win any style points, and they didn’t keep out the water, either.

“We were disappointed with the performance of them, and we just fixed it,” Pavin said. “They were not doing what we wanted them to do, so we went out and bought some more waterproofs.”

PGA of America officials hustled over to the merchandise tent, where fans shop, to snatch up about 20 replacement suits on the picked-over shelves. The new suits, which only have a Ryder Cup logo without any special markings for the U.S. team, cost about $350 apiece.

The Europeans couldn’t resist poking a little fun at the Americans’ plight.

“Just have to say our waterproofs are performing very well!” McIlroy tweeted.

The Americans had the last laugh, though.

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Rose (64) peaking just ahead of the U.S. Open

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 8:40 pm

A former U.S. Open champion appears to be finding his form just three weeks ahead of the year's second major.

Justin Rose ascended to the top of the leaderboard Friday at the Fort Worth Invitational, with rounds of 66-64 pushing him to 10 under par for the week.

Through 36 at Colonial, Rose has marked 12 birdies against just two bogeys.

"Yeah, I did a lot of good things today," Rose said. "I think, you know, the end of my round got a little scrappy, but until the last three holes it was pretty flawless. I think I hit every fairway pretty much and obviously every green to that point. ...

"Yeah, the way I played through, I guess through my first 15 holes today, was about as good as I've played in a long time."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Rose won in back-to-back weeks last fall, stunning Dustin Johnson at the WGC-HSBC Championship and riding that victory right into another at the Turkish Airlines Open.

Now the 2013 U.S. Open winner at Merion feels himself once again rounding into form ahead of this year's Open at Shinnecock. A final-round 66 at The Players gave Rose something to focus on in his recent practice sessions with swing coach Sean Foley, as the two work to shore up the timing of Rose's transition into the downswing.

As for his decision to tee it up at Colonial for the first time since 2010, "It was more the run of form really," Rose explained. "I feel like if I didn't play here it was going to be a little spotty going into the U.S. Open. I felt like I wanted to play enough golf where I would have a good read on my game going into Shinnecock.

"So rather than the venue it was more the timing, but it's obviously it's just such a bonus to be on a great layout like this."

For whatever reason, Rose does tend to play his best golf at iconic venues, having won PGA Tour events at Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Doral, Merion and Congressional.

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Koepka (63): Two wrist dislocations in two months

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 8:19 pm

Brook Koepka's journey back from a wrist injury that kept him out four months hasn't been totally smooth sailing, even if his play has suggested otherwise.

Koepka on Friday fired a 7-under 63 to move up the leaderboard into a tie for third, three shots behind leader Justin Rose through the end of the morning wave at the Fort Worth Invitational.

After a slow start Thursday saw him play his first 13 holes 3 over, Koepka is 10 under with 11 birdies in his last 23 holes at Colonial.

"It doesn't matter to me. I could care less. I'm still going to try as hard as I can," Koepka said. "I don't care how many over or how many under I am. Still going to fight through it."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Just like he's been fighting his wrist the last two months or so. Koepka reinjured his wrist the Wednesday of The Players when he was practicing on the range and had to halt mid-swing after a golf cart drove in front of him. He nonetheless managed to finish T-11.

And that's not the only issue he's had with that wrist during his return.

"We had a bone pop out of place. I didn't tell anybody, but, yeah, they popped it back in," Koepka admitted Friday. "Luckily enough we kind of popped it back into place right away so it wasn't stiff and I didn't have too, too many problems.

"Yeah. I mean, I've dislocated my wrist twice in the last two months. You know, different spots, but, I mean, it's fun. I'll be all right."

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Twitter spat turns into fundraising opportunity

By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 6:30 pm

Country music star Jake Owen, along with Brandt Snedeker, has turned a spat on Twitter into a fundraising campaign that will support Snedeker’s foundation.

On Thursday, Owen was criticized during the opening round of the Web.com Tour’s Nashville Golf Open, which benefits the Snedeker Foundation, for his poor play after opening with an 86.

In response, Snedeker and country singer Chris Young pledged $5,000 for every birdie that Owen makes on Friday in a campaign called NGO Birdies for Kids

Although Owen, who is playing the event on a sponsor exemption, doesn’t tee off for Round 2 in Nashville until 2 p.m. (CT), the campaign has already generated interest, with NBC Sports/Golf Channel analyst Peter Jacobsen along with Web.com Tour player Zac Blair both pledging $100 for every birdie Owen makes.

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Noren so impressed by Rory: 'I'm about to quit golf'

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 5:33 pm

Alex Noren won the BMW PGA Championship last year, one of his nine career European Tour victories.

He opened his title defense at Wentworth Club in 68-69 and is tied for fourth through two rounds. Unfortunately, he's five back of leader Rory McIlroy. And after playing the first two days alongside McIlroy, Noren, currently ranked 19th in the world, doesn't seem to like his chances of back-to-back wins.

McIlroy opened in 67 and then shot a bogey-free 65 in second round, which included pars on the pair of par-5 finishing holes. Noren walked away left in awe.

"That's the best round I've ever seen," Noren said. "I'm about to quit golf, I think."

Check out the full interview below: