Ryder Cup Produces New Stars

By Associated PressSeptember 24, 2008, 4:00 pm
LOUISVILLE, Ky. ' The Ryder Cup used to be far more meaningful on the other side of the Atlantic.
 
One reason the Europeans play with so much passion and purpose is because they represent their tour, not just their continent. For years, they were coach to the PGA TOURs business class. Padraig Harrington referred to the European Tour as country cousins, and the Ryder Cup was a stage for its players to prove themselves as equals.
 
This time, however, it was the PGA TOUR desperate for a victory.
 
American golf has been flat over the last three months, dating to a shocking announcement that Tiger Woods would miss the rest of the year due to reconstructive knee surgery.
 
Television ratings have plunged. Grandstands look half-empty (although the Tour would say they are half-full).
 
This would have been a good time for Phil Mickelson or Sergio Garcia to fill the void, but neither has won a tournament since Woods went on injured reserve. And even if they had, they would not have received as much credit. Someone would have mentioned an asterisk.
 
But it sure was hard to ignore Anthony Kim in the Ryder Cup.
 
U.S. captain Paul Azinger sent out the 23-year-old Kim in the first singles match Sunday against Garcia with words that stuck with Kim throughout his 5-and-4 victory.
 
You have a lot of game, so just go out there and let the whole world see it.
 
What everyone saw was one of the most explosive talents in golf. Kim beat a strong field at the Wachovia Championship by five shots. Two months later at storied Congressional, he won the AT&T National by closing with a 65 to become the first American under 25 since Woods to win at least two PGA TOUR events in the same year.
 
But was anyone really watching?
 
Will they remember Kims two victories this year, or how he handed Garcia his worst loss ever in a Ryder Cup? Kim was so fired up that he didnt even realize after an 8-foot par putt on the 14th hole that the match was over.
 
It wasnt just Kim.
 
Hunter Mahan received fleeting fame last summer when he won for the first time and busted out a few scores in the low 60s. If anyone outside golf recognized his name, he was the guy who criticized the Ryder Cup largesse without having played in one.
 
They might look at him differently now.
 
Mahan tied a record for most points by a U.S. captains pick when he went 2-0-3, the only player at Valhalla to play all five matches without losing. It was his clutch tee shot and approach on the par-5 18th that secured a valuable halve in the final team match Saturday, and he secured another half-point when he holed a 60-foot putt across the 17th green Sunday.
 
Fans might now flock to Boo Weekley like they once did to John Daly.
 
No one knows what might come out of his mouth, whether its tobacco juice or homespun talk about chasing bunnies around the dog track. He kept his teammates listening because no one was sure what he would say next.
 
Has anyone seen a golfer gallop off the tee using his driver as a toy horse?
 
Couldnt stop laughing, Jim Furyk said.
 
By the way, Weekley also came up with one clutch shot after another, from his approach out of a fairway bunker to 2 feet to a pair of birdie putts from off the green.
 
J.B. Holmes used to show off his power only outside Phoenix, where he twice won the FBR Open. But no display was more memorable than his tee shots on the 16th and 17th, setting up easy birdies that allowed him to win the pivotal match Sunday.
 
The Ryder Cup gave them all a chance to shine. PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem was among those paying attention.
 
I thought the Ryder Cup was a major impact on bringing some new stars to life for the future of the PGA TOUR, Finchem said Tuesday. When you just look at the way Mahan, and Kim in particular, J.B. Holmes and Boo Weekley played I think some of them were already reasonable stars, but they all took a major step up in terms of their notoriety with our fan base.
 
And thats a good thing.
 
They are not Tiger Woods.
 
Kim might have the best chance to audition as Woods next rival, but even he says hes not at that level right now.
 
Nobody is going to knock Tiger off anywhere. Thats a given, Kim said. Hes staying there until somebody starts giving him more of a challenge on a week-to-week basis, and thats my goal.
 
Worse than Woods missing the last half of the year is the reminder that he is closer to the end of his career. He is 32, coming off his third knee operation in six years, closing in on Jack Nicklaus record 18 majors. Woods playing into his late 40s is about as likely as Nick Faldo conceding he made a mistake.
 
While we miss Tiger'and everybody misses Tiger'it does give us this window of players being able to get more attention, Finchem said. That certainly was evident at the Ryder Cup.
 
There are plenty of personalities on the PGA TOUR. Golf managed to survive before Woods came along.
 
It took the Ryder Cup to bring some of them out.
 
Related Links:
  • U.S. Report Cards
  • European Report Cards
  • U.S. Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • European Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • Full Coverage - 37th Ryder Cup
  • American Junior Golf Association

    Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 11:03 pm

    While most of the golf world had its attention focused on Scotland and The Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday, the REALLY remarkable performance of the day was taking place in Halifax, Mass.

    There, in an American Junior Golf Association tournament, a 16-year-old Thai player made a hole-in-one and an albatross on consecutive holes.

    According to the AJGA, Conor Kelly holed a 5-iron shot on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole. It was his first hole-in-one. He then holed a 4-iron second shot from 220 yards on the 480-yard ninth holer for the albatross. (We're gonna go out on a limb and say it was his first albatross.)

    Certainly a nice way to make the turn - but Kelly wasn't finished. He birdied the par-4 10th for a 1-2-3 sequence on his scorecard. For the day, he shot a 5-under 67 in the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship at the Country Club of Halifax.

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    McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1

    By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 10:10 pm

    They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.

    McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

    Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.

    On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.

    Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:

    10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm

    12/1: Tony Finau

    14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

    20/1: Francesco Molinari

    25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner

    30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka

    40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day

    50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar

    60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate

    80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na

    100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman

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    Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience

    By Randall MellJuly 19, 2018, 9:41 pm

    Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.

    It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.

    Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

    A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.

    “I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.

    “I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”

    Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.

    At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.

    Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.

    “I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.



    “Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”

    Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.

    “Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”

    After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.

    “I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”

    Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.

    “It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.

    “Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”

    On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.

    Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.

    “She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”

    Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.

    At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.

    At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.

    Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.

    “I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”

    Her overall assessment of her day?

    “It was a great experience,” she said.

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    Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

    NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

    Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

    Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

    1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.