A Score to Settle at Presidents Cup

By Associated PressSeptember 18, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PresidentTiger Woods never felt more pressure over a single shot.
 
He barely could read the double break on his 15-foot par putt in the gathering darkness in South Africa. Adding to the jangled nerves was seeing a block of red shirts huddled to the right of the second green, where his 11 teammates watched high drama unfold at the Presidents Cup.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods has a 8-7-0 career Presidents Cup record.
So much for these matches lacking intensity.
 
They have been described as a happier occasion than the Ryder Cup, but it sure didn't feel that way to Woods.
 
'I saw everybody there and kept looking in the opposite direction,' Woods recalled. 'You don't want to know all of your teammates are over there looking at you, hoping you make the putt. You don't want to let them all down.
 
'That was probably one of the best -- if not the best -- putts I've ever made.'
 
Next up was Ernie Els, who felt even more pressure. No one has finished second to Woods more often than the Big Easy, and his 6-footer to halve the hole was equally tough. Els saw his team gathered in their royal blue shirts, along with a home crowd perched atop the knolls surrounding the green.
 
'I was walking with Mike Weir, and Mike said he was more nervous watching these guys putt than he was putting to win the Masters,' Adam Scott said. 'I'm glad it was Ernie putting.'
 
The Presidents Cup delivered everything but a winner two years ago in South Africa. Soon after Els made his putt, U.S. captain Jack Nicklaus and International captain Gary Player realized it was too dark to continue. Considering how these matches had gone, they figured the best thing to do was call it a tie.
 
Now, both teams have a score to settle.
 
'It's a pity we ran out of daylight,' Retief Goosen said. 'But it's quite good now that it ended the way it did, because we can sort of carry on from last time. It was so close. This time, we can go at it again.'
 
But the sixth Presidents Cup matches, which start Thursday at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in northern Virginia, hardly can be called a continuation.
 
The Americans now have a distinct advantage at RTJ, where they have never lost in three previous matches and last time handed the International team its worst loss.
 
There will be no playoff. Nicklaus and Player never liked the idea of putting two names in an envelope to decide the Presidents Cup in a sudden-death playoff, believing it was too much pressure for any one player to carry. Now, singles matches that are tied after regulation will go extra holes until one team has the required 17 1/2 points to win.
 
And while the teams are far stronger than what the Ryder Cup gets -- eight of the top 10 players in the world, with 24 major championships among them -- the International team is missing a key player. Els, who matched Woods putt-for-putt in a playoff of epic intensity, had knee surgery last month and is recovering at home in England.
 
'It was a massive blow to lose your No. 2 player. We've got to do the best we can,' said Player, who returns as captain of the International team that features players from everywhere but Europe.
 
Nicklaus also agreed to return as U.S. captain for the third time in the Presidents Cup, and his first at home. His team was hammered at Royal Melbourne in 1998, and staged a stirring rally in singles two years ago in South Africa.
 
He has no complaints about his team.
 
Woods has won five times -- including two majors -- this year, while Phil Mickelson is coming off his second major title at the PGA Championship. Seven of his 12 players have won on the PGA Tour this year. But despite Els' absence, Nicklaus doesn't see a big advantage for the Americans.
 
'I still think the International team is probably a little stronger than we are,' he said. 'Let's go in there and say, 'Hey, we might be on our home soil, but we might have to work real hard to win this.' I like to keep them hungry.'
 
The last cup competition involving the American men was a disaster. Europe played better and enjoyed itself more in winning the Ryder Cup last year at Oakland Hills, 18 1/2-9 1/2, for its biggest rout.
 
Woods was among those quick to point out that Americans are 1-4 in the Ryder Cup since the Presidents Cup was created in 1994. Some have suggested it is tough for the Americans to play these matches every year.
 
But the Presidents Cup provides the solution, not the problem.
 
The hype is nowhere near what the Ryder Cup gets, and it shows in how loose the U.S. team plays.
 
'Our team is too tight in the Ryder Cup, plain and simple,' Jim Furyk said.
 
Chris DiMarco described the difference as the Ryder Cup having 'genuine hostility, whereas in the Presidents Cup there is genuine respect.'
 
'We want to win the Presidents Cup as much as we do the Ryder Cup,' he said. 'But it's a more relaxed atmosphere.'
 
That can change during the matches, however.
 
DiMarco couldn't spit as he stood on the 17th hole two years ago, all square with Stuart Appleby in a match the Americans had to win to have any chance. Kenny Perry was in tears after his roller-coaster victory over Nick Price, and Price was so distraught he showed a rare bit of rage by slamming the putter over his leg and bending the shaft.
 
Then came the sudden-death playoff.
 
'My first thought was I'm glad it wasn't me out there,' Perry said. 'It was intense. They kept making putt on top of putt, and they were clutch. It made me realize how great those guys really are, to realize their whole team and country were riding on their back, and they were able to stand up to it.'
 
Asked how many players on his team would have wanted to be in his position, Woods laughed.
 
'Probably not many,' he said. 'I didn't want to be there.'
 
What might help the Americans this time around is that the matches are being played one month after the teams were decided. In 2003, the Presidents Cup took place three months later.
 
'The teams are named, and we're ready to go,' Scott said. 'It's going to be some good competition. I'd like to get my hands on the trophy and look forward to the Sunday night celebration. We did a pretty good job celebrating last time, and we didn't even win the thing.'
 
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    M. Jutanugarn eyeing first win with L.A. Open lead

    By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:50 am

    LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn took the lead into the weekend at the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open in her latest bid to join younger sister Ariya as an LPGA winner.

    Moriya Jutanugarn shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 on Friday at Wilshire Country Club to get to 8-under 134 in the LPGA Tour's first event in Los Angeles since 2005. The 23-year-old from Thailand started fast with birdies on the par-5 second, par-4 third and par-3 fourth and added two more on the par-4 11th and par-5 13th.

    Ariya Jutanugarn has seven LPGA victories.

    Marina Alex was second after a 68.


    Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open


    So Yeon Ryu was 6 under after a 69, and fellow South Korean players Inbee Park(71) and Eun-Hee Ji (69). Park was the first-round leader at 66. Lexi Thompsonwas 3 under after a 71.

    Top-ranked Shanshan Feng followed her opening 74 with a 67 to get to 1 under.

    Ariya Jutanugarn (71) was even par, and Michelle Wie (70) was 1 over. Brooke Henderson, the Canadian star who won last week in Hawaii, had a 79 to miss the cut.

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    Johnson, Moore co-lead Valero Texas Open through 36

    By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

    SAN ANTONIO - Zach Johnson was going nowhere in the Valero Texas Open when it all changed with one putt.

    He made an 8-foot par putt on the 13th hole of the opening round to stay at 2 under. He followed with a big drive, a hybrid into 12 feet and an eagle. Johnson was on his way, and he kept right on going Friday to a 7-under 65 and a share of the 36-hole lead with Ryan Moore.

    ''You just never know. That's the beauty of this game,'' Johnson said. ''I felt like I was hitting some solid shots and wasn't getting rewarded, and you've just got to stay in it. You've got to persevere, grind it out, fight for pars. You just never know.''

    Moore had three birdies over his last five holes for a 67 and joined Johnson at 9-under 135.

    They had a one-shot lead over Grayson Murray (69) and Andrew Landry (67).

    Ben Crane (66), Martin Laird (65) and David Hearn (68) were three shots behind. Billy Horschel and Keegan Bradley shot 71 and were four shots behind at 5-under 139.


    Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

    Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos


    Sergio Garcia, who consulted Greg Norman on the design of the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio, had a short stay in his first time at the Texas Open since 2010. Garcia shot an even-par 72, and at one point became so frustrated he threw his driver into the shrubs.

    Garcia finished at 2-over 146 and missed the cut.

    It was the first time since 2010 that Garcia missed the cut in successive starts. That was the PGA Championship and, 10 weeks later, the Castello Masters in Spain. This time, he missed the cut in the Masters and Texas Open three weeks apart.

    Johnson, a two-time winner of the Texas Open, appeared to be headed to a short week until the key par save on the 13th hole, followed by his eagle, par and three straight birdies. He began the second round Friday with five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, a sixth birdie on the par-4 first hole, and then an eagle on the short par-4 fifth when he holed out from a greenside bunker.

    The only sour taste to his second round was a three-putt bogey from about 30 feet on his final hole. Even so, the view was much better than it was Thursday afternoon.

    Moore thought he had wasted a good birdie opportunity on the par-5 14th hole when he left his 50-foot eagle putt about 6 feet short. But he made that, and then holed a similar putt from 8 feet for birdie on the next hole and capped his good finish with a 15-foot putt on the 17th.

    ''That was a huge momentum putt there,'' Moore said of the 14th. ''It was a tough putt from down there with a lot of wind. That green is pretty exposed and ... yeah, really short and committed to that second putt really well and knocked it right in the middle.''

    The birdies on the 14th and 15th were important to Moore because he missed a pair of 10-foot birdie tries to start the back nine.

    ''So it was nice to get those and get going in the right direction on the back,'' he said.

    The cut was at 1-over 145, and because 80 players made the cut, there will be a 54-hole cut on Saturday.

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    Garcia tosses driver, misses Valero cut

    By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

    It wasn't quite to the level of his watery meltdown earlier this month at the Masters, but Sergio Garcia still got frustrated during the second round of the Valero Texas Open - and his driver paid the price.

    Garcia had a hand in redesigning the AT&T Oaks Course along with Greg Norman several years ago, but this marked his first return to TPC San Antonio since 2010. After an opening-round 74, Garcia arrived to the tee of the short par-4 fifth hole and decided to get aggressive with driver in hand.

    When his shot sailed well left, a heated Garcia chucked the club deep into the bushes that lined the tee box:

    It took considerable effort for Garcia to find and retrieve the club amid the branches, and once he did things only got worse. He appeared to shank a chip once he got up to his ball, leading to a bogey on one of the easiest holes on a demanding track.

    Garcia closed out his round with four straight pars, and at 2 over he eventually missed the cut by a shot. It marks the first time he has missed consecutive cuts on the PGA Tour since 2003, when he sat out the weekend at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Fort Worth Invitational and Memorial Tournament in successive weeks.

    Garcia entered the week ranked No. 10 in the world, and he was the only top-20 player among the 156-man field. He missed the cut at the Masters in defense of his title after carding an octuple-bogey 13 on the 15th hole during the opening round.

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    Daly-Allen team grabs Legends of Golf lead on Day 2

    By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 11:14 pm

    RIDGEDALE, Mo. - John Daly and Michael Allen took the second-round lead Friday in the cool and breezy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

    Daly and Allen shot an 8-under 46 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course with wind gusting to 15 mph and the temperature only in the high-50s at Big Cedar Lodge. They had three birdies on the front nine in alternate-shot play and added five more on the back in better-ball play to get to 13 under.

    ''Michael and I go back to the South African days in the late 80s and playing that tour,'' Daly said. ''We've been buddies since. He's just fun to play with. We feed off each other pretty good. And if he's not comfortable guinea-pigging on one hole, I'll go first.''

    On Thursday, they opened with a 66 on the regulation Buffalo Ridge course. They will rotate to the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course on Saturday, and return to Top of the Rock for the final round Sunday.

    ''I went to high school in Jeff City, so it's cool to have the fans behind us,'' Daly said.

    Allen won the PGA Tour Champions team event with David Frost in 2012 and Woody Austin in 2016.

    ''I'm just here to free up John,'' Allen said. ''It was fun. Luckily, I started making good putts today. We just want to keep the good times rolling.''


    Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf


    Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco were a stroke back along with Bernhard Langer-Tom Lehman and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett. Singh and Franco had a 7-under 32 in best-ball play at Mountain Top, and Lehman-Langer and Broadhurst-Tripplet each shot 6-under 48 at Top of the Rock.

    ''Part of the issue here is all the tees are elevated, so you're up high hitting to a green that's down below and the wind is blowing, and there is more time for that wind to affect it,'' Lehman said. ''If you guess wrong on the wind, you can hit a really good shot and kind of look stupid.''

    Former UCLA teammates Scott McCarron and Brandt Jobe were two strokes back at 11 under with Steve Flesch and David Toms and the Spanish side of Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez. McCarron-Jobe had a 47, and Jimenez-Olazabal a 48 at Top of the Rock, and Tom Flesch shot 34 at Mountain Top.

    First-round leaders Jeff Maggert and Jesper Parnevik had a 52 at Top of the Rock to fall three shots back at 10 under. Madison, Wisconsin, friends Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly also were 10 under after a 32 at Mountain Top. Jay Haas aced the 131-yard seventh hole at Mountain Top with a gap wedge. Haas and fellow 64-year-old Peter Jacobsen were 8 under after a 32.