Spain hoping land 2018 Ryder Cup in wake of Ballesteros death
The five-time major winner died this month following a three-year struggle against the effects of a brain tumor. Ballesteros’ family is among those suggesting that Tres Cantos, north of Madrid, should win out over bids from France, Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal.
“It would be the greatest tribute to him,” Baldomero Ballesteros said at his brother’s funeral last week. “I appeal to the sensitivity of the Ryder Cup Committee of the European Tour to agree the greatest honor that could be bestowed on Seve is to award the competition to Spain. I appeal on behalf of the family.”
Forever linked with the Ryder Cup after leading Europe to victory as player and captain, a weakened Ballesteros even made a rare public appearance in May 2010 to support Spain’s bid.
“It would have made my brother very happy, for it was one of his dreams,” Baldomero Ballesteros said.
But while none dispute that Ballesteros deserves honoring, some dissenting voices suggest that a tournament still seven years away is not the way to do it.
Former European Ryder Cup captain Bernhard Langer pointed out that Spain already held the tournament in 1997, when Ballesteros led Europe to a single-point win at Valderamma.
“Absolutely unfair,” Langer said in an interview with Spain’s El Mundo newspaper. “It’s time the Ryder Cup went to Germany, France and Portugal.
“There’d be no big problem if it were to return to Spain again but it would be unfair.”
Like Ballesteros, Langer also won the Ryder Cup as captain and player.
Padraig Harrington, Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie are among those to suggest that a fitting tribute to Ballesteros would be for the European Tour to adopt a silhouette image of Ballesteros at its logo.
Germany is proposing Wittelsbacher Golf Club, an hour north of Munich; Portugal has the new Comporta Dunes project south of Lisbon on the Alentejo coast; and the Netherlands is offering The Dutch, 45 minutes from Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
But the best-known course under consideration is Le Golf National near Paris, which has been the venue for all but two French Opens in the last 20 years.
Pascal Grizot, who heads the Ryder Cup commission at the French golf federation, said he received good feedback and that the French bid, which is backed by the state, is among the favorites.
He said France’s main rivals are Spain and Portugal but that his bid is suffering from the lack of French golfers ranked in the top 100. No French golfer won on the European Tour last year while Germany’s Martin Kaymer claimed four titles.
“Some other bidding countries have contributed more than France to the Ryder Cup history and the European Tour might be tempted to favor one of those countries,” Grizot told French sports daily L’Equipe. “But we are ahead of the Netherlands and Portugal from this point of view.”
British bookmaker William Hill makes Spain the 8-11 favorite to host the tournament, with France the 11-8 second favorite and Germany next at 5-1. The Netherlands and Portugal are long shots at 20-1 and 25-1, respectively.
Recent European Ryder Cups were held in Ireland in 2006, and Wales in 2010. The 2014 event will be played at Gleneagles in Scotland.
UCLA junior Vu named WGCA Player of the Year
UCLA junior Lilia Vu was named Player of the Year on Tuesday by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA).
Vu recorded the lowest full-season scoring average (70.37) in UCLA history. Her four tournament wins tied the school record for most victories in a single season.
Vu was also named to the WGCA All-America first team. Here's a look at the other players who joined her on the prestigious list:
WGCA First Team All-Americans
- Maria Fassi, Junior, University of Arkansas
- Kristen Gillman, Sophomore, University of Alabama
- Jillian Hollis, Junior, University of Georgia
- Cheyenne Knight, Junior, University of Alabama
- Jennifer Kupcho, Junior, Wake Forest University
- Andrea Lee, Sophomore, Stanford University
- Leona Maguire, Senior, Duke University
- Sophia Schubert, Senior, University of Texas
- Lauren Stephenson, Junior, University of Alabama
- Maddie Szeryk, Senior, Texas A&M University
- Patty Tavatanakit, Freshman, UCLA
- Lilia Vu, Junior, UCLA
Stroud's caddie wins annual PGA Tour caddie tournament
Casey Clendenon, who caddies for Chris Stroud, won the gross division of the annual PGA Tour caddie tournament on Monday, shooting a 5-under 66 at Trinity Forest Golf Club, site of last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson.
Scott Tway (65), who caddies for Brian Harman, won the net division by two strokes over Wayne Birch, Troy Merritt’s caddie.
Kyle Bradley, Jonathan Byrd’s caddie, took second place with a 71 in the gross division.
The tournament was organized by the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, and proceeds from the event went to two charities. The APTC donated $20,000 to Greg Chalmers’ charity, MAXimumChances.org, which aids families living with autism. The association also donated $10,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Bjorn adds four Ryder Cup veterans as vice captains
European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn has added a quartet of vice captains for the biennial matches this fall in Paris.
Bjorn had already named Robert Karlsson as his first assistant, and he announced Tuesday at the BMW PGA Championship that his group of advisors will also include major champions Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell, and former world No. 1s Lee Westwood and Luke Donald.
Westwood is among Europe's most decorated Ryder Cup players, and his addition in this role signals he likely won't participate as a player in the matches for the first time since 1995. The Englishman has spoken openly about his desire to captain the European squad at Whistling Straits in 2020, but he's been quiet on the course in recent months, with a missed secondary cut at the Houston Open his only start since mid-February.
Harrington is seen as another possible captain for the 2020 matches, and he'll don an earpiece for the third straight Ryder Cup, having represented Europe as a player on six straight teams from 1999-2010.
Donald played on four Ryder Cup teams from 2004-12, with the Europeans winning each time he was on the roster. This will mark his first stint as a vice captain, as Donald announced last month that he would be sidelined indefinitely while recovering from a back injury.
At age 38, McDowell will be the youngest vice captain in the room, having holed the winning putt eight years ago at Celtic Manor. He won the French Open in both 2013 and 2014 at Le Golf National, site of this year's matches, and will also be making his debut as a vice captain.
Bidder pays $50,000 to caddie for Woods
Someone has paid $50,000 to caddie for Tiger Woods at this year’s Hero World Challenge.
An unnamed bidder paid for the opportunity at an auction Saturday night at Tiger Jam, where monies are raised to support the Tiger Woods Foundation.
"Joe, take the day off." @TGRFound supporter to caddie for Woods Wednesday at #HeroWorldChallenge for $50,000 donation in the #TigerJam live auction. - TGRhttps://t.co/EjoJ2bpRh4 pic.twitter.com/yu2MY2dUGV— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) May 21, 2018
The Hero World Challenge will be contested Nov. 29-Dec. in Albany, Bahamas. The pro-am is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 28.