Tiger who New breed carries US to victory

By Associated PressSeptember 21, 2008, 4:00 pm
Ryder CupLOUISVILLE, Ky. ' Finally, the Americans figured it out.
 
They didnt need to all come from the same background, or play a similar style of golf, or even have the best player in the world leading them into the Ryder Cup.
 
They just needed some passion, some camaraderie, some sense of purpose.
 
So, it was a country boy from Floridas Panhandle who kept everyone in stitches. It was a brash kid from LA who stared down one of Europes superstars. It was two native sons of Kentucky who brought the sort of desire that only comes from playing in front of the home folks.
 
Boo Weekley
Boo Weekley was one of the U.S. rookies who helped carry the team to victory. (Getty Images)
Tiger Woods wasnt at Valhalla. But Boo Weekley was. So were Anthony Kim, Kenny Perry and J.B. Holmes.
 
Sunday evening, they joined hands on the balcony of the clubhouse at Valhalla Golf Club, sprayed champagne on the crowd below and celebrated the Ryder Cups return to this side of the Atlantic.
 
With Woods back home in Florida, recovering from knee surgery, the Americans turned to an unlikely band of seeming misfits to wrest the gold chalice away from Europe for the first time since 1999.
 
This is a week Ill never forget, said Perry, at 48 the oldest member of the team. Its the greatest experience of my life.
 
Kim set the tone by winning the first match of the day in a rout. Perry, Weekley and Holmes each added a point to the U.S. cause. When it was done, the Americans had romped to a 16 1/2 -11 1/2 victory that ended a streak of three consecutive European wins, the last two of them not even close.
 
Their records over three days were stunning: Kim and Perry each went 2-1-1; Weekley and Holmes both went 2-0-1. Together, they had a hand in 8 1/2 points.
 
That was more excitement than Ive had in a loooooong time, said Weekley, who certainly came out of the week as a folk hero ' and surefire target of the Europeans should he make the team in 2010. Its hard to describe. Its not all sank in yet.
 
As one Ryder Cup loss after another piled up, five of the last six in all, the Americans were accused of being too robotic, too individualistic when it came to team golf. There was no doubt they had most of the best players, but they were a disjointed, disparate bunch when joined as one.
 
That all changed in the bluegrass state.
 
At the very first hole, Weekley galloped down the fairway like Happy Gilmore after hitting his tee shot, using his driver as a toy horse while whipping his behind. The gallery roared with delight. Hard to imagine Woods doing anything like that.
 
An amazing moment, U.S. captain Paul Azinger said. Never to be duplicated.
 
Weekley revved up the crowds all weekend ' so much so that Europes Lee Westwood complained about him broaching the lines of proper decorum ' but theres little doubt from all those chants of Boooooooo! that American golf has its new John Daly.
 
I kind of took it on my own, said Weekley, who beat Oliver Wilson 4 and 2.
 
I felt like I needed to do it in a way. Im not going to say Im the most outgoing guy on the team, but if there was one who was going to cut up the most, it was going to be me. I thought I might want to do this and see if I could help get the team fired up and the fans fired up.
 
Kim broke out one of his gaudy belt buckles, this one bejeweled in red, white and blue with the letters USA, and conceded nothing to Garcia ' not even 2-foot putts. It was over by the 14th hole, though Kim didnt even fathom his 5-and-4 victory until someone stopped him on the way to 15.
 
That said, the 23-year-olds greatest contribution might have come behind the scenes, where his youthful exuberance and cocky demeanor gave him a leadership role that no one could have expected from the youngest team member.
 
That guy is the funniest guy on the team, said Phil Mickelson, who paired up with Kim three times and basically just got out of the way on Sunday. Everything that comes out of his mouth is a hoot.
 
Certainly no one on the team had more on the line than Perry.
 
Two years away from the old-timers tour, he built his whole schedule this year around qualifying for the Ryder Cup, even when it meant skipping a chance to qualify for the U.S. Open and choosing to play in Milwaukee rather than at the British Open. That certainly subjected him to plenty of criticism, but he was born, raised and still lives right down the road in Franklin, Ky.
 
No event ' not even a major ' meant more to Perry than this one.
 
He birdied four of the five holes and never let up in a 3-and-2 win over Henrik Stenson, who had been one of Europes best in the match-play format. When it was done, Perrys overall-clad father hugged him along the 16th green.
 
I said this was going to define my career, Perry said. You know what? This made my career.
 
Holmes was the lesser-known of the two Kentuckians on the team, a monstrous hitter who first joined his high school team in the third grade and overcame dyslexia to make it at the states flagship university. He was one of four players added to the team by captain Paul Azinger, who figured he might benefit from the home-course advantage.
 
Feeding off Weekleys energy ' the two paired up twice in fourball ' Holmes had to go it alone on Sunday. He was up to the challenge, winning a crucial point with a 2 and 1 victory over Soren Hansen.
 
It ended in true Holmes fashion: a huge drive that headed left and looked as though it might not stop until it got to downtown Louisville. The crowd parted like the Red Sea and the ball caught the trees, bounced off a cart path, hopped along the trampled down rough, caught a bank and rolled back toward the fairway, finally stopping some 370 yards from where it started.
 
Holmes flipped a wedge toward the green, the ball checking up some 3 feet from the pin. Hansen missed his birdie try and the American sank his gimme to pull the Americans within one point of the win. A few minutes, it was over.
 
It was pretty much perfect, Holmes said. You couldnt draw it up any better.
 
Jim Furyk actually clinched the win when Miguel Angel Jimenez conceded a putt at that same 17th hole. But there was no doubt who carried the load for the Americans.
 
Tiger who?
 

Related Links:
  • U.S. Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • European Ryder Cup Team and Records
  • Full Coverage - 37th Ryder Cup
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    Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

    He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

    “There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

    Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

    “I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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    Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

    Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

    Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

    “I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

    Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

    “It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

    More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

    “I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”

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    After 36, new Open favorite is ... Fleetwood

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 7:49 pm

    With a handful of the pre-championship favorites exiting early, there is a new odds-on leader entering the third round of The Open at Carnoustie.

    While Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner share the 36-hole lead, it's England's Tommy Fleetwood who leads the betting pack at 11/2. Fleetwood begins the third round one shot off the lead.

    Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.

    Tommy Fleetwood: 11/2

    Zach Johnson: 13/2

    Rory McIlroy: 7/1

    Jordan Spieth: 8/1

    Rickie Fowler: 9/1

    Kevin Kisner: 12/1

    Xander Schauffele: 16/1

    Tony Finau: 16/1

    Matt Kuchar: 18/1

    Pat Perez: 25/1

    Brooks Koepka: 25/1

    Erik van Rooyen: 50/1

    Alex Noren: 50/1

    Tiger Woods: 50/1

    Thorbjorn Olesen: 60/1

    Danny Willett: 60/1

    Francesco Molinari: 60/1

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    Perez (T-3) looks to remedy 'terrible' major record

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 7:34 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez’s major record is infinitely forgettable. In 24 Grand Slam starts he has exactly one top-10 finish, more than a decade ago at the PGA Championship.

    “Terrible,” Perez said when asked to sum up his major career. “I won sixth [place]. Didn't even break top 5.”

    It’s strange, however, that his status atop The Open leaderboard through two rounds doesn’t seem out of character. The 42-year-old admits he doesn’t hit it long enough to contend at most major stops and also concedes he doesn’t exactly have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the game’s biggest events, but something about The Open works for him.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “I didn't like it the first time I came over. When I went to St. Andrews in '05, I didn't like it because it was cold and terrible and this and that,” he said. “Over the years, I've really learned to like to come over here. Plus the fans are so awesome here. They know a good shot. They don't laugh at you if you hit a bad shot.”

    Perez gave the fans plenty to cheer on Friday at Carnoustie, playing 17 flawless holes to move into a share of the lead before a closing bogey dropped him into a tie for third place after a second-round 68.

    For Perez, links golf is the great equalizer that mitigates the advantages some of the younger, more powerful players have and it brings out the best in him.

    “It's hard enough that I don't feel like I have to hit perfect shots. That's the best,” he said. “Greens, you can kind of miss a shot, and it won't run off and go off the green 40 yards. You're still kind of on the green. You can have a 60-footer and actually think about making it because of the speed.”