Two Cups Too Many for All the Presidents Men

By Associated PressSeptember 25, 2007, 4:00 pm
MONTREAL -- One cup is over. Another cup is about to begin.
 
The question is whether a world-class collection of players at Royal Montreal have enough left to fill the Presidents Cup with the kind of golf that has made these matches so compelling over the last few years.
 
Tiger Woods, who plays fewer golf tournaments than any other star, will be competing for the sixth time in nine weeks. Ditto for Phil Mickelson, who usually shuts it down this time of year. Even an ironman like Vijay Singh has spent an awful lot of time inside the ropes, skipping only two weeks since August.
 
Mike Weir
Mike Weir practices Tuesday before the home country crowd. (WireImage)
Blame that on the FedExCup, a four-week bonanza that ended only nine days ago for 16 players in the Presidents Cup. It only figures to get tougher next year, with the Ryder Cup scheduled for the week after the TOUR Championship.
 
As much as players are cursing the schedule, it could turn out to be a blessing.
 
'You would think that you're pretty prepared to be here, maybe more so than years past, because of playing so much golf recently,' David Toms said Tuesday. 'I think that's something they need to take a look in the future, how much golf is being played at this particular time. For us this year, I know we have a lot of guys who are coming in and playing well, and it should be an advantage for us.'
 
Indeed, the FedExCup could be a good barometer for these matches when they get under way Thursday.
 
Woods is playing a lot of golf, but playing well. He has won four of the five tournaments he has played dating to the Bridgestone Invitational, including his last two to easily win the FedExCup. The other two playoff events were won by Phil Mickelson (Deutsche Bank) and Steve Stricker (Barclays).
 
Since all 24 players from the United States and International teams are PGA TOUR members, an even better barometer might be the 30-man field at the TOUR Championship.
 
Ten Americans were at East Lake, the exception being Toms (No. 32) and Lucas Glover (No. 35). The International team had only six players in the Tour Championship, and two of the players -- Mike Weir and Retief Goosen -- didn't even qualify for the 70-man field the previous week at the BMW Championship.
 
'Our team has been really playing well,' U.S. captain Jack Nicklaus said. 'I think they are well prepared.'
 
Nicklaus tried to make the case the International team is stronger on paper, which is usually the norm. Comprised of players from all but European countries, the team has an average world ranking of 18.5, with Weir the lowest at No. 46. The United States has an average ranking of 21.9, with Glover the lowest at No. 61.
 
International captain Gary Player, however, was quick to point out the United States was top-heavy in the world ranking with Woods, Mickelson, Jim Furyk and Stricker the new 'Big Four.' It is believed to be the first time in the 21-year history of the world ranking Americans have occupied the top four spots.
 
While the International team looks good on paper, it hasn't looked good in competition lately. The most recent winner is K.J. Choi at the AT&T National in July. Angel Cabrera hasn't done much since his U.S. Open victory in June, and Singh played five consecutive tournaments over par until finishing 10 under at easy East Lake.
 
Even so, Player had reason to believe 'the stage is set for another great match.'
 
The last two have been so close they essentially were decided by one shot -- Chris DiMarco's 15-foot birdie putt on the final hole of the final match in 2005 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Virginia. The matches ended in a tie in South Africa in 2003.
 
'I think that the whole 'on paper' is kind of a farce,' Furyk said. 'If we have a tour that's deep enough where 100 guys can go out on any week and win a tournament, then 12 of the best players from any side can go out and win that week. A lot of it is momentum. Obviously, you don't want to get behind early.'
 
Closing out matches is equally important, as the International team learned last time.
 
Of the 12 matches that went to the 18th hole in 2005, the Americans won five and halved seven. That included DiMarco's match against Stuart Appleby that set off a rare but wild celebration with Nicklaus at the center.
 
'To be on the losing end, it was pretty gutting,' Appleby said. 'The entire team felt like I did.'
 
Appleby is one of only three players on the International team who have known the feeling of winning the Presidents Cup. The others are Ernie Els and Singh, the three of them on the 1998 that whipped the United States in Australia.
 
Appleby looks at that '98 team and wonders how it did so well. It featured Frank Nobilo, who was nearing the end of his career, and Carlos Franco, who was making his way through Q-school.
 
'We've come a long way as an International team, and we need to start winning,' he said. 'We have the desire. We all want to be here. But we have to taste victory. It's been a while.'
 
Related Links:
  • United States Report Card
  • International Report Card
  • Full Coverage - Presidents Cup
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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.