Ugly Weather Ugly Americans

By Associated PressSeptember 20, 2006, 4:00 pm
36th Ryder Cup MatchesSTRAFFAN, Ireland -- There are times when the Americans just can't win, such as the Ryder Cup.
 
And sometimes, they don't even have to wait for the matches to get under way.
 
The weather turned so nasty Wednesday morning, with 40 mph gusts that toppled a few trees and brought the rain sideways, that The K Club was closed to the public for nearly three hours. U.S. captain Tom Lehman sent his players back to bed, and only later did both teams believe it best to play for thousands of spectators who eventually got onto the course.
 
But it was no time to take golf seriously, not with the wind blowing the ball all over the place.
 
Lehman fulfilled a prediction he made in February by creating what was believed to be the first 'twelvesome' game in Ryder Cup history, his entire team playing nine holes on a gray, miserable afternoon.
 
But there was a twist.
 
They worked on their short game, starting each hole from about 120 yards away. The gallery wasn't aware of this, so when Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and the rest of the Americans walked from the fourth green, past the fifth tee and kept marching down the middle of the fairway, the Ryder Cup got its first dose of booing.
 
'You don't give a damn about Ireland's public,' shouted one man behind the tee, and hundreds of others nodded.
 
Another man asked Jim Furyk to stop for a picture. He walked over to man's wife, put his arm on her shoulder and posed with a smile.
 
Walking back toward the fairway, Furyk said, 'I guess we're just the ugly Americans.'
 
Lehman later asked for a mulligan.
 
He realized his squad should have performed at least on the first tee, where the grandstands were packed with people. And when he caught up with his team on the seventh hole, he told them to tee off on No. 9, the only drives they hit all day.
 
'We walk down the first hole to about 120 yards short of the green and started from there, and kind of left everybody sitting in the stands by the first tee waiting,' Lehman said. 'That was a mistake. We should have hit a tee shot at least on the first hole. To all of those fans left waiting, I apologize. That was my mistake.'
 
There's always something at the Ryder Cup.
 
Woods riled the English fans at The Belfry four years ago when captain Curtis Strange allowed him to practice at 6 a.m., as he normally does, finishing about the time fans were just showing up.
 
Last time outside Detroit, the Americans were criticized by their own gallery for not signing autographs during the practice rounds. There was a policy against autographs, which the Europeans gladly violated with hopes of winning favor on foreign soil, and it worked.
 
Lehman's apology was sincere, but he had no regrets about what unfolded on The K Club.
 
Furyk recently described the Americans as looking 'constipated' when they get to the Ryder Cup, but not on this day. Asked to describe what kind of game it was, Scott Verplank replied, 'Fun.'
 
It was quite a scene, the 12 Americans and their caddies on the same green, all dressed in black rain suits (an appropriate color).
 
Each player put $100 into the pot on each hole, and formed teams for an alternate-shot match that started within about pitching wedge range except on the par 3s. In case of a tie, there was a chip-off on each hole to determine the winner.
 
Verplank and David Toms were formidable, although don't read too much into that pairing.
 
Verplank won a chip-off on the third by pitching from a knoll beyond the green, over a bunker to within a foot. On the next hole, the par-5 fourth, the players started from 240 yards away, and Woods, Furyk and Brett Wetterich were the only players to reach in two. No matter: Toms chipped in for eagle and the other guys missed their putts.
 
The drama came at the par-4 seventh, a peninsula green.
 
Not only did Lehman have them stop short of the pond, they had to skip the ball off the water and over the rocks rimming the green, similar to a tradition during practice at the Masters.
 
Verplank hit a masterful shot that skipped off the water, over the rocks and banged hard enough into the slight slope that it rolled about 20 feet away from the pin. J.J. Henry and Zach Johnson hit shots that plopped and sank. Chad Campbell was last to hit, and he skipped it over and up to within 3 feet. Wetterich, his partner, knocked in the putt with the entire team watching.
 
Chris DiMarco gets into the Ryder Cup, even in practice.
 
He won a chip-off from the bunker on No. 8 by blasting out to 15 feet, while Wetterich left his in the sand. It must have been the first skin for DiMarco, because he instinctively raised and shook his fist, looking at the fans for some cheers, not realizing they didn't care.
 
But there was banter along the way, even with the caddies.
 
Mike 'Fluff' Cowan was walking to the eighth tee when he spotted an Irish teenager wearing a New York Yankees cap. Cowan has roots in New England, and he couldn't resist.
 
'Name me one player on the New York Yankees. Just one,' he challenged him.
 
The kid shrugged his shoulder and Cowan walked away in mock disgust until the kid returned the challenge.
 
'Name me a Kerry footballer,' he said.
 
'Ian Coughlin,' Cowan replied, choosing two common names from this part of the world.
 
Then they headed off to the practice range, where the Europeans worked quietly. There wasn't much time left, for the black-tie gala dinner was to start at 7:30 p.m.
 
'We took a day that could have been not a whole lot of fun out there -- grinding it out, putting for pars and bogeys and not making very many birdies -- to having a good time,' Toms said. 'That's what we've been stressing to each other. Enjoy the competition, and I thought we did some things where the fans seemed to be enjoying what we were doing.
 
'Plus, I won some money,' Toms said. 'So it was good.'
 
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    Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

    By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

    Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

    The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

    Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

    Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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    Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

    Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

    Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

    Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

    4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

    4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

    4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

    4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

    4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

    5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

    5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

    5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

    5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

    5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

    6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

    6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

    6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

    6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

    6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

    7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

    7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

    7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

    7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

    7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

    7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

    8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

    8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

    8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

    8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

    8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

    8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

    9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

    9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

    9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

    9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

    9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

    10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

    10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

    10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

    10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

    10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

    10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

    11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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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.”