Ways the Ryder Cup can be won

By Associated PressOctober 1, 2010, 2:25 am

Ryder Cup

NEWPORT, Wales – Tom Lehman dug deep for an answer when asked why the U.S. got whipped so badly under his leadership in the 2006 Ryder Cup in Ireland.

“They made more putts than we did,” the American captain said.

Odds are that might be the deciding factor again at this Ryder Cup. Because even after months of over-the-top buildup, the cup can’t be decided without three days of actual golf.

Here, though, are a few other reasons why each team might win, starting with the favored Europeans:

THE FULL MONTY: Love him or hate him – and Europe’s players seem to be split – captain Colin Montgomerie is a Ryder Cup winner. He’s 20-9-7 overall, has never lost a singles match, and has been on five winning teams. That he’s never won a major championship in 86 tries merely makes him more lovable in Britain.

FAST TRACK: Montgomerie wants his team to set the pace early, both to fire up the crowd and build a cushion heading into Sunday’s singles, where the U.S. traditionally does well. He seemed almost giddy after the first morning draw, certain that he had the right matchups to do the job.

BROTHERS IN ARMS: Never have two Italians been paired together in the Ryder Cup. Only once have two brothers played together. Never before has any of that mattered. Francesco and Edoardo Molinari have plenty of game, but it may be their blood connection that helps them win points beginning, perhaps, with Friday afternoon’s alternate shot matches.

TIGER HUNT: Conversation about the strength of the U.S. team usually begins and ends with Tiger Woods, though he has struggled with the team concept in the Ryder Cup. For the first time, though, there’s a European who really wants a piece of Woods and who can fault Rory McIlroy for having the youthful enthusiasm to say so? Unfortunately, singles play is a blind draw so the two may not meet on Sunday. There’s a better chance they might find themselves on opposite sides of the green in the fourball or alternate shot matches.

ROYALTY RULES: Prince Charles spent some time with the guys at a local castle the other night, so they’ve got that going for them.

MONEY MATTERS: A billionaire named Sir Terry spent $50 million for the Ryder Cup, and built a course just for it. He was thanked a lot at the opening ceremony. A better way of getting him to reach into his deep pockets again would be to win the cup.

FUNNY GUYS: They wear wigs, crack jokes, and seem to regard the Ryder Cup as just good fun. Lee Westwood even set Paul McGinley’s cell phone alarm to go off as a joke just as Montgomerie was speaking in the opening ceremony. The Euros seem less uptight than the Americans, from their captain all the way down to their lowest rookie.

Still, the American’s have a chance. Here’s why:

CAPTAIN BULLDOG: Tenacity could be Corey Pavin’s middle name, if he didn’t have one already. If he can pass on his bulldog instincts to the U.S. team, the underdogs have a good shot at retaining the cup. Hopefully, he remembers to send out all his players because during an opening ceremony blunder, he forgot to introduce Stewart Cink. And, hopefully, his second blunder wasn’t picking two Ryder Cup rookies, Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton, to play Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald in opening fourball matches Friday.

LEFTY-LEFTY: The U.S. is the only team that can pair two lefties, something that would surely unsettle the right-handed Euros. The odds of Watson playing with Phil Mickelson, though, are about the same as the odds of Tiger Woods being paired with Mickelson.

TIGERRIFIC: It took a few Ryder Cups to find someone who could play with Tiger Woods in the first two days of team matches. A disastrous pairing with Mickelson in 2004 didn’t help Woods’ losing record in Ryder Cup play, but now Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker have shown they are compatible with the man formerly known as the best player in the world. Stricker, who was 4-0 with Woods in the President’s Cup last year, will go off with him Friday against Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher.

DESPERATE TIGER: Woods usually builds his year around the majors, and treats the Ryder Cup mostly as an afterthought. But after a year unlike any other, he’s desperate for something good to happen. If his swing holds up under pressure, this could be a big Ryder Cup for a very motivated Woods. If it doesn’t, well, worse things have happened this year.

MATT’S SMILE: Matt Kuchar is a Ryder Cup rookie and always seems to be smiling. His teammates will rise to the occasion to keep the Euros from wiping the smile off his face.

STREAKBUSTERS: All streaks must end sometime, and Europe’s winning streak on home soil is no exception. The Euros haven’t lost at home since 1993, when the balls were made of balata and Davis Love III was still using real woods.

OVERTON’S OPPORTUNITY: No one knows who Jeff Overton is. No one. He’s never won a tournament on the PGA Tour, never played on a Ryder Cup team, and never has known such pressure. In his last two tournaments he was a combined 21 over par. What better story could the Ryder Cup have than for Overton to win a bunch of points and lead the U.S. to an upset win?

Getty Images

Arizona caps an improbable journey with a title

By Ryan LavnerMay 24, 2018, 3:49 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – Five hours before the final match at the NCAA Women’s Championship, Arizona coach Laura Ianello sat cross-legged on a couch in the Holiday Inn lobby and broke down four times in a half-hour interview.

It’s been that kind of exhausting season.

From poor play to stunning midseason defections to a stroke-play collapse, Ianello has felt uneasy for months. She has felt like she was losing control. Felt like her carefully crafted roster was coming apart.

So to even have a chance to win a NCAA title?

“I know what this team has gone through,” she said, beginning to tear up, “and you don’t get these opportunities all the time. So I want it for them. This could be so life-changing for so many of them.”

A moment that seemed impossible six months ago became reality Wednesday at Karsten Creek.

Arizona continued its magical run through the match-play bracket and knocked off top-ranked Alabama to capture its third NCAA title, with junior Haley Moore – who first rose to fame by making the cut at an LPGA major as a 16-year-old – rolling in a 4-footer to earn the clinching point in extra holes.

All throughout nationals Arizona was fueled by momentum and adrenaline, but this was no Cinderella squad. The Wildcats were ranked ninth in the country. They won twice this spring. They had four medalists. They were one of the longest-hitting teams in the country.

But even before a miracle end to NCAA stroke play, Arizona needed some help just to get here.


NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Team scoring

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Individual scoring


On Christmas Day, one of the team’s best players, Krystal Quihuis, texted Ianello that she was turning pro. It may have been a gift to her parents, for their years of sacrifice, but it was a lump of coal in Ianello’s stocking.

“I was absolutely heartbroken,” she said. “It was devastating.”

Even more bad news arrived a few weeks later, when junior Gigi Stoll told Ianello that she was unhappy, homesick and wanted to return to Portland, Ore. Just like that, a promising season had gone off the rails.

Ianello offered her a full release, but Stoll looked around, found no other suitors and decided to remain with the team – as long as she signed a contract of expected behavior.

“It was the most exhausting two months of my life,” Ianello said. “We care so much about these freakin’ girls, and we’re like, Come on, this is just a small, little picture of your life, so you don’t realize what you’re possibly giving up. It’s so hard to see that sometimes.”

Stoll eventually bought in, but the rest of the team was blindsided by Quihuis’ decision.

“We became even more motivated to prove we were a great team,” said junior Bianca Pagdanganan.

It also helped that Yu-Sang Hou joined the squad in January. The morale immediately improved, not least because the players now could poke fun at Hou; on her fourth day on campus she nearly burned down the dorm when she forgot to add water to her mac-and-cheese.

Early on Ianello and assistant Derek Radley organized a team retreat at a hotel in Tucson. There the players created Oprah-inspired vision boards and completed exercises blindfolded and delivered 60-second speeches to break down barriers. At the end of the session, they created T-shirts that they donned all spring. They splashed “The Great Eight” on the front, put the state of Arizona and each player’s country of origin on the sleeves, and on the back printed their names and a slogan: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

“I can’t think of anything else that better embodies this team,” Radley said.

This spring, they rallied together and finished no worse than fourth in a tournament. Through three rounds of stroke play here at the NCAA Championship, they used their distance advantage and sat third in the standings. Then they shot 17 over par in the final round, tumbling outside the top-8 cut line.

They were down to their final chance on the 72nd hole, needing an eagle to tie, as Pagdanganan lined up her 30-footer. She dramatically drained the putt, then gathered her teammates on the range.

“This means we were meant to be in the top 8,” she said. Less than an hour later, they beat Baylor in the team playoff to earn the last match-play berth.

Ianello was so amped up from the frenetic finish that she slept only three hours on Monday night, but they continued to roll and knocked off top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals, beating a pair of Player of the Year contenders, Lilia Vu and Patty Tavatanakit, in the process. In the afternoon semifinals, they jumped all over Stanford and won easily.

It was a cute story, the last team into the match-play field reaching the final match, but a stiffer challenge awaited the Wildcats Wednesday.

Alabama was the top-ranked team in the country. The Tide were a whopping 110 under par for the season, boasting three first-team All-Americans who were so dominant in their first two matches that they trailed for only two of the 99 holes they played.

Ianello already seemed to be bracing for the result on the eve of the final match.

“Win or lose,” she said, “this has been a hell of a ride.”

But their wild ride continued Wednesday, as Hou won four holes in a row to start the back nine and defeat Alabama’s best player, Lauren Stephenson, who had the best single-season scoring average (69.5) in Division I history.

Then sophomore Sandra Nordaas – the main beneficiary after Quihuis left at the midway point of the season – held on for a 1-up victory over Angelica Moresco.

And so Arizona’s national-title hopes hinged on the success of its most mercurial player, Moore. In the anchor match against Lakareber Abe, Moore jumped out to a 2-up lead at the turn but lost the first three holes on the back nine.

By the time Radley sped back to help Moore, in the 12th fairway, she was frazzled.

“But seeing me,” Radley said, “I saw a sense of calm wash over her.”

Moore played solidly for the rest of the back nine and took a 1-up lead into the home hole. She didn’t flinch when Abe hit one of the shots of the entire championship – a smoked 3-wood to 12 feet to set up a two-putt birdie and force extras – and then gave herself 4 feet for the win on the first playoff hole. She sank the putt and within seconds was mobbed by her teammates.

In the giddy aftermath, Ianello could barely speak. She wandered around the green in a daze, looking for someone, anyone, to hug.

The most trying year of her career had somehow ended in a title.

“At some moments, it felt impossible,” she said. “But I underestimated these young women a little bit.”

Getty Images

Pac-12 continues to dominate women's golf

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 24, 2018, 3:04 am

Arizona's national women's golf championship marked the fourth consecutive year in‌ which the women's Division I national title was won by a Pac-12 Conference team. All four championships were won by different schools (Stanford, 2015; Washington, 2016; Arizona State, 2017; Arizona, 2018). The Pac-12 is the only conference to win four straight golf championships (men or women) with four different schools.

Here are some other statistical notes from the just-concluded NCAA Div. I Women's Golf Championship:

• This is the second time that Arizona has won the national title the year after rival Arizona State won it. The last time was 1996.

• Arizona now has three women's golf national championships. The previous two came in 1996 and 2000.

• Arizona is only the sixth school to win three or more Div. I women's golf championships, joining Arizona State (8), Duke (6), San Jose State (3), UCLA (3) and USC (3).

• Arizona's Haley Moore, who earned the clinching point on the 19th hole of her match with Alabama's Lakareber Abe, was the only Arizona player to win all three of her matches this week.

• Alabama's Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight also went 3-0. Gillman did not trail in any match.

• Since the match-play format was instituted in 2015, Arizona is the lowest seed (8) to claim the national title. The seeds claiming the national championship were Stanford (4) in 2015; Washington (4) in 2016; and Arizona State (3) in 2017.

Getty Images

High school seniors win U.S. Amateur Four-Ball

By Associated PressMay 24, 2018, 1:44 am

TEQUESTA, Fla. - The 18-year-old Hammer, from Houston, is set to play at Texas next fall. Barber, from Stuart, Fla., also is 18. He's headed to LSU.

''Growing up watching U.S. Opens and U.S. Amateurs on TV, I just knew being a USGA champion is something that I desperately wanted,'' said Hammer, who qualified for a U.S. Open three years ago at 15. ''And to finally do it, it feels incredible. It feels as good, if not better, than I thought it would. And especially being able to do it with Garrett. It's really cool to share this moment.''

Hammer and Cole won the par-4 eighth with a birdie to take a 2-up lead. They took the par-4 10th with a par, won the par-5 13th with an eagle - Barber hit a 4-iron from 235 yards to 3 feet - and halved the next two holes to end the match.

''Cole didn't want me to hit 4-iron,'' Barber said. ''He didn't think I could get it there. I was like, 'I got it.' So I hit it hard, hit pretty much a perfect shot. It was a crazy shot.''

The 32-year-old Dull is from Winter Park, Fla., and the 42-year-old Brooke from Altamonte Springs, Fla.

''Cole Hammer is a special player,'' Brooke said. ''Obviously, he's going to Texas (and) I'm not saying he is Jordan Spieth, but there are certain things that he does.''

In the morning semifinals, Hammer and Barber beat Idaho high school teammates Carson Barry and Sam Tidd, 5 and 4, and Brooke and Dull topped former Seattle University teammates Kyle Cornett and Patrick Sato, 4 and 3.

Getty Images

Watch: Pumped up Beef deadlifts 485 lbs.

By Grill Room TeamMay 24, 2018, 12:19 am

Andrew "Beef" Johnston has been playing some solid golf on the European Tour this season, and he is clearly pumped up for one of the biggest weeks of the year at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

Judging from the video below, Beef will have no problems lifting the trophy on Sunday as he reportedly deadlifted 220 kg ... (Googles kilogram to pounds converter, enters numbers) ... that's 485 lbs!

@beefgolf with a new deadlift PB 220kg ! #youcantgowronggettingstrong

A post shared by ETPI (@etpi_performanceunit) on